List Writing Prompts: 20 Lists to Make for This Year {Free Printable}

These list writing prompts will have you making lists you’ve never thought of before, establishing a writing habit, and changing the way you think about… well… everything. Make sure to scroll down and grab the printable for your journal.

Have you ever tried journaling in list form? It’s like the perfect marriage of the calming aspects of journaling and the constant compulsion so many of us feel to make list after list after list.

These list journal prompts are the perfect addition to my other journal writing prompts.

woman sitting out couch with laptop and notebook ready to use prompts to make lists

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Why Try List Writing Prompts?

Making lists and calling it journaling? What could be better? 😉

Think of a goal-setting journal. Or a gratitude journal. Those types of journaling are basically writing out lists. 

But they are not the only kind of lists you can make that will spark your motivation to be thankful for the things you have right now and also strive to improve your life for the future.

You don’t want to just go all willy-nilly and start writing out a massive to-do list every day and call it journaling. I mean… you COULD… but putting just a little bit of thought and direction into your journaling lists will actually help your brain a little more.

Save the to-do lists for brain dumps and daily planning sessions.

20 Lists to Write In a Journal

1. Places you have traveled

In future journaling sessions, you could expand on this. Describe each place. Did you enjoy it or not. What did you learn from each journey? What did you love and what would you have changed? Did you travel alone or with someone else? How did that affect the experience? Would you go there again? Why or why not?

2. Places you want to travel in the future

Again, expand on why you want to visit these places. When might you be able to go? What can you do now to prepare for these trips?

3. Books you want to read

This one could be endless. 😉 Perhaps you could make separate lists by genre or author… or a list just for this year. Remember, this is a totally personal list… don’t feel you have to include books you think you SHOULD read. Do your own thing!

4. Things you have learned in life

What did you learn? Include ‘little lessons’ and ‘big lessons.’ Did those lessons cause you to make any changes in your life? Feel free to write all about each of those lessons.

5. Movies or TV series you want to watch

These are fun lists from beginning to end… Making the list, adding them to your streaming service queue, watching, and then marking them off the list. Stock up on popcorn and enjoy! Don’t forget to make notes afterward about whether or not you liked the shows.

woman in jeans sitting on couch with laptop and writing lists in notebook journal

6. Experiences you want to have with your partner

Don’t hold back on this one!

7. Experiences you want to create with your children

Time passes SO quickly. Don’t wait for the ‘perfect time’ to do these things. Make a few notes about what you can do now to get the ball rolling on the experiences.

8. Family traditions

What are the traditions? How did they begin? How do you feel about them? What would you change about them?

9. Self-improvement projects you want to do

This one could also be endless. 😉 You could divide your lists into life areas or what you want to work on this year. Think about how much you can realistically do. Which projects would make the biggest difference in your life and how can you actually start?

10. Career advancements or new types of careers you would like to try

These could be side hustles or just things in addition to what you currently do for a living. Why do you want to try each thing?

11. What your life might look like at different points in your future

Try to imagine your life six months from now, one year from now… five years, 10 years, etc. You could also work a few goals into this list. But you have to remember that things will change a lot. The unexpected will always happen.

12. Places you have lived

What did you like about them or didn’t you like? Would you live there again or not?

13. Places you would like to live

This is fun even if you live in what you hope is your forever home. Pretend the world is wide-open and make your list!

14. Ways you can make the world a better place

These can be little things or big things. Random acts of kindness, or big projects like nonprofit organizations, charities, things like that.

15. How your life would improve if you worked on your personal health this year

And how can you make that happen? These 20 ways to stop being lazy and exercise might help motivate you.

16. Ways you can de-stress every day

Keep it positive. Focus on self-care, fun, and relaxation.

17. Favorite songs

Why are they your favorites? Write about the memories you have associated with those songs.

rustic blue wood background with pink flowers and wood pencils ready to use for list journaling

18. Things you are grateful for right at this moment

Sometimes this is the most difficult list to make, but it’s also incredibly worthwhile. You could make this list twice a day and it would eventually change your thinking about your entire life.

19. People you see every day and ONE good thing about them

This could be nearly as difficult as #18… but I hope not. 😉 

20. Your favorite quotes or sayings

What personal meaning do they have? Where did you first hear them? How have they influenced your life?

Using List Prompts in Your Daily Life

Each of the lists you make could become an entire set of extremely personal journal prompts in itself.

You could make a list one day. Then, on subsequent days you could delve into your feelings about the list or certain things on it. Dive deep into your responses. Find your WHY. 

And that, my friend, is just how easy it is to establish a daily journaling habit. 🙂 

Start with making lists. Eventually, you’ll find yourself writing hundreds of words every day about the topics you find the most interesting and impactful in your life.

It’s a good idea to revisit these list writing prompts at least once each year.

For one thing, it’s interesting to see how perspective changes as we get older.

For another, some of these lists serve as important reminders… of the things you want to experience, the person you want to become, and the good you want to do as you Build Your Best Life.

You’ve got this!

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