It’s funny how even though we know something works and makes us feel better, we can somehow still let it slip forgetting about it for weeks, months or even years.
Usually, it’s the simple things. Which is the funny thing with habits – in order to make them stick we need to make them so simple that it would be crazy not to do it. But when it’s that simple it’s also very easy not to do it.
Personally, this was meditation and journalling recently.
I know doing both of those consistently makes me feel better and has a pretty significant impact on my overall mindset throughout the days. Everything from feeling more positive, focused and even making better choices nutritionally become easier.
They’re both so simple. Journalling takes all of 5 minutes in the morning and 5 minutes at night. Meditation takes a bit longer because currently I’m using the Holosync program again which is around 30 minutes before I go to bed. It’s still simple though because it’s an audio, so all I do is put my headphones on and lay in bed.
I’ve let both of those things slip over the last few months. Not surprisingly I’ve felt less focused and my mindset has just felt “off”. So, I made the decision last week to get back in those habits and over the last few days I’ve already started feeling a difference. Focus is better, feeling of well being is coming back, anxiety is less and staying on track with my nutrition plan has felt easier.
Today I’m going to go into a bit more detail on how I use this method for using a journal for success specifically to help improve my focus and feel consistently feel better throughout the day.
The 5 Minute Journal For Success
My process is built around something called “The 5 Minute Journal“, to which I’ve added a couple of my own sections.
There are many ways to use a journal for success, but I’ve found this way to be the best for me and my clients because it gives various prompts for what to write about. It’s also very simple and only takes 5-10 minutes in the morning and at night.
I start off by writing the date in the top left corner. Personally, I also like to include where I am, so that when I look back on this over the years I can remember where I was at that time in my life.
After the date and my location the sections in my journal are:
- Power List
- 3 Wins
- Make It Better
You’re not going to fill all of those in at once, you’ll do half in the morning and half at night before you go to bed.
Let’s take a closer look at each section and the importance of them in this simple method for using a journal for success.
In the top right corner – beside the date – I write out my 3 most important goals that I’m focusing on.
You can read more about how to set goals properly in this article. I highly recommend reading that article because in it I break down exactly how to set goals you’ll actually achieve.
Writing out my 3 biggest goals every day is important because it forces me to focus on it daily. This acts as a reminder for me every day on what’s truly important and what I’m working towards. It keeps the goals I’ve set front of mind at all time, a constant reminder.
I wish I could take credit for the term “Power List”, but I can’t. This is a process I got from Andy Frisella on his podcast, “The MFCEO Project”, which I highly recommend you check out if you are interested in building a business or becoming the best version of yourself. Listen to episode 107 for a detailed breakdown of the Power List.
The Power List is essentially a very focused To-Do list. Based on the goals you’ve set and written out above, you’re going to plan out the next day’s tasks. This is done at night before you go to bed, so that you’re planning out your day for tomorrow.
Planning out your day the night before is huge for focus and productivity. Now when you wake up in the morning you know exactly what you need to focus on for that day in order to move forward. This is how you can take a small step forward every single day towards those goals you wrote out at the top of the page.
The key here is writing out 5 tasks – and ONLY 5 high priority, “big lever” type tasks. These should be the kind of tasks where if you only got those 5 things done for the day, your day would be a success. They should be tasks that are going to move you forward in some way.
If you’re trying to lose weight, your Power List might look like this:
- Complete my strength training workout
- Write down everything I eat for the day
- Meditate for 10 minutes
- Go for a walk for 20 minutes
- Plan my meals for tomorrow
Notice how all of those tasks are actionable. They are all tasks that you can check off as either “Yes, I did that” or “No, I did not do that”. These are all tasks and behaviours that you have 100% control over. You’re not going to put things like “Lose 2 lbs today” on your Power List because you don’t have complete control over that.
This one section alone can be a massive catalyst to more focus, productivity and progress in your life.
It’s impossible to feel sad, lonely, depressed or anxious at the exact same time as feeling truly grateful.
Most of the most successful people in the world have some kind of gratitude practice built into their day. Whether it’s writing it down in a journal like this or simply taking time out of their day to feel it.
For my purposes, I like to choose one thing. I write it down in this section and then I close my eyes and think about it, letting myself truly feel that moment, person or thing and how grateful I am for it.
This can be anything from a moment in time from your past, a person in your life or even something simple like a cloud in the sky or the warm sun on your face. The key is to be specific. It’s too easy to get stuck in a routine of writing down generic things like “my health” or “my job” or “my family”. Be specific. What about your health are you grateful for? What part of your job makes you truly grateful? What specifically about your family are you grateful for?
Write it down and then close your eyes to let the gratefulness fill up your entire body.
Next up is my favourite part – affirmations.
This is where I predict the future and then visualize the exact moment that it’s all happening, as if it’s already happened.
These are “I am…” statements and are typically going to be based off your goals, just on a bigger scale. This is kind of like priming your mind for success and then putting it out into the “Universe” (or whatever you want to call it) what kind of person you are (or are aspiring to become).
Too often we get stuck with thoughts going through our head like, “I can’t do that…” or “I’m just not that kind of person…”. These are self limiting thoughts and need to be replaced with positive “I am…” thoughts.
These can be anything you want them to be and should be personal to you based on what you want to achieve. For example, one of mine right now is “I am enjoying traveling the world with my beautiful girlfriend”.
Now, at this moment I’m not traveling anywhere and I don’t have a girlfriend, let alone a beautiful one but that’s something I’m aspiring to have. So, I write it down as if it’s already happening and then I close my eyes and visualize myself traveling to exotic destinations with a beautiful girlfriend, enjoying ourselves immensely. I also have a second one related to my business and a third one related to my fitness.
The key with affirmations is to predict the future you want for yourself, write it down in an “I am…” statement and then visualize it as if it’s already happened.
I can’t explain why this works and I realize it sounds very “out there”, but there is a certain power that comes from getting clear on what you want and then putting it out into the “Universe”. But then the real key is doing the work everyday to make it happen.
Get clear on what you want, write it down and then do the work everyday to make it a reality.
This section is done in the evening before you go to bed. You’re basically going to review your day and write down 3 amazing things that happened.
These can be simple things like, “Crushed my workout today” or they can be bigger things like “Closed a big deal at work”. It doesn’t matter how big or small the wins are, as long as you view them as wins.
Too often we get sucked into all the negativity in world and everything that’s going wrong, so it’s extremely beneficial to take a couple minutes to remember the good stuff. This also puts your mind into a positive mindset before going to sleep.
MAKE IT BETTER
Now that you’ve thought about the victories, you’re going to write down one way you could have made your day even better.
Doing this gets your mind into problem solving mode and allows you to reflect on ways you can improve tomorrow.
Only write down ONE thing here and then improve it tomorrow.
This is a section I just added recently as a way to unload some of the random thoughts going through my head before I go to bed.
I use it as another way to review the day and get thoughts out of my head, so that they’re not interrupting my sleep. This can also be a place where I write things down that I might not want to say out loud, so writing it down can be a release of those thoughts.
PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER
Now you understand the different sections, so how do you put it all together?
Here’s how to do it:
- Review Goals (written out the night before)
- Review Power List (written out the night before)
- Complete GRATITUDE section
- Complete AFFIRMATIONS sections
BEFORE BED FLOW
- Complete 3 WINS section
- Complete MAKE IT BETTER section
- Write down any THOUGHTS
- Tomorrow’s DATE, GOALS & POWER LIST
- Review AFFIRMATIONS
From start to finish this takes me approximately 5-10 minutes in the morning and another 5-10 minutes before I go to bed.
Keep in mind, you don’t have to do everything I’ve listed here. Take what you feel is important to your life and leave the rest out.
The important thing is doing something everyday to set yourself up for success and put your mind into a positive, success oriented position.