The Ultimate Guide to Journaling and 196 Prompts to Get You Started

Some days feel like too much don’t they? There are days when you have so much on your mind, you can’t even sort through it all. Days when all the things go wrong and you just feel upset.

And you can’t seem to shake that upset feeling. You may not even know why you’re so upset. Some days you probably feel cranky for no known reason at all.

But there’s usually a reason for feeling cranky or upset. It’s probably hiding somewhere in your head. You just can’t find it in all that clutter.

Your mind can be a jumbled mess. It’s no wonder you feel unsure of what you want or need. You don’t have a way to organize all the information in your mind. The filing system has been overrun.

So how do you go about organizing all that information? How do you clear the clutter?

You journal.

It’s not a crazy woo woo thing to do. It’s just writing your thoughts on paper. It’s not just for Bridgette Jones or twelve-year-old girls. It can be really helpful.

It helps you organize your thoughts, figure out why you’re upset, and even vent sometimes. There have been times where venting in my journal has saved me from lashing out and being a total drama-queen jerk.

Journaling isn’t for everyone. But that doesn’t mean it’s not for you. I’d say it’s worth giving it a go.

But you might have some questions if you’ve never journaled before. So, let’s talk about some of the more common ones:


“Who Journals?”

Tons of people journal. In fact, a large percentage of successful people use it every day. Some even call it the secret to their success.

Some of the most famous people kept journals. People like Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison, and Leonardo de Vinci. You can see more about that here.

Do those examples seem too old time? Well how about Jennifer Aniston, or Lady Gaga? Two insanely famous women, and they journal. I’d love to get my hands on those journals. How awesome.

If those people journal, there’s no reason you should feel weird about it. Those famous, and successful people journal. Is that a coincidence? Maybe. But I don’t think so.


“What Do I Journal About?”

There are several ways to journal. You can do what I call “mind dump” and just write everything on your mind, down on paper. Get it all out so you can see what you’re working with. This is what I do when I’m upset. It helps me organize my thoughts and figure out why I feel the way I do.

Or you can journal with a specific goal in mind. You can journal for happiness, journal for letting go, journal for loving yourself.

I’ll have a complete list of journal prompt ideas at the end of this post.

But really you can journal about anything that’s on your mind. If you want to focus on your goals, or on breaking bad habits, journaling can be really effective.

There’s no wrong way to journal. It’s all about using it in a way that’s most helpful to you.

If you’ve experienced a loss or a trauma, writing can be powerful. It sounds so scary, the idea of writing down these horrible things that have happened to you. But believe me when I say, there is power in facing that fear. In putting into words how you feel and what happened. In your mind, it can feel so much bigger and scarier. But when you write it down, it puts it in perspective.

Journaling can help you organize your thoughts, see things from a bigger picture, decompress, and get better clarity on reality.


“When do I Journal?”

Journal whenever you want to. Journal whenever you find the time or whenever you find it most beneficial. Journal when you’re upset.

Most people like to journal in the morning before their day gets going. But others like to journal in the evening to reflect on their day.

And yet another group does both. They journal in the morning and set intentions, and then they reflect on the day and the progress made.

Try out the variations and see what is most effective for you.


“Why Should I Journal?”

Still not sure why you should journal? What can writing down some words do for you?

You can improve your relationship with yourself. You can discover things about yourself that you never knew. You can achieve goals. You can pinpoint and change patterns, organize your thoughts.

It all depends on what it is you’re trying to get out of it. Set an intention. Know what it is you’re looking to get out of this experience. It’s much easier to get what you want when you know what that is.

Even if you just want to journal for fun. Maybe you consider yourself a funny mother clucker, and you don’t want all the great things in your mind to go to waste. Journaling can be a great way to just leave a piece of yourself for the world long after you’re gone.


“How Do I Journal?”

You can journal with a pen and a notebook. That’s my favorite way. I have a pad of paper and a pen with me at all times.

Or if you’re with the growing number of people that are taking things tech, you can journal online.

You can just use a word document or there are a ton of journal apps you can sign up for. I like “”. You sign in, type 750 words a day, and that’s it. Its password protected and totally secure.

You don’t need anything fancy. Just do whatever seems easiest, or whatever you like more.

You can free style journal. Just write what’s on your mind or what comes up in the moment. Or you can use journal prompts to get you going.

Journal prompts are like opening thoughts. They are really great at getting you thinking about things you wouldn’t normally. Which teaches you a lot about yourself that you wouldn’t otherwise discover.

Both ways are really great. I suggest trying both the free style, and the prompts. See what you get the most out of.


“What do I do with finished journals?”

This part’s totally up to you.  If you prefer a notebook, you can write it and then throw it away. You can burn it. You can save it to give to your kids or spouse.

If you write online, the same rules apply (except maybe the burning them one). You can write it and delete it. Or you can save it to look back on, or pass on to your kids someday. Or if you die, no one ever needs to know you even had an online journal.

And maybe you’re not sure what you want to do with them. That’s okay too. You don’t have to decide right now. You can always figure that out later. Don’t stress about the details until you give it a try.

You never know what will come of it, or how it might change your life. For many people, it’s a way to spark your creativity. Many a brilliant idea was thought up in the process of journaling.


Ultimate List of Journal Prompts

If you’re not sure what to write about, or you don’t want to just free style it, I’ve come up with this ultimate list of journal prompts.

You can use a different one each day. Answer the question or talk about your thoughts on the topic. It can be very illuminating to try these. You discover things about yourself that you might never have realized.

I’ve organized these by topic. There are 196 prompts here (I think). Take a look, use the ones you like. Or, if you’re feeling brave, use each prompt and go down the whole list. It’ll take you quite a while to get through them. You won’t have to worry about new prompts for a while.


Journal Prompts to Love Yourself

Loving yourself sounds so “new age” doesn’t it? But loving yourself is such a wonderful thing. It makes every single part of your life better.

  • What are the best things about you?
  • Who loves you and why?
  • “I feel happiest in my skin when…”
  • What is different about you?
  • What things are you really good at?
  • “I feel proud of myself when…”
  • Name your 5 best physical qualities
  • If given the chance to change everything about you, what would you NOT want to change?
  • “I feel safe and at ease when…”
  • What have you accomplished this year?
  • What are your best personality traits?
  • What can you do to love yourself more?
  • What advice would you give your younger self?
  • What’s the last positive thing you were part of?
  • What do you regret? And how can you forgive yourself for It?
  • What are you most proud of in your life?
  • What habits could you create to love yourself more?
  • “I deserve love because…”
  • What great things wouldn’t have happened if you’d never been born?
  • What’s the best compliment anyone has ever paid you?
  • When do you feel most confident?
  • What is your favorite body part?
  • Who are your role models and how are you like them?


Journal Prompts to Be Happy

The ultimate life goal, to be happy. It’s not money, it’s not fame, it’s not endless travel. The real goal, is just to be happy. And if you’re not happy, ask why that is and figure out how to get there.

  • What things make you happy?
  • What things make you unhappy?
  • Why do you do things that don’t make you happy?
  • Are you doing the things you want to do, or the things you’re expected to do?
  • How can you make time for things that bring you joy?
  • Write about an act of kindness you saw recently.
  • What’s the nicest thing you’ve ever done for another person?
  • What’s the nicest thing anyone has ever done for you?
  • List 20 quick and easy good deeds you could do this year.
  • What’s your favorite childhood memory?
  • What’s your favorite memory as an adult?
  • What’s the funniest thing you’ve ever seen?
  • Think of something you loved doing when you were younger? Paint? Play in the mud? How can you bring some of that childhood joy back?
  • Who do you think is inspirational?
  • How can you inspire someone (or yourself) today?
  • If a child asked you, “How can I be happy when I grow up?” How would you respond?
  • What music makes you happy? Listen to some today.
  • What was your favorite part of this year?
  • Who is your favorite person?



Thought Provoking Journal Prompts

I love a good rant. I love to go off about why I believe what I believe. Often, I end up in thoughts I could have never anticipated. “How did I get here?” “Wow, I didn’t know I even believed that.” These are some great journal prompts for that kind of thing.


  • Do you believe in God? Why or why not?
  • Have you ever witnessed a miracle?
  • Do you think aliens exist?
  • Do you believe in soulmates?
  • Have you ever connected with someone on a higher level?
  • Why do you think some people are bad people?
  • Do you think there are real psychics?
  • Are ghosts real?
  • Do you think its possible for great cooks to be so great because they add love to their meals?
  • What do you think it would be like to walk on the moon?
  • Why can some people eat like crap and never get cancer, and some people eat insanely healthy and do?
  • Does meditation really help people?
  • Where do you think all the old stories about fairies, bigfoot, and things like that came from?
  • Do you think your dreams mean anything?


Daily Journal Prompts for Fun

Life doesn’t always have to be so serious. It’s great to just be fun and silly.

  • Who was your best childhood friend?
  • What’s your favorite food?
  • What’s your favorite color?
  • Who is awesome and why do you think so?
  • What’s the last really fun thing you did?
  • What other fun things do you want to do?
  • What’s the weirdest dream you ever had?
  • What was your favorite toy when you were a kid?
  • What’s something you want to do, but you think is totally silly or ridiculous?
  • If you could live in another time, when would you want to live?
  • If you could have a superpower, which power would you choose?
  • If someone gave you a million dollars, what would you do with it?
  • If you could choose one place to travel to for free, where would you choose?
  • What famous person would you most like to meet?
  • If you were the ruler of the universe, what would you change? What would you allow and what would you ban?
  • If you had 5 questions you could ask God and get answers to, what would you ask?
  • What did you want to be when you grew up?


Journal Prompts for a Broken Heart

When you have a broken heart, you can’t seem to see anything else. Nothing else matters, nothing else is even on your radar. You can’t see past the issues to the real life surrounding you.

A broken heart isn’t forever. It hurts. But it won’t hurt forever.

  • Detail the events leading up to your broken heart.
  • What went wrong?
  • If you could go back and change things, would you?
  • What have you learned from this experience?
  • What was the sex like? Were all your sexual needs met?
  • What was the communication like? Did you feel heard?
  • How might you approach love differently next time?
  • Consider that it wasn’t meant to be. Do you think that’s possible?
  • What do you miss about your ex?
  • What do you not miss about your ex?
  • In what ways was life better with him?
  • In what ways is your life better without him?
  • In what ways were you limited in the relationship?
  • How can you grow from this experience?
  • What qualities would you like the next person you date, to have?
  • What are deal breakers for you? What will you no longer put up with in a relationship?
  • Write you bucket list. What do you want to do in this life, with or without a spouse?
  • When you picture your life in 5 years, what do you see?
  • What do you deserve in a partner?


Journal Prompts When You Feel Alone

In times of loneliness, I lean on my faith and I’m never alone. I’m aware that not everyone shares the same beliefs as me. But I still say, you’re never alone. Not unless you want to be.

You’re only alone if you don’t have anyone. And you always have someone. People like to be needed. They like to help. And I’d be willing to wager, there is someone in your life that would be honored to help you in a time of need. And it usually surprises us who that is.

  • What’s so bad about being alone?
  • What do you enjoy about your own company?
  • Who could you reach out to today to connect? A friend, a family member, etc.
  • In reality, how hard would it be for you to make a plan to get together with people and be social more often?
  • Who do you want to spend more time with and how can you make that a reality?
  • Do you know anyone else that feels alone? Can you reach out to support them?
  • Describe a difficult time in your life that you overcame.
  • When you feel alone, help someone. Who can you help today?
  • What social thing have you been wanting to do and why haven’t you done it?


Journal Prompts for Sensitive People

  • Do you think being sensitive is a bad thing?
  • Culture has given us the impression sensitivity is bad. But what if you didn’t know that?
  • In what ways has being sensitive helped you or someone you care about?
  • Could sensitivity be a superpower?
  • Don’t apologize for having this gift. Be thankful. And use it to the best of your ability. How can you start using it today?
  • How are you different from others?
  • Consider that your sensitivity was specially made for you. To make you different. To make you more kind and compassionate. If this was a gift from God, how would that change the way you see it?


Powerful Affirmations for Journaling

Affirmations can be powerful. They can help you to believe in yourself. They can help you conquer goals, change patterns, heal old beliefs. Here are a few ideas to get you started. Pick one to start with and then write all the ways this is true or other positive things that relate to it.

  • I am beautiful
  • I am unique
  • There is no one else on earth quite like me
  • I am kind
  • I am more than my face
  • I am exactly where I’m supposed to be
  • Things happen in their own diving timing
  • I am smart
  • I can do anything I set my mind to
  • I am successful
  • I am abundant
  • I am worthy of happiness
  • I deserve blessings
  • I am open to receiving good things in my life
  • Good things come to me every day
  • Every day things are happening for me, not to me
  • Things are always working out for me
  • Everything happens for a reason
  • I am funny
  • I am fun to be around
  • I find joy in every day
  • I see the magic of life
  • I am loved by many
  • I am powerful
  • I am strong


Journal Prompts to Let Go

Weather you are letting go of an old love, of stress, of things in your life not serving you, or judgment or anything else, these prompts will help.

  • What makes you happy?
  • What no longer makes you happy?
  • Is there something in your life you want to change?
  • What would it look like if you let go of the thing that’s upsetting you?
  • What would the steps to letting go be?
  • How hard would it be to complete that first step? Is it possible?
  • What is standing in the way of my happiness?
  • What do I need to learn to say no to?
  • Think of the thing you need to let go of, what parts of the experience or person are you thankful for?
  • How will your life improve if you let go of this thing or person?


Journal Prompts for Dealing with Toxic People

There will always be toxic people. There will always be people trying to bring you down or stomp on your sunshine. You can’t control them, but you can control you. Try these journal prompts to deal with the toxic or negative people in your life.

  • Are others allowed to have different opinions than you?
  • It’s not your job to change someone else’s mind.
  • Can you allow others to be themselves even if you don’t agree?
  • You are separate from negative or toxic people. They cannot affect or change you.
  • You don’t have to spend time with anyone. What would it look like to put distance between you and the negative people or person in your life?
  • No one has control over your life or your choices. Who are you giving this power to?
  • How can you diffuse negative conversations others want to have with you?
  • How can you walk away from toxic situations you don’t want to be a part of?
  • What is it about the person or people that makes you think they’re toxic? How does it affect you? And Why does it affect you?



Journal Prompts to Find Peace

Finding peace. That’s not a cut and dry goal. Peace looks different for everyone. Peace doesn’t have to be meditation in a monastery. It may just be acceptance for your own life. Self-love. Whatever peace is to you, I hope you find it.

  • What does peace look like to you?
  • Why is it important to you to feel peace?
  • How can you make the world a more peaceful place?
  • What are you fighting against that you can’t change?
  • Accepting something for what it is, doesn’t mean you agree or that it’s okay. Accepting it means you are unable to change it. And that’s okay.
  • When was the last time you sat quietly with yourself? Is that something you might be able to try?
  • What are the things keeping you from feeling peace?
  • What can you do to feel more peace?
  • What can you stop doing to feel more peace?
  • Do you think people are naturally peaceful?
  • Who is the most peaceful person you know?
  • If you could give the world advice on how to be more peaceful, what would you say?
  • Why do you think it’s so hard for people to find peace?
  • What do you think is the biggest thing standing in the way of you feeling peace?


Journal Prompts in Hard Times

Hard times come in many forms. But they come to each and every one of us. Sometimes you can’t see outside of these hard times. I think the best thing to do in hard times, is to look at the bigger picture.


  • What’s the worst thing that’s ever happened to you? And how did you fix it?
  • Think of a really hard time you had. What did you learn from it?
  • What might this current hard time be trying to teach you?
  • If hard times were tools to strengthen us, how strong would you be?
  • Is this the hardest thing you’ve ever gone through?
  • Can you think of something much worse than what you’re going through?
  • Who is the strongest person you know? What makes them strong?
  • When this struggle is over, and you can look back on it, what kind of person do you want to say you were during it?
  • What are some real things you can do to help you get through this tough time?
  • Who can you reach out to in tough times?
  • List 20 things you are thankful for, even in tough times.
  • List all the great things about your life.
  • You are more than this moment. You will get through this tough time. What will life look like on the other side of this struggle?


Journal Prompts to Reach Goals

Time to slay those goals! We all have them. We all want to achieve them. Let’s get going!

  • What are your goals? List them all.
  • What are your top 5 goals for this year?
  • What are the mini goals you need to accomplish to move you closer to those bigger goals?
  • What is your roadmap to get from start to finish on each goal?
  • What will you do today to move you closer to your goals?
  • Why do you want to achieve these goals?
  • Who will you be when you achieve these goals?


Journal Prompts to Take Control of Your Life

Feeling out of control is one of the worst feelings. You want to be in control of the ship, or you can’t control where you sail to. You could drift way off course when you aren’t the one in control of your life.

  • In what ways have you given others control of your life or your decisions?
  • Where do you want to be in your life?
  • How can you take control back?
  • Why do you feel out of control?
  • What does control feel like to you?
  • There is no way to control all the aspects of your life. What do you know you can’t control?
  • How can you accept the things you can’t control, while keeping the feeling of control over your own life?
  • Are you trying to control others? Even if it’s for their own good?
  • Is someone trying to control you? How can you gently tell someone to stop?
  • What’s one thing you can do today to take a step in the direction you want to go?


These prompts should be enough to get you started. And each prompt can lead to another prompt you hadn’t considered.

It doesn’t matter if you’re journaling to find yourself, journaling to love yourself, or journaling to document your life. Journaling can teach you so very much about yourself and the people around you.

It can unlock secrets and mysteries. It can help you become the person you want to be.

So good luck to you in any which journey that is for you.

For more about me, or to sign up to follow my blogs, just click here. You can also find me on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

I hope you have a magical day.



Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

I accept the Privacy Policy

By signing up for this guide, you will also be added to my mailing list. You will receive periodic updates and special offers from me via email. I will not sell or distribute your email address to a third party at any time. View my privacy policy.

Your Free 30 Day Self

Discovery Journal