Are you struggling to find direction in your life?
They say that goals give us a sense of purpose. But what if you’re not sure what your goals are? Or what if you’re having trouble committing to your goals? If you’re feeling stuck or unmotivated in your career or personal life, journaling prompts can help you tap into what you really want.
Why journaling can help with self-discovery
You know that something has to change, but have no clue where to even start.
That’s where journal writing can come in handy.
No one knows you better than yourself. That might seem hard to believe right now, especially if you find yourself stuck in a rut, but it’s true. Journal writing gives you a chance to explore your feelings and thoughts, and excavate your hidden desires. It might take time and effort to uncover what it is you truly want, but it will be illuminating in the end.
Oftentimes, we have trouble making decisions because we’re at conflict with what we want versus what other people want from us. We’re afraid of going for things out of fear of being judged, criticized, or worst of all, failure.
Journal writing, on the other hand, is an opportunity to write without fear. When you put pen to paper, and reflect on your experiences, it’s as if you’re connecting your mind and body, and unifying your past, present, and future self. It’s as if all the negative voices and censors are drowned out, and all that remains is your authentic voice.
And the great thing about journal writing prompts? They help you see something in a new way. The prompts or questions can awaken something in you and provide fresh insight into a recurring issue.
No wonder journal writing has been such an important self-discovery tool for so many people. From world leaders to CEOs to writers and artists, the simple act of writing in a notebook has allowed them to truly express themselves and tap into their dreams.
How to use journal writing prompts
Here are some tips to get the most out of journal writing prompts.
Write during a transitional time. Some people like to do self-reflection exercises when they find themselves at a crossroads or transitional moment in their lives. Maybe it’s a birthday or a breakup or losing a job. Doing journaling work around this time can help you feel more empowered as you head into this new chapter. You can also do this exercise at the start of a new month or week to give you that “fresh start” feeling.
Create a peaceful environment. Make yourself a hot cup of tea. Light a scented candle. Turn on a soothing playlist. A calm and peaceful environment will help you relax and turn inward.
Write in the morning. Some people like to journal first thing in the morning. Maybe it’s because that drowsy, foggy state keeps the inner critic at bay. If you’re not a morning person, then try writing at night instead and use this journaling exercise as a way to wind down.
Gather inspiration. Reading an inspiring book or listening to an inspiring career podcast can put you in the right headspace for self-reflection. When you’re feeling inspired, you’ll be more open and receptive to the thoughts that arise.
20 inspiring prompts to find your true north
Try not to judge yourself during this process. Instead, just let your hands keep moving and put words down onto paper. You don’t have to answer all of these prompts at once. Depending on your time and energy, you might want to do 1-2 prompts a session.
If you’re not getting clarity right away, don’t worry. Self-discovery is a lifelong journey. And sometimes you have to take the scenic route :).
Slowly and gradually, your goals and dreams will begin to take shape. A picture of what you truly want will form in your mind.
Ready to start?
- What was your favorite childhood activity?
- Name 5 of your heroes (they can be real or fictional). What is it that you like and admire about them?
- Describe your ideal day. Be as specific as you can. Where are you? Are you in an office setting or at home? What are you eating? Who are you socializing with? Who are you working with?
- What can you do this week to get you closer to creating your ideal day?
- What is something that you could spend hours on? Maybe it’s gardening or scrapbooking or cooking. If it’s scrolling through Instagram–that’s okay! But see if there’s a trend to the types of accounts you follow. Your distractions can give insight into what you like.
- Make a list of all the places that make you feel happy. Maybe it’s your favorite park or city or travel destination.
- What can you do this week to replicate that ideal location? If you love Paris, maybe you can sit outside at a bustling cafe. If you love lakes and beaches, maybe you can go somewhere with a water view.
- Describe your ideal home. Be as specific as you can. Are you in a quiet, secluded neighborhood? In a big, bustling city? Is your space cozy? Or modern and sleek?
- Consider the acquaintances in your professional and personal network. Who would you like to get to know this year?
- Describe how you feel about your current job situation. Do you feel stuck and overlooked? Anxious and overwhelmed?
- What would you like to change about your current job situation? Do you want to feel more empowered? Do you want to work in a smaller team? Do you want more responsibilities?
- What do your coworkers always go to you for? What do people compliment you on? Notice any patterns? If they’re always going to you for editing help or graphic design work, maybe this is a sign that you should maximize this skill.
- If you could live in someone else’s shoes for a day, who would it be and why?
- If you could try out a dream job for a year what would it be and why?
- Write down twenty things you can do to get that dream job.
- What was the last thing that made you happy? Was it cozying up with a good book? Game night with friends? A leisurely walk in the park? Now schedule a time to do that this week.
- What is one small thing you can do this week to get out of your comfort zone?
- Make a list of all the times you felt your best. Keep this somewhere nearby where you can read it often and get re-inspired.
- What was that last job that made you happy? Describe what you liked about it.
- Create an empowering mantra for yourself. Maybe it’s “I’m deserving of success” or “I have what it takes to succeed.” Now post it somewhere you can see.
Written by JiJi Lee.