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18 Inspiring Journaling Ideas To Connect More Deeply To Yourself

journaling ideas for beginners

In my experience as a writer, one of the biggest obstacles to journaling daily is not having any inspiring journal ideas or prompts to get you started and excited to open that notebook.

You want to journal, but you don’t want to stare at a blank page for 10 minutes and think, “well, that was a waste of time!” And the more that happens, the more it deters you from the whole journaling thing. That’s why I’ve compiled this list of 18 inspiring journal ideas you can save, print, and cherry-pick from whenever you sit down to journal.

Before we get to them, I want to give you some helpful tips on how to start a journal.

Quick tips to start a journal

pretty notebooks

1. Start a new journal

Pick out a brand new journal for yourself. Even if you already have one you’ve started journaling in, give yourself a fresh start. You can never have enough notebooks!

2. Visit your local stationery or craft store

This article focuses mostly on journaling ideas that center on the writing part rather than using imagery, collage, or other techniques that turn the journaling experience into something more arty and crafty. But there are no rules; it’s your journal, so do whatever you feel called to do. If you want to include images, use mixed media, add stickers or polaroid photos, go for it.

Stock up on any other supplies you need to make journaling fun and something you look forward to doing. Whether it’s a beautiful pen, bright highlighters, aromatic gel pens, paints, crayons, glitter, sequins, or anything else you can think of.

3. Don’t think about the end goal

Viewing journaling as something you have to do, another thing to check off your to-do list, or a goal, takes all the fun and magic out of it. Journaling is a creative experience that isn’t meant to have an end goal or outcome. Sure, you can use it to manifest a dream, pour out your emotions, or heal from something. But don’t go into it thinking or expecting to “achieve” something.

If you cultivate a regular practice and let yourself fully go, journaling can absolutely be a healing, transformational experience that leads to growth and expansion in ways you never could have foreseen. But don’t attach yourself to the outcome. Be in the process of journaling. Fully immerse yourself in the experience. See what unfolds.

4. Set an intention

I used to do things like force myself to sit down and journal every morning, the same way I would force myself to sit down and meditate and drink a cup of green tea. I thought this was a good thing because I was being disciplined. The problem is that we are human, which means doing the same thing every day will not always serve us.

Routines and a certain amount of discipline are great because they build our stamina, focus, and willpower. However, if you do something just because you think you should, when it’s not really what your body or soul wants at that moment, you’re being disciplined, but you’re not serving yourself.

So, set a loose intention for your journaling practice. That could be to journal every day, three times a week, or just once on the weekend. Write your intention on the first page of your journal.

Do your best to stick to this. If you don’t feel like doing it but know there’s something you need to journal on, I encourage you to push past that resistance. But if you need something else, like a tarot reading, a yoga nidra, or a blissful bath, honor that.

5. Resist the urge to censor yourself

Before we dive into the journaling ideas, my final tip with all these prompts is to let everything out on the page. It doesn’t matter how embarrassed or silly, or weird you feel. This is part of the process; moving through this discomfort is usually where the magic happens.

No one is going to see it.

18 Journaling ideas to help you deepen your connection with yourself

journaling ideas for beginners

1. Journaling ideas for dream work

Our dreams are a peek into our subconscious and the thoughts, fears, guilt, shame, and desires that live there. We travel through space and time every night, maybe to different planets or galaxies. We wake the next morning a different person than when we went to sleep. What you remember from your dreams holds valuable clues that can help guide you on your journey here.

Some people keep separate journals entirely dedicated to recording and interpreting their dreams: dream journals. But you can easily add this to your main journal unless you feel called to keep separate ones.

I recommend recording notes on your dreams either in the middle of the night as soon as they happen (if you wake up) or first thing in the morning before you do anything else. This is because if you allow your mind to switch on, it will quickly take over, and all those little dream fragments will soon fade from your memory.

Journal ideas & prompts:

  • What do I remember from my dream (people, places, objects, numbers, symbols, etc.)?
  • How did it make me feel?
  • What do I think my dream might mean or be telling me?
  • Are there any recurring themes in my dreams?

2. Journaling ideas for a beautiful start to your morning

If you’re looking for something new to add to your existing morning ritual or to create one, journaling makes a great addition. Before you turn on your phone and step outside into the hustle and bustle of the world, you can carve out some sacred time where it’s just you, a blank page, and a pen.

Journal what you hope happens today, how you want to spend your time, and how you want to feel when your head hits the pillow tonight.

Generally, it’s much easier to carve out you-time in the morning because your willpower and strength are higher, and distractions are lower. So if one of your main obstacles to journaling regularly is time, these morning journaling ideas might be perfect for you.

Journal ideas & prompts:

  • How do I want to spend today?
  • What will make today feel like a great day?
  • How do I want to feel when I go to sleep tonight?
  • What is the one thing I want to focus on today and why?
  • How will this day get me one step closer to the woman I am becoming?

3. Journaling ideas for getting it all out on the page

I first heard about this type of journaling in a book for creatives called The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. It’s where you commit to a non-stop stream of consciousness for a set time or a set number of pages. To clear your mind, Julia recommends three pages each morning, which I have dabbled with on and off.

It’s easier than it sounds. Just open your journal and write anything and everything that comes to you. Don’t take your hand off the page until you’ve finished your pages or allotted time. It’s not meant to be edited or pretty but raw and unfiltered, the same with all the journaling ideas in this article. And if you ever don’t know what to write, write “I don’t know what to write,” or “this feels stupid,” or “is it time to stop this yet?”

Journal ideas & prompts:

  • What is on my mind right now?

4. Journaling ideas for when you need a dose of positivity

If you’re in a negative headspace, this is for you. I’m not a big fan of telling people to “be positive” because toxic positivity is real, and sometimes you won’t be happy. You will feel sad or angry or hurt or unmotivated. We need to acknowledge the full rainbow of feelings and let ourselves sit in them for a certain amount of time. But knowing when to wallow and when to shake it off is key because you don’t want to remain in a fog for too long.

Focusing on all the good things in your life in your journal practice can help you move through that negative mindset and serve as a catalyst to thinking empowering thoughts again.

Journal ideas & prompts:

  • All that’s good in my world today…
  • Write a celebration list
  • Who are the positive, uplifting people in my life, and what do they mean to me?
  • What do I get to smile about today?

5. Journaling ideas for anxiety & stress release

journaling ideas for beginners

When you’re stressed, the last thing you might feel like doing is opening your journal and writing about it. But honestly, this is one of the best, most therapeutic things you can do during times of stress, anxiety, and fear. Even just getting it all out helps you feel some sort of release. From here, you can start to make sense of the jumble of emotions and think about how to alleviate the stress and solve your problem.

Journal ideas & prompts:

  • What am I stressed about?
  • Why is this stressful to me?
  • How can I feel less stressed in the short and long term?
  • What am I most afraid of?
  • What’s the worst thing that could happen if my greatest fear comes true?
  • How can I face this fear?

6. Journaling ideas for feeling grateful

Gratitude journaling and gratitude lists are very popular, and for a good reason. We take so much for granted each day. Even the fact that you are reading this on your smartphone or laptop means you have been born into a family and part of the world where you have access to technology and luxuries that many people don’t have.

So if you’re ever feeling ungrateful or in a state of lack, force yourself to do some gratitude journaling using the ideas and prompts below. It could be a simple list of five things you’re grateful for today, centered around a particular area like your health or your loved ones, or a stream of everything you’re thankful for in your life so far.

This can also be a wonderful way to start your day and lead to a lingering state of gratefulness for the remainder.

Journal ideas & prompts:

  • What am I grateful for today?
  • Who am I grateful for?
  • What is a simple pleasure that has brought me much joy lately?
  • How do the things I’m grateful for contribute to my life?
  • What would my life be like if I didn’t have any of these things?

7. Journaling ideas for connecting to your intuition

I have always used journaling to connect to my intuition and tune in to the inner whispers of my soul. There are many different ways that I do this. Sometimes I meditate and then journal. Other times I do a tarot card reading for myself. And sometimes, I will just reflect on whatever has been rising within me, what I’m noticing, and what feels current and potent.

For women, intuition is like a sixth sense because it’s one of the gifts of the feminine. Creating space to connect deeper to your womb wisdom is one of the most important things you can ever do for yourself. This is energetic work, and it’s the most valuable work of all, even if it can’t be valued in terms of external “success.”

Journal ideas & prompts:

  • Do an oracle or tarot reading and journal on the cards you pull
  • Meditate (a guided meditation is a great idea), then journal on how you feel
  • What signs, symbols, and synchronicities am I experiencing in my life?
  • What can I not stop thinking about?

8. Journaling ideas or connecting to your sacred cycle

Some women (like me) keep a cycle journal where they track their menstrual cycle along with how they’re feeling, their dreams, the food they’re craving, their energy levels, etc. I like to track this along with the moon cycle and what phase she is in because these cycles mirror each other.

One of the main reasons why so many of us suffer from period pain and hormonal imbalances is that we live in a world that doesn’t respect or support our cyclic nature and forces us to push against our natural rhythm. Many of us are so out of sync with our cycle, especially because hormonal birth control interferes with it. Tracking your cycle and journaling during the different phases is a wonderful way to deepen your connection to your internal rhythm as a woman.

Journal ideas & prompts:

  • Track your cycle in your journal (day 1 = the first day of your period)
  • Journal at different stages of your menstrual cycle across the four “seasons”
  • How do I feel physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually today?
  • What do I need right now?

9. Journaling ideas or when you want to write a letter to yourself

Two things to try: write a letter to your future self with your hopes and dreams for that woman, or write a letter to your child or teen self as a way to heal something you struggled with back then and have since overcome.

It can be uncomfortable doing this, but it’s a beautiful way to reflect on what you’ve learned and how you’ve grown, and also to heal something from your past and close a chapter.

Once you’ve written your letter, date it and seal it in an envelope addressed to you. Put it away somewhere safe, or tuck it into the back of your journal. When the time is right, you’ll stumble on it again.

Journal ideas & prompts:

  • I would like to tell my younger self…
  • I have learned…
  • What truly matters is…
  • I hope that my future self is…
  • Questions I have for my future self…

10. Journaling ideas for when you want to write a letter to someone else

Writing letters to people can be such a cathartic way to express your feelings in a calm, thoughtful manner, especially if you’ve taken time to reflect on what happened. You might want to forgive someone for something, say that you’re sorry, reconnect with an old friend, say something to someone who has passed, or tell someone you love them.

And you don’t have to ever send it if you don’t want to or don’t feel ready to yet. But if you do want to, simply make a copy or rip out the actual pages and mail them.

Journal ideas & prompts:

  • What I wished I had said but didn’t…
  • I just want to tell you…
  • If I could go back in time, I would…
  • I know that a letter doesn’t change things, but I wanted to reach out and say…

11. Journaling ideas for when you need to let go

If you’ve gone through a breakup, or you need to overcome a grudge or forgive someone for something, journaling is a great way to do it.

Bring the person and/or situation to mind, and try to look at it from all perspectives. If right and wrong are very black and white here, and you were wronged, can you still find it within yourself to forgive this person? Do it because you no longer wish to carry the weight of it around. Do it because you want to set yourself free and move on. Wish this person well.

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Journal ideas & prompts:

  • I release…
  • I forgive…
  • I let go of…
  • My wish for them is…

12. Journaling ideas for when you’re feeling creative

journal ideas

When you’re in a creative mood, gather all the paints, pens, crayons, and other sparkly things you can find. Weave in doodles, shapes, sketches, poems, and drawings into your journal entries. Remember, it doesn’t matter how “good” of an artist you are. We are all artists; we are all creatives. So release any resistance or judgment you harbor toward this. Tap into your sacral chakra and let yourself create.

Journal ideas & prompts:

  • Journal on a happy childhood memory
  • Create a collage of you
  • Do a self-portrait that shows how you see yourself and then one of how the world sees you. How do these differ?
  • Make a vision board for the next year of your life

13. Journaling ideas for when you’re being hard on yourself

As a Capricorn rising and lifelong achiever, I am notoriously hard on myself. It tends to be a common human trait to focus on our failures and fuckups rather than on all the things we have done right and the ways in which we are a success.

If this resonates with you, use the journaling ideas below to be more compassionate and kind to yourself. Think about the things you tend to be most critical of and write something compassionate to each.

Journal ideas & prompts:

  • I tend to be hard on myself with…
  • I am hard on myself because…
  • How would I talk to a best friend about these things?
  • How can I be more compassionate and supportive of myself?

14. Journaling ideas for when you need a confidence boost

Even the most confident women have insecurities and down days. And different experiences and events all play into how we feel about ourselves. If you just got dumped, your confidence might be quite low. On the other hand, if you just ended a toxic relationship that was suffocating you, you might feel more confident than you did a few months ago.

So when you need a little boost of confidence, here are some journaling ideas to get you there.

Journal ideas & prompts:

  • Choose or create an affirmation that can help boost your confidence in whatever area of your life you need it most
  • Write something positive about yourself/to yourself
  • Ways I can show myself more love and care…
  • What is one thing I could do right now to build my confidence?

15. Journaling ideas for when you want to get inspired

I love to journal when I’m not inspired and feel like my creative well has run dry. If you have been pushing yourself too hard or overworking without pouring back into your cup, you will eventually burn out and feel uninspired by things that used to nourish your soul.

Here are some journaling ideas to inspire you again when you’re not.

Journal ideas & prompts:

  • When do I feel most inspired and alive?
  • One change I want to make in my life is…
  • New things I’d like to try…
  • On my bucket list is…
  • A place I’d love to travel to…
  • What would I love right now?
  • Fun dates I can take myself on…

16. Journaling ideas for when you want to manifest

writing at altar

Journaling is a powerful tool for manifesting. You can use it to train your mind to believe you can manifest whatever you desire most. Because once your mind thinks it’s possible, you will no longer be sabotaging yourself with negative thoughts or limiting beliefs. Plus, it helps us clarify what we truly want. Maybe you think you want a certain thing, but you really want something else.

So think about what your biggest dream in this lifetime is. You may have a few. Think about where you are on that journey toward your dream. Close your eyes and visualize what your life would look like if it had already come true. Use sketches and colors to illustrate the visual and recreate what you can see in your mind on the page.

Journal ideas & prompts:

  • What do I desire most?
  • What is my biggest dream?
  • Why do I want this?
  • What can I do today to get closer to my dream?
  • Visualize your dream as if it has already manifested. What can you see, hear, smell, touch, and taste? Who is with you? Where do you live? How do you feel?

17. Journaling ideas for when you’re traveling

If you frequently travel for work or pleasure and want to take your journal, these journaling ideas will help you weave the two together. Journal on the food you’ve tasted, the new aromas and sights of your surroundings, and your highlights from each day. Think about what you’re most looking forward to tomorrow, what you’ve learned, and how this travel experience is shaping you.

Journal ideas & prompts:

  • The best thing I ate today was…
  • One thing I ate that I want to recreate back home is…
  • What did I learn today?
  • How do I feel in this new place?
  • What would I love to do tomorrow?
  • What am I most excited about on this trip?
  • The highlight of my trip has been…

18. Journaling ideas for going to bed on a high

Finally, I want to share some journal ideas to do before you go to sleep. You can weave these into your evening ritual along with some meditation, yin yoga, or even a relaxing bath. The idea is to end the day feeling good about yourself and go to bed feeling happy, content, and full. This isn’t always possible, but it should be possible around 90% of the time.

Journaling how the day went helps you reflect on your thoughts, behaviors, and actions and identify any patterns. You get to capture the little things that might otherwise pass you by unnoticed.

Journal ideas & prompts:

  • What was the best thing that happened today?
  • What were the lows, and what can I learn from them?
  • What am I celebrating today?
  • How can I squeeze even more goodness out of tomorrow?

Ready to reignite your love for journaling?

The last thing you need is another thing you have to do that adds to the noise and overwhelm in your life. So I recommend scanning the list again and picking just one journaling idea that excites you and trying it out. You could keep doing that for a while or do a different journaling idea each day or week. Do whatever feels good to you. Try things out. Keep doing what works for you and let go of what’s not.

What do you hope to gain from journaling? And if you’ve been doing it for a while, how is it working? Which one of these journal ideas will you try out next?

Share your thoughts, comments, and stories with me below!

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