I mentioned about a month ago that my nutritionist from Working Against Gravity, Adee Cazayoux, who I totally ADORE, sent me a copy of The Five Minute Journal as a gift when I was going through some rough times. It was such a thoughtful way of showing support to a client and has been something that I have used religiously from the day I received it.
It’s designed so that you dedicate about 5 minutes every morning and night to creating some sort of direction for your day, and reflection on that day at night.
I know I’m not alone when I say this, but I’ve always been one of those people that desperately wanted to be able to start and stay consistent with a journal. However, every time I went out and bought a beautifully creative looking book to start recording the things in my head that I didn’t want to forget, I would lose steam and eventually surrender to placing it at the top of the pile of other beautifully creative looking books I also gave up on.
While they look gorgeous sitting on top of my bureau in my bedroom, they are a constant reminder of something in my life that I’ve wanted to start…but, ultimately gave up on and failed entirely on.
Much like playing the guitar and learning about photography.
I think it’s sort of ironic and funny because this blog is so similar to the idea of a journal, but I’ve been able to write a post for every day since April of 2013. For the record, that’s 1,387 posts.
But, for some reason, I was never able to rally for the personally handwritten journal thing that I’ve always longed for.
Until I received my journal from Adee.
I think there are a few reasons why I think it’s worked so well for me; I haven’t missed a morning or night since I received it a month ago…and, I look forward to sitting down with it every day. It’s definitely not like a chore or something I feel like I “have” to do.
I’ve also posted pictures of it here and there and have always gotten interest from readers on what it’s all about and where they can find one.
So, here’s the scoop. You can find it on Amazon if you search “The Five Minute Journal” (HERE) for $22.95.
There’s a pretty thorough introductory on what it’s all about, how to use it, and why it works so well. If you order it, I would take the time, like I did, to really read through this and absorb what it says. It was all just a reminder of all the things I’ve already heard from different places, but it gets you on track and starts you off in the right place. There are also some really useful exercises to get your brain to start thinking the way they want you to for the practice.
Every morning when you wake up, you’re supposed to write in it pretty much before you do anything. I usually come downstairs when I wake up, get my coffee started, and sit down with my journal at the kitchen table while my coffee brews. By the time I’m done, my coffee’s been ready for just enough time that it’s not too hot to drink, but not too cool to enjoy. It’s perfect 🙂
You date the top of the page each day, read the reflection or inspirational quote they provide, and then get started. First, you identify 3 things you are grateful for. Then, 3 things that “would make today great”. And, finally, you state a daily affirmation.
For example, I might write about being grateful for (1) the kids sleeping through the night, (2) waking up to my best friend, and (3) snow plows in the winter. My great things for the day might be (1) meditating, (2) going to Maya’s basketball game, and (3) having a sit-down family dinner together. And, my affirmation could be something like “I am patient and empathetic to the people I spend time with in my life.”
At night time, you begin with “3 amazing things that happened today”. And, finish with a statement on how you could’ve made the day even better.
My 3 amazing things might be (1) got to train with Katrin and Maya at CFNE, (2) went out with Ben for date night, and (3) got to watch Bode and Harley Love do gymnastics class together. My thing to improve the day could be something about having planned my morning better and not rushed the kids out the door for playgroup.
So, it essentially guides you through your daily entry so you’re not just opening up a book with a hugely blank page that can often feel daunting and overwhelming. The journal sort of holds your hand through the process and, simultaneously, forces you to keep your thoughts short and simple.
I know it’d be great to be able to sit down and blow out pages worth of deep thoughts and feelings, but let’s be honest: that’s why journal writing so often ends up a failure. It’s too much for us to commit to.
I think the journal is awesome and it’s a really nice piece to have look at and travel with. But, if you’re wary about the whole thing at all, I’d say just find your own journal, do a little write up on the first page of an outline so you know what to write each day, and see how it goes.
I’m honestly not some sort of advertising rep for them or anything. I just really think it improves your quality of life enough that it’s worth taking the time to commit to it for at least a month.
It’s like warming up and cooling down at the gym every day. Yes, you can definitely get by and do without it. But, the times or days that you actually do warm up and/or cool down, you know how different it feels. You know everything just feels better when you take the time to do it.
At the gym when you warm up, your joints just move smoother, your head is in the right place when the workout actually kicks off, and you’re less likely to get hurt or screw something up. When you cool down or stretch afterwards, you feel a nice sense of closure to your training session. Whether you roll out, stretch, or do some sort of slow jog with some friends, you have this dedicated time to reflecting and thinking about how things went…and, how you could do it all better next time.
Try it. Like I said, I would 100% recommend ordering the actual journal and taking the time to work through the introductory section. But, if you’re not into that for whatever reason, at least grab a piece of paper and write it all down on your own.
Little tip that works for me: find someone who you can share your entries with every day. It’s best if it’s someone who’s willing to try it also and share theirs with you. But, even if it’s just your significant other or best friend, find someone who you can be held accountable to each day. I send mine to my friend Tracy each night. I have no idea if she even reads it, nor does it matter to me either way. She usually just sends back some heart emoji or something, but I know there’s someone out there that knows I did it. And, if she is actually reading it, it’s keeping us more connected than if I didn’t send it to her at all.