The way to keep your purpose, direction, and values at hand is as simple as five minutes in the morning and 10 minutes in the evening.
Morning affirmations set the tone for your day. You wake up with 1,000 obstacles between you and your goals, and the first thing to do is point your agency – the decision maker in your mind, the one behind thoughts and biology – in the right direction.
Evening journaling is your time to let go of all that. You write down what you learned, what you can do better, what surprises happened, and what you haven’t figured out yet. And then you go relax. Talk with your spouse. Be free. Personally, I find unloading my mind through evening journaling more relaxing than meditation, though I will typically do both anyway.
Tony Robbins, Tim Ferris, and many other influencers have their own morning rituals. The nice thing about mine is 1) It’s from badass retired Navy SEAL Mark Divine and 2) You don’t have to own million-dollar immersion bathtubs or a condo in the Rockies to do it.
If you feel like 10 minutes is more than you can spare, that’s OK. I’m not giving you a break – but I recall how 10 extra minutes felt impossible when I started my journey. It’s a symptom of anxiety caused by a perception of powerlessness. You’re going to read the lesson, and you’re going to give it 100%, even if it doesn’t go perfectly from the start.
Non-spiritual: Today I’m going to prevail over myself. I’m going to let go of everything I can’t control, and I’m going to have an adventure. All I can control is what goes on in my head.
Spiritual: God, let me let go and die to this world. Make me a warrior. Make me fear nothing, for you have a plan for me. Remind me that all I can and must control is my response. Grant me peace to know that you have a plan for me in this life and the next.
Morning questions for journal
The following are mostly taken from The Way of the SEAL by Mark Divine.
- What am I grateful for today?
- What am I most excited about today?
- What is my purpose?
- How can my goals serve my purpose today?
- How can my smaller plans serve my purpose today?
Don’t spend long – get moving! In a few lessons, you’ll learn the body rehab basics that you need to get to, and you’ll feel best
The evening ritual is similarly easy – and similarly important. Answering six questions in a journal lets you:
- Capture your victories (things to keep doing!),
- Record your failures so you can avoid them in the future, and
- Consider your next steps in your mission.
Evening journal questions:
- Was I in the zone today? Was I focused, determined, and energetic?
- What were the top 3 wins from today?
- What did I learn from those wins? As in, what do I need to keep doing?
- What unsolved challenges must I work on? As in, what can I anticipate I’ll need to do in the near future?
- What went wrong and what did I fail at?
- What is the silver lining? As in, what opportunities do those failures afford? There are always opportunities – even if it’s as simple as “not having this happen again.”
Get a journal that you like. I picked up a leather-bound journal in Florence a long time ago, and today it’s a record of my war with life. It makes me want to write in it. Tell the truth in it. Even if you have to hide it from the kids.
If you’re interested in reading more great practices from Mark Divine, the book is The Way of the SEAL. I sought it out when I realized I was a huge pansy and had to toughen up. It worked.
That’s all for today. Get started! Write on a post it note if you have to. Just start.
- JOURNAL: Write out all of the questions on a separate page in your journal. That way you can refer to it without this site.
- Create a daily reminder to actually ANSWER these questions until it becomes a habit. I made it the last entry in my planner until it became habit.
- If it’s morning or afternoon, answer the morning questions. If it’s evening, answer the evening questions. Then get ready to do it again, until it becomes habit.