Over the past year or so I’ve heard everyone from Jess Lively (the Lively Show) to Tim Ferriss rave about the benefits of using the Five Minute Journal. Also, I’ve followed Mimi Ikonn for years and years and I knew that her husband, Alex Ikonn is actually one of the founders of Five Minute Journal. Therefore, I knew I needed to give it a try.
You complete the journal both in the morning and evening. The morning section takes about 3 minutes to complete and the evening portion takes about 2 minutes for me to finish.
I would recommend highly this to almost anyone. So, what IS the Five Minute Journal.
Five Minute Journal Morning Section:
As you can see in the picture below, each day starts with an inspiring quote.
Next, there is a section which says, ‘I am grateful for…’ There are three spaces to write three different things that you are grateful for on that particular morning.
Regardless of what type of day you are having, gratitude is scientifically proven to be one of the best ways to transform your day.
Tip: At first it can be tempting to write the same things each day. However, you’ll find that you gain a lot more from the exercise if you try and mix it up. For example, try examining a few areas of your life (people, possessions, simple pleasures, time, etc).
The next section says, ‘What would make today great?’
I think this is a good way to add some structure to the day. You could interpret this question in any way that works for you.
Similar to the previous question, I try to use a variety of tangible and intangible responses depending on what I am doing that day.
For example, if I have a particularly difficult morning ahead of me number one might be, ‘a positive attitude.’ Then, my second might be a more tangible work related goal such as, ‘complete all classes and reports by 4pm so that I can relax and read.’
Five Minute Journal Evening Section:
I usually complete the evening part about an hour before I go to bed. If I wait any longer than this I either forget to do it or I’m so tired that I don’t want to. This section is even simpler and only has two questions.
Question 1: 3 Amazing things that happened today….
Question 2: How could I have made today better?
I find that both of these questions are a good way to reflect on the day. We often overlook many of the small activities and moments that make up of our lives and even the small task of writing down 3 things each day, we begin to accumulate a nice memory bank of positive memories and experiences.
The second question, ‘How could I have made today better?’ can be valuable in more than one way.
First, this gives us a way to reflect from day to day on what we can do to improve the next day or next week. Second, I’ve heard others talk about the value of re-reading through your old responses either months or a year later.
This can provide some really good insight into what we might want to be doing differently.
Q & A:
Who should NOT buy the Five Minute Journal?
If you already have a gratitude and reflection routine that you are happy with, then this is probably not right for you. However, I think that most people really appreciate the specific structure that the journal provides and this is one of the greatest advantages of the journal.
Where can you find the Five Minute Journal?
I bought my journal through Amazon but you can also find it here on the 5 Minute Journal website.
Is it for men or women?
Although the Five Minute Journal was created by two men, it’s definitely great for both men and women. I think that even men who typically aren’t interested in journaling would find it to be valuable and simple to use.
Final Thoughts: I love the field of Positive Psychology and through the books I’ve read and the classes I’ve taken, I think this is one of the simplest ways to practice gratitude and reflection and to increase overall well-being. Also, because the pages are not dated, you don’t have to do the journal every single day. I know that I will often take 1-2 days off from doing it and then when I get back to it I really look forward to doing it. Taking a short break also really seems to help me from writing the same things over and over each day.
If you haven’t tried the Five Minute Journal yet I would definitely recommend giving it a try.
All Photo’s Via: Five Minute Journal