Journaling (and writing in general) is one of the most accessible ways to increase your self-awareness.
You don’t have to follow a particular template to get the benefits. Simply reflecting on your thoughts is enough. But if you’re looking for a place to start, below are my daily prompts along with the reasons for why I chose them, and a few notes about each prompt.
What am I most grateful for today?
In their study on gratitude and well-being, the authors Randy A. Sansone, MD, and Lori A. Sansone, MD conclude that there’s a clear association between gratitude and an overall sense of well-being.
The word “today” in the prompt is helping me focus on the small things that tend to matter the most for my happiness. Like my pup jumping on my bed and giving me a couple of licks before snuggling next to me while I’m writing.
If my answers start to become repetitive day after day, I take it as an invitation to broaden my focus just a little more. For example, I might consider even smaller things I haven’t thought about before. Like the rays of the morning light hitting the guitar in the corner of my bedroom at just the right angle — there’s something magical about that.
What’s the most important area of my life today?
There’s plentiful evidence that humans are terrible at multitasking. And from experience I know that if I focus on too many things, I end up procrastinating and ignoring the most critical area of my life, while filling my day with less essential tasks.
Focusing on one area doesn’t mean ignoring everything else. It just means taking care of the area that has the biggest impact on my life first.
What smallest action will I take today to keep the momentum?
Most people instinctively try to rely on their motivation to make things happen. But motivation is fickle and hard to control — in any given moment I either have it or I don’t. But I can control how easy a task is. The easier the task, the more likely I’ll do it.
At the same time, one tiny action triggers the reward response, which increases my motivation, and leads to more action. Thus creating the momentum that carries me through the rest of the day.
What change in my life am I practicing today?
We all want to change in some way. However, change doesn’t just happen. What creates even the most significant changes are the simple things we practice every day. If I intentionally decide what change I’ll be practicing today, I have a better chance of actually remembering to do it.
What are the signs the change is already happening?
It could be demotivating to work on something big for months or even years and not see the desired result. Every day, I try to find the little signs that prove to me, I’m making progress — success breeds success.
If you’d like a printable template, feel free to download it here.