How to Start a 5 Minute Habit & Mood Journal
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Learn how to start an easy 5 Minute Habit & Mood Journal to track your mental & physical health and wellness goals in 2018. Plus, get a free printable for your journal.
I love the idea of New Year’s resolutions. While the timing is a bit arbitrary, the process of thinking about the last 12 months of your life and making a commitment to better the next 12 is something I’m 100% into.
For me, 2017 has been all about mental and physical health. I’ve worked on understanding my sleep and anxiety patterns, what triggers them and how to help them. Because of that, I’ve incorporated more exercise, meditation, and gratitude into my (mostly) daily routine.
While I was working through all this, I wanted a way to track what I was working on. I just needed something quick that I knew was easy to do daily before bed. It needed to be something I could do in less than 5 minutes without too much thought.
To Pinterest!! I found ideas for 5 minute journals, bullet journals, habit trackers, gratitude journals…. SO... MANY… JOURNALS. A lot of them had color coded, fancy drawings, appendixes, tables, graphs… just WOW — too much. I wanted something simple and easy and useful. So I combined the best of what I found and I think the result is both perfect for me and easy enough to tweak and make incredibly useful for anyone (like you!).
So, here’s how I do my 5 Minute Habit & Mood Journal:
Every month, I create a chart to fill in. It has one column of habits and emotions I want to be aware of and then one column for each day of the month. This takes 5 or 10 minutes additional minutes a month — no biggie. I use either shading or numbers to fill it in which gives me a quickly overall sense of my day/week/month. I also track a beginning and end weight for the month at the very top of the chart.
Track the things you CAN control (your habits)
Make a list of the habits you want to keep track of. I like to call these “the things you can control” because these are the things that if you choose to do, will keep you on track. These are the things that keep you sane.
For me, these are things like:
- Minutes exercised
- Read a book
- Flossed (TBH, this guy should get the boot, I’m terrible at flossing)
It could also include things like:
- Glasses of water
- Daily steps
- Unplug by 8pm
- Took vitamins
- No take out
I like to keep mine short. While I could track more, I know that exercise, meditation and reading are the keys for me.
You can either use shading to indicate whether you completed a task or you can use numbers (Sleep = 7, Daily Steps: 6k).
Just a note on exercise: You could keep it simple and fill the box in if you got 30+ minutes exercise. Or you could do it like I do and include the # of mins, or a slash (/) for none, or a slash with a reason (S/D = sick day, R/D = rest day).
There may be a couple of straggler habits you want to track. For me, I want to track if I take medication for anxiety. That goes in this bucket for me because it’s something I actively do even if it isn’t a “habit”.
Track the things you CAN’T control (sickness, period, travel, etc.)
Next, I think it’s important to track things you don’t have direct control over. Sure, you could say you have control over getting sick if you eat healthy & exercise, but it’s not your decision in the moment whether you get sick or not.
For me, these are things like:
- Busy at work
- Couldn’t sleep
It could also include things like:
These don’t always have to be negative things but I find they often are and that’s okay.
Note: Only by writing this post did I realize I had “Tired” in the wrong spot! That will move to this section next month.
Track how you FEEL about it (your emotions)
To me, tracking my emotions is one of the most important parts of this process. Regardless of what happens during the day, I can choose to react to the things that are happening and the thoughts in my head — or not. Want to hear more on this idea? Listen to Brooke Castillo.
For me, I include things like:
It could also include:
Note: I just added Open/Flow for January which I’m not totally sure belongs here but I like the idea. I have a Type A personality and I want to notice when I’m able to go with the flow and be open to spontaneous ideas. I’m going to try this out for January but it may move to “Things I can control”. The great thing about this system is I can try it out and change something the next month if it doesn’t work!
Other things you can put in your journal:
You can keep it super simple and stick with the monthly habit & mood chart or you can add a couple additional elements.
- Daily Gratitude: I include a single page for gratitude. It’s just 1 line per day of something I’m grateful for.
- Daily Notes: I also include a space to write quick bulleted notes of the day. I usually write something even if it’s just one line but I tell myself this part isn’t necessary if I’m tired.
- Monthly Recap: At the end of each month, I like to jot down a few bullets as a reminder of the month overall. This is things like: “Traveled for work which through off my schedule at the beginning of the month”, “Sleep has been improving since I started going to yoga regularly”, “Started listening to a new podcast which I really like”.
- Books Read: I don’t track this in my journal because I use GoodReads to track my books.
What notebook should I use?
I really like using Field Notes Journals to track my progress. I like the 4.75 inch x 7.5 inch ones. They’re the perfect size for the month chart and thin which I like in case I need to travel with my journal.
... or Download a 2018 Habit & Mood Journal Printable
What if I just want to print something out? Okay, okay. I hear you. I mean… literally, I heard you asking for a printable — and so I made one.
So, if you prefer to keep things easy, go ahead and download a 2018 Habit & Mood Journal Printable — it’s FREE! All you need to do is fill in the habits, emotions etc. that you want to track and you’re ready to go.
Want to class your printable up a bit? Cut the paper in half (I made lines for you) and get an A5 clipboard to put your papers in. This A5 clipboard looks pretty nice, comes in both pink and blue, and is on Amazon Prime for less than $10. I call that a no brainer.
Sooo… tea? I thought this was a tea blog? Where’s the tea?
Yes, I started this as a blog about tea: how you can use it, trying different brands and varieties, and I still plan on doing that. But I also want to talk more about living a tea lifestyle and mindset. Say what? Yes I know, loose definition coming...
What draws me to drinking tea is two-fold:
- It’s a relaxing, calming drink that helps me feel centered. It makes me want to enjoy small moments, read more books and be more present.
- It’s healthy and healing and therefore puts me into a growth mindset.
So, while this blog will still focus on tea, I also hope to open it up in 2018 to include more lifestyle and mindset content.
If you’re curious about the tea shown in this post, it’s a lovely green tea called Mao Feng Shui from Smith Teamakers. I highly recommend all their teas. This is a great classic green tea. I also love their Fez green tea which has spearmint in it.