My younger sister gifted me with The Five Minute Journal not long ago, a concept created by Alex Ikonn and UJ Ramdas. The book arrived on my doorstep by surprise, and I was so delighted to receive a package that wasn’t kids’ clothes, or kids’ shoes, or a fridge filter, that I foolishly agreed to give it a try.
I committed to writing in The Five Minute Journal for five days. There is even a page in the journal called “My Commitment,” where you create a contract with yourself. I started the process, which (as the title literally says) requires just five minutes each day to journal, reflect, improve: “The simplest, most effective thing you can do every day to be happier.“
My first few thoughts were about my professional life — what I’ve done (so little), what I want to do (so much), the disproportionate amount of time that I give these goals. This is the corner of my life where I need to take inventory.
What would make today great?
Finding that overdue library book.
What are three major obstacles?
Where haven’t I looked for that library book?
Also I need to make that appointment. And that appointment.
And what is our schedule for this weekend and next month and who needs what when and what tasks to tackle first and are my kids ok and ding, ding, ding group text threads about our next get together, thank God.
My sister’s intent in giving me this journal was so sweet and so pure that it pains me to say that I failed. My journaling started Monday morning. And ended Monday morning. I didn’t even realize that I forgot to journal Monday night until Wednesday afternoon. I lasted two and a half minutes. I also didn’t complete my self-imposed consequence (cleaning the basement floors, which is a long-overdue chore that I should be doing anyway.) AND I also gave myself the reward (a high-end beauty product) even though I fell short on my commitment on the very first day. (Although I have to say, the goopy clay face mask DID make me happier.)
On the first page of the journal, the authors provided a helpful (and obviously intentional) quote by Meister Eckhart: “Be willing to be a beginner every single morning.”
So today’s new day — a great day to start over. Tomorrow is also a new day. As is Sunday. So that’s settled, Monday of next week it is.