Many teenagers keep a diary by choice or as part of a school assignment. Perhaps it's been years since you've considered putting pen to paper and sharing your ideas and desires. Journaling, however, may have advantages for people at every age.
People all around the world have relied on diaries as trusted friends for centuries. Reflection on daily events, connections, and personal principles can help you reconnect with your sentiments and emotions.
A journal also provides a secure location to express unpleasant feelings, making it easier to process distressing ideas that you might be hesitant to discuss.
Are you thinking about trying journaling? Do you get stuck when it comes to starting a diary? Try out one of our 265 prompts below to jumpstart your creativity and help you start your journey of reflection and self-discovery.
If you need more help getting started with your daily journaling habit, check out our recent blog post: How to Start a Daily Journaling Habit.
“Dear [name of a person I’ve lost], …”
Am I a victim or a hero in my own story?
Are there any family stories your aunts or uncles told you that you want to be sure to write down?
Are you an Eeyore or a Tigger?
Can you see beyond where you are now to a better future?
Capture what different decades were like for you. Write about your 20’s, your 30’s, etc.
Create a schedule for your dream life.
Describe a mundane day. What is life like for you? Write down what you wish you knew about your grandparents’ or great-grandparents’ daily lives.
Describe the kitchen in the home you spent the most time in.
Describe your favorite mundane moment of the day.
Describe yourself in 10 words or less.
Did a stranger ever do a favor for you?
Did you have a favorite book as a child? (Or a favorite book you read to your children?)
Did you have a marriage that didn’t work out? What do you want to say about that?
Did your family survive a tragedy? What happened?
Does this need to be said? Does this need to be said by you? Does this need to be said by you now?
Draw a mandala or zentangle.
Fast forward to your 90th birthday. What would you want your favorite future relative (who doesn’t exist yet) to say about your life?
Has there ever been a time you were on a path and something happened to completely shift your trajectory?
How are you contributing to the situation in your life that frustrates you the most?
How are your current circumstances affecting your mental health?
How can I be kinder to myself?
How could you play more?
How did your mother and father meet?
How do I feel about the statement: “I am enough”?
How do I want to grow? What do I want to experience? What do I want to contribute?
How do you feel about current events? What worries you, and what gives you hope?
How do you feel in your body right now?
How does money work?
How does my inner voice sound when it is beautiful?
How have you grown in the past year?
How much do you want this? What am you willing to give up to get it?
How would I talk to myself if I were 3 years old?
How would I tell the story of my life in three sentences?
I have trouble sleeping when…
I really wish others knew this about me: …
If people become the amalgamation of the 5 people they spend the most time with, who are you going to be?
If some of your depression is being caused by anger you’ve felt helpless to act on, write an angry letter. (You don’t have to send it.)
If there was something you never ever had to do again, what would that be? Why?
If you could be an animal, what kind of animal would you like to be?
If you could be invisible, where would you go?
If you could go back 10 years and spend 5 minutes with your former self, what advice would you share?
If you could make up a new color, what would you call it?
If you could spend twelve hours doing anything you want, anywhere you want, how would you spend them?
If you had $150,000 to spend in 24 hours or less, how would you spend it?
If you had all the money in the world, what would you buy?
If you had no say and someone else made this choice for you, which choice would make you feel disappointed? Why?
If you had to eat the same food every day for the rest of your life, what would you pick? Why?
If you have kids, write about them. What do you want them to know about their younger selves?
If you knew you wouldn’t fail, what would you do?
If you let your thoughts wander, what memory comes to mind first?
If you only had two years to live, what would you most want to accomplish?
If you started a business, what would it be?
If you were going to invent a recipe, what would you invent?
If you’re married, how did you meet your spouse? Are there any stories you want to record from when you were dating?
List 10 frivolous things that bring you joy.
List 10 of your favorite things.
List 3 of the best compliments you’ve received.
List 5 positive qualities of the first person you usually talk to each day.
List 5 things that spark your curiosity and inspire your interest.
My past doesn’t define who I am because…
One area I need to improve on is…
Remember when you were a kid and someone told you not to do something? What did you do that you were not supposed to? When did your curiosity get the better of you?
Right now, my thoughts are _____________. I wish they were _______________.
Some of the most wonderful words ever said to me were…
What 5 songs are you grateful for? Why?
What about my personality do people compliment me on?
What about today made you smile?
What about your daily routine are you grateful for?
What about your living space are you especially thankful for?
What about your upbringing are you most grateful for?
What adversity are you grateful for?
What advice would you give future generations who read this journal?
What am I doing when I feel most free?
What am I feeling right now? How long have I had this feeling?
What am I wearing when I feel really beautiful?
What are holidays like for you? What traditions do you hope carry on?
What are you enjoying right now?
What are you holding onto too tightly?
What are you looking forward to?
What are you most excited about right now?
What are you not saying that needs to be said?
What are you really, really good at? What do you love about it?
What are you thinking of doing that you are afraid to tell anyone about?
What are you tolerating that you shouldn’t be?
What are your core values?
What are your favorite things in the natural world?
What are your plans for going after what your heart wants?
What barrier keeps me from loving myself?
What barrier(s) do I need to overcome?
What book or movie are you grateful for? How did it impact you?
What captures your imagination?
What change do I most want to see in my world?
What character trait are you most grateful for?
What could you do this week to express gratitude to others?
What could you not live without?
What decision(s) are you procrastinating on making?
What demand(s) on your time do you need to get out of?
What did a typical mealtime look like when you were growing up? What was your favorite food?
What did you do this weekend?
What did you eat this week that was delicious?
What did your family do really well? How did they show love?
What did your grandparents tell you about how they grew up?
What do I need to do to change for the better?
What do I need to feel at peace?
What do I need to forgive myself for?
What do I not get credit for?
What do you deeply enjoy doing alone?
What do you enjoy doing most with friends and family?
What do you happily spend a lot of money on (without feeling guilty about it), but suspect others might judge you for?
What do you like best for breakfast?
What do you love about your favorite movie (or book)?
What do you need to say to someone that you are afraid to say?
What do you need to stop doing?
What do you really appreciate about your life?
What do you remember from when you were really little?
What do you think is super gross?
What do you value most?
What do you wish you were doing more of?
What does mommy (or daddy) do at work?
What does my inner child most need me to say to him/her?
What expectation do others have of you that you wish they didn’t?
What freedoms are you grateful for?
What friend are you most grateful for? What makes them special?
What fulfills me?
What gets you excited about the future?
What gift have you given that has made a difference in someone’s life?
What guilty pleasure are you secretly grateful for?
What has surprised you, in a good way?
What have you learned that has changed your values?
What have your friends been up to?
What if you did nothing?
What in your childhood are you grateful for?
What in your life has given you the greatest fulfillment?
What insights came to you in meditation today?
What is a family story that gets told over and over when people are together?
What is my biggest regret? How can I make amends?
What is something great about your community?
What is something I am angry about, but haven’t dealt with?
What is something you have always wanted to try, but never have?
What is the one thing you need to focus on now, that will make everything else better in the future?
What is the thing you are afraid to say out loud?
What is your favorite joke?
What is your favorite thing about your current living space? What drives you crazy?
What is your favorite thing about yourself?
What is your favorite thing to talk about with your friends?
What is your favorite way to start the day?
What is your personal definition of success, stripped of others’ expectations?
What is your predominant emotion? How are you experiencing it physically?
What is your relationship with technology?
What is your superhero name? What powers do you have?
What is your take on love?
What is your time frame for achieving your dream?
What kind of self-care would be most useful right now?
What kinds of activities take up most of your time? Are you happy about that? If not, what could you give up to gain back 30 minutes?
What kinds of games do you like to play?
What kinds of wildlife did you encounter as a kid?
What makes you feel brave?
What makes you feel curious?
What makes you feel overwhelmed or paralyzed? Who could you ask for help?
What makes you laugh so hard you get tears in your eyes?
What movie did your family watch over and over?
What mundane daily ritual could you bring your full attention to, staying completely in the moment?
What one discipline sparks your personal growth the most?
What one thing do you own that makes every day a little bit easier?
What outcome are you working toward?
What pets do you have?
What place do you want to visit, but haven’t been to yet?
What positive impact did you have this week?
What question are you grappling with?
What question do you want to ask your pet? (And what do you think they would say?)
What rule do you most want to break? (Or what rule have you broken that you wish you hadn’t?)
What short-term losses are you willing to accept now, for longer-term gains in the future?
What skill do you need to learn to advance to the next level?
What task are you putting off that you just need to get done? How could you finish it within the next week?
What three keystone habits do you need to perform daily?
What time of day are you most creative? How do you want to use that time?
What was high school like for you? Did you go to events like football games, prom, or spend weekends gaming in a friend’s basement?
What was the best gift you ever received?
What was the best gift you received as a child?
What was the hardest part about growing up?
What was your best day ever?
What was your favorite toy?
What were you worried about as a kid that turned out to be not a big deal for you as a grown up?
What will your room look like when you grow up?
What world events impacted you when you were younger? How did they affect you?
What would you do if money wasn’t a factor?
What would you like to be remembered for?
What would you wish for someone you love, if they were in this situation?
What would you write, if you didn’t feel like you would be judged for it?
What would you write, if you felt it wouldn’t be judged?
What’s important to you right now?
What’s the ethnicity of your surname? Do you know what it means or where it comes from?
What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever done?
What’s the most important thing to focus on this week?
What’s the most memorable conversation you’ve had in the past year?
What’s the most ridiculous thing you’ve ever purchased? Did it turn out okay?
What’s the silliest thing you could write on this page?
What’s your biggest dream? Is there a smaller version of your dream that you could accomplish in two weeks?
What’s your biggest priority this month?
What’s your passion, and how did you discover it?
When did you last boldly take action?
When did you start to lose interest in things? How far back can you trace these feelings?
When everything else is stripped away, and no one else’s opinion is influencing you, what is your truth?
When have I cried happy tears? What made that happen?
When I feel loved, how do I show up?
When I get caught in a thinking loop, what am I thinking about?
When people complain about you, what do they say?
When were you fully in the moment today?
When you are working in an optimal job, what do you enjoy the most?
When you were younger, what did you like to do when it rained?
Where are you giving something that you don’t actually want to give?
Where did you go to school? What subjects did you enjoy?
Where did you notice beauty today?
Where did your parents work? What was their trade? Do you know how your grandparents made their living?
Where do you show leadership?
Where does your future self live? What does that look like?
Where have I shown kindness to others?
Where is your “happy place”? Describe it.
Where was your favorite place to spend time? What did you spend hours doing as a child?
Where were you born? Where were your parents born?
Which day was more special than any other?
Which path most closely aligns with your highest values?
Who am I, outside of the roles I play?
Who do you want to be in three years? How do you want people to see you?
Who do you want to spend more time with? Why?
Who has loved you unconditionally?
Who have I lied to? Why? What would have happened if I’d told the truth?
Who helps you achieve your goals?
Who in my life can I be my full self with, unapologetically?
Who made you feel good this week?
Who or what in your life are you happy to have let go?
Who served as a mentor to you (whether they knew it or not)?
Who taught you about unconditional love?
Who triggers negative emotions in me? Why?
Who triggers positive emotions in me? Why?
Who was your childhood best friend? Tell us about them.
Why do you live where you do?
Will this allow you to use your strengths or will you primarily be performing in areas you don’t enjoy?
Will this matter in two days? Two months? Two years?
Would I parent your children in the same way I was parented? Why or why not?
Write (or tell me) about a dream you had.
Write a letter of forgiveness to someone who hurt you.
Write a letter of forgiveness to yourself.
Write a stream-of-consciousness with no clear goal. Just write, letting your thoughts go by as you release them to the paper.
Write about a “hell no” moment—a time when you were so outraged, you couldn’t help but take action.
Write about a favorite memory.
Write about a mistake that turned out to be a blessing.
Write about a need you know someone has, and describe how you could help alleviate their suffering.
Write about a person who always makes you laugh.
Write about a person you are grateful for, but sometimes take for granted.
Write about a positive interaction you had with a stranger.
Write about a random act of kindness.
Write about an event in your life that changed it for the better.
Write about something that always makes you smile, no matter what.
Write about something you know to be true.
Write about something you think is adorable.
Write about the first home you remember.
Write about the first place you lived on your own.
Write about three skills or talents you have that serve you well.
Write about what makes your pet so special.
Write about when and how you learned to manage money and pay bills. What did things cost then?
Write about your first week of college, or the first week at your first job.
Write about your name. What does it mean? Who chose it?
Write down one good thing that happened to you today.