It's a new year! Whether you love making New Year's resolutions or resist it, reflection at the end of a season is often a great way to provide clarity and direction. Here's a list of new year journal prompts to start your year in a positive way!
I typically don't make long (or short!) lists of resolutions to conquer at the beginning of the new year. I love to clean out a few drawers or closets, to reflect on what worked last quarter or year, and gently toast in a new season.
One of my daily habits year-round includes morning pages though, so I love to see a list of journaling prompts for the days when no words seem to appear. Even five minutes a day can help you break bad habits, start new ones, and set intentions for the day ahead. Whether you have personal goals, financial goals, fitness goals, or just make it through another Thursday goals, you'll find some prompts below for your next journaling session.
Try it out and see what you think!
- What were your top three moments of joy this past week/ month/ year?
- What was the most surprising thing that happened to you?
- What’s something you did this year that most people don’t know about?
- What was a small, perhaps overlooked memorable moment this year that brought you unexpected happiness or insight?
- What daily routine or habit made a difference in your life this past week/ month/ year?
- What career goals did you meet (or not) and what factors influenced that outcome?
- What health goals did you try this week/ month/ year and what were the results?
- How did you make a positive impact in your family or community this last week/ month/ year?
9. What is one thing you want to do or experience differently next year?
10. If you could achieve anything without limitation in the coming year, what would it be?
11. Is there a new skill or hobby you want to pick up next year?
12. Where do you see yourself by the end of next year, both personally and professionally?
13. What word would you like to be able to use to describe the coming year and why?
14. What professional goals would you like to hit this year and why?
15. Do you have any relationship goals and what plans might you make to pursue them?
16. What creative projects do you plan to tackle this year?
17. Do you have a bucket list? What's on it? Expand your definition of bucket list to include anything that brings you joy: museums you want to visit, concerts you want to attend, parks you'd like to visit in each season, roads you'd like to drive, books you'd like to read, desserts you'd like to make or try.
Dreams into Goals Prompts
17. Take a few deep breaths and clear the mental clutter. Write about your top three priorities this year, articulating how meeting those priorities will feel each week, month, and by year-end.
18. Choose one priority. What daily habit can you incorporate today to move you closer to that priority? Make it as small as possible and try to do it at the same time each day.
19. What is one actionable step you know you need to make but haven't? You've probably been avoiding it for a lot of reasons—don't write about those. Instead, write about creative ways you could take one small part of that step today and write about how it might go better than expected. Give yourself a pep talk!
20. If you are like me and have long lists of things circling in your head every day distracting you from the task at hand, try this: make a comprehensive list of everything flying around in your brain at regular intervals during the day. You don't have to plan to do anything with it, but I often find getting that list down clears space in my brain to work on the things I want to work on.
21. Add an appointment with yourself weekly to check in on your progress toward your dreams. Don't use this as a time to judge yourself. Find ways to celebrate your progress, identify what didn't work and what did, and set your next steps.
Writing Goal Prompts
And what list on The Write Practice would be complete without writing goal prompts? Read Joe's full article How to Set Meaningful Goals for 2024 That You Can Manage and Achieve here. In it, he outlines for key types of writing goals for writers: lifetime, yearly, weekly, and daily. See if these new year journal prompts help you move your writing dream forward.
22. Imagine yourself twenty years from now. You're supremely happy. You've accomplished everything you wanted to and more. What does your life look like? What have you accomplished?
23. What projects are you going to accomplish this year? Or at least make progress on? Joe suggests goals such as:
- Write the first draft of your book
- Get something you’ve written published
- Get 100 rejection letters from agents or publications (hat tip to Sarah Gribble)
- Create a successful blog, podcast, or YouTube channel
- Get your first project as a freelance writer
- Write a new short story every week for a year
- Find a writing community that supports your work (We love ours, come join us!)
- Learn how to give strong feedback to other writers
- Revise the first draft of your book
Remember you can't do them all at once, but you can work on one or two this year and get closer to your goal!
24. Looking at that goal you have for this year, what can you do this week toward accomplishing it? Make a list of two to three small achievable, measurable things. (Then go do them!)
25. Set a timer for fifteen minutes. Work on one aspect of your writing goal for this year for just fifteen minutes whether you spend it researching, outlining characters, creating a setting, or writing a blog post, spend just fifteen minutes today. Then write a quick reflection about how it felt to move the needle on your goal!
Write Your Way into a New Year
We hope these journal ideas have helped you think about your current goals and how you want to move into the coming season with intention and clarity. And if getting in a daily writing habit is on your list, come see us each day. We always have a daily writing prompt for practice.
Choose one of the prompts above. Set the timer for 15 minutes. Write for the full fifteen minutes. When complete, post your practice in the Pro Practice Workshop and tell us about the writing goals you have for the year ahead! Not a member? We'd love to have you join us this year! Get a writing community behind you to support you and help you grow.
Sue Weems is a writer, teacher, and traveler with an advanced degree in (mostly fictional) revenge. When she’s not rationalizing her love for parentheses (and dramatic asides), she follows a sailor around the globe with their four children, two dogs, and an impossibly tall stack of books to read. You can read more of her writing tips on her website.