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5 Guided Journaling Apps for Beginners to Get Prompts for a Self-Care Diary

Journaling is one of the best practices to boost your mental health with self-reflection. But if you’re new to the method, you can struggle to figure out what to write about every day. These guided journaling apps will issue new daily prompts and ideas that inspire you to reflect upon it and write an entry that comes from the heart.

1. Reflection (Web, Android, iOS): Daily Prompts, Quotes, and Guided Reviews

Reflection is a beautiful web and mobile app for your daily journaling needs that is ideal for beginners. The Today tab keeps it super simple by giving you a daily inspirational question that you can write about. Importantly, it doesn’t restrict you to this alone if it doesn’t apply to you. In the Inspiration section, you’ll get a series of questions, motivational quotes from famous people, or quick templates that you can customize in advance.

Writing your daily entry is also a quick and simple process. In fact, Reflection’s speed makes it ideal as a micro-journaling app for fast entries and even multiple entries a day. You’ll also see insights into your journaling streak and can revisit a random past entry to reflect upon.

Reflection focuses on reviewing your journal entries monthly and annually and includes a guided process for it. You’ll go through your highlights and lowlights, and reflect upon them by six key areas (mind, body, soul, work, play, love), and set intentions for the next month or year. The app also includes several other guides for other mindful practices, but many of them are only available in the paid version.

Download: Reflection for Android | iOS (Free)

2. Waffle (Android, iOS): Shared Journal With Daily Prompts and Questions

Waffle believes that not all journals need to be private. Sometimes, it helps to share those diary entries with family, partners, friends, or even therapists. The app makes it easy to create one or multiple shared journals and prods you with topics to write about.

When you create a new journal, you’ll be asked who you want to share it with. Choose this wisely because the built-in Waffle AI will issue daily prompts based on your choice, as well as your writing style so that you can improve communication with other participants. You can choose to disable this AI and simply get a new prompt from Waffle’s built-in repository of topical questions for each type of group.

You can also manually create a new question for the group or make a new post about a certain event that day, like a birthday or a celebration. Waffle lets you add photos to the posts, so you can even use it kind of like a daily social network to check in with your loved ones to see what they’re going through that they don’t want to talk about online to the whole world.

Download: Waffle for Android | iOS (Free)

3. Tell Molly (Web): Simple and Quick Entries for Those Who Don’t Want to Write Much

Tell Molly makes your journaling experience more about mood and daily gratitude, while keeping the word count less

Tell Molly is a mood and thought journal that is ideal for those who struggle to think of what to write about. The interface is simple and focuses more on helping you quickly log your feelings or mental status without forcing you to write a long entry.

The app has five mood emojis to choose how your day went. Next, choose from a set of tags, or create new tags. It’s far easier to click a tag like “gym” to note that you exercised today and have it be logged directly in a calendar rather than writing a note like, “I had a good workout today.”

Next is the Comment section, which you can use as a general diary entry to pen any other thoughts you have about this day. And finally, Tell Molly prompts you to write a gratitude journal entry, composing it in 255 characters. The limited character count also helps you filter your thoughts for a clear and concise entry.

In the Tell Molly dashboard, you can get statistics like how many great, good, or average days you have had since you started journaling or over the past 30 days. You can also check the calendar view of all your entries and filter them by tags to know your patterns.

4. Journal Monkey (Web): Prompt Generators for Deep Writing, Self-Discover, Mindfulness

Journal Monkey offers several journal prompt generators on topics such as deep writing, gratitude for kids, mindfulness, anxiety, and more

Journal Monkey is a website dedicated to collecting and generating journal-writing prompts for a variety of exercises. It isn’t a journal app where you can write the entry, so you’re free to use any of the best journaling apps for a daily diary, and rely on the site for a prompt. There are several different prompt generators, such as:

  • Deep Writing Prompts Generator: For deep questions about your life (hopes, memories, plans, values, choices) or deep questions about your beliefs, ethics, personal opinions, and personal philosophy.
  • Mindfulness Prompts Generator: For prompts for a gratitude journal, intention journaling, self-reflection, body scan, and mindful habits. You can randomize between these or choose one category to generate more questions.
  • Gratitude Journal Prompts for Kids: It’s never too early to get children into the habit of journaling, and a gratitude journal has proven to be one of the most effective ways to start this mental health habit. Journal Monkey has a generator to make new prompts, especially for kids.

Apart from these, you’ll also find prompt generators for self-esteem, depression, anxiety, self love, and positive journaling. All the generators are free, and it’s as simple as clicking the button till you find a prompt that inspires an entry.

5. Robyn Liechti (Web, Printable): Guided Self-Care Journals for Different Intentions

Robyn Lietchi's collection of free printable journal prompts cater to a variety of diary needs

Robyn Liechti has written several guided self-care journals, such as The Making of a Mother or The Making of a Strong Woman, which are available to purchase in print. But if you don’t want to spend on these, she also has a collection of free printable journal prompts.

These are decidedly targeted towards beginners to journaling, with topics such as beginners, parents, self-love, gratitude, kids, relief from stress and anxiety, healing, change, and insecurity. Most of them are month-long journaling exercises so that you can go through one new prompt daily.

Again, these don’t include a space to write your entry. You can use the best sites to keep an online journal or pick up a physical diary to write by hand and add the prompts-printout as your first page.

Not Necessarily a Daily Habit

With so many different ways to get a new daily prompt, you might not have any more excuses to not write that journal entry every day. But while daily journaling is the best practice, there are no rules that say you need to stick to that schedule.

You are free to write a weekly journal or even three times a week. The point is to cultivate a habit of self-reflection, and if a non-daily schedule makes it more possible for you to stick to that routine, then there’s nothing wrong with it.

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