Wisdom//

16 Life-Changing Questions for Your First Journal Entry

The secret? Asking very, very specific questions.

(Photo: Doug Robichaud/Unsplash)

For anyone who journals everyday or is thinking about it, the name Tim Ferris is someone you should have on your radar. The entrepreneur, author, speaker and, yes, someone who journals, is a maven of inspirational material and books, most notably The 4-Hour Workweek.

He’s also the author of the quote below and a major proponent of daily journaling. Why? Ferris believes that the act of writing down your thoughts every morning can help to organize your thoughts. By getting your thoughts down on paper, you’re then allowing your mind to start strategically managing them and move ahead with your day.

“Could bitching and moaning on paper for five minutes each morning change your life? As crazy as it might seem, I believe the answer is yes.”

One of the main characteristics to daily journaling, as well as Ferris’ approach, is asking yourself specific questions. These questions allow you to think in a certain way to unlock daily aspirations, inspirations, and, most importantly, possible direction. While some may think journaling is meant to solve problems, most notable people who journal, feel differently. Rather, it’s a mechanism to organize your mind, relieve stress, and feel like you have some measure of control in a seemingly uncontrollable world.

So, what are these questions you should be asking yourself while you journal? Below we mapped out 16 of them from our own journaling and following people like Ferris as well as other notable individuals who journal, such as entrepreneur Kevin Rose and photographer Chase Jarvis. These are only 16 of the many that exist. 

  1. What would make today great?
  2. What are you grateful for?
  3. What are your affirmations?
  4. How are you feeling today?
  5. What amazing things happened today?
  6. What lessons did I learn today?
  7. What deserves my highest attention?
  8. What are my health goals today?
  9. What are your top wins for the week?
  10. Did I advance my goals?
  11. What are the biggest lessons learnt?
  12. What would you have changed this week?
  13. What are you looking forward to next week?
  14. What do I need to focus on next week?
  15. What inspired you today?
  16. What was the best part of the day?

The above questions can be used in many different journaling styles and formats. Oftentimes, individuals will ask themselves a question to start the morning or to wrap up the day. A question like “What would make today great?” can help to think about outcomes that you may not have considered with a usual busy start of your day. The same can be said for a question like “What lessons did I learn today?”

Ferris, when discussing his own journaling habits, continues, “History is littered with examples of successful (and unsuccessful) people who kept daily journals. It ranges from Marcus Aurelius to Ben Franklin, and from Mark Twain to George Lucas.” He couldn’t be more right. Journaling is a proven methodology for success and asking the right questions is a major characteristic of that.

This post was originally published on Kyō.

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People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

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