Self-discovery is a lifelong journey. When we take the time to look inward, we begin to understand our values, mission, and purpose in life. Self-discovery helps us become more honest with ourselves and others. Journaling is an excellent exercise for self-discovery. If you’re new to journaling, be sure to check out our post with 20 journaling prompts for beginners.
51 Thought-provoking Journal Prompts For Self-discovery
1. Who do I enjoy being around?
Think about which people you prefer to spend time around. You may discover something new about the personalities you surround yourself with.
2. What is the most courageous thing I have ever done?
Courage means something different for everyone. There may be a moment in your life that comes to mind immediately when you think of courage. It can be eye-opening to reflect on these moments and the feelings involved.
3. Why is it difficult for me to make friends?
Making friends isn’t easy. Even for people who seem to make friends everywhere they go, it can be a challenge to form meaningful relationships. If you have difficulty making new friends, try looking inward and reflecting on the reasons this is so.
4. What makes me nervous?
Is there something that makes you nervous, anxious, or worried? The reasons may not be as clear as you think. Sometimes, facing our worries while journaling is a great exercise to work through them.
5. If I could change one thing about myself, what would it be?
Nobody is one hundred percent happy with themselves. There is always room to make positive changes and grow. If you had to narrow it down to one thing, what would it be?
6. What makes me unique?
Everyone is unique in their own way. Maybe you have some personality traits or quirks that set you apart from your friends. Examine these quirks and try to understand how you feel about them.
7. What does success mean to me?
Success means something different for everyone. Are you successful in life? If not, what steps do you need to take to feel successful?
8. What prevents me from living the life I want to live?
Sometimes we feel there are roadblocks preventing us from living the life we want to live. Reflecting on these roadblocks can be an excellent way to work through them and work towards achieving our goals.
9. Am I a follower or a leader?
There is no right or wrong answer here. Some of us our natural leaders, while others prefer to follow. Where do you fall?
10. Who is my biggest role model?
Having role models and positive sources of inspiration is healthy. Perhaps there is someone you look up to daily. It can be a friend, family member, celebrity, or even someone you have never met. Reflect on the reasons this person is your role model.
11. What is my favorite family tradition?
Family traditions have a way of bringing people together. Is there a unique tradition your family follows that brings you joy?
12. What is my dream occupation?
This question can take some time to answer. Is there a “dream career” you would love to pursue? What steps would you have to take to fulfil this dream?
13. Do I consider myself a lucky person?
I was asked this question at a job interview once, and it really stuck with me. What does luck mean to you? This is a nice way to reflect on whether we consider ourselves blessed with good fortune.
14. If I could be anyone in history, who would it be?
It is not uncommon to imagine ourselves in someone else shoes. Some people change the course of history forever. It’s fun and eye-opening to think about which person in history we would choose to be, and why.
15. If I could be a character in any fictional book, who would it be?
Perhaps there is a character in a fictional book that you admire. Think of the personality traits they posses and the skills they have. Why would you choose to be them over someone else?
16. Where do I want to be in 5 years?
Time has a way of flying by before we can stop to appreciate it. A good way to start this prompt is by examining where you were 5 years ago. Think of the things you would have done differently. Now, look to the future and imagine where you want to be.
17. If I could be any animal, which would I choose?
This may be a question you were asked in grade school. Some animals fly, some swim, and some live underground. Instead of thinking of your favorite animal, think of how you would prefer to spend your days.
18. What advice would I give my former self?
We can’t turn back time, but we can pretend. Imagine going back in time and having the opportunity to speak with your former self. Think of the things you would say, and the advice you would give, if any. Would your former self listen?
19. How would I describe myself in 3 words?
Three words may not seem like a lot, but it can take a while to choose the perfect ones! After choosing which words you would use to describe yourself, take some time to reflect on why you made the choices you did.
20. Do I like it when people compliment me?
Some people love being complimented, while other people don’t take them as well. Perhaps you were given a compliment in your life that really stuck with you. Do you prefer compliments on your appearance or your personality?
21. If I had to give up one of my senses, which would it be?
It certainly isn’t pleasant to imagine giving up our sense of sight or scent. This question can help us discover what we value most in life. Maybe you can’t live without the smell of coffee in the morning. Or, you may value the sound of music a bit more.
22. When I most productive?
Some people are most productive first thing in the morning right after a fresh cup of coffee. Personally, I find I am most productive around 1:00 in the afternoon after lunch. Is there a time of a day you feel most productive? Figuring this out can help us work our schedules and finish tasks more efficiently.
23. Do I like to follow the rules?
Typically, rules are in place for a reason. How do you feel about following them? Some of us are naturally inclined to go against the grain and break the rules.
24. What are my vices?
We all have habits and indulgences that may be considered unhealthy. Look at what choices you make under stress, and why that may be. Do you have any vices you wish you could replace?
25. Do I embarrass easily?
Have you ever noticed that some people never seem to get embarrassed? Looking back at our most embarrassing moments can make us cringe. However, it can be eye-opening to dive in and reflect on the reasons we have felt ashamed, nervous, or embarrassed in the first place.
26. What is my favorite movie, and why?
Movies have a way of transporting us to another world, time, or place. Perhaps your favorite movie has a strong inspirational message that changed your life. Think about your favorite movie of all time, and the reasons you could watch it over and over without growing tired of it.
27. How is my relationship with my parents?
Our relationships with family can change as we grow older. In your younger years, you may have argued with your parents regularly. How is your relationship now? Would you change anything about it?
28. Who is my best friend, and why?
Being a good friend means something different to everyone. If you have a best friend, do they consider you their best friend as well? What traits and personality quirks do you admire in them?
29. How do you feel when it’s your birthday?
It’s not uncommon to experience “the birthday blues”. Other people love their birthday and enjoy celebrating as much as possible. Take some time to reflect on how you feel when your special day comes around.
30. If I had to describe myself as a color, which would I choose?
Colors seem to carry personalities along with them. We can see yellow as cheerful and happy, while we may see black as melancholy and sad. Is there a color that pops into your head when you think about your own personality?
31. If I could be invisible, what would I do?
At one point or another, we have all imagined what it may be like to be invisible. It’s fun to imagine what kinds of things you may do if you had this superpower.
32. What inanimate object brings me the most joy?
Family, friends, and pets can all bring us great joy in our life. What about inanimate objects? Is there a sentimental object that makes you happy whenever you look at it? Think of this object and why it brings so much joy.
33. If I could go anywhere right now, where would I go?
This is a fun journaling prompt that can change often. Sometimes, we may wish we were relaxing on a sunny beach and listening to the sounds of the waves. Other times, we may want to be in the middle of a bustling city. Use all of your 5 senses to describe the place you wish you were.
34. What is my hidden talent?
Do you have a hidden talent that would surprise some of your friends? Why do you think you have kept this talent unwraps?
35. What is my biggest secret?
We all have secrets. Some of them we have had since childhood, while others are brand new. What is your biggest secret, and does anyone know about it? How did you feel when you told someone about it?
36. What is my idea of a perfect morning?
The morning can be a beautiful time for self-reflection. Take some time to reflect on what your perfect morning would look it. Perhaps you would be at home with your family, or you would stroll to a nearby cafe in a different city.
37. Do I consider myself a funny person?
Do you make people laugh when you’re not even trying? For some of us, humor comes more naturally. Think about what humor means to you and how you incorporate it into your daily life.
38. Which person would I like to see more of?
Maybe there is a person in your life you wish you could see more of. Dive into their personality traits and what makes them a special person. Think about what may hold you back from seeing them more frequently.
39. How do I act when I don’t feel well?
For some people, being sick immobilizes us. We curl up in bed and drink tea until it passes. Other people power through and pretend they feel just fine. How do you act when you’re feeling under the weather?
40. What do other people say about me?
While it may not be possible to know for certain how other people feel about us, it can be fun to guess. Try stepping out of your comfort zone and taking on an outside perspective.
41. What is the weirdest dream I’ve ever had?
Have you ever woken up and remembered a strange dream you had the night prior? Did you tell anyone about it? If you are looking to remember your dreams better, journaling in the morning is a great way to start.
42. What do I consider my greatest achievement?
Achievements are like milestones in our life. It’s rewarding to look back and see all the things we have accomplished. Is there an achievement that stands out as being the most memorable?
43. How do I practice self-care?
Self-care is an important part of physical and mental health. How do you practice self-care? Are there any ways you can improve your practices?
44. If I could spend the day with someone famous, who would it be?
Have you ever imagined spending the day with a celebrity that you admire? This is a fun journaling prompt because it lets you live out that fantasy. Imagine the places you would go and the conversations you would have.
45. What is my favorite holiday, and why?
Is there a holiday you look forward to every year? Perhaps your family has unique holiday traditions that make the day extra special. What are the reasons behind your favorite holiday?
46. How have I stepped out of my comfort zone recently?
Stepping out of your comfort zone can be challenging and exciting. If you stepped out of your comfort zone recently, describe the experience in great detail. Think about what you did, how you felt, and how other people around you reacted.
47. Am I introverted or extroverted?
This may seem like a simple question, but it can really open the doors to self-discovery. Do you find yourself energized when you are in the company of others? Perhaps you recharge better when you are alone. Think of the reasons you consider yourself an introvert or an extrovert.
48. Am I a competitive person?
Some people don’t have a competitive bone in their body. They can play games or sports and it doesn’t matter if they win or lose. Other people may take family game night much too seriously. Where do you fall on the competitive scale?
49. What am I most grateful for?
Practicing gratitude can uplift our moods and bring us joy. Is there something that stands out when you see the word “grateful”?
50. What is my biggest regret?
We all have some things in life we may regret. Perhaps these experiences changed us or shaped us into different people. If there is something in your past you regret, think of how your life may be different if you made an alternate choice.
51. What new habit do I wish to form?
Forming good habits isn’t easy. There is a reason people choose a “new year’s resolution”. What new habits do you wish to form in your life, and what steps will you take to form them?
I hope these journaling prompts spark creativity and motivation in your writing. What questions for self-discovery would you add to this list? We also have printable journal prompts available for free!