I recently received a request from one of my blog readers for a meaningful birthday gift idea for her friends turning 30 this year. The one gift that stood out to me to share was the one very simple but empowering gift we gave to friends and family for Christmas: a homemade 5 Minute Journal.
You may have heard of the original journal. The Five-Minute Journal is a beautifully bound book with simple morning and evening prompts that encourage deeper introspection, gratitude, hope, confidence, and analysis of your day. And of course, it just takes a few minutes of your morning (three morning prompts to answer) and evening (two prompts) to fill in each day.
Although I highly recommend buying the journal for yourself, Bobby and I actually made our own homemade copies and have used them for some time. We had created our own pages, Bobby designed the cover, and I sewed them (15 pages each) into books initially just for the two of us and Caroline.
When it came time over the holidays to brainstorm meaningful gift ideas for our parents, siblings, and friends, our homemade 5 minute journals (based on the bound original version) seemed more significant and lasting than anything money could buy.
This is what's inside our 5 Minute Journal:
For the morning portion of the page:
- The day's date
- I am grateful for...
- What would make today great?
- Daily affirmations. I am... (list positive affirmations, self talk, etc.)
For the evening portion of the page:
- 3 amazing things that happened today...
- How could I have made today better?
(I'm not giving you my PDF of our pages since they are the original Five-Minute Journal's work. If you are making your own journal for yourself or a friend, you could make it your own: add your favorite quotations, additional questions, etc. The original version includes daily quotations or weekly challenges that we did not include in ours.)
What has this journal done for me since using it daily?
- I am more grateful from having to start my morning and think about what is most important to me that particular day.
- I start my day with energy and excitement, fixed on the three most important things to do that day.
- I catch myself stopping in my tracks during the day to change my attitude, decision-making, or way of handling something based on something I've written in my journal and am wanting to be better at/overcome.
- I am finding greater success overcoming my weaknesses when "what could I have done better?" forces me to see my errors and, the next day, work harder on resolving them.
- I definitely prioritize my day better.
- I have much better quality time with my kids and husband.
- I make more time for myself.
- I treasure (and later record) the magical moments in my day, the things I never want to forget that I often used to forget.
- I have become more confident through writing my daily affirmations and working to believe them.
And the response from parents, siblings, and friends that have started using our homemade journals since Christmas has been quite incredible. It has bettered everyone.
My own mother thanked me recently for the journal and said she hadn't journaled since the day I was born. Now she had been consistent in writing in her new journal since Christmas.
Buy the original journal. Make a simple one for yourself. Make a stack to distribute to friends for the most meaningful gift you could give them this year. This simple journal can and will change how you live each day. For me, writing in it each morning as the first first thing I do to start my day and the last thing before bed has helped me have a deeper commitment to living my life to its fullest.
the sleepy time gal