My mom asked me what I wanted for Christmas last year, and I don’t even remember how I heard about the 5 minute journal, but I did. Maybe Tim Ferriss? I don’t remember.
Anyway I asked my mom to get me that for Christmas. Not the app, the old school pen-and-paper journal. And she did. She loves it when I tell her what I want for Christmas. I don’t mind the arrangement.
So, around the second week of January I began using this thing. And let me tell you:
Using the 5 Minute Journal has literally made me a happier and better person.
I know it sounds crazy, but it’s true.
I don’t spend a long time thoughtfully thinking and penning beautiful descriptions about my life and dreams and everything, and if you were to read it through, you would likely get bored, as I often repeat myself. But that’s actually part of the strength of the effect.
One good example. One of the prompts asks for 3 things to be grateful for. And almost every day, I write “My Wife” as one of those things. But I’m not just reciting that from memory and throwing it in as a lazy answer. Every day it makes me think of how freakin’ lucky of a bastard I am to have that amazing woman sleeping next to me every night. And it just reminds me to be grateful for her. And of all the things that aren’t awesome in my life (which is an ever-shrinking list anyway), being with Kori is one thing that is incredible and a HUGE blessing to me.
There is almost a ritualistic liturgy to filling it out. The answers don’t vary too much from day to day, a little, sometime, but not as a general rule. But writing some of the same words every morning and evening, is so powerful to my psyche.
A wise man once explained to me the following chain of events.
Your thoughts determine your feelings.
Your feelings determine your actions
Your actions determine your habits.
Your habits determine your lifestyle.
Your lifestyle determines your legacy.
If you really want a better life and legacy, it starts with your thoughts. And that is one area that you can’t always completely control, but you CAN heavily influence. And this journaling practice puts some very encouraging truths at the forefront of my thoughts twice a day.
Another of the prompts that actually may be my favorite is the Daily Affirmation. It gives you an “I am…” prompt, but I don’t use that. I use my own full name to start it, which science has suggested has a stronger effect on thought life and behavior. It allows me to define who I am, not simply to make empty promises to myself. Early in the year I started writing, “Drew Allen doesn’t drink soda. Sh*t’s bad for you.” And after a month of writing and reading those words, I haven’t touched soda in months. “Drew Allen is focused and productive” is mostly what I write these days, and it’s starting to take root. Throughout the day I find myself less distracted and getting more things done at work and at home. Like I said at the beginning, It almost sounds too good to be true. But, I think Anakin put it best.
In the beginning this was little more than a social experiment, but I honestly can’t recommend this product enough.
I’m coming to the end of the book, and I’m thinking of trying out the app.