Lacking motivation is so frustrating!
The mind is willing; you have all this goals you want to achieve and tasks you need to check off, but you can’t seem to muster the mental, emotional, or physical energy to do them.
Journal prompts for motivation can be really great for helping you get to the root of the reason why you’re unmotivated, as well as giving you inspiration and motivation to achieve what you want.
How do you increase motivation with journaling?
Journaling can help improve motivation in a few ways.
#1. Increase self-awareness
A huge perk of journaling is increased self-awareness.
By writing down our thoughts and feelings, and asking ourselves questions that delve into our minds, we can look at them almost objectively.
Journaling is like laying your inner-most thoughts out on the table, taking a step back, and observing them from a distance.
This means that journaling tends to help with self-awareness and that we can potentially look at the reasons we’re not feeling motivated more analytically. When we do this, we can also work towards fixing it and naturally helping ourselves feel more motivated.
You might discover that you’re lacking motivation for multiple reasons. For example:
- Depression or other mental health issues*
- Fear of failure
- Comparison to others
- Poor health
Once you figure out the reason(s) behind your lack of motivation you can then move on to healing it/them and using journal prompts for increasing motivation.
*If you feel you are suffering from any mental health issues, please do talk to someone and seek professional help.
When my depression is really bad, I struggle to motivate myself to complete even the most basic tasks, so I know how frustrating it can be, and how beneficial seeing a professional can prove.
#2. Practising gratitude
Practising gratitude in your journal helps improve your mindset overall, which, in turn, helps boost motivation.
By focusing on what you’re grateful for in your life, instead of what you don’t have, with time, you train your mind to go to a more positive place over a negative one.
This is why practising gratitude is a key part of my countdown journaling method, which I teach in my Master Your Mindset With Journaling workbook.
You don’t have to be grateful for everything – we don’t want to engage in toxic positivity – but taking a few second to write down a few things you’re thankful for each morning can work wonders for your outlook.
Your gratitude list might include big things, such as a roof over your head and food in the fridge, or small things, like a cup of coffee or birds singing; just focus on the feeling that thinking about these things gives you while you write them down.
You have so much to live for and gratitude can help motivate you to find even more things to be grateful for.
#3. Setting goals
Goal-setting in your journal is one of the best things you can do to increase motivation.
Having a clear end in sight can help focus your mind so that you can hone in on what you want.
Setting goals can also help you break down your bigger, long-term goals into smaller, actionable, more-achievable goals that you can smash with ease.
Taking baby-steps towards your bigger goals also makes them seem less daunting and more manageable, so that you’re less likely to procrastinate and more likely to be motivated to start.
I invite you to try writing down a large, long-term goal in your journal and then break that down into smaller, monthly goals, then weekly goals, and so on.
When it comes to daily tasks, making a checklist and ticking off each small task – no matter how basic – feels really rewarding.
This can be really motivational when your mental health isn’t the best and just washing your hair feels like a massive achievement.
#4. Positive affirmations
Positive affirmations can also be really motivational.
They work by replacing negative self-talk with positive, self-affirming statements.
Like practising gratitude, repeating affirmations can help retrain your mind to go to a more positive place and improve your self-esteem at the same time.
You can repeat positive affirmations out loud, in your journal, or both.
Perhaps try out writing a couple of affirmations that help motivate you when you wake up in the morning.
#5. Improving mental health and mindset
When our mental health and mindset are going through a bad patch, one of the first symptoms we often notice is our lack of motivation.
Journaling helps improve our mental health by encouraging us to vent, unpack, and express our emotions in a safe, constructive way.
In turn, this helps boost our motivation and improve our mindset overall.
Planning out your days, weeks, months and even years in your journal or planner helps you get organised so that you’re not paralysed by the urge to procrastinate.
I find that by simply planning out what I need to get done in a concise way, I stop myself from getting overwhelmed and I’m motivated to get my tasks completed.
Journal prompts for motivation
Here are some journal prompts for motivation, which aim to not only motivate you to reach your goals, but get inspired by your own achievements, as well as others.
To use these journal prompts, simply pick one or two and write about them in your journal.
You can either pick a prompt that resonates with you, or go down the list in order – it’s totally up to you – but try not to spend too long on each prompt.
The key to being consistent with journaling is doing it little and often to that you don’t burn out, and it doesn’t feel like a chore.
- What does “being motivated” mean to you? What would that look like in your life? How does it specifically apply to you and your goals?
- Write about a day in the life of you living your dream life? What does your dream life look like?
- Who is one person you really look up to? What is it about them that you admire?
- What type of people inspire you? Who do you wish to be more like and why?
- What are three long-term goals you want to achieve?
- Break one of your long-term goals down into manageable, yearly, monthly and weekly goals.
- What’s one small goal you can smash today to help you work towards your long-term goals?
- What are five things you’re grateful for?
- Write about a problem you’ve overcome.
- What is your life’s purpose?
- Do you struggle with procrastination? When do you tend to procrastinate most?
- What’s one thing you can do to prevent procrastination? What usually helps you find the motivation to get stuff done? Is there a way you can incorporate this into your daily routine?
- Have you ever been burnt out? What does burn-out feel like to you? How does it present itself?
- How do you prevent burn-out? What self-care activities can you do to stop burning out?
- Write about a big goal you’ve achieved.
- What’s one small goal that you’ve achieved today?
- How does achieving your goals make you feel?
- What’s one habit that you have that you know probably hampers your productivity and motivation?
- What’s something you can do for your mental health today?
- Write about a time in your life when you were really motivated, if only for a minute. What can you learn from this? What made you so motivated?
- What song or genre of music motivates you? Why do you think this is? Try listening to a song that makes you feel motivated now and write about how you feel.
- What fictional character do admire and wish to be more like? What’s your favourite movie? Why?
- How do you like to spend your days/time off?
- What do you think other people think of you? Does this differ from how you see yourself?
- What does ‘success’ mean to you? How do you define it?
- Think about your long-term goals for life. How many of these are your goals because YOU want them to be, and how many are goals that society has conditioned you to believe you want, if any? Does this change any of them?
- Imagine your teenage-self is standing in front of you. What would you tell them?
- Where do you see yourself in five years? Where do you want to be?
- Are you happy with what you’ve achieved in life so far? How do your accomplishments make you feel?
- Write about a painful time in your life. How did you get through it? How has it changed you as a person?
(Check out my Journal Prompt Library for 750+ journal prompts to help you transform your mindset all in one place.)
How to boost motivation
In addition to journaling, there are a few others ways you can boost motivation.
- Find a mentor or someone that you look up to that can guide and encourage you in a way that doesn’t put unhelpful pressure on your shoulders
- Improve your mental health through a type of exercise that you actually enjoy and don’t dread
- Practise self-care
- Boost self-esteem through positive affirmations
- Make a vision board
- Surround yourself with people who inspire and uplift you
- Read motivational books
- Visualisation – visualise your goals and what life would look like once you’ve achieved them
- Focus on and appreciate what you’ve already achieved
- Take regular breaks and time off to avoid burn-out
- Research different methods of productivity – like the Pomodoro Technique – and find what works best for you
- Break down your work into bitesize chunks; I find that working little and often really helps me be productive without feeling burnt-out
Alongside journaling, these are great ways to boost motivation.
However, what I also want you to take away from this post is that it’s okay to lack motivation sometimes. Most of us do, especially those of us who struggle with their mental health. Even if you don’t, it’s still totally normal to not want to smash goals every single minute of every day.
My most important tip to boost motivation long-term is to give yourself permission to rest. Set aside time to do nothing and just exist. Rest.
This may sound counter-intuitive, but even the most motivated person in the world can’t be ‘on’ all the time or you’ll get burnt out.
Burn-out is one of the biggest motivation-killers and, if you can avoid that by practising self-care, resting, and setting simplified, bite-sized goals that don’t overwhelm you, you’re winning.
A witchy ray of sunshine who loves to help others on their journal journey. I’ve been journaling since childhood and have since gone on to earn a degree in English and a diploma in Shadow Work. I love my plant babies, yoga, and anything spooky. Find out more on my about me page.