Journal prompts for self discovery are a really useful way to explore who you truly are as a human being and, ultimately, live your best life.
Self discovery is defined as the “process of acquiring insight into one’s own character.”
In order to do this, we need to delve into the crevices (ew) of our mind and consider who we are from our morals, to how we react to certain situations and how we treat other people.
Self discovery is a liberating experience that not only helps you understand yourself a little better, but grow as a person as well.
Journal prompts are the perfect way to encourage this.
I’ll go over the benefits of self discovery and what else to include in your self help journal later in this post, but for now, here are some journal prompts for self discovery to get you started.
What are some good journal prompts for self discovery?
#1. Do you like the person you currently are? Why or why not?
#2. What do you really not want to write about?
#3. What emotions do you feel uncomfortable dealing with?
#4. What are you good at?
#5. What are some traits you admire in other people? Do you possess these yourself?
#6. What traits do you possess that you know you’ve inherited from your parents? How do you feel about this?
#7. How do you react to high-stress situations?
#8. How do you react when you’re angry?
#9. How do you react when you’re sad, hurt or upset?
#10. What are your go-to self-care activities?
#11. What TV, movie, or book character do you most identify with? Why?
#12. What does you dream life look like? What would your dream career, home, and/or relationship look like?
#13. Write about a time when you’re been truly proud of yourself. What happened? Why was this so important to you?
#14. What would you tell your teenage self?
#15. What are your most limiting beliefs? Where do you think these came from?
#16. What character traits do other people like about you?
#17. What makes you content?
#18. What is one of your earliest memories?
#19. Do you have any regrets? What’s your biggest one?
#20. What are five goals you want to achieve within five years?
#21. If you had three wishes, what would they be?
#22. Who inspires you? Why?
#23. What’s one area of your life that you want to improve on?
#24. What is your most toxic shadow trait and how do you plan on healing this?
#25. What is one big life lesson that you would tell your child self?
#26. Write a hypothetical letter to someone who has hurt you.
#27. Do you often feel misunderstood? In what way(s)?
#28. Write about a time you really f***ed up. What did you do and how did you make things right going forward?
#29. How have your past experiences moulded you as the person you are today?
#30. What coping mechanisms do you always fall back on? Are they good for your mental, emotional and physical health?
#31. What are three bad habits you have?
#32. What are three positive habits you want to implement into your life?
What are the benefits of self discovery?
Self discovery isn’t just a cool way to pass the time, it’s actually great for our mindset and mental health.
Exploring and knowing – REALLY knowing – our true selves gives us the tools to grow, as well as insight into how to best look after our own physical, mental, social and emotional needs.
Using journal prompts for self discovery helps us look inward and see ourselves completely – warts and all.
This helps you process and heal from past experiences, become confident in who you truly are, be true to your most authentic self, and learn self love.
All of the above are awesome for our mental health and mindset.
How to get to know yourself through journaling
I know what you’re probably thinking: I spend all day every day with myself, I think I know myself pretty effing well thanks.
Well, true. We know ourselves better than anyone.
However, everything from traumatic events, past relationships, and moral values, to our upbringing can shape who we truly are as a person.
Sometimes, we have a decent idea of who we are, but who we truly are is hidden from us because we’re either not ready or prepared to deal with it.
Our shadow self hides under the surface.
Digging up our shadow traits and why they’re there, while rewarding in the long-run, can be uncomfortable and even painful at first… And human beings don’t traditionally like being in pain – emotional or physical.
So we avoid it.
We avoid self discovery because facing who we really are can feel vulnerable, emotional, and uncomfortable.
This isn’t to say that we’re all bad people underneath- not at all.
We’re all HUMAN.
Getting to know ourselves through self discovery journal prompts means:
- Being open and honest with yourself. You need to be an open book to get to the truth.
- Starting a journal habit so that you keep at it everyday. Consistency is key.
- Processing any trauma or negative emotions that come to the surface. I invite you to look into therapy if it’s available and assessible to you.
- Doing shadow work (I have a whole post on shadow work journal prompts).
- Allowing yourself to sit with the self discovery journal prompt for a few minutes. Swill it around your brain for a little while before answering.
- Using a range of journal techniques (I’ll go over a few that I use in a minute).
- Meditating each day, if only for a few minutes.
- Practising self-care. You need to look after yourself.
- Repeating affirmations.
- Going with the flow. If a journal prompt prompts you to write about something other than the prompt you’ve chose, trust your intuition and write about what you feel drawn to. (Some days, I literally wake up and just write about how I’m feeling that day.
What else do you put in a self help journal?
As well as using journal prompts for self discovery, your mindset and mental health can really benefit from practising a few other types of journaling techniques and exercises.
My personal favourites are:
- Scheduling in self-care
- Writing out affirmations
These practises tend to cover all bases.
Feeling grateful is a proven way to boost your mindset; setting goals for the day has been proven to be motivating and great for our mindset as well; scheduling in self-care is crucial for our mental health and affirmations improve our self-esteem.
Writing about all of the above plus a journal prompt only takes a few minutes.
How to start a journal
As someone who’s kept a journal for a LOOOONG time now and used it to help me on my journey to ~self discovery~, I’m also someone who has failed to develop a journal habit numerous times.
Seriously, I have a whole drawer full of unfinished, blank journals.
I therefore know how to make the habit stick and what to do to get started.
I have a whole post on how to start a journal, if you want a more in-depth look at it.
However, the main takeaways are:
- Buy a journal and stationary that you like the look of and actually want to use
- Set an alarm or reminder to journal every single day and be strict with yourself
- Set a timer if you’re strapped for time
- Journal first thing in the morning when your brain is fresh – this also gets it out the way so you don’t have time to forget
- Use journal prompts to spark inspiration
- Use journal printables to save you time and stress, since your journal page is already laid out for you (I have some on my Etsy, if you want to check them out)
The best way to start your self discovery journey is to just start.
Don’t overthink it. Don’t fret about it. Don’t put it off. Don’t dread it.
You won’t regret it.