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Reflection helps identify what nourishes you so you can make better decisions as you seed the next season of your life.”Ryder Carrol
Since I started bullet journaling late last year and through my first couple of weeks applying The Miracle Morning into my daily routine, one area I noticed I need more work on is my end-of-day reflections (referred to as “P.M. Reflections” in “The Bullet Journal Method”).
Something I’ve been wanting to do consistently, I added this into my (prep the night before) Miracle Morning routine with the goal of regularly sitting down to check in with myself and externalize my thoughts – specifically:
- Reviewing my day
- Reflecting on what I’ve been spending my time on, what I still need to do and why I’m doing these things
- Noting the progress I’ve made and areas I can improve upon
- Assessing and reflecting on my life situation and overall state
By engaging myself in this deeper, reflective process, I hope to gain a better understanding of myself and help me live more intentionally.
But often times – apart from jotting down what’s happened in my day and planning what I need to do, I struggle going deeper – journaling my circumstances (especially negative ones), thoughts, feelings, and my general well-being.
Ever since I was young, when I’d encounter or experience something traumatic, highly charged and/or painful, my coping mechanisms of avoidance or forgetting kicks in. I simply ruminate it all in my head and try to escape them by sleeping it off or watching TV. If a friend would ask me about it, I would shut down and avoid having to talk about it at all. At times, I completely forget painful events altogether, which I didn’t realize I did until my sister pointed it out to me.
And unfortunately, I catch myself doing this even now that I’m older and supposed to be wiser 😉 I cope with difficult or conflicting emotions by compartmentalizing them and/or through sheer avoidance.
I’ve caught myself doing this with my bullet journal as well. Recently, I’ve been going through some challenging and emotionally taxing situations, which has been a source of high stress and anxiety. In my mind, I know I should write some of this out – it will be therapeutic, can potentially help me assess the situation from a different lens, see if and how I can manage it better, and be something I can read and look back on in the future to learn from and grow. Instead, I’ve been choosing not to because just the thought of having to face it and write it wore me out. (That’s some of my coping mechanism kickin’ in again!)
What’s the point of having a journal!?
Reflection is the nursery of intentionality. It grants us the protected mental environment we need to reclaim some much needed perspective and begin to ask why.”Ryder Carrol
I want to know myself better and have greater self-awareness. And, I know I can achieve this through consistent journaling (not just of my positive feelings and circumstances, but also of my most negative ones). Writing helps us discover ourselves more. By taking the time to reflect – writing out how things are going in my life, digesting it, processing it and going deeper, I can uncover insights and perspectives that can help me grow.
But for a novice and inconsistent journaler such as myself, journaling this way can be challenging. Where do we even begin?
Journaling Prompts to Reduce Writing Friction
Enter Journaling Prompts. Journal prompts are pre-written questions or statements designed to trigger thoughts and inspire ideas to write about in your journal.
One thing I know that is preventing me from reflective journaling is that I often get stuck and not know what to write. Just as I do with starting my morning routine the night before, I decided to put together this list of journal prompts for the rest of the month. This way, not knowing what to write is no longer a barrier. Each day, I’ll have a journal prompt to kickstart the conversation in my journal and eventually help me develop this habit of journaling beyond my daily dos and goals.
Here are 21 Journal Prompts to Get Us Going:
- What are 5 simple pleasures you enjoy?
- List 3 things that drain you of energy.
- List 3 things that leave you feeling energized.
- What are you really good at?
- What can you probably improve on?
- When I was a little kid, I dreamed of becoming a/an … because …
- The situation/experience that made me grow the most was when …
- What’s one thing that most people don’t know about you?
- Assuming your family is out and safe, what belongings would you take with you in the event of an emergency evacuation?
- What is an emotion that you have been feeling the most recently? Why?
- No limits or barriers – describe your perfect day.
- If money weren’t an issue – what would you like to do with your time and your life? Sky’s the limit!
- What does “success” mean to you?
- What small thing can you do today with the resources you have to make the world a better place?
- What pet peeves do you have?
- What keeps you up at night with worry? Can you do something about it? If so, what? Or is it out of your control?
- What’s a childhood memory that you cherish?
- What’s something you’ve been wanting to try, but are scared to?
- Write down 15 things you a grateful for.
- What are your top 5 short-term goals (within this year)?
- What are your top 5 long-term goals (in the next 3 – 5 years)?
The more regular of a practice this becomes for me, the easier I can express myself and get in a flow with mindful and consistent reflections through journaling. I hope it does the same for you.
And maybe, after some time, I can also slowly get better at facing painful emotions even if it’s simply by writing in my journal. Rather than burying them somewhere in my mind, hoping I don’t accidentally unlock the flood gates keeping them in.
If you’re looking to build your journaling habit as well, I hope these journal prompts help reduce your writing friction and get you started with more ease.