Journaling is therapeutic AF. In a time where self-care seems more important than ever before and at the forefront of everyone’s priority list, journaling might be the first thing you think to do… or the last, if you’re not a writer. However, there’s something incredibly cathartic about putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) and letting your mind unleash everything it’s holding onto. Journaling can be as simple and straight-forward as a gratitude list or datebook describing your day. But, it can also be a deep dive into your psyche.
Exploring memories doesn’t just keep that memory fresh. It can help you see a relationship or relative from a new perspective. Making lists is more than just dreaming. (Though, dreaming is important, too.) Making lists is the first step in making a plan — and they can be so much fun. Are there underlying themes to your lists? Do they fade into each other — like wanting to pick up the skill of learning Japanese and including Japan on your list of places to go? Are they all super long and perhaps making you question why you haven’t done more?
Whether you pick up an old notebook, buy something new and cute or just sit down at your laptop, journaling gives you a chance to explore yourself and get to know who you really are. If that scares you, it should. But, it should also make you want to give it a try. Good luck!
1. What scares you? (What or Who makes you feel less frightened?)
2. Who is your best friend and why?
3. How did you get your first pet?
4. Describe your first home
5. Did you have a lovey? Write about it.
6. Did you ever get lost as a child?
7. How do you feel about cemeteries?
8. Write about the people you most admire. Are they all similar or each different?
9. Write about a grudge you’ve been holding onto
10. Is there anyone you don’t talk to anymore (that’s alive) that you wish you could?
11. What are some of the last conversations you had with loved ones who have died? Would you change any of them?
12. Who was your favorite parent?
13. Who was your favorite grandparent?
14. If you moved around at all while growing up, how did that make you feel? Where was your favorite place to live?
15. If you grew up never moving homes/towns, did you enjoy being deeply rooted or were you antsy to escape?
16. Describe a holiday tradition you had and love? What about one you hated?
17. Are there any new traditions you’d like to start?
18. What was your childhood obsession?
19. Write about a song that makes you cry.
20. Write about a song that pumps you up.
21. Make the perfect playlist (5-10 songs) for a loved one and explain why you chose each song.
22. Make 5 long-term goals.
23. Make 5 short-term goals.
24. Do you have a first memory or a memory you think is the earliest? What is it?
25. What’s your favorite memory?
26. Do you have a worst memory?
27. Plan your ultimate day of self-care
28. What’s the best gift you’ve ever been given?
30. Write about your very best date.
31. Who did you tell your biggest lie to and what did you lie about?
32. What’s the worst thing you’ve ever done?
33. Think about your grandmother or your mom’s old photo albums. Describe one of your favorite pictures.
34. Do you have a most embarrassing moment? Write about it.
35. What’s your secret desire?
36. Any big regrets?
37. What would you do if failure weren’t possible?
38. What would you change about your current romantic relationship?
39. Would you make any changes to your current relationship with your best friend(s)?
40. If you could have dinner with any celebrity (dead or alive) who would you choose? (You can always choose one dead and one alive.) Why that celebrity? What would you eat? What would you talk about?
41. If you have to evacuate during an emergency, what five things would you grab to take with you in case you could never return?
42. If you could live in any book or movie, where would you live? Who would your best friend be? Who would you date?
43. If you could live anywhere (reasonable or not), where would you move?
44. If you could only watch one movie for the rest of your life, what movie would you choose?
45. If you were working the job you wanted to have when you were 10, what would you be?
46. If you could erase one part of your past, would you? What part?
47. If you had to pick a different era of time to live in, when would you want to be alive?
48. Plan your funeral.
49. Plan a wedding/commitment ceremony — Yours or anyone else’s.
50. Things you’d like to do/places you’d like to go with your best friend/significant other/favorite parent.
51.Books you want to read
52. Adventures your want to have
53. People you have helped/people who have helped you
54. Skills you want to learn.
55. Places you want to visit that you’ve been to before
56. Places you’ve never been that you want to explore
57. Favorite spring/summer activities?
58. Favorite Fall activities?
59. Favorite Winter activities?
60. Skills you’d like to learn/hobbies you’d like to try
61. People you should thank
62. Favorite meals
63. Favorite desserts
64. Things you love about your best friend/significant other
65. Activities you’d like to do with your kids
66. Things you’re grateful for
67. Random acts of kindness
68. Collections you have
69. Tasks you completed
70. Missions you accomplished
71. People you made smile/People who made you smile
72. Time you wasted (and regret)
73. Time you “wasted,” but are glad you did
74. Best conversation
75. A new thing you learned
76. Favorite meal of the week (describe the circumstances)
77. What you need to do for next week
Letters to Write
78. Make an apology
79. Ask for an apology
80. Confess your feelings for someone (good or bad)
81. Thank someone for their impact on your day/year/life
82. Tell a passed loved one what you miss most about them
83. Write your favorite author and tell them what you loved/hated about your favorite book of theirs. Tell them what you’d have changed. Make a book recommendation.
84. Dear 10 year old me…
85. Dear 18 year old me…
86. Dear 28 year old me…
87. Dear 58 year old me…
88. Update someone you don’t talk to anymore
89. Reach out to an old friend you’ve slowly lost touch with
90. Write a letter to your partner.
91. Write a letter to your children to be read when they are grown.
92. Write a thank you letter to your teachers, present and from your childhood.
93. Write about the moment you learned you would become a parent.
94. Write about the moment right after you became a parent.
95. Write about what parenthood has taught you so far in your journey.
Journal Prompts For Very Young Children
Journal entries typically have no minimum contribution. That means even your youngest readers and writers can keep journals. You will, however, need to tailor your prompts to their interests and abilities. You might also need to adjust the time you spend on writing in journals based on how long your kiddos take to think about things. Here are some examples:
1. What do you do on snow days?
2. Things you’ll find in my backpack…
3. If I could redecorate my room…
4. I love it when my family…
5. If I could rename my favorite colored crayon, I’d call it… (because)
6. I like/don’t like school because…
7. If I had $50, I would buy… (This can be adjusted according to the age of your littlest kid and their grasp of money/values.)
8. My very favorite piece of clothing is… (because)
9. If I were a teacher, I would teach my students…
10. What makes the best fort or treehouse?
11. A pet that I’d really like to have is…
12. My favorite thing to do with my friends is…
13. I wish I were better at…
14. I’m really good at…
15. I can’t wait until I’m old enough to…
Journal Prompts For Bigger Kids
So many of the prompts in each of the above sections would be great for older kids, tweens and teens. However, if you want something specifically targeting your older kids, try these.
1 The biggest fight I ever had with my friends was when…
1 The biggest fight I ever had with my friends was when…
2. Things my parents just don’t understand about me are…
3. If I made the rules…
4. My favorite part of school is…
5. I’d really like to be a better…
6. When I’m told to think about my future, this is what I picture…
7. Things that stress me out.
8. My day would be so much better if my parents would…