• 02/08/2023

How to Start Journaling: 9 Prompts

How to Start Journaling

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Do you sometimes wish you had a confidant whom you could trust with your deepest secrets? Have you ever made the mistake of venting on social media when filled with emotion, only to later delete your post with embarrassment? Perhaps you merely want to nurture your mental health and indulge in some TLC. Learn how to start journaling.

More than a mere diary, a journal is a powerful tool for improving your mental health, working through challenging problems and discovering who you are inside while keeping your secrets safe within its pages. Ready to begin? Here are nine prompts to help you start journaling. 

1. The Best Decision You Ever Made

People always tell you to learn from your mistakes, and there’s wisdom in that advice. However, you can also reap valuable lessons from what went right. After all, you want to repeat your successes — analyzing what went well helps you break down the process to follow next time. 

This entry is a powerful one to do when you contemplate making significant life changes. Begin by asking yourself why the decision has come to a head — can you wait? What do you hope for in terms of an outcome? 

Then, write a list of alternatives and the pros and cons. Pause, take a deep breath and consider the consequences of each course of action. Getting mindful about future decisions is no guarantee they’ll turn out in your favor, but at least you’ll know you tried your best with a sound mind. 

2. List 5 Positive Things 

Are you feeling blue? There’s always something in your life to feel good about, no matter how small. 

Focusing on gratitude can uplift your entire vibration. Try journaling about five things that make you thankful when you feel down. You might also list five positive influential people in your life or five accomplishments that make you feel proud to lift your spirits. Centering yourself is a prime way to start journaling.

3. Why Do You Live Where You Do? Would You Consider Living Somewhere Else?

When was the last time you dreamed of moving to an exotic beach? Perhaps you can’t afford to pack up and move to Tahiti, but people relocate to new cities and states every day. 

If one more 6-foot snowfall is enough to make you fly south permanently, use this entry to explore places you might enjoy. For example, if you’re one of the many telecommuters since the pandemic and have the freedom to work where you want, you could save a bundle by moving to a more affordable area. It could be your ticket off the rental roller coaster, enabling you to save enough for homeownership at last. 

4. Name 3 Lessons Learned From Previous Relationships

This entry might seem like more of one for singles. However, you can still use it if you’re in a relationship to explore how you can improve your current union. 

Maybe your past relationships taught you that you needed to set firm boundaries and stand up for yourself. Perhaps you recognize codependent tendencies that continue in your present relationships. What can you do to overcome your neediness and feel more secure in your current partnership? 

5. You Are Given 3 Wishes — What Do You Request?

Ah, the famous “Three Wishes” question. It’s an oldie but a classic for a reason. What would you ask if you had a genie pop out of a bottle? Wishing for more wishes is verboten. 

Think carefully on this one — give it more depth than you did back in high school. For example, perhaps you wished for world peace or for everyone to have enough to meet their basic needs. How could human beings make this desire a reality? Go crazy with exploring your thoughts when learning how to start journaling.

6. How Do You Show Compassion to Others? How Can You Show Yourself the Same?

Compassion and empathy are sorely lacking in this society. While other cultures teach it as a school subject, Americans still treat these qualities as innate instead of skills you can learn. 

That doesn’t mean you can’t be a little love generator of compassion. Start by thinking of the kindnesses you can do for others. Remember, you can’t pour from an empty pitcher — how can you show yourself a little of that TLC, too? 

7. Describe the Best Aspect of Your Current Job

The Great Resignation saw 47 million Americans left their jobs in 2021. Maybe you stayed because you adore your position. You might also feel trapped by a lack of other options. 

However, making the best of your current position will bring more joy to your daily life. That’s not to say you should remain in a toxic situation threatening your mental health. However, try this journaling prompt first if you’re merely having one bad day or week making you want to throw in the towel. You could discover that you love a lot more about your current job than you realize when you’re focused on the bad aspects. 

8. What Do You Like Most About Your Personality?

Everyone is a work in progress. However, people tend to hyperfocus on the things they dislike about themselves. Boost your confidence by journaling about all the things that make you wonderful. 

You might not be able to change things like your height or eye color — at least not without props. However, your personality is yours to mold however you like. What’s your best quality? What makes you sparkle? 

9. What 1 Thing Would You Change About Your Life? How Would It Be Different?

Here’s an excellent journal prompt to use when you feel a nagging sense of disquiet. You might not pinpoint any specific grievance, but things in your life feel stale, and you’re ready for a change. 

Sit down and contemplate how changing just one thing could transform your existence. For example, getting yourself in shape might take a while if you’ve neglected your health — but it could improve many other aspects of your life. You’ll feel more confident in your clothes, which may lead to improved workplace performance, a stronger propensity to take risks and even the courage to ask out that cutie you’ve spied so many times sitting alone at the corner coffee shop. 

Take some time exploring how changing one thing could create a ripple effect. If you like the sound of the consequences, perhaps now’s the time to leap. 

How to Start Journaling 

Journaling is a fabulous tool for managing emotions, organizing thoughts and improving mental health. However, staring at a blank page without knowing what to write can prove intimidating. 

Learn how to start journaling by selecting one of the nine prompts above. Then, let your scribblings run wild all over those beautiful pages intended only for your eyes. 

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