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#49: The gifts of birthday journaling

by | Journal Prompts

We have many journaling opportunities throughout the year to check in, celebrate progress, compare notes and create goals. Natural milestones present themselves throughout the year, whether it’s seasonal changes, annual events, holidays or other important recurring dates. Of all these, birthday journaling takes the cake.

If you’re not into celebrating birthdays, I get it. Have a cupcake on me and go check out another journal prompt that lights you up and gets you writing.

The gift of a birthday journaling ritual

The New Year is often the focus of goal setting and journaling rituals. But birthday journaling provides a more personal angle, and one you don’t have to share with everyone else. (Unless you’re a twin. Then you’re probably used to sharing everything, anyway.)

You can always ask, “Where do I want to be next year?” But a more powerful question is, “When I sit down to journal on my next birthday, what do I want to be writing about?”

If this is your first time focusing on your birthday in your journal, you can begin a ritual to provide insight and inspiration for years to come. If you’ve been journaling for a year or more, try referencing previous years’ entries as you play with these prompts on the page.

Birthday Journaling Prompts

Try any of these birthday journaling prompts to explore your year, or your experience of birthdays in general. Pick one that resonates with you and try free-writing for 10 minutes. Or make lists, brain-dump style. Then you can return and flesh out a couple items later if you like. Choose the approach that feels most useful and enjoyable to you.

  • What is the story of my birth? Does it seem to foreshadow anything about the person I’ve become?
  • What’s the most meaningful birthday gift I’ve received? How did it affect me?
  • How did I celebrate last birthday? Did I have a part in planning it?
  • Where was I at emotionally last birthday? What was I succeeding at? What was I struggling with? What was I writing about?
  • How am I doing this birthday? Am I where I expected I’d be? Am I surprised?
  • What solutions have I found to previous problems?
  • What high-level lessons have I learned in the past year?
  • What big events took place?
  • What goals have I achieved?
  • Where do I want to be next birthday? What goals do I have for my next birthday? What solutions would I like to focus on in the coming year?
  • What words of wisdom does this year’s self have for next year’s?

Letters to your past and future self

Writing a letter to yourself is a journaling exercise you can leverage any time of year, but is especially powerful on your birthday.
Some ideas for Letters to the Self:

  • Write a letter to read on your next birthday. What are your wishes for your future self? What problems do you want to solve for her so she can celebrate fully?
  • Write a letter to yourself for 5 birthdays from now… or 20.
  • Write a letter from last year’s self to this year’s. What encouragement or wisdom would you impart? This can help you see how far you’ve come.

Keep a separate Birthday Journal

We journalers love an excuse to pick out a new journal – here’s one! Some writers enjoy dedicating journals to specific topics. You can keep a separate journal to write in each birthday – freewrite or follow the same list of prompts each year for a “round up” approach.

This dedicated birthday journal could even be a gift from someone you care about, imbuing it with extra meaning. Next time someone asks what you want for your birthday, you’ll have an easy answer.

However you choose to celebrate your birthday, try to incorporate a little a little journaling. Whether you try some of these prompts or just enjoy filling the blank page, your personal new year awaits. Cupcakes optional.

Check out my response to some of these prompts and how I celebrated my birthday with journaling this year in the blog post Birthday Journaling the Pisces Way.

Yours in journaling,


hey, friend!

I’m Kristin. Welcome to Journaling Saves. If you’re new to the site, start here for the grand tour. Thanks for coming!