I’ve always been a random journal writer. Looking back through my journals I found that I wrote when things weren’t going well in my life or when I was travelling. When things were great, there were a lot of blank pages.
Journaling sounds really cool. The idea that you could chronicle your life and be able to go back and figure out what you were doing at a specific time or how things have changed during the year or remember what your dreams were 10 years ago is fascinating to me. I would hear about the Politician or doctor that kept journals their entire life – I wanted to be able to say that.
But I could never stick to a journal.
I’d journal on vacation because I had the time. And there are usually cool things going on during vacation like hikes, and bike rides and laying on a beach or by a pool.
And it happens when I’m going through something because I’m a thinker and the best way for me to collect my thoughts is to get them out of my head and on to paper.
When I first heard of the 5-minute journal I wondered if it would actually help me write everyday and if I could stick to it.
So I bought it.
And it’s working. I’ve written everyday for the last 6+ months.
It takes about 5 minutes every day – time in the morning and at night. It’s become part of my morning ritual.
The first thing I think about in the morning is what I have to be grateful for. Gratitude has been a nice concept that didn’t connect it to a feeling. And I didn’t write it down. And now after 6 months of using the journal, gratitude for simple things and for the big things is happening naturally.
I even find myself being more grateful for things throughout the day and shifting my thinking. Owning a business is not always easy. And sometimes people say things I hope they don’t mean. And I’ll catch myself being thankful to them for caring so much about the business. That’s something new!
After I think about 3 things I’m grateful for I move on to my day. I have my day planned the night before but this question adds on by asking “what would make today great.”
I get this one day to live just one time, and instead of thinking about all the work I have to do I think about how can I end the day saying this was a great day because…
And finally there is a daily affirmation. This seemed a little hokey to me at first. I think there was a Saturday Night Live skit a while back with someone looking in the mirror saying “I’m good enough, I’m strong enough, and man people like me!”
But then I found my affirmations worked to keep me on task and on track during the day.
One of my affirmations is “I am laser focused and persistent in the pursuit of my goals.” This sets my day up to get more done. Sometimes this affirmation causes me to work from home a little longer so I can get the most important things done early that will move the business to another level. And that affirmation gets me out running when it’s rainy or windy or cold.
That takes 3 – 5 minutes in the morning.
And then before bed it’s time to reflect on the day. All it takes is thinking about and remembering the day that was and 3 amazing things that happened.
I was never one to remember the past. I am always looking forward and have troubling remembering what I did but this practice has helped me remember the good things that happened during the day. And adding all of them up over 6 months shows that there are way more good things that happen during a day than bad things.
And the last question asks “how could I have made today better?” I usually end up thinking about my list and what didn’t get done. Of all the entries, this is the one that I’d like to work on more. Because it’s really not about what I didn’t get done but the daily patterns that prevent me from getting the work done. Being more effective and not just efficient.
I’ve been using my 5 minute journal for over 6 months which means I’m on my second one. And I love it so much I want to share it with everyone! We’ll be selling them at Active Souls – they are in the retail store. I encourage you to pick one up and start writing. It just takes 5 minutes every day and it will change your life.
In 6 months I want to hear how your life has changed because of the journal!