You read it right.
Unfortunately you probably assumed I meant how to get financially wealthy quick, and while I am confident the suggestion I am about to outline can help you with that to it's intended to show you how to live a rich, high quality life, quickly.
Most of what I talk about are based on my principles about life but I am also always seeking tactical specific information, and trying to find out how to actually improve life. So it’s only fair that I also try to share some of that information with you.
I like to usually cover principles because I know I can’t predict what someone will take from what I write, so it would be foolish to get super descriptive into how-to do this or that because that’s really up to you. I’ll tell you what I do, and why, and how I feel, and think, and you dissect it. Learn what you can. Use it to ask yourself questions, evaluate your own actions, thoughts, and determine how you want to use what you find.
So today this is an attempt to give some more specific information, that you can take, change, make it your own, and implement something new to your life.
I take in a lot of information from Tim Ferriss and I explained in my first newsletter how his book Tools of Titans is my bible. Today is just one example why.
In Tools of Titans there is a section titled “5 Morning Rituals That Help Me Win The Day”. I was excited to read about a couple I had already implemented like make your bed, do 5-10 reps of something and encouraged to work harder as two others specifically I knew I wanted to start right away. Meditate (consistently) and journal (consistently). I have meditated plenty of times before but never consistently long-term so I worked that into my routine and got better, but I’m still not consistent.
But this post isnt about that.
If you read my first post you already know I have wanted to write in some way for a little while now. I had off and on started journaling or thinking about blogging or writing chapters of some random book that I never really intended to share or complete, just had the urge to write. So journaling naturally seemed like a great way to satisfy my random need to write.
The best part was, Tim outlined how he uses the 5-minute journal (which I linked below) which does most of the hard work for you already!
My 5-Minute Journal
I will attach the real 5 minute journal like I said so you can see the original version, and I have attached one of my own completed examples to show you how I use it. I adapted the original slightly and added two questions to make it my own. The pre-printed copies are nice but I prefer the 25 cent joblot notebook that I can handwrite all the questions into. I think this way is best, theres something about writing out the questions that I think shouldn’t be overlooked, and it’s important you adapt it and make it your own. Handwriting your journal allows you to do this. I knew I would want to modify it at some point, so I chose to write it out. But if buying the 5 minute journal will get you to be more consistent, by all means go for it.
Here’s how it works:
A.M. To be answered in the morning:
I am grateful for…
What would make today great?
I am committed to…
What am I improving?
P.M. To be answered at night:
Three amazing things that happened today?
How could I have made today better?
What am I curious about?
It’s that simple.
I have a notebook with my name and the year on the outside, and on the inside I write A.M. today’s date, and write out the morning questions, think about answers, and write those down. I put my notebook in my desk drawer and then at night I come back and write P.M., then the night questions, then think about answers and write them in.
Now as with anything don’t immediately say, “I’m not going to do that every morning and night” and then just chose to do nothing. I still often miss a day, or two, or three but its the practice of it. And truthfully it’s not work to remember to do it anymore. Honestly it’s eerie how much I can see a difference in my mood and in my day in general when I forget to journal. So it isn’t hard for me to notice the benefits and quickly get back on track journaling each morning and night.
Tips on how-to
A few tips before you get started.
First, try to really think about these questions, and come up with great answers. It’s not always going to work, but if you just breeze through mindlessly you’ll end up writing the same thing everyday “I am grateful for my family, my health, my job…” yea, we all are and that’s great if you’re appreciative enough to realize that. But the benefits really start to come when you work hard to come up with great answers.
For me sometimes it helps to come up with different categories. Maybe my first thing I am grateful for relates to family, the second is about life but not directly related to me, and the third is something seemingly trivial… (many times I write blue pens.. Idk why I just like blue pens and I despise using anything else).
For I am committed to I write about very specific things/processes I am committed to. Yea I’m committed to love, and health but I work to write things like “ I am committed to… 1. Working everyday to show someone I love that they are loved by being supportive. Or committed to… 2. Waking up early, and drinking water early to start a healthy day. It’s important to be specific about how you are committed not necessarily just what you’re committed to.
For, What am I improving this might take some time. To start I would literally think what do I suck at.. Then I would write it down. Maybe you word it as what have I failed at, or what can’t I do. Write it here so you start to understand you are improving it not failing. Get used to reframing how you think about these things and start moving them into the improvement category, and work to actually start making progress.
The p.m. ones are easy enough but I added What am I curious about because it’s very important to practice staying curious. And I say staying because we are all curious when we’re young and then we just stop practicing it and forget about it. Curiosity needs to be practiced, it’s crucial to being grateful and appreciative, to thinking critically and strategically, and it sparks imagination and allows your mind to get used to thinking outside the norm.
I was inspired by Walter Isaacson who has written dozens of great books, most notably on Steve Jobs, Benjamin Franklin, Albert Einstein, and Leonardo Da Vinci. Just a couple insignificant people in the history of our world… and one of the common traits Isaacson talks about specifically with all of these men is their intent on practicing being curious. Da Vinci is famous for writing notes constantly documenting and practicing his curiosity. At one time he documented he wondered what the texture of a birds tongue was like. ….I don’t always get answers that extreme, but I try to. I think the benefits are worth the challenge, even if you dont notice them right away.
Reviewing what you write is an added bonus to the benefits of doing this. I try to review every few months (ideally monthly) and re-read some of my past journals. And at the end of the year I skim through the whole notebook. It’s fun to track progress, see what you were thinking about, what you were working on. For a quicker review just run through your P.M. Amazing things that happened today. It’s fun and helps you be more appreciative, consistently.
I encourage anyone willing to, to get started. Make it simple. Use the questions directly from the 5 minute journal or you can use mine if you would like. But start. You’ll get better over time and be able to adapt it however you want. Maybe you just do one question in the morning and one at night. Maybe you just want to add a few of your own, take mine out.. Go for it. Maybe you prefer doing the old dear diary method (that’s totally different than what this is) but if it works then do it.
I know it might seem daunting…. To do a “FIVE MINUTE JOURNAL”... (imagine my sarcasm) but similar to how Russell Simmons once said, “If you don’t have 20 minutes to meditate, you really need 2 hours of meditation.” I’ll say, if you don’t have five minutes to journal… you don’t have a life.
Find a way to make your own five minute journal and do it for 30 days (at least). If you do, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell me how it went. You can be as vague or specific as you want. Tell me if it sucked and you hated it, but the key is you have to tell me why and what you did. Or tell me what questions you like the most, what did you change, did you notice a difference or not, and how will you use this going forward.
Try it out, I promise the title is not a lie.. this will help you live a rich life.
Example: Here is an example from when I was using the questions directly from the 5 minute journal
Example: Here is an example of an entry from this year
Learn more on this:
Tool: 5 Minute Journal
Books: Anything by Walter Isaacson is well worth the time, check out his books here
Video: Tim Ferriss - His 5 minute journal