You’ve heard about the many benefits of journaling. You may have even bought yourself a beautiful journal, all ready to get going. But it’s proving to be a little harder to start than you thought it would be.

It can be hard to think of what to write. You don’t want to “spoil” that beautiful new notebook, and second-guessing that first entry can be a part of your analysis paralysis…

5 Simple Steps to Easier Journaling

You can give yourself a boost to get into the habit of journaling by creating your own journal jar, using these five simple steps:

  1. Find a suitable jar. You can use anything, a mason jar, cookie jar, or a vase.
  2. Then write down the prompts suggested below onto slips of paper and put them in the jar.
  3. Whenever you’re feeling stuck for journaling ideas, just pull out a prompt.
  4. Set the timer on your smartphone (or one from your kitchen) for thirty minutes.
  5. Put your prompt in front of you and simply write down whatever comes into your mind.

Bonus journaling prompts to help get you started:

Making Lists

person holding black pen writing on white notebook

Start easy by making lists. You can write as little or as much as you want under each listing.

  1. Dream vacation destinations
  2. Best meals you’ve had, where you ate them, and who you were with
  3. Favorite movies
  4. Favorite books
  5. Favorite songs
  6. Top goals to achieve this year, in five years, in ten years

grayscale photo of woman doing silent hand sign


Something private and sensitive about yourself that you don’t have to share with anyone else – get it out of your head and down on paper.

  1. Something people don’t know about you
  2. Things you wish you had done
  3. Your secret desires
  4. The most outrageous thing you’ve ever done – or want to do
  5. Biggest gamble you’ve ever made (this could be a career, relationship, travel – anything that felt risky)
  6. Letter to someone you’ve wronged

red letters neon light

“If” Questions

Let your imagination run a bit wild and have fun with these questions – and the potential answers!

  • If you could meet anyone from history, who would it be?
  • If you could meet any fictional character(s), who would they be?
  • If you could host a dinner party with anyone from history or fiction, who would you invite?
  • If you could go back in time and fix anything, what would you choose?
  • If you could change one thing about yourself right now, what would it be?

Little Things You Love

pink heart shaped paper on white and pink floral textile

It’s easy to think of the important things you love in your life, but what about the little things? Like the way your dog greets you when you come home, or the narcissi flowers that bloom without fail every spring? Think across every part of your life, and take note of the little things that can mean a whole lot.

Family membersPets

Look Back Over Your Week

white and black yearly planner notebook

Try to think about diverse events and occasions in your life, from managing to get the early bus to trying a new recipe or meeting your exercise and nutrition goals, or starting a new book you’ve been wanting to read.

  1. Write down all the things that made you feel good.
  2. What did you learn this week?
  3. What did you achieve?
  4. What promises did you keep?

About the Author Dianne Daniels

Born and raised in Detroit, Michigan and a current resident of Norwich, Connecticut, Dianne M. Daniels empowers women 35+ to uplift their Souls, build healthy Self Esteem, and deepen Self-Discovery & Self-Knowledge with the proven practices of Affirmations and Journaling.

Dianne is a Unitarian Universalist Minister and holds a Master of Divinity degree from Starr King School for the Ministry. She's an avid reader, a lover of old houses (she currently lives in an 1850s vintage Greek Revival home with her family), and proudly serves her community as a Registrar of voters.

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