Your birthday is coming up, and the countdown has begun. Whether you’re happy or sad about it (it’s totally normal to feel a bit uncertain whenever you’re conscious about your age), this is your opportunity to grab your journal and ask yourself a few questions.
Here is a list of eleven inspiring, interesting, and perhaps necessary birthday journal prompts to make you reflect on what happened in the last year, what should happen in the year that’s coming, and yourself and your life in general. If you can think of another prompt or question, please leave a comment at the end of this post!
Here we go…
1. What would be the best birthday present ever?
Some of the prompts in this list are very serious; they are supposed to inspire reflection. However, it’s probably a good idea to start with a question that puts you in a good mood — such as, what would be the best birthday present ever?
Feel free to brainstorm and don’t be afraid to list things that may seem unrealistic or even impossible. You can think of luxury items or expensive trips around the world, obviously, but do think of unique experiences as well. For example, spending your birthday in a remote village with a special person, hiring a chef for the best dinner party ever, indulging in a two-hour massage, or even something more challenging such as hiking.
2. How have I changed since my last birthday?
We constantly change, and it’s a good thing. Depending on which phase of your life you’re in, you may experience incredible change and growth (physical, mental, or spiritual) in a month or less; conversely, you may reflect on the past year and realize that although you have changed, there weren’t any important breakthroughs.
Whatever the case, take a moment to think about this. Think about your (new) personality, the way you talk to people, your level of awareness, your ability to go for the things that matter to you and ignore those things that interfere with your happiness, and so on. If you focus on this long enough, you may notice you have actually turned into a completely different person since your last birthday.
3. What have I learned since my last birthday?
Similar to the previous prompt, but different. Think of what you have learned about yourself as well as the world and the people around you. You can interpret the prompt in a deep, philosophical way and use it to reflect on your views on life itself, or simply use a more pragmatic approach and list some of the lessons you have learned.
For example, during the last year you may have had to deal with someone who drained your energy and eventually had to cut them out of your life, and the lesson could be that you no longer should interact with those who don’t value your time. Or, perhaps you have finally visited that city or country, and learned that a different lifestyle is possible, and that opened your eyes and inspired you to change.
4. What things do I want/need to experience before my next birthday?
Alright, let’s get serious about goals. Life is short and although it can be exciting to have a five or ten year plan for your career, relationships, or life in general — it does make sense to think short-term as well. For most goals, one year is actually a pretty good amount of time, so if your birthday is coming up, it’s a good idea to use the following one as a deadline.
And since your time, energy, and willpower will always be very limited, it’s also important to be aware of your priorities. If you could only have three year-long goals, what would they be? What about two goals? And what if you could only have one — which one would you choose, which one would truly matter the most to you? Be honest with yourself, ask yourself what you really want/need, write it down, and go for it.
5. Is there anything in my life that I need to eliminate?
This is a journal prompt that can be used as often as you like, but your upcoming birthday can be an opportunity to reflect on the past year and all those things and perhaps people that you had to deal with, but no longer want to have in your life.
Again, these could be things (material possessions, unhealthy habits, a poor diet) or people (toxic relationships, fake friends, or even friends that genuinely care about you but may not understand you or inspire you for whatever reason). It could also be aspects of your personality, or limiting beliefs about who you should be and what you should do in life. Don’t be afraid to brainstorm because the things you actually need to get rid of may only come to mind after ten minutes or so.
6. What do I appreciate about turning (…)?
Everyone is terrified of getting old. We are bombarded with ads that tell us we can look younger if we buy a certain anti-age product. We are told that the more we age, the more responsibilities we will have, the more tired we will be, the less fun we will have, and so on.
But what if we developed the mindset where we appreciate all the things that come with growing older? What if we started to focus on all the reasons we are grateful for turning 20, 30, 40, and so on? The truth is that there’s plenty of reasons to do so, however many of us just focus on the negatives. Use this journal prompt to focus on the positives, and be proud of your age.
7. What am I grateful for?
This is another prompt that can be used even when there’s no special occasions or milestones. But it’s so important I had to include it in this list. If you’ve already taken the time to list all the reasons you’re grateful for turning (…), try and think of gratitude in general — the things in your life that make you happy and that you really appreciate.
As a birthday journal prompt, you can think of things that happened more recently, or during the last year, and realize how lucky you have been to experience them; or reflect on some of your most recent achievements and feel really happy about them. I’m pretty sure there is at least one thing in your life right now that you’re really grateful for, that didn’t exist one year ago.
8. If I could go back one year, what would I do differently?
This is an opportunity to reflect on so many different things, including your own actions and behavior and the decisions you have made during the last year. Perhaps you can’t think of any major changes, and that’s probably a good thing, but still take the time and reflect on what you could or should have done differently. Think of…
- The people you spent time with
- Whether you have taken too many risks, or too few
- Your own recurring thoughts and the actions they led to
- Whether you have been too lazy, or never took the time to recharge
- Whether you had too many goals… or none
- Whether your decisions were influenced by others (in a good or bad way)
9. What is my biggest regret about the last year?
Does this journal prompt make you feel uncomfortable, or a bit sad? Great! This is your opportunity to reflect on the things you were supposed to do, but didn’t do (or the things you shouldn’t have done) in the last year, and use this lesson to grow as a person and make sure you won’t make the same mistakes in the future.
As explained in the previous paragraph/prompt, this could be anything from bad decisions, to thought patterns you may need to silence, to people that have wasted your time or energy. Identify all your biggest regrets about the last year and see how you can prevent them in the year to come.
10. If age didn’t matter, what would I do?
Regardless of your actual age, use this journal prompt to think of all limiting beliefs that may be linked to turning a certain age (or not being a certain age yet). For example, subconsciously, some of us may think it’s too late for us to do something, or that we would be able to achieve or experience something only if we were older, or younger, and so on.
And while in some cases our perception may be correct, most of the time it’s simply our own limiting beliefs (or the limiting beliefs of society that we have somehow adapted to). Have you stopped engaging in some activities because of your age? Do you feel too old or too young to do something you’d enjoy? Your birthday is your opportunity to reflect on that, and change that if you need or want to.
11. What surprised me about the last year?
And lastly, you can take some time to reflect on life’s unpredictability and all the uncertainty that comes with it, and think of all those unexpected surprises and gifts that you received in the last year. There’s only so much we can control or predict in our life, and I’m sure you can think of recent events that were totally unexpected but had a positive impact on your life.
Can you think of another interesting or inspiring birthday journal prompt? Leave a reply and share it with us! 👇