Journaling and reflective writing prompts that help you

19 replies
What are some journaling/reflective writing prompts that have helped you or that you answer often/daily? My one is "How do I feel" That one normally opens the door to other things. Other prompts I use: - What strong emotional learning did you have from this? (I dreamed this question) - What world should your grand-children live in? (got this from a TedTalk on future literacy) - What aspect of your life is antifragile or fragile? (from a Nassim's book) I used these sometimes, but not often - I love it when - I hate it when - When I wake up - When I go to sleep - If I could change one thing it would be - Next year I want to - I miss


Love this topic! Sometimes you already know what you want to write about, so using a prompt can feel forced. "What's on your mind?" may work best in those situations. However, sometimes you really need a good question to get into "Thinking Time". A few I like for that purpose: - "What do you do well now that you didn’t do so well a year ago?" - "What’s a stressor in your life that you could remove?" - "What is something you can do this year that when looking back 5 years from now, you'd point to that as the thing that made a difference?" - "What's a story you keep telling yourself that isn't helpful?" - "What's going well in your life right now?" - "What are two things you haven’t started because you're pursuing perfection? What are a few steps you could take today?" - "What's best in the short-term and what's best in the long-term?" Like any good conversation, you often need a followup question to dig deeper: - Five whys (Ask yourself "Why?" to better understand why things matter, deeper motivations, or root causes. - What are the facts and what is your perception? (separate the events an outside observer would recount from how your own emotions shape your beliefs) When you find prompts that work for you and get your mind going, keep track of them and re-use them. I eventually created a simple website with some helpful prompts to help myself more easily jump into journaling and not spend time thinking about what to write --
@mikaelk I like that you have many past looking prompts. I haven't thought much about that. I know about the 5 whys, but keep on forgetting about them.
Mohammad Elzahaby
@mikaelk really cool site, do you think we could collaborate? I have made a journaling app called
@mohammad_elzahaby I didn't see this until almost a year later. So sorry! Yeah, sounds fun, let's connect!
Rashmi Gupta
Are you living your dream life?
Mirena Vasileva
@rashjbp So many follow-up questions on this :) How do you know? Why/Why not? What could make it better? What's one step you could take today that brings you closer to it?
I find that your head is always full of chatter. The best writing is freeform writing where you just dump your thoughts and as you do, do so in third person, this will create "mental distancing" and bring you out of the emotional attachment to the topic.
@nash Would you bring it back to yourself after getting your thoughts out?
Himanshu Minocha
This topic is really interesting. A lot of people definitely struggle to journal. Thats why we made prompt generation a huge feature in our journaling and meditaiton app O My Soul. Below are some of my favorite prompts: 1) I am anxious when… 2) Write a list of people that you trust. 3) Can you make any changes to your daily routine? 4) What is something you are grateful for today? For more checkout the O My Soul app we have tons more prompts to help people use journaling to meditate and connect with themsleves!
Katerina, thanks for this post :) My prompt is internal.. whenever I feel overwhelm, anger or frustration; I journal to vomit out those feelings.. What I write will usually clarify the triggers that led me to that yucky place.. My journal is like a gutter.
@gogloballakshmi Love the honesty there. And totally agree with you. When I journal using pen and paper the handwriting mirrors my mental state.
Hướng Bùi
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Aaron Tran
I've built a little automated workflow that sends me a mini-reflection questionnaire every day at around 9PM. It asks: 1) how are you feeling today (on a scale of 1-5, 1 being terrible and 5 being amazing) 2) why are you feeling this way 3) if you could start the day again, what would you do differently I've been running this for 2 months now, so the data its collecting is pretty interesting in terms of tracking the highs and lows of running a startup. Another great and challenging question to ask (from Steve Jobs): If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?
@aaron_tran2 Great question and workflow. Why did you pick 9pm? I'm not sure about the question from Steve Jobs. It does help you clarify what is important in your life
Shail Silver
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Mirena Vasileva
I love journaling and I am so happy to find this here. Everything in business, life and mindset comes down to really strong sense of self-awareness and self-believe which often comes to me in my journalling sessions.