We’ve collectively been through a lot over the last season that’s spanned over a year. So many of us have been using this time to turn inward and make changes in our lives, and as the spring season continues to unfold, this is the perfect time to do some reflection. This blog post likely caught your eye because there’s an area (or a few!) you’d like to spark hope and joy in your life. We’ve got your back and are offering 10 journal prompts to help you bring the hope you crave in any area of your life you choose! We’ll walk you through identifying what may need change, while giving you insight into where to start. Pull out your journal and let’s create a plan to bring you more peace, freedom, and joy where you need it the most!
- Close your eyes and think about the things in your life that you wish you could change. Do you feel too exhausted after work to play with your kids? Do you tell yourself you’re going to make it to the gym but it never happens? Write these things down, and then, if you had to prioritize these things in order of what you would like to work on the most, write down what would be the number one area you’d like to see a shift in. You can return to these journal prompts when you’re ready and go through your list one by one with them, creating a blueprint for approaching each area and bringing it to a place of hope and joy.
- We can also identify areas of our lives that need hope based on our feelings and moods surrounding them. Think about different things that cause your mood to change in a negative way. Do you feel upset or hopeless when you look at your bank account? Do you become frustrated when you start work in the morning? Does your relationship drain you more than fill you up? If you had trouble identifying just one thing to work on in the first prompt, write these down and take a good look at them. Which of them causes the most powerful change in your mood and essence? That may be a good place to start your work of hope and joy!
- Look back at prompts one and two and choose the first thing you’d like to bring into joyful fruition. Now, free-write what that joyful fruition would look like if you could create your ideal situation in this area. Include what change would look like, who would be involved, what the results would be, and anything else that you feel applies. This is supposed to feel good, so let yourself really lean into this!
- Now, returning to emotions and moods, close your eyes for a few moments and imagine this hope has taken place, down to the very last detail. Open your eyes and free-write how you feel when you place yourself in the midst of this joyful fruition, what emotions are most prominent, some of the thoughts you’re having that are creating these emotions. You’ll return to this journal entry over and over as you work on this area of your life. Emotions are powerful, and can help us push forward when we’re feeling burnt out. The reminder of how liberated, excited, hopeful you may feel when you imagine you’ve created this joy, will help give you the strength to continue shifting through the more challenging times.
- Think about the area of your life that you’re working to create hope in. Using the worksheet below, fill out the three bigger steps that need to be taken to bring you the joy and peace you crave. Maybe you need to find a new job that doesn’t leave you with nothing to give to your life or family at the end of the day, or you need to set some hard boundaries with a family member in order to create space for your needs and peace within the relationship. Write your three big steps down on the worksheet. If you’re having a hard time identifying them, use your journal to brainstorm what they could be.
Next, using the worksheet, break each of the three big steps into three small, actionable, doable steps. These should feel manageable and not overwhelming. Maybe three small steps for finding a new job include updating your resume, signing up for a job board website like Indeed.com, and submitting two applications per day. Identify these smaller steps and write them down on the three lines below each big step, giving more structure to your blueprint. You can use your journal to help identify these steps and put some thought into how they fit into the bigger picture.
- Go to your first big step, and to the first small step below it. Now, this part is super important! In your journal or on the worksheet, write down a date and, if you can, a time you will work on this step! When we assign an actual date and time we’re going to do something, it creates a more solid commitment and we’re more likely to follow through on it. Renewal and joy comes first from reflection and turning inward, which you worked on in the first few journal prompts, then from taking action one step at a time until you’ve created an environment of positive change.
- After you’ve written down your date and time, close your eyes and spend a few moments imagining how accomplished you’ll feel once you complete this first step. You’re making progress, you’re on your way to true, lasting change. A true hope that will serve to lift up and lighten your life. Open your eyes and write down a few emotions and thoughts you experienced imagining the completion of your first step. You can do this in your journal for each of your small steps to give yourself a place to come back to if you’re bit by the I-can’t-do-this bug at any point during your work.
- Self-care is incredibly important when you’re working on making shifts in your life. Change and hope action steps require our time, energy, resources, mental focus, and much of our emotional capacity. These are things we have to work on replenishing as we move through this time of joy. Write down at least five self-care practices you will engage in regularly throughout this time. These can look like consistent hot baths to unwind your body and mind, consistent journaling to process through your thoughts, meditation to keep yourself balanced and steady. Choose self-care practices that feel good for you and help refill your cup!
- This one is the most fun! Take some uninterrupted time to write a letter to yourself in the point of view that you’ve come to the other side of this hope period and you’re experiencing more peace, liberation, and positivity in this area of your life you’ve been working on. Tell yourself how proud you are of the hard work you’ve done, remind yourself of the benefits that have come from your hard work, cheerlead yourself with words of encouragement to step in to further hope in your life. Anything you’d like to say to yourself, this is the place to do it. This is a letter you can revisit anytime to remind yourself why you started this work to begin with. A promise to yourself. A commitment. A beautiful pinky-swear between your current self and your future self.
We hope these prompts have helped you create a plan and sparked inspiration for you to take the areas of your life you’d like to shift and get to work on them. Remember to visit your completed prompts often throughout your hope journey for encouragement, they’re one of your most powerful tools for staying mentally and emotionally in the game when you may feel worn out or discouraged.
As always, share your path to joy with us on Instagram at @SmudgeWellness, we’d love to support you along the way and offer love, compassion, and tools that may help you as you move forward!