33 Most Effective Self-Improvement Journal Prompts (2024)

You’ve probably heard of the many benefits that come with keeping a self-improvement journal. You’ve even gone ahead and purchased a journal.

However, you’re unsure of where to start. What topics do you write about?

Today, we answer this question. In today’s post, we discuss 33 prompts you can use to get topics for your self-improvement journals.

Here’s what you’ll learn

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33 Self Improvement Journal Prompts

But before we get into the prompts, let’s first understand why keeping a journal is essential to your self-improvement journey.

Why Keep a Self-Improvement Journal?

Keeping a journal for self improvement comes with several benefits.

For starters, a journal helps you easily track your goals as you progress through your self-improvement journey. Whether you’re looking to grow your business, improve your relationships, or get healthier and fitter, keeping a journal allows you to track your progress easily.

And that’s not all!

Keeping a journal also provides you with a space to empty your mind and clean out any mental clutter. By journaling, you can describe, identify and look for solutions to most of your problems.

Self-improvement journaling also helps increase your productivity while also giving you an excellent place to reflect on the day’s happenings.

Now that you understand why it’s important to start journaling for personal development, let’s look at how you get started.

How Do You Write in a Self-Improvement Journal?

Although a bit daunting, getting started with journaling isn’t as complicated.

First off, there’s no right or wrong way.

You can start by writing about how your day went. Describe your day in chronological order, including your mood as you worked on different tasks. And don’t be afraid of making errors. Just let your mind flow.

However, when it comes to self-improvement, there’s a need to have a structure.

The first step to journaling for self-improvement is clearly defining what goals you want to achieve. What area of your life do you want to improve in?

After clearly defining your goals, identify habits and blocks that might prevent you from reaching your goals. Once you identify these, look for ways to deal with these mental blocks.

Finally, you need to create and implement daily strategies to help you achieve your goals. You’ll use your journal to plan on achieving your goals and reflecting on your progress as you move.

One way to make the self-improvement journaling process easier is by using journal prompts. Here are 33 examples of personal-development journal prompts to use.

self improvement journal

33 Self Improvement Journal Prompts

#1. Why is Self-Improvement Important to me?

One of the first things you should write in your self-improvement journal is your “why.”

  • Why are you embarking on a personal improvement journey?
  • Why is it important for you to improve a certain facet of your life?
  • What will happen if you don’t embark on this journey?

Asking yourself these three questions will help build and develop your motivation as you work on the personal development journey.

While your willpower will fail you, having a strong why power is bound to keep you going despite obstacles that may occur along the way.

#2. Where Would I Like to See Myself in the Next 90 Days

With a strong “why,” you now move on to writing about your goals.

One of the best strategies to set and accomplish goals is through a quarterly goal-setting system. Rather than setting yearly goals or goals without a date, set specific 90-day goals, and write this in your journal.

By writing where you’d like to see yourself in 90 days, you drastically improve your chances of success.

And don’t just take my word for it!

A 2018 study on the effectiveness of recording goals found that writing your goals helps drive you to take action on the goal, helping boost performance.

#3. What New Habits Would I Like to Adopt?

When working on your goals, you need to develop habits that will help make it easier to achieve your goals.

This prompt will help you figure out the habits you need to adopt to accomplish your goals. You can also use this prompt to reflect on habits you’d like to change.

#4. What Would Happen if I Achieved all My Goals?

According to the law of attraction, what your mind focuses on, it attracts.

This is why you need to think about your life after you’ve accomplished your set goal. How will your life change once you achieve your goals?

Thinking about what will happen when you accomplish your goals will help motivate you and drive you to work on the goals.

#5. What are My Core Values, and Do My Current Goals Align with Them?

Most of the time, we chase goals that aren’t aligned with our core values. This is why some people pursue careers that aren’t really in their interest.

This is why one of the most important questions to ask yourself is whether your goals align with your core values.

First, plan your life, then plan your goals.

#6. What Would Happen if I Don’t Work on My Goals?

One way to ensure you work on accomplishing your self-development goals is by considering how your life will be if you don’t make a change.

While thinking about how your life will improve if you accomplish your goals acts as a motivator, thinking about the negative effects of not accomplishing your goals is bound to be an even stronger motivator.

Hence this prompt.

#7. What am I Grateful For?

When working on your self-improvement, it’s essential to ensure you maintain your focus on the good.

One of the best ways to do this is by practicing gratitude journaling. By asking yourself about the things you’re grateful for, you acknowledge all the positive things in your life, and in turn, build a culture of positivity.

On days you feel a little blue, you can review your gratitude prompt, and it will help bring up your spirits.

#8. What Affirmations Can I Use today?

Affirmations help you to overcome self-sabotaging negative thought patterns.

Using this prompt will help you think about negative thought patterns that may limit you from achieving your goals and developing statements to help overcome these patterns.

To learn more about affirmations, check out our article on how many affirmations you should focus on.

self improvement journal
Photo by Tara Winstead from Pexels

#9. What Are Some Ways I Can Go out of My Comfort Zone?

For you to grow, you have to be comfortable being uncomfortable.

This prompt helps you to think about the various ways you can get out of your comfort zone. Some ways to get out of your comfort zone include:

  • Waking up earlier
  • Cutting down on junk food, and
  • Going to the gym

#10. If I Could Change One Thing in My Life, What Would it Be?

Working on multiple goals at the same time isn’t beneficial. If you’re looking to improve your life, do it systematically. Take one step at a time.

This prompt helps you think about what areas of your life require the most work to improve. With this prompt, you’ll know where to start your self-improvement journey.

#11. What Areas of My Life Have I Grown in the Past One Year?

It’s important to celebrate your wins, no matter how small they may be.

This prompt allows you to do just that. With this prompt, you can analyze your life and see what areas you’ve been growing, which in turn translates to more motivation.

This prompt also allows you to understand what areas of your life you’ve remained stagnant.

#12. What are Some Limiting Beliefs Holding Me Back?

Personal development requires you to understand your limiting beliefs and work on them. These limiting beliefs could include childhood ingrained beliefs or beliefs we’ve built up for ourselves.

This prompt allows you to question your beliefs and get down to what is real and false.

Most of the time, you’ll realize that most of your limiting beliefs are imaginary.

Using this prompt, you can create affirmations to help you create new beliefs.

#13. What’s One Thing I’ve Done That I’m Proud of?

One way to deal with limiting beliefs is by considering all you’ve accomplished.

What is that one thing that you did that you’re proud of? It could be anything, from losing several pounds to starting your own business.

Thinking about moments you’ve done yourself proud could also act as a motivation for future challenges.

#14. What Negative Experiences Have I Let Define Me?

Your limiting beliefs could be a result of past negative experiences.

However, you shouldn’t let negative circumstances and struggles define you. This prompt allows you to look in the past, understand negative experiences that you’ve let define you, and finally let go.

This prompt could also help to remind you of all you’ve conquered and how strong you are.  

#15. What Activities Give Me Energy?

A major part of your development journey is learning more about your passions.

One of the ways to learn about your passions is by investigating which activities you enjoy doing.

Is there an activity, which when doing, you don’t notice time passing by? It could be anything.

For some people, it’s drawing; for others, it’s baking, photography, or writing. However, finding your passion will help ensure you live a fuller and more enjoyable life.

#16. What Motivates Me the Most?

We all have an underlying reason why we want to better ourselves.

This prompt will allow you to investigate and understand your true motivations. And don’t just stop at the first answer. Dig deeper until you get to the real reason you want to improve yourself.

#17. What Compliment Would I Want to Receive Right Now?

Most of the time, we never receive appreciation for good work done.

If you feel like your boss, parents, or partner don’t notice the good you do, use this prompt to compliment yourself. And it could be anything, including your nice hair or the nice suit you wore.

#18. What are My Biggest Time Wasters?

If you’re going to improve your life, you’ll need to know what kills your productivity.

This prompt allows you to reflect on your biggest time wasters, allowing you to improve your time management skills.

If you’re like most people, your biggest time wasters will probably be social media and TV.

#19. Am I Truly Happy with My Life Right Now?

This is a question most people avoid asking themselves.

However, as you improve yourself, you need to inquire if you’re happy with your life. This prompt allows you to start thinking of some of the changes you can make to better your life.

#20. How Can I Add Happiness to my Day-to-Day Life?

If your answer to the previous prompt is that you’re not happy, you can use this prompt to help figure out how you can add more joy to your life. Some of the things to do consider include:

  • Spending more time with family and friends who build you
  • Focusing on things that give you energy.
  • Practicing gratitude
  • Helping and serving others.

#21. Do I Enjoy my Current Job?

Did you know that 66% of employees are unhappy with their current jobs?

Are you among these people?

This prompt allows you to ask yourself if you like your job. The answer to this question could help you know the next steps to take.

If you’re not happy with your current job, you can look for ways to improve your situation. If not, you can start working on a career change.

You don’t want to wake up 20 years from now in a dead-end job that you hate.

#22. What are my Favorite Hobbies?

This prompt could come in handy when looking for ways to add more happiness to your life, or when you discover you don’t enjoy your job.

If you don’t like your job, you could use your hobbies to build a side hustle, which could eventually help you quit your job.

Journaling for self improvement
Photo by Craig Adderley from Pexels

#23. What are My Biggest Pet Peeves?

What is that one thing that you find especially annoying? That one thing you can never stop complaining about?

This prompt will help you know what ticks you off, and if possible, avoid it.

Knowing your pet peeves will allow you to better express yourself, especially in relationships.

#24. What are My Biggest Fears?

Fear is often the root of most negativity. From fear, all sorts of negative emotions emerge.

If you’re going to improve your life, it’s important to understand your deepest fears and learn ways to deal with them.

With fears, don’t stop at the surface level answer. Go deeper, and ask yourself questions until you get to the root of your fears.

#25. What’s Stressing Me Out Lately?

There’s no denying it.

We’re living in a highly stressful period. COVID-19 hasn’t made things any better.

This is why it’s important to find ways to deal with stress. However, before getting into how to deal with stress, you first need to identify your stressors.

This prompt helps to do that.  

#26. What Thought Patterns Have I Noticed Lately?

Have you noticed a pattern of negative thoughts lately? Or maybe you’ve been extremely positive in the past few days.

This prompt helps to analyze your thought patterns. In case you need to switch to more positive thoughts, this prompt will help you discover this and start working on bringing more positivity into your life.

#27. What’s a Level Headed Way to Respond to Criticism?

How do you respond to criticism? How do you react when people are making fun of you?

  • Do you get angry?
  • Do you throw tantrums? Or
  • Do you keep quiet and go back to your shell?

This prompt will help you to design a well-thought-out strategy to help you deal with criticism in a positive way.

#28. How Can I Brighten Up Someone’s Life?

One of the best ways to infuse more positivity in your life is by helping others.

This self-improvement journal prompt will help you serve people more intentionally. By thinking about the people you’d want to help, you’re more likely to give intentionally are less likely to be swayed against your goal of helping a person.

#29. How Do I Make Sure I Take Care of Myself?

Are you one of those people who are always there to help others?

As an INFJ personality type, I know the feeling of always wanting to help your family and friends. However, how often do you take care of yourself?

This prompt will help you find answers to this question and create more time for self-care.

Remember, you can’t help others if you’re not okay.

#30. What Boundaries Do I Need to Set?

Now that you’ve decided to take care of yourself, it’s important to set boundaries with family, friends, and workmates.

Setting boundaries allows people to know what’s acceptable and what’s not acceptable. It also gives you the power to set and take personal time.

This prompt will help you to start thinking about the kind of boundaries you need to set.

#31. Who Is Someone I Miss from the Past?

Is there a friend you haven’t seen or talked to in a while? Why not reconnect with them.

Reconnecting with good friends from the past is always a fun experience.

Use this prompt to help you think about people you miss spending time with. With a list of people you’d like to reconnect with, take the next steps and look for these people.

#32. Who Do I Need to Forgive or Seek Forgiveness From?

Learning to forgive has been found to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression when we’re hurt.

This prompt will help you to think about people you may need to forgive and those whom you need to ask forgiveness.

After this, take the necessary steps to either seek forgiveness or forgive those who’ve wronged you.

#33. Do I feel Physically Healthy?

This is a journal prompt I use every night before going to bed.

Most of the time, we notice subtle symptoms of diseases but assume them. Using this prompt will allow you to conduct a daily body scan into how you’re feeling.

In case of any illness, you might be able to catch the symptoms early enough.

Bonus Prompt: If My Friends Were to Describe Me, What Would They Say?

How well do you treat your friends and family members? If asked to describe you, what would they say?

This is an important question to ask yourself as you continue working on improving yourself.

This prompt will help you reflect on how you treat other people and guide you on changing or keeping up the same behavior.

Go Forth and Start Your Self Improvement Journal

There you go.

Thirty-three journaling prompts you can use in your self-improvement journal. And you don’t have to use all of them.

Just pick a few and start journaling. The rest will come around as you continue growing in your journaling journey.

If you have any questions, comments, or additions regarding this topic, please leave them in the comment section below.

I’ll be sure to respond to comments posted.

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About The Author

Bijan Kholghi is a certified life coach with the Milton Erickson Institute Heidelberg (Germany). He helps clients and couples reach breakthroughs in their lives by changing subconscious patterns. His solution-oriented approach is based on Systemic- and Hypnotherapy.