28 Journal Prompts for Reflecting on How Far You’ve ComeIt’s the end-of-year inventory we all need.
January tends to bring with it a lot of heavy feelings, like the pressure to reinvent your entire personality, guilt for ditching last year’s resolutions, and the urge to pile on further misery by making even more unrealistic goals. So it’s normal to feel buried under endless anxiety and shame about what you should be doing.
But a fresh new calendar doesn’t need to signal a blank slate in your life. January 1st is truly just an arbitrary date that only means what you want it to. So here’s an idea to make 2024 less stressful: Rather than seeing this new year as the countdown to a harsh deadline for becoming You 2.0, use this time to reflect on how far you’ve come, where you’re at today, and what you actually value.
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Journaling is one way you can ease into the new year feeling confident and motivated for whatever lies ahead. Reflecting on your challenges, your wins, and the lessons you’ve learned encourages you to trust yourself a little more and build awareness around who you are and where your values lie. Trust me, I’m a licensed psychotherapist who is a boss at journaling and recommends this practice to anyone who wants to do some self-discovery—especially this time of year.
If you’re down, take a deep breath and remember you’re exactly where you need to be. Then, grab your journal or Notes app and set aside some time to mull over any (or all) of these journal prompts for self-discovery and self-reflection that honor where you’ve been and where you want to go.
1. If you had to pick five words to describe last year, what would they be?
2. When did you feel the most mindful and connected to yourself in the past year? What contributed to those moments of inner peace?
3. What small wins or personal successes are you most proud of from the last year? If you haven’t already, how can you acknowledge or celebrate these accomplishments?
4. What are you most grateful for from last year, and how do you express that to yourself and others?
5. What moments, decisions, or experiences from last year stand out the most, and why?
6. What were some of the hardest challenges you had to face last year? What made these moments so challenging for you, and how did you overcome them?
7. Who made a meaningful impact on you in the past year? How did they do that?
8. What harsh or critical expectations have you placed on yourself recently? Is there space for you to offer yourself more compassion and let go of inner judgment and shame? What would that support look like?
9. Is there anything you started doing in 2023 that you’d like to continue doing in 2024?
10. What does a balanced routine look like for you at this stage of your life?
11. What’s one lesson you’ve learned about yourself in 2023? What did it teach you about yourself, your relationships, and your environment?
12. What will your next year look like if everything goes exactly as you want it to? How will you deal with setbacks if everything doesn’t go as planned?
13. What values are most important to you right now? How do you want your behavior and your life to reflect these in the new year and beyond? Do you need to change anything to start living in harmony with your values?
14. What relationships do you want to nurture most in 2024? Are there connections and communities that inspired or supported you last year?
15. What do you notice about your self-talk? Do you talk to yourself like a supportive friend or harsh critic? Write down three negative thoughts you have on a regular basis and how you could reframe them.
16. What encouraging words of wisdom played on repeat in your mind last year? Did they change how you moved through life? How, or why not?
17. What boundaries were important for your well-being last year? What challenges did you face while setting and enforcing them? How did these boundaries impact your relationships with yourself and others? Is there anything you need to shift or adjust?
18. How do you manage uncertainty and anxiety in your everyday life? What has helped you manage the discomfort of change and growth?
19. Who in your community uplifts and inspires you to be yourself? In what ways can you continue to nourish these relationships and show up for yourself and others?
20. How do you take care of yourself? Could you make changes to squeeze in more rest or self-care?
21. What is your relationship to productivity and needing to “get things done”? Do you feel like rest is lazy or unproductive? Where do you think that stems from? Is there space for more grace and compassion when it comes to your expectations and to-do list?
22. What are you doing to become your most comfortable and content self?
23. If you could have done anything differently last year, what would it be and why? How will you apply this lesson to your life going forward?
24. What do you need to let go of or get off your chest? Is there anything unsaid that needs to be released or expressed?
25. What resolution always makes you feel like crap? What would your new year look like if you let that one go?
26. What are you most looking forward to doing or experiencing in the year ahead?
27. What are three things that make you happy, and how can you make them a bigger part of your life next year?
28. By this time next year, how do you hope to feel? What’s one way you can focus on that feeling throughout the year?
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