A daily journal is one of the most powerful tools you can have at your disposal.
Journals can aid with self-discovery. It can help you clarify your thoughts, your goals, and your dreams. It’s also an outlet for self-expression, a place to air out your feelings and insecurities, sort out any drama, and even help you problem-solve.
In short, a daily prompt journal can serve as a vehicle to help you navigate the ups and downs of your life.
But for a lot of people, writing in a journal can feel awkward, or even be a source of shame or embarrassment. It probably doesn’t help that journaling has been reduced to a stereotype, often portrayed as a young kid writing “Dear Diary” in bubble letters in a pink diary with a lock and key. This is an unfair depiction.
First of all, there’s nothing wrong with keeping a diary. In fact, a pretty journal can make you feel happy and inspired every single day.
And second, instead of mocking young people for trying to find a healthy and productive way to express themselves, we adults should take a cue from them. After all, if young people are able to navigate the topsy-turvy years of young adulthood with the aid of a journal, then certainly adults can benefit from them too
Whether you’re still on the fence about journal writing or you’ve been keeping a diary since you were a child, you’ll benefit from our daily writing prompts below. These will help you kickstart a journal writing habit or refresh your current writing routine.
Benefits of journal writing
Here are just some of the physical, emotional, and creative benefits you can experience from writing in your journal everyday.
Journaling can help you manage stress and anxiety. By putting pen to paper, you can relieve some of the stressful thoughts that have taken space in your mind. Many people have found that journaling provides a much-needed release from the rigors of daily life. Whether it’s work stress or personal troubles, a journal can serve as a neutral third-party whose sole purpose is to listen. Journaling has also been shown to help people find solutions to their problems or determine that the problem is more manageable than they had originally perceived.
Journaling can help you find your voice. There’s a reason that so many writers, artists, and creatives have regularly kept a journal.
Artist Frida Kahlo used her journal as a form of self-expression, combining visual images and text to help communicate ideas. Writer David Sedaris has been writing in a journal for over forty years, and records everything from mundane details to observations and interactions, which he has been able to mine for his own stories. Michelle Obama wrote about her journaling practice in her memoir Becoming. Her journal gave her space for introspection, enabling her to discover her purpose and ascertain her goals.
Journaling can help you find ideas. From CEOs to Leonardo da Vinci, people have used journals to help them generate ideas. So often, an idea can flicker through our mind, only to then be forgotten. A journal can help capture these ideas on paper and motivate us to come up with even more. It’s been said that we need to come up with a bunch of bad ideas to eventually come up with a good one. A journal is a safe space to lay out all those ideas, good and bad, to help us eventually find that key awesome idea.
Way to write in your journal every day
Morning pages. The morning pages is a popular journal writing exercise from Julia Cameron’s book The Artist’s Way. You write three pages of stream of consciousness in the morning and the idea is to release all the emotional baggage we store in our minds. This “clutter” can get in the way of our creativity and distract us from our artistic pursuits. By releasing them onto paper, we can move on.
Morning pages can also have the power to help you discover your true interests. If you find yourself constantly talking about the ocean or wanting to live by the sea, the morning pages can serve as a megaphone to your brain, directing you to your north star.
Chronicle your life. You only need five or ten minutes to devote to this exercise. And no detail or observation is considered too boring or mundane. You can record what you had for breakfast or a bird sighting you had at the park, or a funny line from a conversation you had with a friend.
This record of your life might provide fodder for your fiction writing or it’s just a fun excuse to gather details about your life. It can help the days feel more tangible instead of feeling like they're dripping through your hand. You’ll also get a lot of joy from flipping through these pages in later years, as you see a specific detail that will jog your memory and help relive that fun moment all over again.
Use writing prompts. Another journal writing method is to employ daily writing prompts. These prompts serve as writing springboards. They can lead you down a path of introspection to help you discover things about yourself or consider aspects of your life that you hadn’t reflected on before. Prompts are especially useful for those days when we feel like we have nothing to think or write about. Prompts stretch our mind and make it easier to brainstorm and write.
Daily journal prompts
Here are some daily journal prompts that you can use.
- Describe your ideal day.
- Who is a person that you admire—real or fictional—and describe what you admire about them and what steps you can take to emulate their best qualities?
- What is a recent challenge you had to conquer? What did you do to overcome it? What went well? What would you have done differently?
- Make a list of your favorite things about yourself.
- Describe your favorite vacation spot.
- Who are you grateful for and why?
- What is your superpower?
- If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be and why?
- Describe your ideal job. See if you can describe it in full detail. What are you doing throughout the day? What kind of people are you working with?
- Write about your favorite childhood teacher. How did they impact your life?