32 Journal Prompts For Setting Goals For The New Year

Setting goals for the New Year can be difficult, especially if you have many ideas floating around in your head. I know for myself that I need to sit down and get some clarity on my life, what happened in the past year, and what I actually want in life. Doing that can be a bit overwhelming if you haven’t done it before. What questions should you ask yourself? What kinds of goals should you be focusing on? 

If you’ve ever felt that New Year resolution dread then you might need to get some clarity on your life, goals, who you want to be and why! It’s not an impossible task and it can be a lot of fun leading up to January!

Grab a pen and paper and let’s get to work! Here are some journal prompts for setting New Year’s goals. 

Why you should set New Year’s goals

If you’re reading this post there’s a good chance that you already want to set New Year’s goals. However, if you are still not sold, let’s chat about it. 

I truly believe everyone should be setting goals for the year ahead. People are generally happier when they are growing and making progress in life. By setting goals you are actively trying to do better and be better. 

Goals can be literally anything! I think so many people get stressed out thinking their goals need to be career or business-related. I totally get that too because all over social media it’s influencers telling you that you can make $100k doing some online business. 

I’m telling you though – goals can be anything. That’s why we will talk later about getting to know yourself and understanding what you want most in life.

You should also set goals because the achievement of the goals is a huge confidence booster! It will feel so good when you achieve something you’ve worked towards. Also, there is evidence that goal achievement can boost your self-confidence because it shows that you can follow through with what you say you’re going to do! 

Finally, you should set New Year’s goals because you have dreams. I know you do! Everyone does! By not setting goals for yourself you are letting yourself down and missing out on your biggest dreams. 

Your dreams might feel so far away and maybe not achievable (I get it, I have those too) but they will literally be unachievable if you don’t try. Setting goals allows you to put in the effort needed to make your dreams come true. 

A photo of a light up board saying "happy new year"

Journal prompts for setting New Year’s goals

As previously discussed – setting goals without being clear on what you want, who you are, and why you want it is hard! 

My favorite way to work through my thoughts and feelings is journaling. It can be such a helpful way to process feelings and dissect your thoughts. Journaling allows you to get deeper.

You can use these journal prompts to sort through your thoughts in any way you see fit. Sometimes that is writing until you have nothing else left in your brain. It could also look like point form, mind maps, organized paragraphs, or a mixture of everything (or something totally different, it’s up to you). 

I find point form is helpful for me when I have a lot of thoughts and just need to get them out. I then fill in the blanks with more information and sometimes it turns into a full page or two of just word vomit. 

This is meant for your eyes only so do what works best for you. 

Gaining clarity on what you want 

Think of these questions as “big picture” questions. You want to look at your biggest dreams and hopes for your life. These might be things you’ve never told another soul. You might not believe they are possible. Just write about these big goals and dreams and let yourself pick them apart a bit!

  • What do you get really excited about?
  • If money was not an object, what would you be doing?
  • What do you wish you had more time for?
  • What do you want to be remembered for?
  • Does your current job fulfill you? Why or why not?
  • What is your biggest dream in life?
  • What do you think of when you hear “maybe one day?”
  • List some fun things you’d like to do (think bucket list items). 

Getting to know yourself 

It’s important to know yourself! How are you supposed to set big goals when you don’t know what your values are? There are also some crucial things you need to uncover in order to be the most productive version of you! So go through these journal prompts to get a better picture of who you are right now. 

  • What are your top 5 values in life?
  • What are your passions?
  • How does your current lifestyle really make you feel?
  • What scares you most about change?
  • Do you believe you are worthy of achieving your dreams?
  • What challenges do you face when setting goals?
  • What skills or knowledge do you have?
  • What people in your life motivate you? And who impacts your life negatively? Explore that.
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Mapping out the goals 

The game plan! This is my favorite part. Having even a rough plan of attack is helpful when setting your goals. It can be really overwhelming looking at your big goals and dreams. Where do you start? How will you even go about something you don’t know if you can achieve?! That’s where mapping out your goals comes in and creating actionable steps. 

  • List your top 5 goals (or dreams) that have come to mind while journaling. 
  • What could smaller milestone goals be for each of your big goals?
  • How do you track your goal progress?
  • What habits/ routines do you need to start to help with your goals?
  • Give your goals rough timelines. When do you think you could achieve them? Think weekly, monthly, or yearly. 
  • Create a schedule for when you’ll work on your goals.
  • What barriers do you see coming up for you and your goals? Why?
  • Who can be an accountability buddy? This is someone who you can talk to about your goals, progress, setbacks, and someone who will hold you accountable. 

Creating your WHY and the vision

This part will keep you going on those days when nothing is going right. Knowing why you truly want what you want will be your guiding star. Also, creating a vision for your future can keep you on track when life gets crazy and you lose focus on what matters most. 

  • Which goal means the most to you? Why?
  • Where do you see yourself in the next 5-10 years? Think about your job, where you live, your family, what you do for fun, how much money you have, how you feel day to day, etc.). Get detailed! 
  • How would you feel if you achieved all your goals?
  • How would you feel if your life stayed the exact same forever?
  • Create a motivational motto to keep you going on the hard days. 
  • What does “living your dream life” mean to you?
  • What is the biggest motivator for wanting to achieve your goals? When you answer, ask yourself why again. Do that 3 more times. 

(Example: I want to achieve my goals because I want a better life. Why? Because I don’t love my life right now. Why? There isn’t enough time to do the things I really want to do. Why? Because I am working in a job I dislike. Why? I don’t get to make the impact I thought I would. So my real answer is – I want to achieve my goals because my current job is not fulfilling me and I want a life where I can impact others.)

  • What would you tell your BFF if they wanted to make a big lifestyle change? (use this advice for yourself). 
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Final thoughts 

It takes time to go from discovering your goals and dreams to actually making progress on them. Be patient with yourself during this process. 

Anything worth your time will be super easy. Go into this goal setting and planning knowing that real work will need to be put in. Nothing happens overnight. 

Hopefully, you find these New Year goal-setting journal prompts helpful and they give you something to think about! I will be sitting down with my goals and answering a lot of these questions myself. 

There is just something so satisfying about setting goals and getting crystal clear about them and the plan. I know my brain can feel pretty scattered sometimes which is not a fun feeling. This way the goals are clear and I have a path forward. 

Have fun setting your goals and remember that you can do hard things 🤍

Do you have any goals set for the New Year? What are they?

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