I used to watch the Instagram reels where people share their magical morning routines that include the perfect espresso bev, a relaxing journaling session, maybe some yoga–and I just couldn’t relate. I’m over here sleeping until my babes wake me up in their monitor and rolling into my day with bedhead and tired eyes.
Maybe you’re like me… I’ve always loved the idea and practice of journaling, but never have had it in me to find consistency in sticking with it long-term. It’s a train I’ve hopped on and off over the years, sometimes riding for weeks on end, sticking with jotting down my thoughts, stories, feelings, and ideas. Other times, I’m off the caboose for weeks and months or longer because, um, well, LIFE.
I think we can all suffice it to say that’s enough of a reason.
The benefits of journaling
The thing is, journaling can reap so many rewards when we do make the time for it: more clarity, more self-awareness, a deeper understanding of our vision and goals, a fuller intimacy with what’s going on around us (rather than moving through life on autopilot). It allows us to slow down, get present, and notice what we’re experiencing instead of moving through life in go-mode.
(Been THERE, my friend. All too often.)
But like anyone with a family, busy career, bustling day-to-day responsibilities, and a full life… making time for a journal practice isn’t exactly easy. At least, it hasn’t been for me, historically. And then, something changed for me this year.
After writing my book and finding myself in a season of “I don’t know what’s next for me,” I began to crave a more intentional, aware pace of moving through life, and that picture included making space for the journal practice I’ve always desired and held onto as a “one-day” vision in my head. (Ya know, whenever I ~magically~ encountered more time to fit it in.)
If you know me, you know I’m going to make even my most thoughtful goals more efficient, when possible. 😉 I spent 30+ days this fall journaling EVERY single day, as a challenge to myself to see if I even could. But instead of trying to squeeze in an hour to sit down every day and write 10 pages about life lately, I got really focused and concise with this practice.
Before I knew it, 30 days turned into 60, turned into 90… you get the idea!
And no joke, it’s honestly been life-changing.
I’ve gotten SO many questions on Instagram about this new journaling rhythm I’ve found, so today I’m sharing my process for you to try, too! And—in case ya haven’t heard—I’m making it easier than ever to join in by creating and offering a guided journal that will allow you to take this practice and make it your own!
It’s based on the principles from my book, “How Are You, Really?”, but no need to have bought or read the book to participate in the transformative prompts the journal counterpart will bring you. This journal is applicable to anyone and everyone (and makes a great gift for loved ones, if I do say so myself). But first, let’s get into the practice that started it all!
The journal practice that has changed everything
It started as a challenge to simply see if I could do it, and ended with an eye-opening realization. I actually do LOVE to journal, and it truly has led to some amazing insights into my life. And… it doesn’t need to take a ton of time to make it effective and consistent in your life.
Through a crazy series of events, I was led to this podcast episode where Alex Banayan was interviewed and shared this practice that he did with high-achieving CEOs! When I heard about his simple journaling challenge, I was ready. I loved that instead of staring at a blank page, I had three simple prompts to guide me each day.
Here’s what my process has looked like:
Every day for 30+ days I’ve been answering these three questions:
- What energized me today?
- What drained me today?
- What did I learn about myself today?
And then I spend 5-10 minutes a day just jotting down the answers to these simple, open-ended questions. It’s been so transformational because when I review 30 days, I find a ton of trends that I probably would’ve missed if I didn’t check-in.
What I’ve added to the practice:
After I got comfortable doing this practice, I tweaked and tailored my own journaling approach to fit me and my needs even further.
I started rating “how was I, really?” every day at the top of my page! Giving myself a scale of 1-10, I would jot down where I was at for the day in an attempt to get used to checking in with myself, but also in an attempt to be able to see trends or just keep an eye on where I’m at on a given week or month. (Ahem, cycle tracking, anyone?)
I also started jotting down my daily “big 3!” This is a practice I’ve had for years upon years that help me prioritize the three biggest priorities for my day. I usually do this for my business and the tasks that I need to focus on first. I always look at this as, “If I only achieved these three things today, it will be a success.” Having this a part of my journaling practice helps me to establish where I will prioritize my energy, and since I review my journal, it also allows me to check in to ensure that my daily focuses are aligned with my values and biggest priorities.
Finally, I took it one step further by outlining my week’s agenda! Something that has been huge for me is entering the week knowing what’s coming up and identifying if there are any trends or ways that I can work smarter or batch my work. Transferring my digital calendar to pen and paper also gives me time and space to do a calendar audit at the end of the month (and it also gives me the chance to see how my calendar affects how I’m feeling!). It also gives me a chance to share what’s coming up with Drew and allows me to communicate where I need help and support or how I can help support his schedule too!
Just 5 minutes a Day:
I think it goes well with the line from my book, “Sometimes we move through life not knowing who we are because we don’t even know how we feel.” This practice makes it a daily check-in. While you can take it more in-depth and write about what happened that day (or the day before), you can also keep it extremely simple and jot down a couple sentences for each answer. (That’s more or less what I do.)
Another great thing is that this can be done in the morning or at night based on what works for you. I’ve been leaving my journal on my nightstand so it’s just a quick pulse check before bed, and then at the end of the month, I scheduled a coffee shop day to review and write down trends, themes, and anything else that stood out from the month. It’s been super interesting to see what topics repeatedly come up as indicators for what I should focus on more intentionally OR remove from my life and routine if possible.
It’s been powerful, to say the least… incredibly awakening and genuinely transformative, if I could sum it up in a few words! As someone who “never had time to journal,” this is something I can actually stick with day after day—and that’s made a *noticeable* difference to my life, mindfulness, and health.
If you’re looking for a way to incorporate a realistic journaling practice in your life, give it a try! Or order our brand new journal to make your daily practice effortless and beautiful!
Ready to prioritize your own journal practice?
Get our newly released journal to reflect and stay present each day!