A lot of people have written articles about their morning routines lately. I find these posts amusing–not because I don’t believe in the power of starting your day off on the right foot–but because most of the people writing these posts are 25-year-old unemployed millennials or YouTubers. Between the meditating and the juice squeezing and the sketching of the pretty bird outside your window and the gratitude lists and the 10-mile jog followed by some calming yoga, their “morning routines” are taking them well into the afternoon.
Real people don’t have time for that.
But the one item that everyone–from the 25 year-olds to Bill Gates–swears by? Journaling.
Once reserved for angsty teenagers on a year abroad writing about love and how unfair the world is, journaling has now (finally) been recognized as the #1 tool of all successful humans.
You all know I’ve been writing in a journal every morning since before I was an angsty teenager, and I’ve made no secret of the fact that I credit that practice with whatever success (big or small) I have had in my life.
However, a client recently asked me how one gets from dreaming on the page to living the reality, and I realized that that isn’t something that is talked about as much. It’s become a key part of my journaling, but it’s not an obvious one. It’s very easy to draw a clear line in the sand. This is reality vs. Those are dreams, and it’s very common to get stuck in your current reality, unable to cross over into dream territory.
There are 5 Steps to getting from one side to the other, and incorporating some of those dreams into your reality.
It requires a highlighter.
I should first point out that your journals should never be written with the idea in your mind that ANYONE would ever read them. No one should read them, you shouldn’t show them to people, and they aren’t meant for anyone to see. (kind of like in Bridget Jones’s Diary–DON’T LEAVE THEM OPEN, YOU NINNY!)
Okay–so, no need for eloquence and no need for complete sentences. Consider it a daily brain dump and just write whatever comes out. I like Julia Cameron’s (author of The Artists’ Way) directive to write 3 pages no matter what. It’s true…the good stuff doesn’t start appearing until the end of page 2, and that 3rd page is absolute GOLD. 90% of my writing is absolute gibberish and totally stupid.
Take a second and look over what you wrote. Were there any moments when you found yourself “wishing” for things? “I wish we had room for chickens in the backyard” “I wish my wife would be more willing to hire a sitter so we could go out on a date night.” “I wish I would get called for XYZ gig”. Or future casting “In 10 years I’ll have my own house. When I have more money, I’ll spend my weekends at the cape”
Grab your highlighter or a different color pen/pencil and mark those things you mentioned wanting in your life. (backyard chickens, date night, gig XYZ, house, cape, etc.) and highlight the things that come up in your future casting. The more random it seems, the better! Sometimes the greatest insights come out of nowhere and land on that page. Highlight them so you can refer back to them.
Think about each one of these “wishes” and dreams. Ask yourself if there is any part of them that you could do or have now. If not, is there any action step you could take that would get you closer to them? I.e. Can you find a local farmer’s market that sells fresh eggs? Could you research how much space you’d need for a coop? Can you think of a local student or neighbor that could watch your kids for an hour so you could meet your spouse out for a glass of wine? Can you take a day trip to the cape and wander around the shops as if you’re a regular?
Take one of those items, and do it. Today. Consider it a mini-leap.
Before you know it, you’ve met a farmer who tells you everything you need to know about raising chickens, has introduced you to a friend who was looking for a home for their old chicken coop, and Voila! Dream realized. Or the “browsing” you did on Zillow, led you to have a conversation with a realtor about different neighborhoods, which led you to speak with a mortgage broker, which led you to open up a special savings account, which led you to buy your own home in 1 year, instead of 10.
There’s always a small step you can take. Something you can google, a phone call you can make, doing a no-strings-attached favor for the contractor of that gig you’d love to do someday. Those small steps lead to other small steps, which lead to slightly less-small steps, and before you know it, you’re halfway to achieving those dreams and watching those “wishes” come true.
As far as my gear? I just use standard Five-star spiral-bound notebooks, and Pilot G-2 gel pens in black or blue. I also have a running Google Doc for each year, and I go between the two depending on my mood. But there are endless options out there. Use whatever will make the process enjoyable for you.
P.S. Today is Kick-off day for Thrive-Fest: Holiday Edition. Want to join us as we do 1 small, easy daily task over the next 7 weeks to stay on top of holiday to-do lists and thrive through the busy holiday season? It’s not too late! JOIN HERE. https://mailchi.mp/c2b95cc9d96f/thrive-fest-holiday-edition-sign-up-page