Welcome to 2020! It’s another year fresh with opportunities. I’m excited, how are you feeling about it?
Today on the blog we’re talking journalling. Journalling is a fantastic habit. It can help you process some of your feelings, record memories of events and people. I’ve journalled for years and love it!
I seem to think most clearly when I’m writing. I don’t know why I’m this way, but it’s meant since I was very young I’ve used a journal to express and understand myself.
My journal is for me, for my enjoyment and use. You can do with your journal whatever you like! Recording prayers, thoughts, hopes, memories or even what you thought of the book you read last week are all great uses for journals! The new year is the perfect time to start a new habit, and I can vouch for journalling as many others probably can.
If you’re considering journalling this year, I’ve compiled a few prompts to get you started. They’re self-reflective in nature and aimed to give you a head start into this new year that stretches before us! If you have any prompts that you find useful, please feel free to share them in the comments below this post.
What did you learn about yourself in 2019?
One of the best things about the practice of journalling is its self-reflective nature. As you start out 2020 devote some time, if you haven’t already, to thinking about the year that has just passed.
In particular, I often take some time to reflect if I’ve learnt anything about myself through the situations I experienced in the previous year. For example, perhaps you had a really difficult family situation that you can use to learn how you naturally deal with conflict.
If you had any goals from 2019, take a moment to think or write about how you did with them. Be open and honest with yourself. It’s important to acknowledge where we have succeeded, as well as where we have failed or made mistakes. We’re all human! Making mistakes is a part of that. It also leads us to my next prompt…
What areas would you like to personally grow in, or see change in your life for 2020?
Now that you’ve looked back, you can look ahead! Think about all aspects of your life. That may include but not be limited to: health, fitness, spirituality, family relationships, work / life balance. Everyone’s list will look different, and you might even find you feel completely satisfied with how you currently are. (In my view it’s always good to be growing and challenging ourselves to be better).
If you can identify some areas you’d like to see change, now is the time to set down some goals. Now, I’m not talking ‘new years resolutions’ that are short lived. Think about what is really important, and how you want to achieve this goal. Make it a SMART goal.
If you haven’t heard of what a SMART goal is, it is an acronym.
S = Specific – Make your goal specific. Rather than To be fitter in 2020 adjust to a specific goal which encompasses the more general one within it, such as To be able to run 5 kilometres.
M = Measurable – The issue with many goals is that its hard to keep track of your progress if it’s not measurable. How will you determine that you’re fitter? (If we stick with our previous example of fitness as our goal). By choosing a goal you can measure, you can see your progress. If the goal is running 5kms you can see your gradual improvement toward 5kms.
A = Achievable – I’m going to fly to the moon is a ridiculous example of a goal that is not achievable for most people. Can you actually do the goal you set out to do?
R = Realistic – Maybe right now, just finding the time to take the dog for a walk once a week is hard enough. Maybe you should start with that as a smaller goal. When you achieve it, you can then be encouraged to challenge yourself further. An unrealistic goal will only serve to demoralise you and lead to giving up.
T = Timely – Set a time frame for yourself to achieve the goal within. This will give you a deadline to work towards. In our running example, perhaps there is a 5km run for charity in a few months time. You can sign yourself up to compete and you’ll have an incentive to train (hopefully!)
Whatever goals you set for this year, it is my hope that you’re able to achieve them. SMART Goal setting was something I was properly introduced to around five years ago. My husband and his family are excellent at setting and achieving their goals which has inspired me to try and achieve some of my own.
It’s taken a few years of trying, and I’ve improved in setting my goals, but I’ve finally achieved some of my goals such as:
- Establishing a regular writing habit in 2019.
- Establishing a regular exercise habit in 2019.
- Writing and completing a Novel draft (no, it wasn’t the book I had in mind when I set the goal, but life is full of surprises!)
I’ve had similar goals to the ones above for years but they weren’t SMART goals, so I failed. I’ve gotten better at goal setting because of practice, persistence and finding ways to hold myself accountable. Finally by setting SMART goals and asking for the support of those around me. Whether it’s sharing #dailywriting updates to my instagram story, or asking my husband to help hold me accountable, this has helped me press on. I hope you’re able to do the same this year.
Who are the People in your Life you Want to invest in this year?
Time is limited. Life gets busy, and if we’re not careful, it can be months before we see people we care about. Unfortunately this is a reality for many of us. Does this sound familiar? Sitting around the dinner table you say to your family or spouse, ‘You know who I haven’t seen in a while? Joe Blog.’
Intentionality with your relationships is great for mental health, and building a good support community for yourself and others. Develop strategies to stay connected. If you have any tips for this, share in the comments below!
One of my friends and I have determined that we need to schedule a catch up once a month. At the end of the current catch up, we try and find a time or activity that suits for our schedules. A lot can change in a month, and though sometimes we may end up going a little longer than a month between catch ups it’s nice to have that commitment to our friendship.
Who is it that you want to spend more time with? How can you make that happen?
What do I hope for the others in my life for 2020?
This one may not be for everyone. As a Christian, I often like to start my year by spending some time thinking and praying over the year ahead for my loved ones.
If you’re not religious, you may like to spend some time reflecting on how you can support your loved ones this year. Do you know someone who will be going through their first year without a loved family member? Perhaps a child of yours (or a friend) is going through their final year of schooling. There are some things we know may be difficult in people’s lives. You have the opportunity this year to hopefully be there for these people.
Yes, it also might crop up unexpectedly. You won’t know all the challenges those you love may face this year.
Yet, by thinking about those you love, and how they like to receive love and support you will hopefully have some ideas for what to do if and when those unexpected things pop up. Even if they don’t this can be a good exercise in finding ways to show your appreciation to those around you.
If you’re not sure, ask them what their hopes are for 2020, and how you can best support them. They may suggest something that you never would have thought of, and by asking you show you care for them. Write their response in your journal somewhere so you don’t forget.
What is it that brings me joy in life?
This is a question that can allow you to set up some healthy mental health strategies for the year ahead. By identifying what it is that brings you joy in life you can ensure that throughout the year, month or week you make time for these things.
Perhaps you like reading (as I’m sure many of you subscribers do), baking, cycling, gardening or having coffee with a friend. Maybe all of the above!
Making time for what brings us joy ensures we maintain a positive environment for ourselves, and are filled up so that we can then go out and give to the world. It’s not selfish to take care of yourself.
Identify an hour a week in 2020 that is dedicated purely to ‘me time‘. Write about your plans for that time, list some ideas of things that will make you happy. If you have lots of commitments, and a family to consider, develop some strategies for how you can preserve your hour.
I hope you find these journalling prompts helpful as you start out your journey into 2020! I personally find journalling a relaxing way of sifting through the tangle that can be my thoughts, emotions and goals.
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