petals Check-In Journaling Exercise

As we start off the second half of the year, it is a good time to take stock of where we are, where our thoughts are, and what we are feeling.

I found a fun way to document this on Ali Edwards blog years ago, and love doing it every now and then to ground myself.

She called it ‘Naming Your Petals‘, which she came up with after her son brought home an exercise her did in school. I thought it was brilliant and got to work on my own straight away.

The first time I did it was in 2009, and then I did it again in 2012 and 2016 (photos can be seen here), so I thought that now that it was 2020, it was time to work through this fun exercise again.

Here is what I came up with. I used the template Ali created for us to use and printed it out a little less than 100%. I then took a glassine envelope and traced the petals so I could have a flap that overlays. On the top of it I added the names of my petals that I used a vintage label maker to create:

Under the flap, I added a brief description of what it means to me:

Now it is your turn, go ahead and give it a try—read Ali’s post first, then create your own petals and start naming them. They can be big or small – there are no right or wrong answers here. They can be soul deep, or surface thoughts—just start by naming things that represent you NOW.

Once you have them named, take a day or two to just look at them every now and then, thinking about what they mean to you. Then sit down with your journal, and write a bit about each petal—here are some questions to help get your journaling started:


  • What was the first petal you named? Why did it come to you so easily (perhaps this is something you self consciously need to focus on the most)?
  • What was the last petal you named? It is something you are avoiding? Something you don’t give enough thought to?
  • Did any petal surprise you?  If so, why?
  • Did any petal make you feel guilty? If so, why?
  • What order would you put your petals in, as far as importance to you and your well being?
  • Any petals you wish you could change now? Explain.
  • How do your petals tell your story?
  • Which petal do you wish you could pluck off?

For each petal…

  • What are your thoughts when reading what you wrote?
  • List three things that elaborate on each petal
  • Now write one sentence for each list item (this is a good way to jump-start journaling)

Try and do the exercise again in a month or two (or a few years like me!) and see the difference in where you are then.

Download the Flower Petal Template created by Ali Edwards