10 Helpful Journal Prompts For Better Self-Reflection
I have kept a diary for quite some time now, but it soon became a compilation of my daily activities. Last year, I received an art journal as a gift. So, I decided to switch to journaling instead. With a journal, I don’t feel obligated to fill it in daily. Instead, I can set aside some time to pause and ponder while following some reflective questions which enable me to reflect on my experiences, feelings and thoughts. Here are 10 self-reflection journal prompts I have found useful that could be useful to you too:
Diving deep into the tip of the iceberg (true colours).
1. What is your main (inner) desire in life and how are you fulfilling it?
One way to begin is to think of what makes you energetic or lethargic. Or what makes you feel frustrated or motivated? Sometimes we may place our desire on a pedestal and start seeking it through the wrong places when we simply cannot be fully fulfilled.
This prompt will let you dive deep into what you truly dream of versus the reality you are currently living in. You’ll be able to recognize why you act a certain way, why you feel as if you are “trapped”, or why you are stuck repeating the same thing.
2. When was the last time you felt that you couldn’t control your emotions and why?
We often label “emotional” as a negative trait. But without emotions, life would be meaningless. It is important to note that humans simply dislike experiencing negative emotions and the consequences that follow an outburst.
Instead of bottling up your so-called negative emotions, make journaling a way to release any unresolved and “messy” emotions effectively. Writing or drawing them out will divert your attention from being overwhelmed and allow you to observe your emotions in a different light. View your emotions as indicators, not dictators.
Thriving and contributing at work.
3. What was the proudest or happiest moment in your career so far?
Although this is one of those self-reflection journal prompts that sound like a question that you would encounter during a job interview (This happened to me!), it serves as a reminder to celebrate your success and progress. Remember to find a balance between constructive self-criticism and empowering self-cheerleading when you are reviewing your career.
Write about the how and why of what makes your work “work”. You’ll be able to identify what drives you to deliver well and what makes your work significantly more meaningful! This will enable you to find purpose in your work, which will eventually lead to job satisfaction.
4. If you get to change something about your job, what would that be and why?
Some of you may see this prompt as a brainstorming session, but it could be a fun approach to see things differently and activate your creativity. Perhaps you would want a more flexible working period, a different working location, try out a new idea, or even embark on a totally new career
Listing them down enables you to explore various possibilities to improve your efficiency and productivity at work or to maximize the resources that you currently have. It may also inspire you to start something new and revolutionary!
Navigating healthy relationships and becoming a better communicator.
5. What are some of the things you wish your loved one(s) knew better?
Disappointments arise and misunderstandings occur when you feel that nobody truly understands you. Bear in mind that nobody is obligated to read your mind, and vice versa.
You can start by writing down some of the words or thoughts left unsaid to your parents, friends or partner. Pour out your heart underneath these self-reflection journal prompts. This would open doors for a heart-to-heart conversation with them in the future. In any relationship, remember that expectations and boundaries need to be consistently communicated, and it is always applicable both ways.
6. Is there a person that you are holding a grudge against or someone you find difficult to forgive? What is an incident that you cannot let go of?
We all have our fair share of unresolved conflicts, piled-up misunderstandings, or relationships that have turned sour. At times, it seems so difficult to face the situation directly. Perhaps the memory is still painful to you too.
If you find it difficult to start, you can start by writing a letter to that person in your journal. Acknowledging this is often the first step to healing and could lead to potential reconciliation. You would also feel more at ease as you get to let go of some of your hidden feelings towards the person or incident.
Discovery of your priorities, wants and needs.
7. What is something you think you cannot live without?
What are your “treasures”? Are they in the form of possessions, a profession or a position? Do they translate to your values (goals and priorities) or your perceived self-identity (definition and association)?
Pondering on this reflective journal prompt is a good exercise to measure what matters most to you. It would be great to also do a comparison from time to time on what you think you cannot live without in the past versus now or the future to see how much you have grown and changed over the years.
8. Describe your kind of perfect day. What will you spend most of your time on?
This self-reflection prompt also gives you a mixture of fun and practical dual-perspective on how you truly long to spend your time and what can be done to make the best out of it.
You’ll be able to discover what occupies your mind when you are in a relaxed, comfortable setting, and see how you should use your time more wisely instead of taking it for granted.
Learning to love yourself.
9. How can you show more love and appreciation towards yourself?
At times, self-love comes in the form of cultivating healthy self-esteem. This could translate into investments in facial or hair treatments, attending workshops to master a skill, or even just by listing down daily self-affirming statements.
Remind yourself that you are precious and worthy of love, care and happiness. We sometimes fail to realise that we say the most beautiful things to others, but the nastiest things to ourselves. “Remember that no one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
10. What were some of the unpleasant experiences in your life that you are now grateful for?
There is nothing more rewarding than learning from past mistakes and learning to see the best out of the worst situation. It may take several transitions and similar experiences to get to the point of acknowledging that every cloud has a silver lining.
With every record of these experiences, reflect on how much you have grown, especially when it comes to building resilience and cultivating persistence. Battles and mountains may continue to await you; but hey, you are no longer fighting tomorrow’s battles with today’s strength. You got this!
What are you waiting for? Grab a journal and start penning or drawing your thoughts on these self-reflection journal prompts to enjoy this journaling experience! Check out this easy and unintimidating beginner’s guide to bullet journaling if you need more tips on how to start.