Our Favorite Journaling Prompts

Our Favorite Journaling Prompts

Being in the business of journals, we’ve done a lot of research into journaling practices and techniques. Over the years, we’ve found many methods and experts we admire and wanted to share some of the best with you here in one easy list.

Whether you’re breaking in a new journal or diving into a new Weekly Undated Planner with weekly journaling pages…whether you want a quick one-line prompt or an outline for a regular journaling practice, we’ve got something for you!

Quick Prompts to Try Out: 

  • What’s been energizing me lately?
  • What’s been draining me lately?
  • Today I feel...I feel this way because…
  • Today I’m most grateful for…
  • When I was a kid, I wanted to…
  • If money and time weren’t a factor, I would…
  • What do I like about my current job?
  • When do I feel like I’m my best self?
  • What are my favorite things to do?
  • What makes me happiest?
  • What’s “right” with me? (Take a break from thinking about what’s wrong with you!)

Longer-Form Exercises and Practices:

Exercise 1: Storyworthy

In his book, Storyworthy, Matthew Dicks outlines a simple journaling plan to help us recognize and shape the stories of our lives. Each evening, write a few lines about the most “story worthy” moment of the day. What you’ll find is that, while every day won’t contain a wild story, you’ll soon begin noticing the beautiful little stories in each day, even if it’s just realizing that the late afternoon sunlight in your living room casts the prettiest shadows. And, eventually, you’ll find you’re keeping a more emotionally accurate record of your life than your memory could on its own.

Exercise 2: Faux Bullet Journaling

Author Ryder Carroll describes a process of “rapid logging” in his book, The Bullet Journal Method. Simply jot things down as they happen during the day. Keep it simple and short. Think “lost the bid – bummer” or “signed the lease – yay”. Then, at the end of the week, scan through your “logs”. Is there anything that jumps out at you as deserving more long-form journaling? Something that’s still bothering you that you’d like to unpack? Is there something you’re grateful for? A beautiful memory you’d like to preserve?

Exercise 3: Mind Unwind

Maybe you’re just swimming in too many thoughts and worries and responsibilities right now and you need to get them all out. Do it. Take as long as you need, make a list, and get it all out. Everything from “take out the trash” to “plan next year’s family vacation” can go on the list.

When you’ve got your list, review it with some highlighters or colored pens. Separate the items into three categories: things you want to do, things you have to do (taxes, etc.), and things you’re not sure about. Take the items you have to do and put them on a calendar.  Is there any way to make them easier? Maybe even make them fun? Then, look at the things you want to do. Which ones are the most important? How can you make them a greater priority in your life? Lastly, is there anything on the “not sure about” list that could maybe just…never get done? What would happen if you never did them? 

Exercise 4: Ask Your Higher Self

If you’re struggling with something, try sitting down and envisioning your higher self, an idealized version of you. Then, in your journal, write about whatever you’re struggling with as though you’re asking this idealized version of yourself what to do. Take a moment to listen for a response, imagine what your higher self would say. Write out their reply.

Exercise 5: Second Order Thinking for Decision Making

Do you have a big decision to make? In his Clear Habit Journal, James Clear describes a simple process for thinking through your decisions called “Second Order Thinking”. Separate a page in your journal into three columns.  Title the columns “First Order,” “Second Order,” and “Third Order”. In the first column, list out the immediate consequences of your decision. In the second column, answer the question “and then what?” as it relates to each item in the first column.  Continue the process in the third column.

Alternately, consider each column an increment of time. What will the consequences of the decision be in 10 days, 10 months, 10 years?