✨ Simple but inspiring prompts make the habit of journaling that bit easier.
“Start a journal” they say.
You nod in agreement, because you recognise the wisdom in that advice. You’ve read about the health benefits, and the thought of journaling fills you with hope and optimism.
Journaling is exciting. But it can be intimidating, especially if you’re a beginner.
There’s excitement, because you have this canvas for self-expression, a safe haven for your thoughts and difficult emotions. And intimidation, because you’re faced with the blankness of a notebook, daring you to fill it with something meaningful and worthwhile.
Which begs the question: What do you write in a journal?
Here’s a great way to bypass this block –start with some beginner-friendly journal prompts.
Journal prompts are questions or statements that give your journaling more structure. They inspire you. And encourage deep reflection on things that might go unnoticed in the hustle and bustle of life.
So how do you use these journal prompts in your journaling practice?
59 Journal Prompts for Beginners
Below I’ve put together a list of 59 journal prompts for beginners. To make it easier to find the ones that speak to you, I’ve broken these writing prompts down into 6 categories:
- Journaling about journaling
- Journaling for self-discovery
- Journaling for deep reflection
- Journaling for gratitude & positivity
- Journaling for mindfulness
- Journaling for creativity & fun
Feel free to use these prompts as a guide for your journal entry. If a prompt doesn’t connect with you, tweak it to fit your specific needs or skip it altogether.
There’s no need to follow any particular order. That said, starting with the prompts about journaling will give you a strong foundation for a regular journaling habit.
Prompts for Journaling About Journaling
Very meta, but as a beginner, journaling about journaling is a good place to start.
For some folks, journaling might sound boring, or feel a bit weird, and the idea of sustaining such a practice is daunting.
You see, from an early age we adopt this notion that talking to yourself is the first sign of madness. And so here we are, ‘talking’ to ourselves in a journal. In secret. And all alone.
We need some compelling reasons to battle these limiting beliefs, so we can master this practice. That’s what this section is all about.
You’ll dig into your motivations, fears and concerns around journaling itself. Plus, you’ll develop strategies to stay on track with journaling and steer clear of any self-sabotaging tendencies.
- Why do you want to start journaling? And why now? Have there been any significant changes, shifts, or particular seasons that have influenced your decision? Share as much detail as you’d like.
- Are there any specific experiences, topics or themes you’d like to explore through your journaling? If so, what are you hoping to gain or discover by exploring these areas?
- How are you feeling about starting your journaling practice? Freaked out, nervous, happy, excited? Why are you feeling this way?
- How can you create a comfortable and inviting space for your journal practice? How will you store and access your journaling supplies? What additional items or components will you need? I.e. lighting, comfy chair, familiar items, sensory elements like music or scents.
- What are some things that might get in the way of journaling regularly or stop you altogether? Think potential obstacles, challenges or mental blocks that sabotage your progress.
- What are your fears or concerns when it comes to journaling? Is there anything holding you back from expressing yourself with openness and honesty? This could be internal or external fears.
- How can you find ways to overcome resistance, fears or barriers to journaling? Think about your expectations, how you will manage them and what you can do to take the pressure off yourself.
- What strategies can you try to make journaling a regular part of your routine? Think about how you’ll manage your environment? How will you prioritise your time to fit journaling into your life? What rituals can you set up to help make journaling easier?
- What would you lose by not journaling? Reflect on how journaling could made a difference in your life. What valuable insights, personal growth, and self-understanding would you miss out on if you gave up before you really started?
Prompts for Self-Discovery
These are beginner prompts for helping you understand your inner world, but without going too deep.
You’ll explore and uncover various aspects of yourself, including your values, desires, strengths, motivations and personal identity.
- Share three of your favourite quotes and explain why these ‘speak to you’. What do these quotes mean to you? What insights do they offer? How have they helped you push through challenging times, inspired or motivated you in your life so far?
- If you had the opportunity to travel anywhere in the world, with money being no object, what would be your top three dream destinations? What is it about those places that you find appealing?
- Who are your top three most influential role models? These could be people you know or people you admire from a distance. What specific traits, values or characteristics elevate their respect and status in your eyes?
- Write about an experience where you pushed past your comfort zone and the growth that came from it. How did you feel before, during, and after this challenge? What lessons did you learn about yourself, and in what ways have you grown?
- Imagine your life in ten years time. What would you like to have achieved? What would your social, love/family life, and professional life look like? What kind of person would you like to be? What steps can you take now to get to that idea version of yourself?
- What’s a skill or talent you’ve always wanted to learn? Why is it important to you? List out some steps you can take to develop this skill or talent.
- What three pieces of advice or wisdom would you share with the younger version of yourself? Think about the challenges you’ve faced, the lessons you’ve learned, and the growth you’ve achieved. How would you using this insight to guide younger you?
- Write about a cultural tradition or holiday that holds a special meaning to you. What aspects of your identity and heritage does it highlight or connect to? And how has this shaped your personal beliefs, values, or worldview?
- Describe something you’ve always wanted to try but haven’t had the chance to yet? Why does this particular activity or experience spark your interest? What’s been getting in the way of you trying it? What steps can you take to make it happen?
- Think about three personal strengths that you possess and that you’re proud of. If you’re having trouble identifying your strengths, ask someone you’re close to for their opinion. How have these strengths have played a positive role in your life so far and how they can continue to benefit you in the future.
Prompts for Deep Reflection
This is where you’ll go deeper into looking inside yourself. You’ll examine your thoughts, feelings and emotions. Instead of judging them as good or bad, just notice and get curious about them.
It’s not super easy to do, and you might find some of the prompts in this section are a bit harder than the previous ones. Take your time, and work through these at a pace you’re comfortable with.
- Think about a challenging relationship in your life. What lessons have you learned from that relationship and how have they shaped your perspective on relationships in general.
- Write about something that’s bothering you. Have you experienced anything similar to this before? What steps can you take to address or resolve this concern?
- When did you last feel step out of your comfort zone? What did it feel like? What was it about the situation that made you feel this way? How has that changed your perception of yourself and your abilities?
- Among your circle of friends and family, what are you known for? How does this issue make you feel? Is there anything about this perception you’d like to change? If so, what? How would you go about changing it?
- What’s something (small or big) that you achieved today? What was the motivating force behind your achievement? What did you learn from the things you achieved today?
- Write about a setback or failure you experienced recently? How did you handle it? What were you hoping to achieve? What were the main reasons or obstacles that led to the setback? What insights or new perspectives did you gain from this experience?
- Write about a fear or insecurity that you’ve been carrying. In what ways does this hold you back? What do you think is at the root of this fear or insecurity? Reflect on ways you can overcome or work through this fear.
- Describe a mistake or regret from your past that still weighs on you today. How did your actions or decisions contribute to the outcome? What emotions or thoughts do you experience when you think about this mistake/regret? What lessons have you learned from this? What can you to forgive yourself and let go of the burden from this mistake/regret?
- What’s one aspect of your life you’d like to improve? Why is this important to you? What specific changes or improvements would you like to see in this area? What, if any, steps have you already taken towards making a change?
- Write about a personal goal or dream that you’ve been hesitant to pursue. Explore the reasons behind your hesitation or resistance. What steps can you take to start moving towards this goal/dream?
Prompts for Gratitude & Positivity
You’ve heard about the power of gratitude and positive thinking. This section is where you let loose with all your joyful thoughts and positive memories.
You’ll find journal writing prompts to help you reminisce on the moments that made you smile, the people who positively impact your life, and the things you’re truly grateful for.
So feel the feels, and enjoy.
- List five things you’re grateful for today and explain why they bring you joy or comfort. For each item on your list write why you were grateful for this and how this affected your mood.
- List three things that you have to look forward to this week. These could be simple pleasures like a hot bath or more exciting plans like a planned vacation. For each item write the reason for your excitement, and how this will positively affect you.
- Write about a specific place that you find peaceful, happy, or inspiring. Describe the sights, sounds, and feelings associated with this place. Why does this place fill you with positive emotions?
- Write about an activity or hobby that brings you joy or relaxation. What do you enjoy most about this hobby? Why? Reflect on the positive impact this activity has on your life.
- Write down a list of your favourite songs and include a brief explanation of why you enjoy each one. It can be the lyrics, the melody, or the memories associated with the song. Reflect on how these songs make you feel.
- Write about something inspiring or uplifting that you witnessed or experienced this week. How did you feel in that moment? Reflecting back on that experience, how do you feel now?
- Write about a small act of kindness someone recently did for you. Why did it make you feel grateful and how did it impact your day?
- Write a heartfelt thank-you letter to someone who has made a positive impact on your life. Describe how they have made a difference in your life. Express your appreciation and thanks for their support, guidance, or kindness.
- Write about a compliment or kind word you received from someone recently. Describe how it made you feel and how it boosted your confidence or self-esteem.
- Reflect on a challenging situation you’ve recently encountered. Identify three positive lessons or growth opportunities that emerged from it.
- Write a love letter to your favourite creative outlet. This could be painting, singing, dancing – anything you love doing. Express how it brings you joy and fulfils your soul.
Prompts for Mindfulness, Serenity and Relaxation
This section includes beginner prompts and exercises designed to get you out of your head and into your body.
By taking a break from the hectic pace of life to focus on your breath and other bodily sensations, you’ll find a greater sense of calmness and relaxation.
These journaling prompts are great if you want to add a mindfulness practice to your daily routine.
- What three hobbies or activities bring you a sense of peace and tranquillity? How can you fit more of these into your day, week or month?
- Create a list of self-care practices you would like to start or improve on. Think about things that promote physical, mental, and emotional well-being, such as getting enough sleep, eating healthy, and engaging in relaxing activities.
- Take three deep breaths, then reflect on how you feel in the moment. How hard/easy is it to pay attention to your breath? What thoughts or distractions do you experience?
- Sit quietly and observe your thoughts for a few minutes. What were some of the dominant thoughts that arose during your observation? Were they positive, negative, or neutral? How did these thoughts make you feel?
- Reflect on a simple activity that you often rush, i.e. as eating or walking. Think about how you could do this more mindfully. What physical sensations and senses would you pay more attention to? Describe this experience in detail.
- Write about something you saw in nature today such as a tree, bird, or cloud. Describe what you noticed about it. Did it bring any positive emotions, curiosity, or a sense of calm? How did it make you feel to take the time to observe nature?
- Describe a recent moment when you were alone in silence. It could be a quiet moment at home or a peaceful spot in nature. What thoughts or emotions did you experience at the time? Write these down without any censorship or self-judgment.
- Explore a sensory experience, such as tasting your favourite food or feeling the warmth of sunlight on your skin. Close your eyes, take a deep breath, and fully immerse yourself in the experience. What sensations do you experience?
- Choose a quote or affirmation related to mindfulness. Think about why you chose this quote/affirmation and what it means to you. How can you use this to create more mindful moments in your life?
- Reflect on a recent conversation you had with someone – either a positive or negative interaction. How do you remember feeling during the conversation. Were you comfortable and at ease? Or did you experience any discomfort, stress, or other emotions? If so, what? Be mindful of any triggers or patterns and how they show up in future conversations.
Prompts for Creativity & Fun
Journaling can feel intense at times, that’s why I’ve included this final section.
It’s all about infusing fun and imagination into your practice. And the thing about tapping into your creative side is it opens you up to new perspectives (even if some of the prompts feel a little silly).
Just run with it. Allow your playful side out, and pour into your journal. Ready. Set. Go!
- Imagine you’ve travelled to a distant planet. Write about what you see, hear, and experience in this alien world.
- Write a short story based on a vivid dream you once had. Explore the details, characters, and emotions that stood out to you.
- Describe an imaginary pet you’d love to have. Include its appearance, personality, and the adventures you would have together.
- Create a bucket list of experiences you want to have in your lifetime. Anything from skydiving to learning a new language.
- Choose a photograph that holds sentimental value for you. Describe the story and emotions behind that photo.
- Design your own invention that would make the world a better place. Describe how it works and why it’s important.
- Imagine you’re a magical creature. What would your powers be and how would you use them for good? Describe a day in your life with these powers.
- Create a collage using magazine cut-outs or drawings that represents your ideal life. Explain why each element is important to you.
- Make a list of fictional places you’d love to visit someday. Write about what draws you to each place and what you hope to experience there.
- Create an imaginary world with its own rules, inhabitants, and landscapes. Describe this world in vivid detail, including its culture, traditions, and natural features.
I love creating and sharing journal prompts for beginners, as well as for more established journalers. Now tell me, which of these prompts helped you get over the hurdle of the blank page? Leave a comment below.