5 Journal Prompts to Ring in the New Year

5 Journal Prompts to Ring in the New Year

With the whirlwind of the holiday season, many of us don’t catch our breaths until well into January.

But if we don’t press pause long enough to simply think about the year behind us and the year ahead, we miss a perfect opportunity for reflection and growth.

Journaling is my favorite way to do this. There’s something about getting your thoughts and feelings down on paper that sets you free and gives you ultimate clarity.

If you’re up for some written reflection but aren’t sure where to start, I created 5 journal prompts to help you celebrate your achievements, let go of any unfinished goals, and start the new year off with intention.

So press pause, make a cup of tea, and get quiet and cozy. Let the words flow as you welcome in 2019.

#1  List your "strong" highlight reel.

When did you feel strongest this year? This could include the obvious physical moments like PR’ing your clean and jerk or running a half marathon, as well when you felt strong in other ways like asking for a raise, completing The Paleoish Challenge, or reaching a meditation goal.

#2  Write a thank you to yourself for all the little things you did to stay healthy.

It can be way easier to focus on the times we feel “off track” or the fact that we haven’t reached a health goal yet, especially this time of year. But you probably put in way more time, effort, and conscious decision-making to stay healthy than you give yourself credit for.

Be specific and include any little thing you can think of like, “Hey Self, thank you so much for all those nights you got to bed by 10. And props for choosing the healthy option all those lunches while your coworkers ordered pizza!”

#3  Make an “It’s Cool” list for things you didn’t end up accomplishing and why.

This could also be called a “forgiveness letter,” but that feels way too heavy. Because the truth is, if you didn’t achieve some of your 2018 goals, that’s ok.

This exercise is a way to have grace for yourself and get to the root of why you fell short. Writing it out can help you start 2019 with a clean slate, understand what needs to change to achieve your goal this year, or recognize it’s time to adjust your goal (or let go of it all together).

I recommend writing this one in second person too as if you’d been observing a friend’s life and are writing to her. This can help you write through a lens of compassion in a truthful but objective way.

For example, “It’s cool you didn’t end up reaching your goal weight. I know you weren’t ready to let go of old habits and were making your family the priority.”

Also, feel free to elaborate and write down what you might do differently going forward, like “It’s cool you didn’t make it to the gym 5 days/week like you’d planned. Work got INSANE, and I know you were giving 110% at your job. This year, you’ll have to set some boundaries at work and truly make exercise a priority. I know 3 days/week will be more doable and still allow you to crush it at work.”

#4  Write a congratulatory note to yourself as if it’s the end of 2019 & you accomplished all the things you wanted to do.

This is a fun one. Let yourself dream and really see it all happening. As you write, feel it happening — and write about that too!

Here’s another example to get you going:

“Hey Self, way to go this year! I’m so proud of you for finally making those lean muscle and strength gains like you’ve been wanting to. That little happy dance when you hit your new back squat PR felt incredible! It was really fun this summer to finally feel comfortable and confident in a swimsuit too.”

#5  Brainstorm a list of all the ways you can take action to make it real.

While #4 is all about dreaming, this one is about getting real and practical. What actions can you take to make those goals happen? What do you need to do more or less of? What’s a new approach you haven’t tried before?

Remember, this is a brainstorm, so write down whatever comes to mind before analyzing it.

For weight loss, you could list things like…

  • Meal prep every week
  • Aim for two veggies with every meal
  • Work with a nutrition coach 😉
  • Get 8 hrs of sleep
  • Track my food


I hope you enjoy these prompts and find a little quiet time for pressing pause.

Wishing you a very healthy, happy new year!



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