5 Minutes a Day
I never believed how valuable this simple practice would be until I experienced it myself.
Every morning at 6:30 am, I turn on the heat under the percolator, put on shoes, and walk the dog. Then I make a cup of coffee, head out to the porch (still porch weather here!) and get comfy with my journal and a pen.
What is a Miracle Morning?
I’d heard of this book called The Miracle Morning from friends who swore by it transforming their LIVES. Not just the morning or the day but their very LIVES. So I bought the book and read it. Turns out you have to do more than read it, lol.
To its credit, it did make all the “SAVERS” morning stuff sound doable: Silence, Affirmations, Vision, Exercise, Reading, and Scribing, all could be finished in one hour. I thought, “I can do all that!”
Only I didn’t do it. I wanted to, but it was overwhelming to try to do all that stuff in the morning. I WANTED to but could not get it together. I’d start on the coffee and just head off into thought mode — I called it Silence — drifting from one topic to another in my head.
Next thing I know, two cups of coffee and an hour had gone by and I had to get busy.
That whole Silence thing was not helping. And the truth is I was often not lazily, happily drifting at all. I was most often focused on the One Issue that I could not stop thinking about.
That’s called OBSESSING. I called it thinking because I wanted it to be a good thing. Haha, the lies we tell ourselves, right?
The Act of Scribing
There were only two steps I could really get behind with the least whining: scribing and reading and I’ll talk about the joy of getting back into reading next post.
The journal thing was tough: I had to find just the right journal and agonized over the choices, lol. I went to Amazon, book stores, office supply… just couldn’t find the right one. Mostly because the Journals all had these big long pages. That gigantic empty page staring at me every morning? Nope.
Then a friend showed me her weekly planner with little boxes to fill in each day. OMG, I can do that!!! So I went to Walmart determined to get started. $10 bucks later, I had what I needed. This one on Amazon is very similar.
That was January 2022
Getting started was not easy. The short explanation is that new habits are hard to start. We all know that.
The long explanation is that we have neural pathways in our brains, actual grooves. Starting a new habit is digging a new trench. Still a short explanation but that’s the truth!
Digging a new trench is not physically painful, btw. It’s only painful in the procrastination of starting a new habit!
That planner stared at me for days. I put a pen next to it to help spur me on. Then one day, I wrote in it. Like 2 sentences. I’d already told myself there were no “musts” or “have tos”, no judgment. When I write, good. When I don’t write, almost as good :)
A few days later, I wrote again. And so it went, totally haphazard. Until one day I sat down with my coffee and without thinking opened the journal and wrote. And from then on, mostly every day, I write what I did the day before.
It’s now a habit. I don’t want to skip it, I look forward to it. I’m also ready for a bigger square to fill — THAT’S progress!
What I’ve Gotten From Scribing
If you look online, you’ll see scads of lists about how journaling promises to change your life. Easy to find, but a) I didn’t believe it, and b) too good to be true. Writing in a journal 5 minutes a day could do all that???
I have to say that the one idea from all those online lists that stuck with me was that almost every successful (intellectual) person journals. I’m an intellectual, that is, a person who likes to learn and reason. I may not have a HUGE capacity for knowledge and understanding — like there is pretty much zero room for chemistry or economics — but talk to me about people and life, health, passions, emotions, kids, moms… HUGE capacity. I believe everyone CAN be an intellectual once that love of learning is awakened!
So rather than rehash all those online journaling promises, I’m going to share what journaling has actually taught me.
I can easily see what matters most to me because that’s what I write about first. TBH, when I first started journaling, I just noted what I did the day before, like someone was going to dig up my diary and learn about the 21st century from my daily life. But then I started writing about ME, my thoughts and feelings about what I did. That’s the good stuff.
I can track and encourage small victories, changes, and reinforce new habits.
It’s boosted my creative thinking. I noticed that I have more developed ideas and more of them. Is this from journaling? It’s one of the promises…
Definitely brain exercise. Is your brain a muscle? It sure acts like one: you work it — like with Sudoku, crossword puzzles and journaling — and the quality of my ideas and my memory are certainly improved.
Speaking of memory, my abilities have definitely increased. I used to have to think hard about what I did the day before. Now it’s right there. Memory has improved other places too but of course, now I can’t remember where… <laugh emoji>
The “get in touch with your emotional life in a safe space” is as promised. Maybe I can’t always be out there with my emotions, but I can always be real in my journal.
It helps to process life experiences — damn, I wish I’d been journaling all those years I watched my granddaughter!!! Or even when we lost our son. I’m grateful I can journal NOW.
Stress release is real, y’all. I get that shit OUT. Here’s the thing: when it’s OUT, I can stop thinking about it. The issue is no longer a distraction, no longer front and center and I can focus on this moment.
Journaling is excellent for problem-solving! You know how you have a problem and you can’t for the LIFE of you figure it out? Then when you are not thinking about it, suddenly the answer comes? Well, write it down to let it go now!
Excellent focusing practice. Just that 5 minutes a day improves focus for the rest of the day.
What you write, you learn. Totally true for me.
By the same fact, writing down your goals makes them more realistic and attainable. There are more steps to serious goal setting/achieving but writing them down is the first step. Plus it helps me clarify my goals (even when I don’t call them goals but dreams, wishes, wants) and puts me on the path of figuring out how to get them.
There it is. I don’t crave journaling all the time but coffee, journaling, (and reading)… I have come to treasure that precious time in my miracle morning.
Think you could add a tiny bit of journaling to your morning routine? I’d love to hear about that!