If you’ve made new goals for the new year, then these journal prompts will help you to stick with them through January and beyond. Usually, we make new goals and habits, try them out, and then give up on most of them by the end of January because there’s nothing tied to them. But, if you use these journal prompts, you will be more reflective on why you’re doing what you are doing and, most importantly, why you should keep doing what you are doing.
1. Is My Vision Crystal Clear?
Before you do anything else, make sure you know what you are working towards. A crystal-clear vision of where you want to go will help you take proper action and stay motivated.
Do not use vague goals like ‘I’m going to lose weight’ or ‘I’m going to start meditating more’; instead, use clear goals, such as I’m going to lose 20 pounds by the end of the year and keep it off forever or I’m going to meditate every morning before I make my first cup of coffee.
It’s easier to do what we need to do when we can see our vision clearly. So make sure your vision of how you want your life to be is crystal clear.
2. How Can I be More Conscious?
Staying on track requires consciousness. It requires you to move from a compulsive state to a conscious state where you are making decisions based on your clear vision.
One thing to remember is that a pleasant, happy life increases your ability to get conscious. When you get stuck in a negative place, you get lost in thought and start to do things compulsively rather than consciously. Therefore, practice gratitude and have fun with life.
3. Am I Starting Small With Room To Work Up?
Are you someone who makes big goals with no room to grow?
Do you want to accomplish the big things and avoid the steppingstones that get you there?
According to one survey of health and wellness instructors, 66% of respondents recommend starting small with manageable goals.
In other words, if you have a goal to lose 50 pounds in one month, that may be too much, and you may be setting yourself up to fail. Start with smaller goals that will ensure you eventually lose 50 pounds and keep it off. For example, ‘stop overeating’, and ‘lose 5 pounds in a month or less’ are more reasonable goals that will help you stay on track towards your big goal.
4. Can I Visibly See My Goals?
In that same survey, respondents said that it’s important to write down your goals where you can see them. This helps minimize excuses and creates a sense of motivation and purpose.
Having the goals floating around in your head is fine, but it becomes easier to excuse things or ‘forget’ exactly what you want to be doing and why. Writing down your goals ensures it’s all crystal clear to you.
If you haven’t already, use this journal prompt to write down your goals so that you can see them clearly.
5. How Will I Celebrate My Wins?
Another important thing for staying on track with your goals is celebrating the small wins. The celebration reinforces your commitment to doing something for yourself and it’s motivating.
How can you celebrate your wins? Anything that feels good to you can be a celebration.
6. How Do I Want To Feel In The Long Run?
You likely set your goals because you would feel a certain way when you achieved them. Make sure to emphasize those emotions as they will be a huge driver for your staying on track.
For instance, if you set a goal of changing careers, write down how you would feel if you were able to get out of your current career and into a career you enjoy. What would your day be like? Would you wake up with more excitement?
7. What Has Worked For Me In The Past?
When you’ve made changes in your life before, what has worked? How can you implement those strategies into your life again?
For instance, a friend of mine quit smoking because she changed the way she viewed smoking. It went from something she enjoyed to something she didn’t enjoy at all – and telling herself that she didn’t enjoy it over and over again helped her quit.
She implemented the strategy of telling herself what she wanted to believe many times over the years since then and it has always helped her to change and stay motivated.
8. Am I Doing Any Of These Things For Someone Else?
Take a look at your goals and decide what you want and what you are doing because other people want you to do it. Then take out what other people want and focus on what you want for yourself.
Making what you want a priority will help you be more motivated and committed in the long run. Plus, it will help you get the life you want quicker.
9. How Can I Think More Positively?
In Maximum Achievement by Brian Tracy, he talks about the Law of Substitution. The law states that you can only have one thought at a time in your mind and that you can substitute one thought for another. He calls this ‘crowding out’ and says it’s the key to a positive mental attitude.
What are you thinking right now? What thought can replace that thought?
What do you think about when you are engaged in your tasks dedicated to your new goals? Are there any negative thoughts? What can you crowd them out with?
10. If I Only Had This Year To Live, What Would I Do?
This isn’t about excusing yourself to do nothing because you might die soon, it’s about putting off ‘someday’ and getting down to business.
When we forget that our time is limited, we often push things until tomorrow. Unfortunately, tomorrow might not come, and we will be left with excuses and procrastination.
So, if you knew you only had one year to live, and you wanted to make the most out of it to see if you could reach your goals, what would you do?
Stop wasting time?
11. What Excuses Am I Good At Coming Up With?
Excuses will throw you off track every time.
What are your common excuses? Acknowledge them and find a way to overcome them.
12. Who Do I Want To Be?
People who find success know who they want to be. They have a visual of how they act, what they do, and what they will or will not accept in their lives.
Who do you want to be?
And most importantly, how does staying the course help you become who you want to be?
13. Am I Taking Enough Action?
You reap what you sow.
If you don’t act, you won’t have much success.
If you act a lot, you will have a lot of success.
If you take some action, you will have some success.
How much action do you need to be taking to get where you want?
14. Where Do I Put The Blame When Things Go Wrong?
If you put the blame on anyone or anything else, you are giving up your control.
You want all the control inside of you, not in someone else’s hands.
Stop blaming other people and accept that things don’t always go as planned and sometimes YOU make mistakes or screw up. Then, knowing you are in control, find a way through or around it.
15. Do I Take Inspired Action?
Planned action is important, but inspired action can really help you get things done in a way you didn’t even know was possible.
Do you listen to that inner voice that tells you to do something? If not, you should start. You might be surprised at how far inspired action can take you.
16. Do I Need To Reorganize My Schedule?
Managing time is important. If you don’t have a schedule that works for you, then you will blow off new habits and goals you are trying to work towards and go back to your comfort zone.
It’s too hard to try to fit in new habits, behaviors, and thoughts on a whim. They need to become a part of your life before you can automatically do them without a schedule.
So, make sure, especially in January, you have a schedule that helps you implement everything you want to implement.
17. How Can I Enjoy Problem-Solving?
Issues will arise, and problem-solving will become necessary. How can you enjoy it more?
One way is to tell yourself that obstacles are good and overcoming them are better. If you can overcome them, they make you stronger, smarter, and better.
18. What Do I Think Will Happen?
If you think you can’t, you can’t.
If you think you can, you can.
If you think you will do good, you will.
What do you think is going to happen? Do you need to change any thoughts?
19. Do I Have A Lot Of Hope?
Hope and faith are important for staying on track. When you are hopeful about your future, you feel more compelled to do something for your future.
You can fantasize about what could be and worry about what can go wrong, but hope is where the motivation really comes in.
Do you have a lot of hope? How can you develop more?
20. What Are Some If-Then Plans I Can Create?
There are some temptations and setbacks that we know are going to happen. They are a guarantee. For instance, someone showing up without calling right when we sit down to accomplish a goal is a common sabotage for many people.
Creating if-then plans can help. For example, if someone shows up when I sit down to be productive, then I won’t answer the door.
With an if-then plan, you won’t debate with yourself about what to do when certain things happen, you will just know what to do.
21. What Are My Sacred Choices?
Jon Butcher in Lifebook talks about sacred choices. These are the things you do every day that contribute to your life in many different ways.
While they can be considered habits, calling them sacred choices helps boost their impact.
For instance, your sacred choices may be:
- Work out first thing in the morning.
- Meditate before breakfast.
- Journal during breakfast.
- Take time for me in the afternoon.
- Follow my daily schedule.
- Go over my goals at night.
22. Where Is My Social Support?
Having support will help you achieve your goals and stick with your plans. It doesn’t matter if it’s in-person support or online support, the support and encouragement of other people are what matters most.
Where is your social support? Where can you find some more?
23. How Can I Make Things Easier On Myself?
Don’t make it so hard to stay on track. There are plenty of things you can do to make it easier on yourself.
- Create a thread from your end goals to your current day, breaking things down into months, weeks, and days. This will help you know exactly what to do today.
- Limit your choices.
- Take control of the things you can control, such as your environment or your schedule.
- Make it clear to other people what you are doing and how they can help you, or at least, not hinder you.
24. How Can I Act As-If?
This is a huge principle that can help you follow through on what you want to follow through with.
Acting as-if gives you a sense of confidence, motivation, purpose, and clarity.
When you act as if, you feel different about yourself and you behave in a way that you want to behave. Sometimes you won’t even recognize yourself as you move through situations with more ease and grace because you are acting as if you know what you are doing and belong.
25. Where I Am Exerting Willpower To Stay On Track?
Willpower can only be sustained for so long. It’s best to replace willpower with other things such as new thoughts or new behaviors. For instance, instead of forcing yourself not to eat the whole cake, tell yourself that you don’t want to eat the whole cake.
It’s also good advice to replace willpower with structure. For instance, if you can’t help but look at YouTube fifty times per day, then you may need to block your ability to watch YouTube with an app.
26. How Can I Boost My Self-Confidence?
Self-confidence will help you stay on track towards your new goals. It will help you avoid the negative, scrutinizing thoughts that pull you off track and back into a place you don’t want to be.
How can you boost your self-confidence? Perhaps it’s as simple as putting in the action and celebrating your wins every day. The more you succeed, the more you will believe in yourself.
27. How Can I Be Luckier?
Being lucky isn’t about having things come to you out of nowhere. It’s about doing the right thing at the right time or being in the right place at the right time.
In other words, what can you do and where can you be in order to find that luck that you want?
Make sure you don’t pass up opportunities or put things off.
28. Am I Contributing To Others?
One of the best ways to stay on track towards your goals is to ensure they are contributing to others.
Use this journal prompt to think about how you are making other people’s lives better.
And ask yourself how you could make other people’s lives better if you stay on track and accomplish your goals.
29. Do I Have Downtime?
All work and no play is not good for your productivity. In fact, burnout will cause you to fall off track and give up on your goals.
It’s important to include play and downtime in your day. Make sure you have enough of it in your day. Use this journal prompt to figure out where you can include that downtime.
30. What Will I Lose If I Fall Off Track?
This journal prompt is incredibly important. It will help you take a look at the consequences of not doing what you need to do.
Make sure you include as much emotion as possible.
For instance, “If I don’t work on my new business, then I may not be able to provide for my family, and we may end up struggling for the rest of our lives.”
31. What Would ‘He/She/They’ Do?
Acting as-if is great but stepping into someone else’s shoes can boost your ability to stay on track too.
For instance, pondering what Gandhi would do can help you to step out of your own shoes and into his. It can help you see things from someone else’s perspective. Or, if not Gandhi, maybe your uncle or an expert in the field or anyone else who you admire and want to be more like.