While a clean, blank slate (read: the new year) brings with it an air of excitement, it also comes with added pressure, leaving you wondering where to even begin (and–if you’re like me–anxiety-ridden that I’m already somehow behind). The good news: Journaling can be just what you need as a jumping-off point to make sh*t happen. If the 4.4 billion views #journaling has on TikTok or the benefits journaling has on your mental health and well-being haven’t already convinced you to put pen to paper (or fingertips to keyboard), consider this your sign to get writing.
I tapped into the expertise of astrologists to kick us off, because writer’s block is real and 2023 is all about doing the most. We’re not talking the “Dear Diary” of the past or cliche prompts, but rather deep self-reflection to (actually) achieve your best life. Remember that there is no right or wrong answers when it comes to journaling, and you won’t get dinged for improper syntax, spelling, or grammatical errors. Translation: Your journal—whether notebook or app—is a safe, judgment-free zone. Ahead, astrologists share the practices they swear by to reach your goals in 2023.
Why 2023 is an important year to start a journaling practice
So you set an intention to take up journaling this year, but your new notebook has been sitting pretty on your desk collecting dust since January 1. Sound familiar? Well, if there was ever a year to channel your inner Sylvia Plath, it’s 2023. “We have lucky Jupiter in Aries this year, so it’s all about being bold and brave, creating opportunities for yourself, and pushing the limits,” said Iva Naskova, a western astrologer at Nebula. “2023 gives all of us a chance to take control and adjust our life the way we see fit and think it’s best. So self-reflection and writing about your future can help you manifest happiness, abundance, good health, and success.”
Whether we care to admit it or not, we are often our own worst enemies—you know, the harsh inner critic, the overanalyzing, not trusting your gut. All the more reason to jot down your thoughts and create the life you want. “This is a year of understanding what is really going to be there for you, and where you need to become more self-reliant and anti-fragile,” conveyed Jill Loftis, an astrologer and Founder of Nuit Astrology. “It’s time to take responsibility for who you are and where you are going. It is up to you to decide if you are successful; if you are happy. And typically, there is one person standing in your way—you. That should become abundantly clear this year, and instead of scattering your energies, take the momentum of the beginning of this year to get clear and take charge.”
Journal prompts to start the year off
- What makes you thrive and excites you? How can you make your everyday experiences richer and more endearing?
- What aspects of your life have always stayed the same and why? What can help you make a change and move forward?
- How can your life experiences help you expand and grow, and in which direction?
- What one self-defeating habit or pattern do I need to eliminate and how can I focus all of my energy and resources to healing that destructive habit?
Why you should journal with the phases of the moon
If you’ve ever noticed yourself in your feels during a full moon, that was no coincidence. In astrology, the moon represents your emotions—your feelings, hopes, fears, moods, relationships. And your journaling practice should vary with it. “Consistent action through the ebbing cycles of life is so key for living your best and astrology echoes that with its monthly moon cycles,” affirmed Julien Elizabeth, astrologer and yoga teacher. “My best tip for staying aligned is reflection and journaling with the phases of the moon. Life is always shifting and so too can our perspective to it.” Elizabeth suggests beginning with the new moon (January 21) to initiate a new cycle, and then staying steady with these weekly (or daily!) prompts to witness your growth.
Liz Simmons, an astrologer and tarot reader, agreed: “Astrological journal prompts are best used during new moons, full moons, and when a planet enters a new zodiac sign. Depending on the astrological period, we can use the journal prompt to plan, set goals, or reflect. For example, new moons can be the perfect time to journal about new opportunities, manifestations, resolutions, and more. Full moons are more of a reflective period, so this is the time to journal about what has unfolded during this past lunar cycle and what you have gone through.”
Journal prompts for each moon cycle
New Moon: great energy for setting intention and orienting yourself for the cycle ahead.
- What dream or vision do you want to stay aligned to this month?
- What negative or unhelpful habits are you ready to transform?
- What actions or practices can you commit to integrate your vision and build upon your intentions?
- Where do you see yourself in six months? What are your top three goals or resolutions that you want to pursue during these next six months? What will inspire you to move forward during these next six months?
Waxing Crescent Moon: a phase of small actions and building confidence, great for getting organized.
- What do you need to feel confident, energized, and engaged with your life right now?
- What strengths are needed to work towards your intention?
Quarter Moon: great energy to come back to your “why” and check in with yourself, your actions, and how you’re feeling.
- What hurdles are you experiencing in your vision?
- Where do you feel yourself out of alignment?
- Where is their pressure or intensity building in your life? How can you lean into the pressure that feels productive and helpful? Where can you lean away from any intensity that feels limiting or distracting?
Full Moon: a powerful time to release what isn’t working and celebrate progress made.
- What are you learning most about yourself and your circumstances this month?
- What behaviors or patterns can you identify as blocking my progress?
- How can you honor these unhelpful patterns and release them to create more space for growth? (Creating a ritual or ceremony is great!)
- What have you learned or experienced over the last six months? What are three high points and three low points that stand out to you from this lunar period? What can you take away from this lunar cycle?”
Last Quarter Moon: This is a time to get grounded back into the self and reflect on how you’re showing up this month.
- What are you celebrating about yourself this lunar cycle?
- What routines or rituals ground you and help you feel well cared for?
Waning Crescent Moon: The days leading up to the next new moon are for reflection.
- Free write on what you feel grateful for and how you feel about the month’s cycle.