How to Self-Actualize: 30 Journal Prompts to Achieve Your Potential

Ready to self-actualize and reach your full potential in life? These 30 introspective journal prompts will help you become your highest self.


We know what you're thinking: Meeting your full potential in life probably sounds kind of intimidating, or maybe even impossible.

It's true that it won't happen overnight. But, self-actualization is a truly powerful long-term goal to strive toward.

Simply reflecting on what it would mean to you to self-actualize can actually help you grow and live a more intentional, fulfilling life.

We're here to break down what it means to self-actualize, and provide you with 30 introspective journaling prompts that encourage self-discovery to help you get there.

What is Self-Actualization?

A psychologist Abraham Maslow developed a "hierarchy of needs" that help explain human development and motivation throughout life.

After meeting more basic needs, the very last step in Maslow's hierarchy of needs is to self-actualize.

According to Maslow, self-actualization occurs when a person has met their full potential - they exist as everything they are capable of being.

Maslow sketched out some broad characteristics of self-actualized people in his work. For example, they are resilient, focused, and have a strong level of purpose and fulfillment in life.

But here's the catch... Only you can decide what that actually looks like for you.

There is no one size fits all definition of what it means to self-actualize.

Everyone has different strengths, goals, and things that make them tick. What personal fulfillment looks like to you will be totally different than any other person out there.

That may sound frustrating. But hear us out! We think this is the best part. It encourages you to set big goals for yourself that are specific to you and what makes you happy - not what everyone else wants you to do.

How Do You Self-Actualize?

We know what you're thinking... If I have to decide what it means for me to self-actualize, how will I ever know how to get there?

Meet Your Needs

According to Maslow, you'll have to work your way up the pyramid before you reach the top step of self-actualization. The other needs Maslow identified are:

  • Physiological Needs: Having the basic food, shelter, and water that people need to support their body physically
  • Safety Needs: Having a sense of safety and stability
  • Belonging and Love Needs: Forming intimate relationships and feeling a sense of closeness with friends, family, and romantic partners
  • Esteem Needs: Feeling a sense of accomplishment and prestige

That may sound like a lot of ground to cover. But, think of it this way: this hierarchy of needs emphasizes the need for a strong foundation. You should take the pressure off to be "your highest, best self" already if you aren't getting your basic needs met.

To self-actualize, practice well-rounded self-care. Take care of your body, pursue stability, cultivate strong relationships, and attend to your passions and interests.

Learn more ideas for self-care

Try Journaling for Self-Awareness

Dedicating time to building self-awareness through introspection can also help you define what it means for you to self-actualize and reach your full potential.

One of the best ways to boost self-awareness is through journaling: putting your thoughts into words helps you understand how you think and get to know yourself better.

Journaling with guided journal prompts every day can challenge you to reflect on your life experiences and articulate what means the most to you.

A guided journaling app like Jour provides you with tons of daily journal prompts personalized to you and your experiences. And with your journal right there on your phone, it's always convenient to take some time to reflect, no matter where you are.

Learn more important how-to tips for journaling beginners

30 Journal Prompts to Help You Self Actualize

Ready to start your journey to self-actualize? These 30 journal prompts will help aid you in self-discovery, inspiration, introspection, and more.

  1. When in your life have you felt the happiest?
  2. What makes your point of view unique?
  3. What does an "ideal life" look like for you?
  4. Imagine you could live your life however you wanted for a week, with no practical restraints. What would you do? Why would it make you happy?
  5. What traits do you value the most about yourself?
  6. When do you feel your most powerful?
  7. What gives you a sense of purpose?
  8. Who inspires you the most?
  9. What never fails to keep you going, no matter how hard things get?
  10. What kinds of activities make you feel "in the zone"?
  11. What personal goal is the most important to you to achieve?
  12. What makes you feel safe and supported?
  13. What issues and causes matter the most to you?
  14. What motivates you?
  15. What did you love doing most as a child?
  16. What do you always look forward to doing?
  17. How do you take care of yourself?
  18. What makes you feel truly alive?
  19. What do you wish you did more often?
  20. What do others praise you for?
  21. What helps you get through challenging moments?
  22. What is your proudest accomplishment?
  23. What do you want to learn?
  24. What is something you would regret not doing before you die?
  25. Who are you closest to in your life?
  26. What life experiences have held the most meaning to you?
  27. What are your personal values?
  28. If you could change something about your life, what would it be and why?
  29. How do you measure success?
  30. Who are your heroes?

Your Journal, Your Self-Actualization

Self-actualization may seem like an unattainable ideal. But, taking the time to define what it means for you to self-actualize helps you live a more fulfilling life aligned with your values and interests.

Even if you never totally get there, pursuing it as a long term goal can really improve your life and your outlook!

On your journey to self-actualize, make sure you attend to your needs across all areas of your life. When defining what it means for you to self-actualize, journaling can help you better understand yourself and what's important to you.

And if you find yourself wanting more journal prompts to help you really dig deep and become your best self? We have everything you need on the Jour app.