Personal development journal prompts

We are all constantly changing. We are moving through life with no day as the previous. Journaling can make us stop and reflect on our journey and help us make conscious changes and adaptions to how we spend our time on Earth. This can be a long practice or a quick journaling session. Take some time out of your day and dedicate it to yourself.

Here are some powerful journaling prompts to foster your personal growth.

  1. What makes you get out of bed in the morning?
  2. What do you value in the people that you respect the most?
  3. What are your values? Are you living your life congruent to them?
  4. If 10-Year-Old You Saw Yourself Now, what would he/she think?
  5. Do you love yourself? What does self-love mean to you, and how can you practice it better?
  6. Where do you draw the line between self-care and selfishness?
  7. Would you rather be happy or fulfilled? What would you need to do to get to this feeling?
  8. What are some limiting beliefs that are holding you back from making the changes you’re desiring to see in your life?
  9. Where will you be in 10 years if you keep living your life the way you’re currently living it?
  10. Picture your own gravestone. What should be written on it? How do you want to be remembered?


“Your life is a blank page. You write on it.”

― Donald Miller

Fun and creative journal prompts

Journaling has been invaluable to my mental health – it’s helped me understand my thoughts, emotions and feelings more and as well as prompted me to look at my life from different perspectives and angles. Most prompts go quite deep and can create heavier thoughts, so I thought I’d share some more light-hearted ones. You can always take these prompts to a deeper level by asking yourself why you gave that answer. You might also just want to leave the answer the way it is. These prompts also make nice questions to ask among friends/coworkers/students.

Happy journaling!


FUN AND CREATIVE JOURNAL PROMPTS

  1. If you were reincarnated as an animal, based on your personality, what animal do you think you would come back as?
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  2. What color best describes you and why?

  3. What’s the most vivid memory in the kitchen of your childhood?

  4. Take a personality quiz. What do you think of the results?

  5. If you could only speak twenty words for the rest of your life, what words would head your list and why? 

  6. Which character from a book or movie would you most like to meet and why? What would you ask?

  7. What would you do it all the electricity in the world just stopped? (have you ever unplugged your Wi-Fi?)

  8. If you had to evacuate your home because of a natural disaster, what three things would you take with you?

  9. If you had to give up one of your senses – which one would you give up?

  10. If you could decide what happens in your life tomorrow, what would you want to happen?

  11. If you won €1,000,000 at the lottery, what would you buy?

  12. If you went back in time, what year would you go to and why?

  13. If everyone was mentally incapable of lying, what would the world look like?

What is your most valuable possession?

I’m not a materialistic person. I have lived with very little for extended periods of time – think backpacking the world or moving to a city for a few months and not wanting to accumulate stuff.
I quickly noticed that things don’t make me happy in the long run, and to this day, I feel pretty detached from my material possessions.

The one thing that I absolutely cherish in its physical form is my journals. I started journaling at a young age. In the beginning, not in a book but rather on random sheets of paper. I remember journaling for the first time when my great-grandma passed away. I was nine years old and had experienced a close person’s passing for the first time in my life. I turned to an A4 yellow sheet of paper and wrote how emotional this situation had affected me. Somehow I must have already realized back then how soothing this outlet was and how I could handle this difficult period by myself.

The other experience I had with ‘journaling’ was my mum. She used to write us long texts when we had a fight or an argument and didn’t want to talk to each other. I would often find a page describing her feelings towards this situation on my seat in the dining room or the kitchen. I thus learned how helpful it could be to sometimes put things out of your mind and onto paper rather than throwing emotionally charged profanities at them. It helped me understand my mum’s perspective a little better and remove all the bitter feelings and simply focus on the paper’s words.

My first real journal was given to me by my sister. She had labeled it ‘The Tribe’-journal. The Tribe was my favorite TV-show when I was young. It was basically about a world in which a virus had broken out and killed off all adults, leaving the kids behind to figure out their own life (as if people had known). At the time, I had a hard time making friends in school, and this series was my refuge. I spent my time journaling about how I felt for the characters and their storyline and eventually started writing about my personal struggles in life.

I kept up journaling over all those years. I have dozens of journals from the past 18 years or so. I haven’t written diligently every day but rather sporadically and some times more than others. Yet, I frequently come back to these books because they are fascinating to me to read – I get reminded of my younger self, my thoughts, and experiences at the time, and I am taking advice into my current situation.

And in case you’re wondering – as a language lover and polyglot, I have written in different languages indeed. One of the best language learning advice of all times has been to write my diary and journal in other languages. I have a diary in Japanese, some passages in French, some childhood passages in German but the overarching language in English. It is the language I feel most at ease expressing my thoughts.

Journaling has been a lifeline for me these days more than ever. It’s the friend who is always by my side, listening without judging.

JOURNALING PROMPTS WHEN YOU’RE FEELING DOWN:

2021 might not have brought the change we’ve been waiting for so far. If you’re like me, you simply felt as if 2020 continued. Months of lockdown have seemingly been tearing on everyone’s nerves.

Journaling has helped me through this time. My mind has been racing too much for me to meditate and I’m grateful that at least using pen on paper has helped me return to a calmer state.



I like to set the scene when I’m journaling. I put on some dim lights – fairy lights, a salt stone light and get comfy. I like sitting on my bed or on the ground so that I have a lot of space around me. You might on the contrary also enjoy cuddling into a smaller space like an armchair. Take a notebook that has a nice cover – treat your journal like something special.

For my first prompt and in general, I always like to do a little check-in with my body. I like to do a self-scan of my body, eyes closed and in a sort of meditative state.






And here come the prompts:

  1. What sensations are you feeling in your body right now?

  2. Are you judging these feelings – my anxiety ache is bad, I’m making myself sick, etc. If yes, can you simply focus on it and then let it be there the way it is?

  3. If you were a loving parent to yourself, what would you tell yourself to console you?

  4. If you had your best friend right next to you now, what would he/she say to you?

  5. What do you need right now? Can you give it to you unconditionally?

  6. Which minor everyday life things make you happy and grateful to be alive? Here comes your gratitude list 🙂

  7. What are the weaknesses I’m frustrated about, and how can I use them to fuel something positive? Which ones should I simply let be and accept, reminding myself that in the end, no matter what the world makes us want to believe, nobody is perfect, and embracing that is a positive step into acceptance.

  8. Do you think what you’re feeling right now will last forever? Do you remember the last time that you felt down? Did it end? Are you willing to accept it and sit through, knowing that you will come out at the other hand?

  9. What is a compliment that I could make myself today? Reading this post means you’re taking action!

  10. If you’re angry at another person: Is their behavior something that you don’t like in yourself either? E.g., the other person is so selfish – are you selfish yourself?

  11. If you’re angry at the world: Are you in control over this? If not, can you let it go? If yes, what steps can you take for yourself to better your own position and stance in this world?





I hope you’ll find acceptance and release in this. Stay safe!

Life is like the weather in Patagonia.

If you’ve ever been to Patagonia, you know what I’m talking about. Even if you haven’t, you’ve gone through life, and I’m sure it’s felt like this at some point.

This time is such a time. Stay safe!


You’ve checked the weather forecast and are expecting a fine day.

You open your eyes, being greeted by warm, balmy sunlight. You optimistically start into your day hike. The path is easy, some rocks are scattered, but you are feeling full of energy, ready to tackle any obstacles. Suddenly – a strong breeze hits you by surprise. You’ve heard other people talk about these tempestuous winds that seem to occur from nowhere. They’re infamous in Patagonia and can knock you off your feet. You stumble around a little, but keep going. The wind is strong, but you are stronger.

After all you listened and brought a windbreaker. And a down jacket. The cold is hitting your face, but you keep walking. It’s getting warmer again. Time to let go of some of your protective layers. 

You eventually turn into a valley that looks very hazy. This is the path to your destination. The good weather starts to fade and is slowly being replaced by fog and rain. You brace yourself for the weather. One layer after the other. Knowing that it’s never enough. As you’re walking further and further with the weather getting worse and worse you find yourself torn. Should you continue in this miserable weather? Will it be worth the struggle? Or should you simply turn back into the luring safety of the sunlight? You decide to continue because you want to reach your destination, the end of the trail. After all this is what you came here for. 

The rain stops for a bit. Then comes back. Time seems to stretch endlessly. An hour’s walk feels like a never-ending period of time. You really wonder why you’re here, but you simply keep going. The bad weather conditions are at their peak. You suddenly find yourself in a snowstorm just as you hit the end of the trail. And the final view is blurry and hazy. No trace of what you wanted to see. The walk seems pointless now. 

Except suddenly you remember that it is not only about the goal but also your way towards it.

So you put on a smile, walk back through the ice and snow that eventually turns into rain. You can see a bit of sunshine trying its best to break through the clouds. It succeeds for a minute, sending you a feeling of ease and warmth even though the rain continues lightly. It never really goes away, it’s always there, even when you thought it had just left. 

And then you head back, and suddenly you are overlooking a beautiful view. A view you had not appreciated before when you were fixated on your goal and only your goal. But now you’re taking it in fully. It looks mesmerizing.

Your heart lifts as did the clouds. You already forgot about the bad weather. Gratitude and joy are overwhelming you. Only your soaked shoes trace back to where you came from. You’re peeling off your protective layers, ready to enjoy and face the sunlight. Only to realize that rain & wind might come again. That’s what the weather in Patagonia is famous for after all. But you feel stronger now. You are not that scared of the weather anymore. Maybe next time there will be sunshine at the end of the trail. In Patagonia, anything is possible.

Life is like the weather in Patagonia.


How I learned to embrace crying

Ok, so this post is about crying.

And the title is something I never thought I’d be able to say (let alone write about).

Not because I don’t cry. The opposite actually. I cry a lot. Of frustration, of anger, of emotional pain, of nostalgia, of joy and for no reason. I cry in front of people and by myself.

And I have always hated that about me.

I found myself weak, a cry-baby, too emotional. And I didn’t see any use in all my crying. After all, once I was done feeling (mostly) sorry for myself, nothing would have changed. My problem would still be there, life would still be the same. Why did I do this? Why was I making life so hard for myself? Why would I do something so unnecessary?

I had carried these questions with me for most of my life.

Society and dictionaries were giving me the feeling that crying belonged in the ‘negative action-category’ as well. Showing vulnerability and talking about crying aren’t regular conversation topics after all.

However, this year, I was confronted with this issue a lot in the open. I talked to people who wished they could cry more. And I remember staring at them in disbelief? Why would you want to do that?! Why would you want to seem so weak? Weren’t they happy they seemingly had life under control?

And then things changed. I was staying at a hippie volunteer placement. Imagine 25 travelers from all over the world put together in an old barn. Lots of emotions guaranteed. So I actually cried in front of people. It wasn’t my first time for sure but I slowly and through painful embarrassment, in the beginning, learned that it was OK. Because people weren’t judging me. They were mostly comforting and proud that things were spoken that others didn’t dare to speak and released through tears.

And despite many times when I didn’t feel relief at first, I slowly started to put my attention towards this. Really allowing myself to cry for emotional release. And then also stop, when it was enough instead of crying endlessly when I was younger, just because wailing in sorrow somehow felt comforting and easier than stopping.

These days I’m not asking myself the question ‘Why am I so weak and why am I crying so much” anymore. Rather I’m stating to myself

‘I need to release some trapped emotions, so hello tears, let’s wash them away‘. 

And this has been such a life-changer!! Why? Because now I can feel the power in my tears. And my crying is less ‘wailing in sorrow’ but more of a release just as when you stretch your muscles. 

Maybe you have experienced crying while exercising? It might just be me, but after a good yoga session, lying in Shavasana or a profound meditation, I can often feel that emotional release and it feels great.

My question to you is: Can you embrace your own crying? And acknowledge it. And know that a minute later you can and are allowed to smile if you feel like it 🙂

A personal development book read ≠ a personal development book understood

Note: I’m taking a little break from my travel insights series – it’ll be back next week.

These days many of us have more time for reading.
And if you had the urge to not only tidy up your house but also your mind, you might have picked up this personal development book or motivational guide your friends have raved about (The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle anyone?!)

This is a post about reading inspirational and motivational books in the personal development category, something I’ve obviously binged over the last years 😉

Over the last months, when working with free apps, I have gotten a lot of ads from an app called ‘Blinkist.’ It claims to get you reading ‘4 books a day’ as it provides you with summaries of them. These books are in the non-fiction spectrum, of course (why would you want a summary of a novel?!)
That on its own sounds fine to me, yet it got me thinking about the purpose of reading.

I’m just ‘wild-guessing’ here that Blinkist assumes we don’t have enough time to read a book, so we need a summary (except that they probably hadn’t anticipated the current situation – let’s leave this aside for this post though!) Fair enough, many non-fiction books have long-winded intros, too many personal stories for my taste and self-promotion for the author. So, yes, give me the handy details!

On the other hand, isn’t the whole purpose of reading to devote time and dive into a topic slowly?
And what’s even more important: If this app makes us read several books a week, does it mean that we then also learn several times as much as if we read one book a week?
I have devoured self-help books with awesome-sounding principles, clapped my hands in excitement, and having ‘aha’-moments, only to finish the book to never think about it again, my head already in the next book that would ‘improve’ my life even more.
With every book I read, I put a mental checkmark behind an imaginary ‘essential books to read to make your life better.’
Did my life change 180 degrees, just like the book felt it had after I finished reading it?

It took me a long time to see reading these sorts of books as ‘exercise books’ or ‘courses.’
I realized how I’d only learn anything if I actually stopped, contemplated what the author had written, and suggested I do, and then try to experience or apply it!

This is the only way to see whether you actually agree with the author’s suggestion and opinion. Because sometimes things don’t work for you and that’s ok and why I guess, there are so many self-help books out there.
The book itself won’t make a change for you though! You are the person who has to do the work and look out for ways to experience what the author wrote about. Otherwise, you’ll complain and think, ‘what a nice idea, but it doesn’t help.’ Or you just continue reading, patting yourself on the back for ‘working on yourself,’ yet not really getting anything out of it. And yes, I’ve patted myself on the back so much….

I’ve just finished reading the book ‘The Willpower Effect’ by Kelly McGonigal, a book that presents the science behind motivation and willpower and how mindfulness comes into play as well. I absolutely loved its insights and you know why? Because the book confirmed some things, I had recently learned about my struggles of instant gratification through social media, food cravings, short attention span, … I had already experienced many of the points the book presented in its scientific explanations, so instead of having new strategies to hear about, I got a confirmation that I’m on the right track 🙂

Anyway, reading the above book prompted me to think about this topic and I hope it’ll make you ponder a little about how you are tackling reading this sort of genre.

On a final note, I noticed how at times, points in a book didn’t make sense to me. I would glance at them, shrug my shoulder and continue reading. Only months or years later would I experience something, that would give me a ‘eureka moment’. Just with many circumstances that happen in life, the real reason behind them can unravel much later. Patience is a virtue 😉 Happy quarantine reading!

Accepting myself without make-up/ Travel Insights Series #1

As I mentioned in my previous blog post, I am taking the time to go through my old reflections that I had during my trip. They are from my private Facebook or my journal.

Part one will be my reflection on not wearing make-up anymore. I stopped with it about 1.5 weeks into my trip. I had started in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil and then moved on to volunteer on a farm.


Below is my old post, followed by my reflection.

Even though I’m not really into make-up, there’s this certain ‘touch-up’ in the morning, just like brushing my hair.

Working on a farm and being covered in mud and dirt daily made it pretty unnecessary 😛

So the first morning when I walked around without make-up, I felt really self-conscious about what my face looked like. It’s so rare for me to be around other people without make-up. I didn’t really like what I saw in the mirror. I thought I looked bland and not pretty.

Almost three weeks later I looked into the mirror this morning and suddenly felt satisfied and happy with what I saw.

I got used to seeing me this way day after day. And I started feeling more confident. So here’s a rare (make-up free) selfie just because I felt like sharing! *(edit: I am going to leave out the picture for now..)

Will I stop wearing make-up? No, because I enjoy its look for certain occasions 🙂

Do I think it’s awesome to be ready so much for faster in the morning? Totally 😀

What did I learn: besides accepting myself for what I look like one other important thing:

You can learn to like your look by repeatedly ‘confronting’ yourself with it (look into the mirror). It’s like creating a new habit: at first it feels forced and uncomfortable but over time, it will start becoming natural. ❤️




Reflecting on this status, I can say that I have not worn any make-up since October 2018 and almost forgotten what it feels like applying it every day.

I noticed coming back that in our everyday life, I was coming across a lot more people wearing make-up. When backpacking, many people will eventually ditch their make-up because there is little reason to apply it when you’re at the beach, hiking or turning beds.

In ‘normal life’ I became a little more self-aware of people’s faces and their make-up. I still think that it can look really pretty on people, I definitely understand why people wear it!! And for a minute I thought about going back to my old me, who wouldn’t leave the house without my regular make-up. And then I felt that I wanted to see how I’d feel if I continued the way I had been doing it for the past year.

Every time I met a friend I thought someone would comment on it. Nobody did. Admittedly, I had never worn heavy make-up, so it might not have been that noticeable.

The most challenging time was when I went to job interviews. I actually thought it might be something of a prerequisite to apply make-up, just like the fact that you’re supposed to wear a suit to certain companies to be ‘well-groomed’.

So I was incredibly nervous when I went to job interviews, feeling self-conscious and expecting to be judged. 

Nevertheless, I didn’t feel any different reaction from other people in that setting despite not having applied any make-up except for some concealer to hide a bad night’s sleep due to nervousness 😉

The one time, I still feel self-conscious these days is when I am displayed on video-chat. In a way, I can see why people put a lot of make-up when on camera – it does highlight your facial features and make your face look more engaging. Having said that, I do believe that it is another aspect to get used to and I’m still at the beginning stage of this path of acceptance. 

And this is another reason, why I am sharing this post today: 

Just like the last sentence of my reflection as well as my Facebook post, I have a feeling many of us are (forcibly) creating new habits and routines these days. And many of us will struggle and dislike them. I am hoping though over time, these habits will settle and you will feel less resistance and more acceptance. And when the time comes, maybe the reverse effect will happen, and you’ll go through a reverse ‘habit shock’. Change takes time to get used to, but it’s worth hanging in there!