Earlier this year when I started to intentionally live life with gratitude, I ordered a Five Minute Journal. I completed several weeks of entries before missing a day. I have enjoyed the process and will share 5 reasons to try The Five Minute Journal.
1. To realize how much already in your life that you can be grateful for
Each day in the Five Minute Journal you complete 5 sections (all on 1 page). The first question is “I am grateful for….” Then 3 lines follow. Each day you are listing 3 things that are you are grateful.
If you are not in habit of thinking about what you are grateful for already, this may feel hard at first. I encourage you to keep with it. The things you come up with may surprise you.
2. “The simplest, most effective thing you can do every day to be happier.”
This quote is on the homepage of Five Minute Journal. To see if this is true for you, you’ll have to try it. I’m about 2 months into the process and now I’m finding more things that I can be grateful for. I noticed at first I was repeating entries in the “I am grateful for…” section.
[color-box]Becoming aware of how much you have in your life already may increase your happiness.[/color-box]
3. To take personal responsibility
The final section, which is to be completed at the end of the day is “How could have I made today better?” That is a tough question! It takes away the finger-pointing and blaming that sometimes happens. And it is also a reminder that we can’t control everything. If you write down something that you can’t change yourself that defeats the purpose of the question.
The question isn’t “how could my day have been better?” This leads to wishful thinking about things we may have no impact or control over.
“How could have I made today better?” makes you think about what you are doing. What could you be doing differently to have better days? Answer this question enough (honestly) and I believe you will start to make changes. They may be small changes but they are changes that are improving your life.
4. To build your confidence
There is a section to fill in daily affirmations. These can be as personal and meaningful as you make them. The idea is if you tell yourself something over and over again your brain will start making it happen. If you want to be more confident write down “I am confident” each day.
I have struggled with confidence when it comes to learning to play the organ, so each day I am know writing done “I am a confident organist”. I am starting to feel different when I practice the organ and even say “I am a confident organist” when I am practicing. We will see if my teacher notices a difference at my next lesson!
5. It really only takes 5 minutes each day (or less)
What if taking 5 minutes each day to record some thoughts could change your life forever? The structure of the journal is easy to follow. Three sections in the morning and two in the evening. It’s not even 5 consecutive minutes!
I am finding that writing in the journal has been helpful instead of a digital format. The 5 sections are listed on their website, so it would have been easy to type them into Word, Evernote, etc. Having the questions in digital format would have made it too easy to copy and paste responses from the previous day. Also, when putting it down on paper it feels more real to me.
I encourage you to give the Five Minute Journal a try if you are interested in adding more gratitude into your life. Writing down what you are grateful for each day will help!
Here are five tips on completing the Five Minute Journal:
1. Keep the journal where you will see it each day. One I missed my first day, I realized it was because I had laid the journal on a different table. A place I usually do not look at in the morning. Now, place it on the kitchen counter before going to bed so that I will see it when I make breakfast.
2. Then Move it to where you end your day. I usually end my day on the couch. After I complete the morning entries I place it onto the arm of the couch.
3. Choose a pen that will not bleed through the pages. Some of my gel ink pens bled through to the opposite side of the page. I was still able to complete the entries, but it was a bit flipping through past days harder to read.
4. Commit to doing it. Tell someone that you will be doing it (This is suggested in the book as well). I told my husband since we live together. You could tell your spouse or a friend. Whoever will help you stay accountable and maybe they will do it too!
5. If you miss a day, it’s okay. Do not let that be a reason to stop doing it altogether. Pick it up again the next day. I’ve had a few days where I was very tired at the end of the day and went to sleep without completing it. I didn’t stress about it and picked it up the next day.