The end of the year tends to be especially stressful and emotionally challenging. There are deadlines to meet, experiences to reflect on, and plans to make. If you feel overwhelmed, journaling can be a very useful exercise. Keep on reading to discover a number of prompts that can help you cope with pressure, understand yourself better, and boost your creativity.


Woman using laptop

Don’t let the noise around you have a negative impact on how you feel and what you do. Try to protect yourself from it and focus on the possibilities that this time of the year provides. Self-reflection is an important part of a mindful approach to life, which is extremely beneficial to creativity. And journaling is one of the most effective ways to organize your thoughts. Here are some of the options you could try.

Journaling prompts

Start simple

Write down and answer a few questions that sound simple, but may take a while to address. For example, how are you feeling right now? What emotions are you experiencing and why? What caused them and what can you do to improve your state? Be curious and patient. Don’t rush and be very attentive. If you take your time, you might discover something unexpected. But even if you don’t, creating this kind of connection with your inner self is valuable.

5-Minute journal

It has been one of the most popular journaling tools for the past few years. Its name immediately gives away the main idea – to enjoy the benefits of journaling while spending very little time. There are three spaces to fill in the morning, and then two more in the evening. You can get the original notebook, or write down your answers to these prompts wherever you prefer.

Morning routine: 1. I am grateful for… 2. What would make today great? 3. Daily affirmations. I am… Evening routine: 1. 3 amazing things that happened today… 2. How could I have made today even better? Keep in mind that you can do this digitally as well. We’ll share a few journaling apps a bit further in the article.

Cozy work from home set-up
Morning pages

This is a technique invented and popularized by Julia Cameron, whose book “The Artist’s Way” has sold over 4 million copies. Wake up and write 3 pages of any thoughts that come up. Do it without trying to create something special. Cameron emphasises that the process and the release that happens as a result of it matters the most. And she recommends writing by hand instead of using any kinds of digital devices. If you’d like to find out more about the morning pages, watch this video featuring Cameron herself.

Bedtime journaling

Some days are a whirlwind of events and emotions, which is why building a habit to journal before going to sleep can be a great way to process events and have a more restful sleep. Consider putting a notebook right next to your bed and writing in it for about 15 minutes before turning the lights off. You can simply write about your day or answer particular questions.

New Year’s resolutions

Even though there are a number of negative connotations associated with this tradition, it can actually help you understand yourself better and move towards your aspirations. If you’d like to make some changes next year or you’re in the mood for some self-reflection, set aside a few hours to make some resolutions. What kind of a person would you like to be? What do you want your day to be like? What would you like to accomplish not just within the next 12 months, but in life in general? Answering these questions can clarify a lot.

Discover our tips and tools on making New Year’s resolutions to simplify the process and make it even more enjoyable and effective for yourself.

Man journaling

Apps for journaling


One of the easiest ways to get started with journaling and turn it into a consistent habit. You just need to open Daylio, tap your fingers twice and then make an entry about how you feel and what you’ve been up to on this particular day.

5-minute journal

If you like the idea of a gratitude practice, but the need to write in an actual journal prevents you from building one, the 5-minute journal app is here to help.

Day One

If interface matters to you, this might be your option. But it’s not just convenient, it’s also very helpful. Day One has a multitude of suggestions for what to write about when you feel stuck. A free version is a major benefit, but there’s also a paid one featuring audio and video.

Cat at home

Tips on building a habit

The idea of journaling might sound appealing to you, but if you’ve never done it on a consistent basis, it can be a challenge. Don’t worry though! We’ve got some tips that can be very helpful.

Create a schedule and stick to it. Choose a particular time when you will set everything else aside and write down your thoughts. This isn’t another task with a deadline though. Don’t see it as another source of stress. Instead simply keep in mind that a schedule can make the process of building a new habit much easier and more efficient.

Choose a suitable environment. If your children are running around, you might not be able to focus and discover valuable insights. And the same can be said for notifications on your devices. Find a place where you feel comfortable. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a quiet room at home. On the contrary, you might find going to a park or even a cafe more attractive.

Try different approaches. Write whatever comes to your mind, use prompts, answer questions, write lists, explore other options. There are journaling techniques for everyone. The quest is to find one that you like the most. And as you already know, you can journal in an actual paper notebook, in a digital document, or a special app on your device. So there are more experiments to run.

Sometimes we struggle with a new habit, not because we’re doing something wrong, but simply because we haven’t found the right approach yet. Take your time and enjoy your adventure of self-discovery!

Wrapping up

What do I actually want in life? This is the type of a question that may seem simple, but also larger than life. And journaling can help you find an answer to it. Probably, more than one. If you’d like to get a better understanding of yourself and be more creative, give journaling a try. Ease into it and take care of yourself this holiday season!

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