Journal Writing Prompts and Why To Do Them
When I was little, I wrote everything down. I was one of those little girls who had multiple journals. Likewise, I begged my mom to always get more because I could never have enough. I loved all the journal writing prompts in all the different journals.
I wrote about my feelings, things that happened to me that day, the dreams I could remember, and many more things.
Similarly, I remember writing down a made-up story about Derek Jeter and this life that we had together. It was a pretty legit story, too. You know, the typical 4th-grade stuff. Where we lived, how many dogs we had, all that good stuff.
I grew up watching Jeter play baseball and I wrote about him not because I was in awe of him or had a crush on him. But... I thought he was, and still is, a fantastic human with high values. I respect him and the way he leads.
So, I took this journaling habit way into middle school where I continued to write.
However in high school, when I needed it the most, it became a thing that "weird" people did. So, I stopped doing it. And let me tell you... I really could have used some good journal writing prompts then.
When I needed to write about things the most, my habit left me because I wanted to fit in.
I went through high school forgetting about it and I also went through college without it. When I was confused, in high school, to a big transformation, in college, is when I needed it the most but didn't because it wasn't the cool thing to do.
Journal Writing Prompts Are Making Their Way Back To Me
Now, at the age of 29, I have picked the habit back up.
I started getting into journal writing again in 2019 and haven't stopped since. I've only missed a handful of days since the beginning of January 2019 to now.
Every morning after I shower, I journal. I write my affirmations for the day and the wellness activity that I will do for ME.
Another big part of my journal writing in the morning is writing a to-do list. I do better-getting things done if I have them written down and can check them off as I get them done.
If I don't get some of the things on the list done that day, I can move those items to tomorrow's to-do list. I can prioritize what I need to get done THAT DAY and push the rest to tomorrow. Most importantly, it reduces stress for me.
If my list is on Google calendar, I can guarantee you I will forget about it. This is why I have my hairstylist write down the time of my appointments on a card still. I WILL NOT go to my digital calendar and look. Therefore, I will not remember when my appointment is.
Every night before bed, I journal. I write what I'm grateful for and I reflect on my day with a journal writing prompt.
This has proved to be the MOST IMPORTANT health and wellness activity that I have implemented in my daily life.
Why I Write
The first reason I write daily is to train my brain. It keeps my thoughts organized so I am not such a scatterbrain. I'll get more into how a certain kind of writing trains your brain next week. So, stay tuned for more to come on this topic. Did I mention it's one of my favorite topics?!
Writing helps me get what I need to get done. Like I mentioned before, my to-do list is written down in my journal. If I didn't have my list written down, I wouldn't do any of it nor would I remember what I actually need to do.
And Google calendar or any digital calendar... doesn't work for me. I'd never look at it.
It keeps me on a schedule. When I write my list down, I am able to write times down. This holds me more accountable. For example, this week I needed to get my email challenge set up. I have it written in my journal with a time beside it. So, in my journal, it says LBB at 2:25. This tells me that I need to do this action at that time. When you write the time down, you have a higher chance of actually doing it. SUCCESS!
Everything is in one place. Instead of having multiple journals, everything is in one place. This prevents me from having a stack of journals at the side of my bed. Instead, everything is in one journal and it is at my fingertips. And... it prevents bedroom clutter :)
The last, but most important, thing it helps me with is to maintain my positive mindset. My checklist, my gratitude, my affirmations, it's all in there. And it makes me feel good. Like I mentioned before, I'm training my brain. But... more on that later.
Consistency is Important
In order to get the benefits from journal writing prompts or any kind of journal writing, you have to do it consistently.
You get what you put in. Kind of like the saying you get what you pay for. It's the same concept. If you do it 3 days a week, you are only going to get half of the benefits. Not to mention, it's going to take you MUCH longer to actually start seeing the benefits.
If you do it 5 days a week, you'll get about 75 percent of the benefits. This better than nothing, but it's still going to take you longer to see the benefits.
If you go full force, at 7 days a week, you are going to get the FULL benefits and you will start to notice a difference in your mindset quicker.
Regardless, you are not going to see benefits overnight. But if you do this daily practice consistently, you will start to notice a shift in your mindset.
Be consistent with this. Be diligent. Make it a habit.
Journal Writing Prompts Don't Look the Same for Everyone
Journal writing prompts can be different. They don't have to be or look the same as everyone else.
It is important to tailor journal writing to you and how it fits in your lifestyle.
Let me give you a visual here.
You read an article about writing gratitude. The study shows that you HAVE to write 10-15 things you are grateful for each day to see benefits.
You start doing this, 10-15 things you are grateful for, each day. You do great for the first week because of the excitement and the adrenaline.
However, in the second week, you start to struggle to keep up with this daily practice. It takes you a lot longer now than it did the first week.
It's taking you too long because your daily actions or lifestyle are not allowing the time for it anymore.
So... you stop doing it all together. Now... you are not getting any of the benefits.
Later on down the road, when you may be struggling with your mindset, you might start having "what-ifs." What if I kept up with the journal writing? Would I be here? Nobody wants "what-ifs."
You don't have time to write 10-15 things you are grateful for... that's OKAY. You don't have time to take 10 minutes to journal... that's OKAY.
Do what you can here. There is no right or wrong with this. The most important thing is that you are doing it.
You only have time to write 3 things you are grateful for. So write those 3 things and be done! There's a window to journal write for 5 minutes before bed... then that's what you do!
You don't need someone telling you how to do journal writing. You just need to be doing it in a way that works for you :)
Don't Give Up On It
Like I mentioned above, the benefits don't happen overnight. You have to be consistent with this to see benefits.
So many times, I've seen people start this amazing daily journal writing practice. After a month, they give up.
They get upset because they don't see any benefits to it or haven't NOTICED them.
The benefits are so subtle. You won't notice them right away.
When you face a challenging situation, you will notice a mindset shift first.
After doing this consistently for a long time, you will start to notice a mindset shift in the little things. Like you are more mindful. Or a situation that would make you react negatively, doesn't make you react that way anymore.
It takes time. And just because you don't see the benefits right away doesn't mean they are not there.
The benefits are so delicate. Give yourself time to get there. Be patient with yourself and your mindset. Because it will come and it will happen for you.
Don't give up!
And whatever you do... don't miss two days in a row. According to James Clear, the author of Atomic Habits, "One mistake is just an outlier. Two mistakes are the beginning of a pattern. Killing this pattern before it snowballs into something bigger is one reason why learning how to get back on track quickly is an essential skill for building good habits."
We are more prone to make something a habit when we miss it two days in a row. Get back on track by scheduling your journal writing time.
Journal Writing Takeaway
Journal writing benefits your overall well-being along with reducing stress. It is one of the most simple things you can do for your health. Start a journal writing practice today. And remember... do it consistently, tailor it to you, and don't give up on it.
Journal Writing Prompts
What made you feel like a leader today?
Were you calm today? How did it make you feel?
Did you use encouraging self-talk today? Did you encourage others?
What's a choice you made today that will make tomorrow better?
How did you celebrate yourself today?
What's a goal you want to accomplish and why?
What did you do for yourself today? What was it?
Did you step out of your comfort zone today? What did you do?
What made you smile today?
Is there a habit you would like to change? How could you start the transformation?
What is the funniest thing you heard or saw this week?
Is something you've never told anyone? Write it down.
What does success mean to you?
Write the words you need to hear right now.
Write one sentence about your emotional state or a favorite memory.
What challenged you today?
What did you discover about yourself today?
Your Certified Brain Health Coach,
Owner of SustainaBRAIN