6 Things to Journal About If You're Not Sure Where to Start

When you're ready to begin a journaling adventure, the toughest thing about getting started can be figuring out what you want to write about.

You might feel like your daily life is too uneventful to journal about, and that there aren't real insights to gather from your average, monotonous life. The first thing you need to realize is that nothing could be further from the truth. Whatever your life looks like, there's something to be gained by journaling about it. If you're not sure where to start, try one (or all) of these six topics.

Your Dreams

Your dreams tap directly into your unconscious, and studying them closely can allow you to catch a glimpse of yourself that you usually can't see. Put a journal next to your bed so that the first thing that you do when you wake up is to write down absolutely everything you can remember about your dream. Sometimes it won't make any sense to you, and sometimes you won't remember a thing. That's fine, as long as you keep track of it.

Next to your dream journal, you may also want to document your sleep. When did you go to bed, and when did you wake up? Did you have trouble getting to sleep, and if so, what were the things that made it tough for you? Keeping a running log can also help you identify issues that can be corrected for better sleep.

Then, before bed, review your dream from the night before and see if it affected how you felt throughout the day, or if you can draw any interesting connections between what happening in the dream and what occurred in real life. Over time, you're likely to start seeing patterns or recurring themes, allowing you to understand the true meanings of your dreams.


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Your Feelings

There are few better ways to truly get to know yourself than to journal about your feelings throughout the day. When you're home, and a strong emotion strikes you, whether that's sadness, or anger, or fear, or even unbridled joy, write it down. Note the events that brought the feeling about, and whether they're new or reoccurring circumstances. How do your emotions feel within you, and what are your thoughts when you're feeling them? How do you feel physically during this time?

While it can be a really raw experience to journal about your frustration in real-time, it can also help you process your emotions. Sometimes, writing things down can also allow you to stop ruminating on them so much, as if you're releasing them to the world rather than holding them inside.

And if you feel a certain way when you aren't near your journal, take notes in your phone and collect them in your book later. The more you write about your emotions and understand your past feelings, the better you'll comprehend who you are and what upsets you, and the better you'll be able to navigate emotionally tricky situations as they arise.


Your Gratitude

One great way to start focusing on the positives in your life is to maintain a gratitude journal. Start every day by listing three to five things that you're looking forward to—whether they're something big, like a trip, or a school dance, or something tiny like seeing your crush in class, or a snack your looking forward to eating. Then, at the end of the day, make a list of the things you were grateful for that day. Again, this can be anything from acing a test or finally finishing a challenging project to having a nice time with a friend, or catching up on your favorite show.

When you're not used to the practice, reflecting gratefully can take some effort and feel like a stretch, but if you keep it up,  it'll soon become second nature. After a while,  it'll be tough not to come up with at least 10 things to be grateful for every day, allowing you to recognize the best parts of your life and change your outlook for the better.


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Your To-Do's

If you're the type of person who lies awake at night worrying about the things you have to do the next day, it could be valuable to use your journal as a living to-do list. Build a calendar for the month within your journal, and carve out spaces for your monthly, weekly and daily to-dos. Every time you think about something you have or want to do, write it down so you don't forget about it. Place it in the appropriate spot, then create a timeline for getting it done, including how long it'll take, when you want it done by and why it's important. Sometimes, the why is as simple as "because it's a school assignment," but when it comes to personal vision and development, understanding why you want to do something can make it easier to buckle down and get it done.

Crossing things off your to-do list can also be very satisfying, as can watching the list shrink day by day as you accomplish your goals. For really big tasks with a faraway due date, try breaking the process into 30-minute segments so you can cross it off the list every day and slowly, but surely, get closer to where you need to be. You may also find that making a thorough to-do list for the following day before bed can help you stop thinking about them when you're trying to fall asleep.


Your Horoscope

If you're interested in astrology, why not integrate your horoscope into your daily journaling routine? Pick a horoscope website you like (or download an app like Co-Star or The Pattern) and make it a habit to read it every day. You may want to write the entire description in your journal, or make bullet points if it's a longer reading. Then, go about your day with your horoscope in mind.

At night, before bed, review what you've written down as you think about the day you just had. Did any of the reading's predictions come true? Are your emotions in tune with the forecast? Write about what you discover. Also keep an eye on long-term trends predicted in monthly horoscopes or other astrological readings and see if they come true. If you find this practice useful, you can also keep track of the undercurrents for your best friend, or sister, or even crush, to get an idea of what's going on in your world astrologically, even beyond yourself.


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Your Tarot Reading

Make it a habit to add a little magic to your days by starting off each one with a tarot card reading. All you need is a tarot deck (or even a standard deck of cards) and access to a tarot website or book to get your journey started.

Your readings don't have to be complicated, either. We recommend beginning your day by pulling a single card each morning, writing down the card you've selected and its meaning, and then writing a bit about how you think it might connect to the day you have ahead of you. Then, at night, revisit what you've written. Did your predictions come true? Did anything related to the card happen that you didn't anticipate? Rinse and repeat for additional insight into your days through journaling. Before long, you may even want to venture into more complex spreads for additional life guidance.


Still intimidated? Click HERE to find out if the #SelfCare app's simple journal prompts might be right for you.