Journaling is a great way to spend some dedicated time thinking about your passions, goals, and desires—just to name a few. Using journal prompts for self-discovery, you can also reflect on areas for personal healing and growth.
I’ve always loved writing, but strangely I didn’t discover the benefits of journaling until later in life. Once I gave it a try, I quickly learned what a powerful tool it was.
The nice thing about journaling is, it’s just you, your thoughts, and the page. Your journal is there to listen to everything you have to say without judgment, interruptions, or advice. It’s the perfect introvert activity.
A guided journal helps you shine a light inward on areas you may have neglected in your busy day-to-day life. Maybe you’re so busy working for your paycheck and taking care of everyone else that you don’t stop to think about your future anymore.
For moms in particular, I think we can get stuck in survival mode that keeps our house functioning and our kids well fed but deprives us of much-needed personal attention. Over time, burnout symptoms start to appear, and we realize we’ve lost sight of the bigger picture.
I’m speaking from experience here.
Incorporating journaling into your life is a low-cost, low-commitment way to practice self-care.
Don’t lose sight of your dreams because you’re too busy. Try this list of journal prompts for self-discovery to remind yourself, “Why am I here?” and “Where am I going?”
Also check out my list of Best Journals for Beginners
Tips are based on personal experience and should not be considered medical advice. Full disclaimer.
Why Should You Try Journaling?
In case you’re not yet convinced, here is a summary of some of the many benefits of journaling:
- Relieving stress
- Goal setting
- Processing feelings
- Inspiring positive change
- Boosting creativity
- Sparking ideas
- Improving mood
- Shifting mindset
- Ending rumination (overthinking)
Many renowned visionaries kept a journal, including Albert Einstein, Charles Darwin, Leonardo DaVinci, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Edison, Winston Churchill, and Mark Twain.
In addition to being therapeutic, journaling is also super easy. A few minutes of quiet time and some pen and paper are all you need.
There’s no harm in giving it a try. Now, let’s get to the prompts…
Journal Prompts for Self-Discovery
You can always journal about whatever topic is helpful to you. This list simply gives you some ideas to get started on your self-discovery journey.
I recommend not trying to do too many journal prompts for self-discovery in one sitting. Take your time with them so you can be thoughtful about your responses. By spreading them out over time, you’ll be able to reap the benefits of journaling over a sustained period.
Making journaling a part of your daily or weekly routine can ensure you set aside the time regularly. Don’t let journaling be another self-care activity that falls by the wayside due to daily responsibilities.
- What brings you great joy?
- What makes you feel energized?
- What makes you feel drained?
- What do you want people to remember you for?
- What makes you feel safe?
- What refuels you? Do you do enough of this?
- What do you like about yourself?
- What do you wish were different about yourself? Why?
- How can you show yourself more compassion?
- If you could tell your younger self something, what would it be?
- If you could tell your future self something, what would it be?
- Describe a time when you overcame a challenge that was quite difficult.
- How would your friends describe you?
- What is something you’re really proud of yourself for?
- Do you wish you could forgive yourself for something? Can you give yourself permission to forgive? Why or why not?
- What is one thing you’re passionate about? How do you express it?
- Do you have a personal mission statement? If not, work on one.
- What do you cherish most in the world? How do you show it?
- Is there anything you’re scared about? Why?
- What are three things that always make you smile?
- Is there anything you need to get off your chest?
- What do you have faith in? How does this faith affect your life?
- What skills are you proud of?
- What are you an expert in?
- How do you express yourself creatively? Do you feel creatively fulfilled?
- What are the three best things in your life right now? How do they affect you?
- What are five things you’re grateful for? Why?
- If you could strike one negative thing from your life, what would it be? What’s stopping you?
- What is getting most of your attention lately? Is it deserved?
- What is abundant in your life?
- Is there anything missing in your life? What can be done about it?
- What do you love about your life?
- What would your dream life look like?
- What stresses you out? Is there a way you can minimize this in your life?
- Is there anything that’s taking up time in your life that doesn’t serve your best interests? What can you do about it?
- Is there anything in your life that could be simplified? How would you do this?
- What emotions are dominating your life lately? This month? This week? Today?
- What do you wish you had more time for? Why? Is there something you can do to make that happen?
- Is there anything that’s not working in your life? What can you do to change it?
- What is something you’d like to let go of? What’s keeping you from letting it go?
- If you could design your perfect day, what would it look like?
- Has anything happened recently that’s still bothering you? What can be done about it or what did you learn?
- If you had all the money in the world, what would you do?
- How are you living your values? Is there anything you would change to live more in line with your values?
- What is something you loved about your childhood or a special memory?
Goals & The Future
- What are 10 things on your personal bucket list?
- What does success look like to you?
- What is keeping you from reaching your goals? What will you do about it?
- What is something you’ve always wanted to try? What’s holding you back?
- Where is someplace you’d like to travel and why?
- Is there something you want to work towards? How do you plan to get there?
- Are there any habits you would like to change? Why? What will you do about it?
- Is there anything you’ve been putting off? Why? What will you do about it?
- What would you like things to look like a year from now?
- What do you hope will be different 10 years from now? Is there anything you can do to make it happen?
- What is something you want to learn about?
- How do you want to make your mark on the world?
- What would your dream job look like?
- What is something you need help with? Are you willing to ask for it? Why or why not?
- What are five questions you hope to answer?
- Who is one of your role models? Why?
- What are the most important relationships in your life? Are they getting the attention they need?
- Do you wish you could forgive someone else for something? Are you ready to forgive? Why or why not?
- Is there anyone you miss? Write about them or to them.
- What relationships do you cherish most in your life? How do you show these people your support?
- Is there anyone or anything you wish you could say goodbye to? Take this opportunity to write it out.
- Are there any boundaries in your life that need adjustment?
- What do you appreciate about your family members? Describe them.
- Do you act differently when you’re around certain people? Why or why not?
- Do you have a healthy relationship with technology? What do you wish were different about it?
- How do you feel about your relationship with yourself? Is there anything you would change?
- What is something you wish others knew about you?
- How have you enriched someone else’s life?
- If you have a partner or significant other, what qualities do you love about them?
- Who can you always count on? Write a note to this person telling them.
Tips for Using the Journaling Prompts for Self-Discovery
I know you’re excited to get started using the journal prompts for self-discovery. Before you jump in, there are a few tips to make sure you get the most out of the journaling process.
Remember, your journal is just for you, so be honest with yourself in your answers. Make sure you’re in a distraction-free environment and take your time with your writing. You can be as detailed as you want, but you’ll get more out of it if you put some thought into your responses.
The whole journaling exercise, and hopefully habit, is supposed to have a positive effect. While you may process some negative feelings while journaling, try not to get stuck there. Focus on releasing those emotions or figuring out if there’s an action you can take.
You don’t want to get lost in your own head so much that you’re not benefiting from the journaling experience. Journaling isn’t about whining or wallowing—that won’t be helpful to you.
Similarly, try not to let your introspection creep into the self-blame territory.
With those tips and words of caution, you’re ready to put pen to paper. I hope you enjoy using the journal prompts for self-discovery.
You might also want to check out my review of a journaling app.