The Viral 5-Minute Journal Transformed My Quiet Time

If you haven’t heard of the Five Minute Journal, I don’t know what rock you’ve been living under for the past few years. As journaling has risen in popularity, so have some guided journals. One of the most popular guided journals is the Five Minute Journal.

I love journaling mindfulness, so I had to see if all the hype surrounding this little journal was true. So I tried it, and damn, I’m never going back.

The Five Minute Journal

Contrary to what the internet might say, this journal isn’t magical. It even says that on the first page alongside the quote, “Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.” The journal says that it’s not a magic pill and you (the reader/writer/journaler) still have to do the work. I found this opening a bit refreshing because often we believe that just buying the trending journal will fix our problems, but we still have to put in the work. 

Thankfully, the journal gives you space and time to put that work in. It contains six months’ worth of entries. It also has an introduction section with several chapters explaining how best to go about a journaling practice and how to get the best results. 

Every morning, you fill out a simple prompt:

And every night, you answer two other questions: 

  • Highlights of the day

  • What did I learn today? 

This journal isn’t for you to write out every thought you’ve had for the day, but instead, it’s designed to shift your mindset towards positive thinking and building a habit of reflecting on the good rather than the bad. 

In the end, it only takes five minutes – so what’s the harm in trying?

Inside the Journal

I loved the first few sections of the journal because it explained exactly why it’s so successful. The journal has five things going for it:

1. It enforces positive thinking at the beginning and end of your day. 

2. Positive thinking is psychologically proven to be good for you. 

3. It’s not complicated. 

4. It’s a quick way to look through your highlights. 

5. It’s an easy commitment. 

Then the journal goes through every single obstacle you might face when you’re filling it out. While it boasts of being quick, journaling twice a day is a commitment and the creators understood that. They ask you to promise yourself five days of journaling in a row. Then they ask you to write down a reward you’ll give yourself if you do five days and a punishment if you don’t do the five days. 

The journal then asks you to write down your mission statement, flaws and issues you see in yourself, problems that might hinder you from filling out the journal every morning and evening, and ways to avoid those problems. 

After you’re done filling all that out, you’re ready to go!

The Five Minute Journal

the 5 minute journal


My Week

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At the beginning of the week, I was skeptical about how well the journal would work. I’m very protective over my morning routine and usually don’t add anything to it. I’ve intentionally not added journaling into my mornings because my routine already takes a bit of time and effort, and I never want to dread my quiet time. But everyone I know who has started this journal is completely sold, so I gave in.  

I fell in love with this journal on day one and that stayed true all week long. It’s true, the questions aren’t particularly deep, but I was shocked at how much I had to think about them. 

The journal doesn’t just ask you to list one thing and then you’re done, but prompts you to list three things you’re grateful for, three things that would make the day ahead great, and three highlights. This way, you can’t just jot down the first thought in your head and check off journaling for the day. I appreciated the fact that the journal asked for more than one answer because I’ll often treat even my most dear morning routines like a checkmark. The multiple answers required me to sit and sift through my thoughts and feelings. 

My favorite prompt the journal provided was, by far, asking what could make today great. The first thing I contemplated every morning was how I could make the day a positive experience. I often operate my days with tasks and to-do’s, not thinking about myself or my feelings until I get so overwhelmed I crash. But starting my morning off with a prompt that asked me what I could do to make the day special put the day in a new light for me. 

While I loved the morning questions, the evening ones required me to reflect more on my day than I ever have. The question prompted me to share what I’d learned the day before and made me pause and think about the parts of my day that stood out. They also helped me not lump all the occurrences of the day together and really piece them apart. I loved the quick check-in that the journal gave me.

My Review

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Using the journal this week made me quickly realize how often I let life go by without truly reflecting on it. I’ll run through the day like a chicken with its head cut off, going through the motions and to-do lists until I finally fall into my bed and get ready for the next day. 

The creators of the journal are right — the journal isn’t magic, but it does help you create an easy and sustainable journaling practice that you can use for the rest of your life.

I was a bit skeptical at the beginning because you could just write the answers to the daily questions in a regular notebook, and once I’ve gone through my journal, I might, but there’s something so nice about having it all mapped out for you. 

I’ve tried a lot of journaling techniques and trends in the past few years. But this journal really allowed me to get into the nitty-gritty of everyday life and examine the highs and lows. 

It reminded me to ask questions that I never ask of myself and to enjoy my days and time however I want to. 

I will be journaling in the Five Minute Journal every day from now on and I’m so grateful that I’ve adopted this new habit.


Do you own the Five Minute Journal? What do you think about journaling? Comment below!

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