5 Seconds Summary:
Like many people, my morning routine is simple and quick. It only takes me roughly 30 minutes to get ready and off to my car.
Ain’t nobody got time for morning journaling…
That’s what I told myself when I read the article on the benefit of early morning journaling
But since I like to be the guinea pig of my own experiment, I challenge myself to journal in the morning for 30 days.
And I never going back since.
“Could bitching and moaning on paper for five minutes each morning change your life?
As crazy as it might seem, I believe the answer is yes.”
— Tim Ferriss
I know few people who are intentional and consistent in their daily routine. And the similarity I found is that all of them practise journaling.
And yes, they did it in the morning. So, to say, morning journaling.
Although I like to talk a lot about productivity, don’t let it fool you.
I’m too struggling in maintaining consistency of my daily routine. So when the thought of adding another item to my ever fluctuating daily morning routine, I doubt myself.
But knowing a few benefits of morning journaling, it slowly convince me that I need this to help me shape my life.
The question remains,
Out of all the time we have, why morning?
- Journaling in the morning helps you capture your conscious attention and as you have written it down, you will be able to see it much more clearly.
- In the morning, we haven’t bombarded our mind with the continuous constant content consumption from the news or social media. And since our mind is still fresh from anything, we are able to articulate our mind and feeling much more easily.
- It’s a good way to keep the eye on the prize. The goal, or simply what are we chasing as we start new day in the morning.
Julia Cameron, the author of the classic bestseller, The Artist way, introduce the concepts of daily morning pages, and let me tell you, the insight is unbelievably good.
Morning pages is basically writing 3 full pages (yes, 3 whole page) of stream of conscious writing as soon as you wake up
“Three pages of whatever crosses your mind — that’s all there is to it. If you can’t think of anything to write, then write, ‘I can’t think of anything to write…’ Do this until you have filled three pages. Do anything until you have filled three pages.” –Julia Cameron
My most favourite part about what she said about the morning pages is that is helps tuning out our inner critic. Because most of the time, it is us that have highest doubt of our own capacity and ability. The imposter syndrome? Yes it because of our inner critic.
“We learn to hear our censor’s comments and say, simply, ‘Thank you for sharing,’ while we go right on writing. We are training our censor to stand aside and let us create.”
Its powerful because it helps us acknowledge what hold us down and then proceed with focusing on where we want to be.
“Pages clarify our yearnings. They keep an eye on our goals. … If we are drifting, the pages will point that out. They will point the way True North. Each morning, as we face the page, we meet ourselves.”
Now that you are interested with the concept of morning journaling, come the practical question, what to write in the morning journaling
How to do morning journaling?
It’s morning and your brain barely function.
I am not proud of it, but I depend on my coffee to help me switch on my brain ( I know it doesn’t work like that). It is not a good habit, but I will work on it (maybe).
In this kind of situation, how the heck I can journal in the morning? I cannot even find proper words to say let alone build a proper sentence.
But I guess, that’s a beauty of morning journaling. Your thoughts are raw and authentic. And whatever you have written is what you think and what you are genuinely feel.
My early experience in journaling in the morning is fairly odd at first but satisfying as I continue writing down my thoughts like a teenage girl writing confession to their crush. It just keeps on coming. I never realize I have lots of thoughts (and feeling).
1. Just Ramble
Or do a word vomit. Write whatever even it doesn’t make sense, if I can advise you. Don’t bother of restructuring the sentence to make it good. Just take a pen and write down anything, any words.
This is what I think the essence of morning journaling.
Write any possible things inside your head.
Which come to my next point,
2. Use Notebook Or Journal Instead Of Digital Journaling
The idea is to be authentic as possible. writing down digitally will make it easier to edit and rephrase or delete it later. That is why morning journaling is better done using a notebook.
You can’t edit it, you cant make the sentence to be copied and pasted for the next journaling session. Basically, it is you and your thoughts at that time. Only at that time. It is quite special if you think about it.
3. Morning Journal Prompts
Some days my brain don’t really cooperate with me, so I just stare at the blank notebook feeling defeated. That’s when having some morning journal prompts helps me with my morning journaling.
To be honest, I am not really a fan of having a set specific question to answer in my morning journaling. I don’t like my journaling to be too structured and I feel pretentious answering the question like, “ where I am going to be in the next 5 years”
But for some reasons, it helps me sort if of ignites the idea on what to write. I just need to have a good morning journal prompt.
Good morning Journal Prompts
Rather than random pick up some prompts from the internet and start writing it down, I have realised that by asking myself the most basic question The How, Why, What and When; which really helps me with morning journaling.
1. How Are You Doing Today
It is not an uncommon question, but it is really uncommon to ask oneself the question. Like, really how are we doing?
Believe it or not, sometimes asking the simplest question can reveal a lot about ourselves.
Self: Are you okay with the current states you are in?
Work/ school: Are you okay with your performance at work?
Fitness/ health: Are you okay with your current health?
You get the idea.
Based on which aspect of your life to work on, ask how you are doing.
The next step is to ask simple why you feel that way
2. Why You Feel Or Think Such Ways?
Based on the initial triggers, go along the way to really find the reason or just ask yourself the reason for whatever you feel or think.
Why do I feel less fulfilled doing certain things? What am I supposed to do about it?
This question basically is just us trying to understand ourselves.
I usually don’t even have a certain answer to why I’m feeling such ways. But the thought of it helps me be okay that I am a complex human with complex thoughts.
3. What are you going to do about it?
The action is taken to improve or get you out of the situation.
The important is to make the journaling process a way to improve self and not just a collection of your thoughts like diary.
Don’t get me wrong, it is completely okay to just journal your thoughts without taking any action whatsoever. But I believe, the majority of people whose intention of journaling is not only to get to understand self-better but to improve their life as well.
4. When are we going to do things that are fun & meaningful?
It is today. So, today I get to do these things which I like, such as….
It’s cliché, I know. Don’t laugh.
But sometimes, life is too mundane for normal people like us, so we just have to make do with the simple pleasure of life.
Not all of us have the most interesting life, travelling across the globe or maybe have the luxury of time and able to do anything anytime they want..
Most people situation is like mine. Working 9-5, with the most predictable daily routine, get back from the office and the cycle continues.
My point is, rather than keep our noses on the life that is not ours, maybe if used every day to highlight the thing that we are able to do, and how to find fun with it, our life could feel less miserable or mundane.
This brings me to my next point,
Being grateful every day.
5. Gratitude List
I used to list the thing I’m grateful for as I journal before I sleep. But now, I added the gratitude list in my morning journaling, and I never go back.
By having the list, I have instructed myself and embedded the focus on something that I have and am blessed with rather than something I don’t have.
The other day, my friend complaint about something work-boss related. In the past, my usual response is to add fuel to the blazing fire, but weird things happen.
I’m thinking to myself, but it’s okay, we still have the job. This is something some other people prayed for
I literally gasped inside my head.
What happened to me?
I’m so happy that keeping the gratitude list is actually helping me on the positive side.
So rather than feed my friend with more rage, I just advise her to take it slow and maybe talk to the boss when she feels calmer and try to discuss later. She did, and a few days later and the issue was resolved easily as it was mainly due to miscommunications.
I know it sounds too good to be true. And it doesn’t work every day. But most of the time, it helps me feel okay with whatever I have, or I don’t have.
Gratitude my friend, the antidote to today’s greedy world
What if I don’t have much time to do morning journaling?
Simple, just spend 10 minutes on it. 5 minutes to do brain dumping. Like writing everything without thinking and the next 5 minutes, write the essence of your life goals, what I called it the daily highlight
What the heck is the daily highlight you ask me?
It’s a combination of having a simple overview of your target in life and what you are going to do about it. This basically have 4 main essences.
1. Directions: Goals or Aim
“You are 42% more likely to achieve your goals, simply by writing them down on a regular basis.”
Know where you are you heading. State your goals clearly but don’t make it sound like a chore.
2. Belief: Morning Affirmation
Okay, I’m one of those people who are sceptical about affirmation. Like how words can help us achieve goals? It’s too funny when I think about it like that.
Apparently, Affirmation works by reprogramming your mind to believe the stated concept.
But I do notice it kind of strengthen and make me feel more confident about whatever I am trying to achieve.
If you are not a fan of affirmation, just leave it. But as for me, I do like it when I affirm every day.
3. Action plan: To-do list
Prioritise the top 3 things that align with your goals. It can be as simple as going to the store to bought batteries for your scale if the goals are to lose weight.
Just keep the to-do list short and only for important things. The long to-do list can lead to feeling anxious and overwhelmed. So just keep it short but important.
You can write what you feel grateful at that moment or how you will feel grateful throughout the day. The most important thing is being grateful.
There you go, a tips on morning journaling and the morning journal prompts idea.
Share with us your thoughts on morning journaling.