The New Year is here (Happy New Year!) and it’s the perfect time for a fresh start. This time of year is a great time to celebrate last years’ wins, reflect on what you want to change this year, and jump on your goals with the enthusiasm only a new year can bring! One thing you should consider adding to your new years’ resolutions is to establish a morning routine.
I’ve developed a strong morning routine since I started working for myself and it’s now the only way I like to start my day. One thing I love to include in my morning routine is journalling.
Why journal in the morning?
Journalling is a great way to get your thoughts out of your head, onto paper, and set intentions for the day. You’ll often be surprised by the things your subconscious is thinking, worrying, or daydreaming about. You can talk out how your goals are progressing, how you’ll deal with a difficult situation, or do some gratitude practice.
If you’ve yet to try journalling in your morning routine, now is the time. I love using pen and paper, but if you prefer using a Google doc or an app on your phone, go ahead. Journalling is all about getting in the right mindset to start your day – so experiment and do what feels right. Just know that some days when you feel like you don’t want to journal are the days you will most benefit from it!
Now you know why journalling is so beneficial, I’ll share how it fits into my overall morning routine, then I’ll share my favourite journalling prompts.
What does your morning routine look like?
Here’s a snapshot of my current morning routine:
- We (my husband, dog Zorro, and I) leave the house by 7am to head to Costa to grab a coffee, then we spend about 45 minutes walking around a lake nearby, sharing our Airpods so we can listen to a podcast together.
- When we get back home, I fix a protein shake, shower, and get ready for the day.
- If I’m short on time, I’ll fill in my 5-Minute Journal, but if I have the time I’ll journal freely, using one or more of the prompts I’ve included below.
- Finally, I pull a Gabby Bernstein Super Attractor card to get me in a positive mindset for the day ahead.
- Then I start the work day!
10 Morning Journalling Prompts
There are no rules around which prompts you use (you don’t have to use a prompt, either, but it makes it easier to get in the right headspace), so look inward and do as many (or as few) as feels right. Here are some of my favourites:
#1 How can I embrace ease today?
Inviting more ease into your life is a great way to help you avoid stress and anxiety, and also help you stand in your own corner. It’s so easy to take on other people’s problems too soon in the day, but this question asks you to put yourself first.
#2 What am I most excited about today?
As adults, we often don’t feel nearly enough excitement! It’s usually something dramatic that gets us excited, such as a new car or a night out. But what about the next episode of the show you’re watching or what you’re going to make for lunch?
#3 How can I be more joyful today?
Joy is another emotion we often don’t feel enough – but thinking about joy helps you feel empowered about your happiness. Other things and people tend to “make” us happy or unhappy, but we are the drivers behind our joy.
#4 What am I most excited for in the future that today will build towards?
The prompts here focus largely on being in the here and now, since the majority of us struggle with being present. But it is always good to look to the future and keep your arrow pointed toward the bullseye.
#5 What would I like to invite more of into my life?
This can be anything – an emotion, a thing, time, people, opportunities, a habit, etc.
#6 What primary goal am I working toward today, and what steps am I taking?
This is another good question to keep you on track to meet your goals.
#7 What do I feel grateful for today?
People often think about their gratitude for having their basic needs met (such as a roof over their head and good food on the table), but try to turn some gratitude inward when you can. Are you proud of yourself for standing up to a rude customer, or for speaking up for something you didn’t think was right? Are you grateful that you worked out this morning or that you can cook? Self-love is so important for your overall quality of life, and this is such a simple way to embrace it.
#8 Be present: what in my immediate vicinity makes me feel happy or whole?
This doesn’t have to be a physical object or a person – it could be the rain on the window or the feeling of your slippers.
#9 How can I invest in myself today?
This is another question that will help you think about your needs and how you want to better your life. Do you want to invest in yourself by completing a module of the course you’re taking or cooking a healthy meal so you can progress toward your weight loss goal? Think about how that investment will help you, too – don’t just name it.
#10 What can I forgive myself for?
You’d be surprised what this question can bring up, so it’s not always the best one to use if you’re trying to get through your journaling quickly because you’re on a tight deadline. However, it is a powerful question. We often hold ourselves to standards that are impossibly high and then resent ourselves for not meeting them. This question can help you navigate these feelings and forgive yourself for old wounds – some you didn’t know were there.
Don’t Forget Your Evening Routine
Don’t forget that your after-work routine matters, too. I do my best to head to the gym during my lunch break 2-3 days a week, so I always wrap up my work day between 5 and 7pm and then switch off and cook dinner. After that I relax, watch a show, read a book, and head to bed. That down time in the evening is also essential for recharging my creative energy.
Journaling can be an incredibly powerful exercise, even if you only do it for 3 minutes before you jump into your work day. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in other people’s problems or the panic of a looming deadline, but just a few minutes with yourself can be all you need to put everything into perspective and feel present.