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The First 21 Pages of Your Journal

Since I posted Your First Step to Being a Renaissance (Wo)man, I’ve received emails from some of you about how you’ve started journaling. So what do you do if you feel like you’ve become repetitive in your journal? This post presents 21 prompts to write about in your journal. Why 21? Not because of the “It takes 21 days to form a habit” claim. That’s actually a myth. A study done by Lally et al. [1] shows that habit forming could take around two months. So again, why did I choose the number 21? Simply because I like the number. It’s a Fibonacci number and what’s not to like about Fibonacci numbers?

Day 1. Draw a blueprint of all the houses you’ve lived in, all the schools you’ve been to, all the offices you’ve worked in….It’s interesting to realize how easy it is to forget the places we’ve spent considerable amount of time in. You could add a descriptive section to this prompt.

Day 2. Take a picture of your favorite dish and write about it. What memories are associated with it? Who cooked the best version you ever had?

Day 3. Write about your ideal day. What time do you wake up? What are you doing? How are you feeling?

Day 4. Write a fictional conversation with one of your heroes. Where are you having this conversation? What are you talking about?

Day 5. Write a letter to your thirteen-year-old self. What are your biggest regrets? What are the biggest lessons learnt?

Day 6. Who are the people you admire the most and why do you admire them?

Day 7. Write a blow-by-blow account of the previous day from the moment you woke up to the moment you went to sleep. Compare this with your entry for Day 3 and see how you can improve your life.

Day 8. Write about one of your happiest memories. What were you doing? Where were you? Who were you with? Is there a picture? If yes, add it to your journal.

Day 9. Every day on the news we learn that the world is a scary place. Is there anything that happened recently to give you hope in humanity?

Day 10. Write a thank you letter to someone who has influenced your life greatly. You could mail this letter (or not).

Day 11. Write about an inspiring talk/speech you’ve listened to recently. It could be a  TED talk or a podcast or simply a conversation with a friend. What did they say that made you feel pumped up? How did it resonate with you?

Day 12. Write about a time when you were really worried about something and it turned out to be all right in the end.

Day 13. Write a letter to your future self about something you’re really worried about right now, and send it to your future self via http://futureme.org/. Don’t let your anxiety cripple you and refer back to Day 12’s prompt to calm yourself down.

Day 14. Describe a day you spent totally alone. Why were you alone? What did you do? How did you feel? Would you like to repeat it? [If it’s been a while since you’ve had a complete day to yourself, then describe a time when you spent a long stretch of time (6 hours) on your own].

Day 15. What was the longest time you’ve had to wait in queue for something? Was it worth the wait? How did you spend that time?

Day 16. Describe a book that considerably changed your life. Or describe a book that evoked such a strong emotional response that you experienced a book hangover.

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Day 17. Look back at your life and write about a belief you held for so long that in retrospect makes you feel so stupid and naive.

Day 18. Describe your favorite journaling spot. Do you get natural light or do you use a lamp? Are you sitting at a desk or lounging on the sofa? How is the noise level?

Day 19. If there is one thing you could change about the people around you what would it be and why?

Day 20. Is there something that you want so bad? It could be a thing like a car or a job or a lifestyle? List down ten ideas of ways to get it – without robbing a bank. See if you can take the first step towards implementing your list.

Day 21. Start the page with “What scares me the most…” and write down your biggest fears.

If you are inspired by these prompts, feel free to take a picture of your journal and tag me on twitter @ahechoes #21pages

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Header Image: pixabay.com

Book Hangover Image: Pixabay image modified via Buffer Pablo

[1] How are habits formed: Modelling habit formation in the real world

Published inJournalingPersonal DevelopmentPrompts