New year journal prompts: Make this your best year ever

Start the new year journaling

The old year is nearly gone, so now is a good time to look forward to a fresh start using our new year journal prompts. Take all the goodness from the previous year and bring it with you into the coming year where your ideal life is waiting to be created.

New year journal prompts are triggers which address what you want to do this year and how you want to live your life.

They are a way of reflecting on the previous year, and deciding what to bring into the new year and what to leave behind.

We have lots of posts on the Journal Library website which deal with thinking big, tuning in to your dreams and opening your mind such as:

How to journal and manifest your pillow affirmations

How to journal your way to the best dressed list

Self discovery journal prompts to create your unique style

Enjoy those posts and start to think about how you want to live the year ahead.

But back to the new year prompts.

We have put together a list of the 7 best ways to use these new year journal writing prompts to focus your mind on making your dream life an exciting and tangible reality.

woman with a cup of coffee. Accompanies the blog post on new year journal prompts

Reflect on the past year and then make next year your best year ever!

Favourite memories

Before looking forward to the new year, now is the perfect time of the year to go through the last year and journal your favourite memories.

Don’t undervalue the goodness of the previous year.

For many of us there will be many good times. Even those of use who have had a hard year will probably have some favourite memories to recall.

Write about what these memories were like, what happened, who was there. You could write out names of friends who contributed to great memories.

Also journal about how you felt, and what your thoughts were about the experiences. You could keep a separate journal which records only your favourite memories from each year. It would be a wonderfully uplifiting way to track your life.

Biggest challenge

Also take the time for a yearly reflection and journal about your biggest challenges this year. These were your major life events of the year.

What were they?

How did you deal with them?

How can you be proud of yourself for getting through challenging times?

Also ask yourself what character traits you have developed that you can take with you into the new year?

Are you more resilient, do you have more self discipline?

These are personality traits that you have developed which are powerful tools for your future life. So don’t underestimate them.

It’s so easy to dismiss the year that is gone without taking all the goodness from it before it goes.

Flatlay with cupcakes and a journal. Accompanies the blog post on new year journal prompts

Look forward to the new year

Having looked at the year that has gone you have given yourself time to record your experience of it, both good and bad. You may have cleared some mental clutter from the last 365 days too.

It’s now time to look forward to the new year.

7 categories to include in your new year journal

Here are 7 categories of of journal types which help you to look forward to the new year, spot growth opportunities for yourself and really create the kind of year where you will make the best of every opportunity that comes your way.

1. Use new year journal prompts to find your word of the year

I love having a word of the year. My word for 2022 was visible. My word for 2023 was strong. My word for 2024 is arrival.

Words for the year can become really personal to you. One year I chose ‘becoming’ as my word and then Michelle Obama’s book was published entitled, ‘Becoming’ and I was so upset that she had used ‘my’ word!

Choosing a word for the year is a great new year journal prompt.

Choose a word that resonates with you, that really means something to you, rather than something that sounds great but doesn’t have a personal connection.

For example, ‘achieve’ is a great word, but if the word that resonates for you is ‘calm’, then your body and your mind are telling you something that you shouldn’t ignore!

Go with the word that is specifically for you (and forgive wonderful people when they use it as the title for their book!).

Use your word for the year to journal about how you feel about the word, what it means to you and how your year will be different by adopting that word.

Create a list of things that this word means to you and the value it has for you.

Your word will unfold for you as the year unfolds, but before it does so, journal about how you might change as a result of having this word in your life for the next year.

2. Use new year journal prompts to decide on your new year’s resolutions

I am unsure about the efficacy of new year’s resolutions. They seem like a worthy part of your personal development but as we all know, the rate of failure for a new year resolution is fairly high.

Instead, I proprose that you use your new year’s resolution journal prompt as a way to discover the bigger picture for you and then break that bigger picture down into smaller steps.

For example, we often say, “This year I’m going to lose weight / get a new job / move house.” Those are big projects and, if you want to achieve them, they may be better if they are broken down into smaller goals that are more achievable.

It would still remain your main goal, but would be broken down into smaller goals or actionable steps that pave the way for success.

New year journal prompts can help you decide if new year’s resolutions are for you. Give yourself half an hour and allow your mind to wander. Think about what you really want for yourself. Ask yourself why you want to lose weight, or change jobs. There may be an underlying reason that you can’t see until you take the time.

3. New year journal prompts – New things to look forward to

This is a lovely new year journal prompt. What are you looking forward to about this next year? Write out a list, and keep adding to it over the next few days. It could be a dream trip, or an ideal day, or seeing friends regularly, or going to the theatre, or learning a new skill. Whatever it is, write it down.

4. New year journal prompts – New goals for 2023

Use this journal prompt in conjunction with the new year’s resolution prompt. Break down your big project new year’s resolution into smaller new goals for 2023. This journal prompt forms actionable steps that you can take to ensure that your needs are met during this new year.

If your dream is to start an online business, a goal would be to register your domain name and create a website. New goals take thoughts from the present moment, help create them and then produce them as finished and complete in the near future.

5. New year journal prompts -New habits

What new habits would you like to develop in the coming year and for the rest of your life? What habit have you started that you would like to get better at? Habits are actions that we take on a regular basis, sometimes on an every day basis.

Journal what comes up for you when you think about your new habit. There is often resistance lurking somewhere. So now is a great time to uncover all those subconscious resistances which could scupper your future success.

6. New year journal prompts – self development

This journal prompt focuses on your own life and how you would like to develop in this next year? What career goals do you have?

What would you like to improve at your current job?

Are there new workouts that you want to pursue?

What are your unique talents?

Write those out then use them as prompts for how you can develop your own talents.

Self development isn’t just a linear path: ‘start here, finish here’ kind of mentality. Use your self development journal prompts to write about wellness practices you can develop.

When I think of wellness I think of how I can be kind to myself and nurture myself.

Journal around these ideas and get a balance in your self development journaling practice.

7. New year journal prompts – spiritual growth

How would you like to grow spiritually this year? Would you like to meditate, or read scripture, or go on a retreat?

Would you like to learn to pray every day, to be more intentional in the way that you live and develop those inner characteristics of love, peace and joy?

How do you want to interact with those around you?

How do you want to be part of the world and what do you want to contribute to the world?

Ways to keep you on track

It is exciting, exhilarating even, to write about goal setting, getting rid of a bad habit, and having a better time in the future than you are now.

However, unless you keep track or your desires and set intentions, those dreams and desires inside you will stay inside you and not come to fruition.

Tracking your new year’s resolutions

Here are 4 ways of habit tracking that you can use to bring your future self into reality.

1. Habit trackers

Use journaling or digital planners to set your goals and monitor them. Bullet journaling is a popular form of habit tracking.

Whatever method you use, it will be vital in brining your big goal to life so make sure it is a habit you are happy to use daily.

2. Journaling practice

There are many amazing forms of mindful journaling which will help you understand who you are better.

Morning pages is one very popular practice but you can also create your own personal growth journaling practice. The most important thing is that you feel the benefit from the practice.

This blog post will help you get started with your journaling practice if you have not yet established a routine. And this blog post will give you some easy prompts to inspire your journaling flow

Morning pages does not recommend that you read your writing after it is finished. However for other journaling practice, a vital part of the journaling is in rereading what you have written and, understanding yourself better, taking action from that place of better understanding.

You can also create a journal for a specific project or length of time. Journals, unlike diaries, do not have to last for the span of one year.

3. Vision board

Creating a vision board at the end of the year for the new year ahead is a great kickstart to your plans.

4. Good daily habits

Incorporate the list of questions you have asked yourself in the above section, into you daily journaling habits.

This is a great way of keeping consistent through the year and keeping on track with your personal intentions for the year.

Some you may want to do daily, for example, goals and habits for the year. Others you may want to journal about on a monthly or bi-monthly basis, for example your word of the year or your career goal.

Whatever you want to track and however you want to track it, set it out from the get go. Create pages in your journal that appear monthly or bi-monthly for those goals you want to track along this time period. By doing it in advance you save yourself a lot of time later.

I hope that this combination of suggestions: looking back over the last year; looking forward to this year with goals; and habit tracking options will set you up for a great year ahead. Of course you don’t have to wait until a new year to implement these strategies, you can start any day you like.

Other blog posts you might like

If you would like to read other blog posts that might inspire you to think bigger, think in a different way and encourage you to grow into yourself and your potential, then have a look at the following posts:

How to organise a journal for the life you want
Journaling ideas for self improvement
What is a growth mindset journal

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