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Self-journaling is a great way to unwind, organize your thoughts, and stay clear-headed. And while you can certainly journal in whatever blank notebook you have lying around, sometimes it's nice to have a more structured self-journal with prompts, inspirational quotes, or dated calendar views. This can help you retain focus and motivation—whether or not you have concrete goals in mind.
We've rounded up the best self-journals for all types of needs and preferences. Read on for our top picks.
Best Overall: BestSelf Co. Self Journal
If you’ve already heard of self-journaling, then you’ve probably stumbled upon this company. The BestSelf Co. SELF Journal is one of the most popular and robust self-journals you can buy, and it’s not hard to see why it has so many fans. Taken at face value, it’s a daily planner that helps you increase productivity in your personal and professional life. But it’s also so much more than that.
This journal is divided into three sections: daily, weekly and monthly. It spans 13 weeks—far less intimidating than a yearly planner—and isn't dated, so you can start anytime. Each day you can chronicle your to-dos, your goals, your lessons learned, and even your evening gratitude, giving you a chance to look introspectively at your life as you reach your long-term and short-term goals. And at just 8.25 x 5.5 inches, the SELF Journal is incredibly easy to travel with and keep with you on the go.
Best Blank: Moleskine Classic Notebook
Sometimes you just need a clean, blank canvas to start journaling, and the Moleskine Classic Notebook is one of the best you can buy. This 5 x 8.25-inch notebook has 192 pages of blank, 70 gsm weighted paper. It’s unlined, making it flexible for whatever type of self-journaling you want to do—and as typical with Moleskine, it has a signature pocket at the end, so you can keep anything that inspires you. It also has the standard elastic closure and hardbound black cover, making it easy to use when you’re on the go.
Moleskine is perennially one of the best-reviewed products out there, so you can't go wrong introducing it into your self-journaling process.
Best Bullet: Lemome Dotted Bullet Notebook with Pen Loop
Many people find bullet journaling as de-stressing as adult coloring. It allows you to use your creativity to ruminate on your day, your goals, your to-dos, or anything else on your mind. The Lemome Bullet Journal is a great place to start, giving you the blank canvas you need to get organized. This journal has 192 pages of 120 gsm weight paper (which is about 30% thicker than a standard sheet of paper) and measures 8.5 x 5.7 inches. It has a thread-bound design that allows it to lay flat, making it easier for you to journal to your heart’s content.
Best Inspirational: Do It For Yourself (Guided Journal): A Motivational Journal
Designed by creativity and productivity expert Kara Cutruzzula, the Do It for Yourself Journal delivers on its promise, providing you with plenty of space to find inspiration and mobilize your creative goals. Organized into five different stages, from "Building momentum" to "Following through", this journal has 75 prompts to help you boost productivity and reconnect with yourself. Dozens of interspersed quotes, like "Start before you're ready" and "Comparison will kill you", only add to the inspiration.
Though it won’t help you remember that doctor’s appointment next Tuesday, this pop art-inspired notebook is the perfect place to come—not to mention how good it'll look on your desk!
Best for Productivity: The Mastery Journal Daily Planner
The Mastery Journal is a 100-day productivity and discipline journal created to measure and increase your daily productivity. Each day is divided into four focus sessions in which you’ll time yourself at a task and measure your overall productivity. After the focus sessions are completed, you’ll review and grade yourself so that you can work to better use your time each day. At the end of each ten-day cycle, you’ll reflect on your overall productivity growth and brainstorm how to improve next time.
If you’re struggling with a lack of focus or motivation, this journal is a great tool in helping you achieve your goals.
Best for Mental Health: The Anti-Anxiety Notebook
The Anti-Anxiety Notebook is a targeted journal that uses evidence-based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) techniques to help you manage stress and anxiety in both the short- and long-term. Each of the 100 guided journal entries prompts you to reflect on your emotions and thought patterns, with helpful questions like "What is going through your mind?" and "How can you think about the situation differently?".
Interspersed throughout the notebook are helpful tips and notes from therapists, along with useful literature on the importance of things like mindfulness, quality sleep, and positive relationships in managing anxiety. It also includes an appendix of CBT basics and techniques—making this a journal that you'll want to come back to long after completing all of its entries.
Best for Wellness: Joy: Wellness Journal
Whether or not you have a specific wellness goal in mind, tracking your quality of sleep, food and water intake, and activity levels can have a profound impact on your self-awareness.
This journal from Joy has 12 weeks of pages to help you set your intentions and express gratitude. The pages are undated, so you can start and stop whenever you need to, and the journal measures 6 x 8.5 inches for convenient portability. You can choose from three different colors, and even customize the journal's cover with your name, desired fonts, and more.
Best Creative: Creative Sprint: Six 30-Day Challenges to Jumpstart Your Creativity
Everyone has a creative side, but some of us could use a little jumpstart to help channel it more often. Enter the Creative Sprint Journal. This interactive workbook is made up of six 30-day sprints to encourage you to get your creative juices flowing, whether that means drawing, taking photos or painting. You’re given a theme such as “Embrace Limitations,” along with daily prompts to inspire you. At the end of your 30-day sprint, you’ll have an opportunity to reflect and grow from what you learned about yourself. Because it’s not a daily journal, you can use it either chronologically or whenever you find you have a burst of energy.
Best Gratitude: Good Days Start With Gratitude: A 52 Week Guide To Cultivate An Attitude Of Gratitude: Gratitude Journal
As the name implies, the Good Days Start With Gratitude journal is, well, a simple notebook designed to help you take stock of what you’re thankful for each day. It has a full year of gratitude, broken down into weekly segments that allow you to remember what you’re grateful for each day and check in at the end of the week. By writing down what makes you happy and reflecting on your growth, you can work towards becoming a more grateful, grounded person. Each segment is beautifully designed with a quote to inspire you as you start the week off.
The best self-journal for you will depend largely on your needs and interests, but you can't go wrong with the BestSelf Co. SELF Journal (view at Amazon). With space to set goals, check off to-dos, and express gratitude, it's a far more robust version of your standard daily planner. If you're looking for something with a bit more pizzazz, we recommend the Do It for Yourself Journal (view at Bookshop).
Why Trust The Spruce?
This article was researched and edited by Lily Sperry, a lifestyle writer and commerce editor at The Spruce. A longtime journaler, she's partial to Moleskine notebooks for their versatility and quick-drying paper. When researching picks for this article, she read dozens of product reviews on both retailer and third-party sites.