Updated: Feb 24, 2020
How can you start to incorporate morning pages, or morning journaling into your life and why should you do it.
If you prefer to learn by watching I also have a youtube video on this - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qcdqyOqL0Iw&feature=youtu.be.
I've got to be honest. I don't think I could recommend one habit enough. Morning pages have dramatically changed the way I start my day and ultimately live my life.
From the words of Jim Rohn....
"Either you run the day or the day runs you."
Morning pages are essentially three pages of writing completed as the first task at the start of each new day. While I am not sure where this originated from, what I do know is that there are many writers, psychologists, historians and philosophers that talk about the benefit of writing down your thoughts first thing in the morning.
If you love to read a lot of self-help books, you will understand that many of these "new" teachings are revised versions of older "new age" thoughts. In the book "Good Strategy Bad Strategy" Richard Rumlet breaks this down well, so I thought I would share this little excerpt with you.
Richard Rumlet says...
"This fascination with positive thinking, and it's deep connections to inspirational and spiritual thought, was invented about 150 years ago in New England as a mutation of protestant Christian individualism. In the 1800's starting with Ralph Waldo Emersons "Transcendentalism". The next stage of in the development of this idea was Mary Baker Eddy's Christian Science which held that a mind holding the correct thoughts and beliefs could draw on divine power to eliminate disease. By 1890 this steam of religious philosophy had morphed into a set of mystical beliefs in the power of thought to affect the material world beyond the self, called the "New Thought" movement. It combined religious sentiment with recommendations for worldly success. The theory was that thinking about success leads to success.
"New Thought" reached it's peak in the early 1920's when it again morphed leaving behind the local societies, faith healers and churches. By the 1930's it had transformed into a stream of motivational and positive-thinking books and speakers. In this vein are the still popular Think and grow rich (Napolean Hill 1937), The Power of Positive Thinking (Norman Vincent Peale, 1952), Success through a positive mental attitude (Clement Stone 1960), The dymanic Laws of Prosperity: Forces that bring Riches to You (Catherine Ponder, 1962), Awaken the giant within (Anthony Robbins, 1991), and The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success (Deepak Chopra, 1995).
I am a huge lover of yoga and Buddhist philosophy. Svadhyaya is one of the eight limbs of yoga which also translates as "Self Study".
In what ways have morning pages helped me?
From personal experience, I can hand on my heart say that morning pages have a noticeable difference in my life. Some of the benefits I have experiences from practising morning pages are;
- Increased awareness of things that make me happy.
- Increased awareness of things that make me sad.
- The ability to reason with my re-occurring thoughts and draw upon conclusions.
- Set ambitions and expectations for the day ahead.
- Understand how my body and mind feel each day.
- Practice my daily affirmations.
- Resolve ongoing problems.
- Encourage creative ideas.
How do you practice morning pages?
I know everybody has their method I am going to share with you my process below.
Setting up for morning pages starts the night before. I set my alarm on my phone for 4:55 am, I love to have a 5 min snooze before i wake up! After I have set my alarm, I will turn my phone on to aeroplane mode. I do this for two reasons. Firstly so I don't get disturbed during sleep and secondly, so I don't have any notifications tempting me to open my phone when I first wake up. I think its good practice to make sure your book and pen are by your bedside, so all you have to do is reach over and grab them. Minimal effort maximum impact.
When I wake up, after turning off my alarm, I sit up in bed and reach for my blank book and pen. I tend to alter the questions I ask myself month to month, especially if I am trying to work something through in my mind, but as a rule, I will ask myself the following:
- How do you feel today in body and mind?
- What thoughts are going through your head?
- What would you do with your life if you knew you couldn't fail.
- What three things could you achieve today that would make it incredible?
After I have gone through these questions, I will then write out my daily affirmations and read them out loud.
Once I have done this, I step out of bed, and when I place my left foot on the floor, I think "grate-", and when I put my right foot on the floor I think "-full". This is something I have practised ever since reading the secret by Rhonda Bryne - another classic book called The Secret, which was published in 2007.
I practice this process seven days a week, and at the end of each month, I run through the pages with a highlighter to see if there are any elements of repetition or obvious glaring changes I could make that would improve my life. I tend to focus on any re-occurring thoughts or feelings.
This process enabled me to establish a decision on leaving my previous company and start my own business. I had consistently written this In response to question three and It was so encouraging to read this over and over as it made the decision far easier than it would have been without that. You also can't argue with words you have written!
Everyone practices morning pages in different ways, and there is no right or wrong way. You don't have to. Wake up at 5am you don't have to ask yourself these questions, but I know that this process works for me. If you practice any morning rituals, I would love to know what they are.
Thanks for reading,
Big hearty love,