Journaling is a powerful way to reconnect to ourselves and build a fulfilling life. It’s the first step to taking actions that actually nourish and support you.
To get the most out of journaling, it helps to give it some structure: That is, have a set day and time for journaling (like Sunday morning). Make it part of a small ritual. Maybe you sip chamomile tea or light a candle. Maybe you put on soft, classical music.
Maybe you sit on your back porch and watch the sunrise. Maybe you take your journal with you on a walk and find a sunny spot to sit down. Maybe you first listen to a short guided meditation and practice yoga for 5 minutes to clear your mind.
Whether you have 40 minutes or only 10 minutes to journal, you can still discover important insights into what you need and want. Any time spent listening to yourself is meaningful.
In Start Here. Start Now…Start Anywhere! A Journal to Discover Your Best Year Yet, artist and author Ronnie Walter features a variety of prompts to help us dig deeper. Here are some of my favorites, which you can include in your weekly journaling ritual:
- How do you want to change things for the better?
- Your future self has written you a letter one year from now. Read about all the wonderful things you’ve accomplished in the next 365 days.
- I believe ….
- What keeps you up at night?
- I want a whole lot more of this … and a whole lot less of this …
- What could you talk about for hours?
- If I had all the money I ever needed, I’d do these five things each day. Can I do any of these things today?
- Where are you happiest?
- These are the things that inspire me:
- What are three things you could stop doing (immediately if you can) to make room for the things you really want?
- To me, happiness looks like…
- I am grateful for these gifts in my life.
You can explore the same prompts every time you sit down to journal. Or you can switch things up. The only rule is that the prompts (and your ritual) resonate with you.
Actually, there’s a second rule: Be honest with yourself. Allow whatever arises to make it onto the page–however surprising, silly, or confusing it might seem. Don’t cover up what you’re thinking or feeling. Accepting those things is accepting yourself.
You don’t have to act on anything right now. You’re simply exploring, examining, and listening. Think of this as being in the discovery phase of a new, exciting project.
Remember that carving out time and space to pay attention to yourself and give yourself unconditional permission to think and feel whatever pops up are truly beautiful gifts—which help you build a beautiful life.