The new year is a natural time of pause. And having journaling prompts for the new year that help us reflect on the past and set intentions for the year ahead is helpful.
Whether you set new year resolutions or not, a lot of us use this time of year to set new goals. As the calendar turns over, it’s a great time to start fresh in areas of our lives where we want to grow and change. Journaling through various topics is one of the best ways to determine what growth opportunities and goals ought to be.
3 Categories of New Years’ Journaling Prompts
Unless our goals are personal and meaningful to us, we aren’t going to achieve them. Identifying what worked and what didn’t in this last year, checking in with ourselves in the present moment, and anticipating or looking forward to the year ahead are three great categories of reflection.
These are all geared towards personal growth and goal setting. And since a lot of us take this time of the new year to reset and set intentions, these journaling prompts for the new year specifically focus on self-reflection and self-discovery.
Reflecting on the Past
1. What were some of your favorite memories from this last year?
2. When you think back about your highs and lows from this last year, what sticks out to you?
3. What goals did you accomplish this last year?
4. What goals did you not accomplish this year?
5. What major life events, milestones or changes did you go through this year?
6. What worked well for you this last year?
7. What did not work well for you this last year?
8. What were your big and small wins this year?
9. Who were the people that meant the most to you this last year?
10. What are 3 lessons you learned this last year?
11. What is something that inspired you to be better this year?
12. What piece of advice would you give yourself if you could go back in time to one year ago?
13. Sum up the last year of your life into a few sentences. (Think tldr or cliffs notes)
Checking in on the Present
14. How are you feeling as you approach the new year?
15. What (if anything) is lingering in your mind as unfinished from this last year?
16. Is what you’re prioritizing right now helping you achieve your goals?
17. Are you currently in a healthy or unhealthy state of being?
18. How well are you doing prioritizing self-care right now? (Need some #selfcaresaturday ideas?)
19. What are your unique talents and gifts?
20. What does the thought of setting new goals make you feel?
21. What are you proud of yourself for doing/being in this present moment?
22. What are you most grateful for right now?
23. What do you value most right now?
Looking ahead to the Future
24. What intention do you want to set and manifest this new year?
25. What are some big goals you want to accomplish in the new year?
26. What are some small goals you want to accomplish in the new year?
27. What are 3 ways you can challenge yourself out of your comfort zone this year?
28. What anticipated changes or big events are coming this year?
29. What are you most excited about for the new year?
30. What spiritual practices do you want to nurture in the new year?
31. What health and wellness practices do you want to incorporate in the new year?
32. What financial and giving goals do you have for the new year?
33. What professional development goals do you have for the new year?
34. What areas of your life need organizing? (We have a guide for getting organized in just one week!)
35. What part of your personal development do you need to focus on for growth?
36. What relationship goals do you have for yourself (if any) for the new year?
37. What positive affirmations do you need to be saying daily?
38. What’s a bad habit you want to change this new year?
39. What are good daily habits you want to add to your life this new year?
40. Write a short letter to your future self once you’ve set your goals for the new year.
Tips for Journaling Through a Prompts List
Everyone has their own unique approach to journaling. And there are so many different types of journals out there (check out our 9 types of journaling blog!). But whether you’re an avid bullet journaler planning your next month’s spread or a more traditional daily journal entry writer, these prompts can be incorporated into your journaling routine.
To help you add these prompts meaningfully to your journaling, try these tips:
1 - Don’t worry about a word count
You may start journaling through a certain prompt and realize you have lots to process. Certain prompts may result in pages of thoughts. But others may result in a one-paragraph, one-sentence or even one-word response. And that’s okay! Do what feels right, and be encouraged, that sometimes less really is more.
If you enjoy bullet journaling, one of these prompts could inspire a quote or affirmation that you add to a spread. You could also design a new years bullet journal page devoted to these journal prompts and reflections. The world is your oyster!
2 - Give examples or details when appropriate
If a journaling prompt reminds you of a certain situation, write about it. Sometimes we tend to keep our responses vague and theoretical. But it can be helpful to write specific details. Not only does it help unpack more of the emotions around the situation. But also it can help us remember what we’re referencing if we go back and read our responses later.
Here’s an example of what you could try doing: “Last week I got coffee with (name), and I shared about (the topic). It made me feel (emotion) to actually open up to her about (the topic).” It would be easy to roll up this scenario into a brief, “I’ve learned it can be helpful to share my life with other people.” But an important part of reflection is noting what milestones and events helped us in our personal growth journeys.
3 - Be realistic with your time and energy
The exercise of sitting down and reflecting is time and energy consuming. So, be realistic with what you know you can do. If you have time every morning to jot down a 3 sentence reflection to a journal prompt, do that. Check out morning pages journaling if this sounds like you!
If you would find you’re more energized and prolific with your journaling in the evenings, then tackle a few prompts at night. The goal is to enjoy the journey of self-reflection and to discover new things about yourself. The goal is not to hold your feet to the proverbial fire in order to say you did it!
Lastly, if you want more information on goal setting, habit tracking and other personal development topics, check out these blog posts:
- 18 Habits of Successful Women
- 3 Rules for Goal Setting
- Everything You Need to Know about Tracking Habits
- How to Set Daily Goals
Or head over to our main Silk+Sonder blog page for more!