Happy New Year, everyone! I hope that 2018 treated you all well and that 2019 will be even better. For me, 2018 was a pretty average year– it wasn’t too bad, but it wasn’t extremely awesome, either. However, I did follow through on ten of last year’s non-musical resolutions (out of eighteen… but I’m still proud of myself– some people only have one and they still don’t reach it) and experienced a lot of new things, so I’m going to count it as a good one.
In 2019, I’m hoping to follow through on at least twelve of the non-musical half of my resolutions (I will have 38 total), and I think that I may be on track. If you are someone who struggles to keep it up after January, then these prompts might just help you!
Journal Prompt #1: Gratitude
It is easy to get caught up in the false dichotomy of a year either being good or bad. I mean, just scroll through Twitter for five minutes and the amount of “I want to die” tweets will outnumber the “I made so much progress” ones.
If you are someone who had a bad year at face value, give yourself a few minutes to think about everything you have to be thankful for. It can be as big or little as you want, and remember to have fun with it! Just as you may be thankful for your family and friends, you can also be thankful for tacos.
Journal Prompt #2: Collage
You can make a collage out of anything you want– theatre programs, magazine papers, sheet music– you name it. Just use something that is meaningful to you, and there is no way that you can go wrong.
A creative idea that I tried this year was keeping the majority of my 2018 retail receipts and then collaging the ones from special occasions (e.g. a receipt from going out to dinner on my friend’s birthday) while providing a small sentence explaining the relevance of the receipt.
Journal Prompt #3: Year-in-Review
Isn’t that the thing that Spotify does at the end of every year? The thing that always lies about your top genre? And says that The Cheetah Girls is one of your top artists but you only listened to them like, five times this year?
Well, it can also just be a list of things that happened in the year. I typically focus on the good things, but you don’t have to. Anything that was relevant to your growth as an individual is worth putting on the list.
Journal Prompt #4: New Year’s Resolution(s)
Everyone and their mother has a resolution, but are you making one that is achievable?
First, look back or try to remember last year’s resolutions. Which ones did you succeed with and which ones did you not? If you succeeded (e.g. resolved to read ten books in the year and followed through), then challenge yourself to do it again, but this time upping the requirements (e.g. twelve books instead of ten). If you did not succeed, check to see if you gave yourself a clear way to measure (for example, “I want to maintain a 3.5 GPA” in lieu of “I want to maintain a good GPA”). If you didn’t, then do it this time around! If you did and still didn’t succeed, then lower your expectations slightly. For example, if you have never been able to get a 4.0 and it’s been your resolution every year, you may become discouraged. So, maybe lower your expectation to 3.8 and see if you can achieve that. If you do, raise your standards the next year and build your way up to that 4.
Do not make resolutions that are dependent on another person. Obviously there are some exceptions to this rule, but for the most part, try to make it so that the only person holding you back from achieving your goals is you. Don’t give yourself the “they didn’t pull their weight, so it’s not my fault I failed” excuse. Likewise, do not resolve things that you cannot control. Don’t resolve that you will no longer be single this year when there’s an entire other person involved who has to fall in love with you. While it could happen (and I am PRAYING it happens to me), there is no possible way to work toward it on your own.
Keep looking at your resolutions throughout the year to assess your progress. You may reach some of your goals without even thinking about it!
Don’t be too strict. For example, I am trying to be more punctual for social events; however, I know that simply writing “I will be on time” is going to get me nowhere. So, instead I wrote “[I will] arrive on time [or] within five minutes of start time.” This will help me to ease into it and stay encouraged as I focus on my progress.
BONUS Journal Prompt: Life Update
This prompt is just like any entry that you would normally write; just remember to include the date, your current age, year in school if applicable, a brief idea of what a typical day is like for you, relationship update, realizations, career update, current obsessions, and maybe even a little bit of your five-year plan.
Well, that’s all I have to say! Real images from my journal are below. Are you someone who usually achieves all of their resolutions? If so, tell me how you do it in the comments! If you liked this post, then please hit “Like,” feel free to follow me on here, and you can also follow my Pinterest (@hopeezell5), Instagram (@hopeezell) and Twitter (@TheAfroAlto).