10 Journal Prompts to Self-Reflect on Your Past
I recently wrote about how important taking time to reflect on your past is. Thinking about previous versions of yourself (especially if you’re multi-passionate), and pausing to reflect on experiences that shaped you, helps you develop and understand who you are today. These journal prompts to self-reflect will help you do just that.
Introspection also helps you envision who you want to be in the future. Self-reflection on your past is crucial in self-development. If you want to read more about why you should think about your past, and how to start, click here: Why You Need to Self-Reflect on Your Past & How to Start
If you already know how important it is, then that’s great! Maybe you just want some fresh journal entries to encourage introspection, or maybe you’re just getting started and just need to do some soul work.
In my opinion, there’s really no better way to self-reflect than in writing.
Because this blog is dedicated to showing how literacy can be used to empower oneself, I loved creating these journal prompts to self-reflect that help promote inner self-development through writing. I’m a huge advocate of journaling, because it has saved my sanity more times than I can count (ha!). If you want to know why you should start journaling, check out my previous post: 5 Ways Journaling Can Improve Your Life
Here are 10 journal prompts to self-reflect that you can use to guide your writing session:
Think back on your early teenage years (let’s say, middle school). Describe what type of person you were. Now, think about yourself today. How have you changed or stayed the same?
What did you used to really love to do, that you don’t do anymore? Explain why you stopped, and if you’d ever start again.
Describe a time in your life that makes you cringe. What happened? How did you feel? What did you learn from that experience?
Think about a difficult experience you’ve had in the past. How did you feel? How did you overcome it? What would you have done differently if you had the chance?
If you could go back in time to a different period in your life, what age or time period would you go to? Explain why.
Think back on your teenage years. What was an experience you think back on fondly? Describe it and explain what is so memorable about this time period?
What have you always been scared of? Why? Are you any less scared today than you were when you were younger?
Write about a time you were attracted to someone. What attracted you to this person? Do you think you would still be attracted to this person today? Why or why not?
What’s one lesson you’ve learned in the past five years? How did you learn this lesson?
If your younger self came to visit you now, in the present, do you think he or she would be satisfied with how the future played out?
When you’re finished answering a journal prompt, go back and read what you’ve said. Try to pay particular attention to any patterns or differences that you notice.
Try and envision yourself in the past and summon those feelings. Then, think of all the time and experience that has passed since that period.
Study your responses, and try to connect the dots between any connections you notice on how that experience or feeling contributed to, or shaped, who you are today. Jot down anything you notice at all. Once you feel ready, close your journal and move on to something else.
Take it a step further.
After some time has passed (it could be days, weeks, or months later), go back and re-read your responses.
Ask yourself some of these questions to help guide your reflection:
- Did you discover anything new?
- Were you reminded of something you forgot?
- How do you feel as you revisit the past?
- What do you notice the same, or different, about yourself?
- What makes you notice these similarities or differences?
- If you were to write a memoir on your life, would you include the experience you wrote about in your journal? Why or why not?
As you answer these questions, you might notice that this self-reflection takes you down deeper paths of discovery. If so, let it! Dive into yourself – that’s what introspection is all about.
If you’ve answered these journal prompts to self-reflect and don’t feel any differently, that’s okay. Try revisiting your responses after some time has passed. You might be surprised at what you notice later on.
Happy journaling! 🙂