Okay Let’s be clear right away, I have an obsession with journals and it’s probably not healthy. Just kidding. About the “not healthy” part, the obsession is real.
I have more journals than I know and at this point my husband is kind of annoyed because he is the one who has to keep finding space to store them in our “small” apartment.
And I am not planning on stopping any time soon. Because the things is, Journalling is something that has been very comforting and healing for me. And my journals have been a place where I have always poured my heart out, no matter how ugly and messy the situations have been.
When I was younger, I used to journal a lot as well. And reading back through some of those journal entries make me so sad because I was not really confident back then. I had no clue what my purpose is and that I was supposed to do with life.
But then, journalling is something that has helped me understand these things about myself. And continues to do so. I feel like journalling is such a great tool to constantly evaluate and re-align your life depending on where you want to go.
And that’s why I continue to do so even now. I am a firm believer that all the answers that we seek are within us.
And Journalling acts as a great tool to get to the roots. It allows you to basically understand where your feelings, emotions and fears stem from. And when you know better, you do better.
And if you have been wanting to try to journal for self discovery too but just have no idea what questions you should be answering, journal prompts will be a great help to you.
Some tips to get better at journalling:
Journalling like any other habit takes time to develop and stick. Especially because the benefits that you see are not immediately visible. But if you stick around for sometime, you will start noticing how much of a difference it actually makes. So if you want to try journalling, here are some tips that will help:
#1: Dedicate time: To make it into a habit, dedicate time to it daily and sit with your journal and a pen everyday even when you don’t feel like you have a lot of things to write about. Writing some times, doesn’t come naturally. And in the beginning it might even feel a but strange writing about your deepest desires, about your insecurities etc on paper. But it gets easier with time, I promise. So dedicate some time to journal every morning/evening (whatever suits you best). Keep your journal and pen ready, maybe on your bedside table or your office desk (wherever you want to sit down and write in peace).
#2: Write in a beautiful Journal: Write in a beautiful notebook that makes you want to write in it. I learned about this little tip in a 30 day program called “Daily Magic” that I joined via Instagram and I was surprised with how much of a difference it actually made. Don’t save your pretty notebook for “later”. When you start journalling on a regular basis, you will start having major breakthroughs, some of which will heal your inner child and your childhood traumas too. And because all of these breakthroughs are going to be so beautiful when they actually happen, it’s worth using the pretty notebooks for sure.
#3: Don’t focus on how much you write: If you have never kept a journal before or have never kept a dairy etc, things might move a little slowly for you. So, initially don’t focus on how much you write. It’s not about filling pages and pages. It’s about slowly learning to put your thoughts into words and to make sense of everything you think about.
#4: Don’t re-read: When you are writing about something that requires you to be vulnerable and to put out all your emotions on paper, don’t re-read what you write. There should be no room for judgement. And because we’re always so critical of ourselves, it’s best to eliminate this altogether. Of course as you progress on your journalling journey, you’ll find some exercises that will require you to re-read what you write, so take this tip with a side note.
#5: Don’t hold back: The best breakthroughs happen when you don’t hold yourself back while writing. Let your thoughts flow. There is no need to question why it’s going in a certain direction or to re-direct. Let your mind be free and let your thoughts flow freely. Because when you do that, you unlock the door to truly understanding where your behaviours stem from, where you fears stem from and when you have all this information, you can make better decisions on how your want to approach these things.
#6: Use Prompts: If you feel like you have no idea what to write about, how about you use some daily prompts like the ones listed below. Using journal prompts is a great way to discover yourself and get to know your true authentic self and it’s all about asking yourself the questions that you normally wouldn’t in your day to day life.
Journal prompts for self discovery:
- What does your dream life look like? Describe in detail. What kind of a life do you want for yourself if there was nothing holding you back? Write about what you want to be doing for a living. where would you live, how often would you want to travel, how often do you want to meet your friends? Do you want to go to parties and get togethers during the festive season and so on. You can be as detailed as you’d like and it’s best if you are.
- In your dream life, create an avatar for yourself. This is the FUTURE YOU. Write down how the future you reacts in difficult situations, how you interact with people and how you work. What are your values, beliefs and what is your work ethic like. What di you wear and how do you handle difficult conversations. Then understand where is the gap between the avatar that you created and your current state. And then you focus on how to bridge this gap.
- If you couldn’t fail, what would you do in life? Would you be doing your regular 9-5 or would you take more risks ans more chances? And if you did, what area would you like to pursue something in?
- What does your ideal daily routine look like? What time do you want to wake up? what do you want your mornings to look like? How would you like to schedule work etc.
- How can I improve my daily routine? What habits do you need to let go of and what good positive habits do you need to add and what changes do you want to make to your current routine?
- What is the one things that brings you joy everyday? And how can you do more of that in your time?
- What do you need less of in your life and what are the possible ways you can cut those things our of your life?
- How do you spend your Sundays? Is there anything that you can do to make your coming week better?
- Write down 5 goals that you want to achieve in the next 1-2 years?
- What distracts you from working towards your goals? And how can you avoid it? Maybe it’s the kids and it can get quite difficult. So write down how you can ask for help and what would help look like so that you can focus on your goals too.
- What limiting beliefs keep you from achieving your goals in life? Understanding your limiting beliefs is not a very easy exercise. But I bet you know some of them already. It’s amazing how much you already know in your subconscious mind.
- Write 5 positive affirmations for yourself.
- What qualities do you love about yourself and why?
- What qualities or habits do you want to change?
- Who do you look upto in life and why?
- Right in this moment, what are the three things you are grateful for? Don’t simply write I am grateful for ABC, write it in as much detail as possible. Focus on the why. Why are you grateful for is also important because it really helps you feel how much of an impact something or someone makes in your life.
- What qualities do you value most in people around you?
- What is your favourite memory and why?
- What do you fear the most and why?
- In what moment did you feel most alive and how can you include more of such moments in your life?
- What made you feel like you are at your lowest and why?
- How did you get out of a really bad situation and what got you through?
- What is the one toxic habit you should quit or one person that you need to cut out of your life?
- How can you take care of yourself in a better way on a daily basis? Do you take out the time or if not, how can you make sure to take some time out for yourself everyday?
- How can I love myself more on a daily basis?
- What’s on your mind right now?
- If my friends had to describe me to someone, what would they say?
- If you had to describe yourself to a person, without talking about any physical traits, how would you describe yourself?
- If you had to describe yourself in one word, what word would you choose to describe yourself?
- What type of a person do you want to be known as?
- When am I the happiest version of me? And what can I do to be as close as possible to this happiest version of myself?
- If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?
- What are my goals for the next month?
- What are the top 3 priorities in my life right now?
- How can I adopt more positive habits and which ones should I try to adopt?
- How can I show more love and compassion to others everyday?
- If I could re-live a moment, what moment would it be and why?
- What makes me upset?
- What do I need to forgive myself for?
- What would you want to leave in the past?
- What do you want to take with me going into the future?
- Right now, what area of your life makes you feel good? And what area makes you feel bad and why?
- What do you regret not doing?
- What is your favourite book/movie or song and why?
- What are you most proud of?
- How do you relax?
- When was the last time you did something you were afraid of and how did it make you feel when you were on the other side?
- What did you want to be when you were younger?
- What would you tell your younger self?
- When was the last time you laughed until you cried?
How it helps:
Answering these questions helps you get closer to who you are as a person. You could also go back to these after a few months and see how your thought patterns change overtime.
You realise what are some of the things that matter the most to you. And you can better understand how you can have a better, more wholesome life.
Journals are a great way to understand yourself better and to be more mindful of the choices you make. I also love doing a mid year review in my journal because it helps me refocus my energy in the middle of the year. It also helps me align my goals and actions in a better way and helps me achieve my goals by the end of the year. Check out this post for 20 mid year review journal prompts that will help you smash your goals.