Episode #3 of the course A daily journal practice to become a better person every day by John Robin
“When you visualize, then you materialize.” —Denis Waitley, American motivational speaker
Welcome to Lesson 3 of our course on daily journaling!
Now that we’ve worked on setup and the basic method, we’ll start covering each component of your daily journal. Today, we’re going to begin with the start-of-day visualization.
You can keep practicing the journal method using the outline from yesterday, but starting today, you’ll be able to double down on the visualization section, using the tips we’re about to cover.
The Best Way to Start Each Day
Your start-of-day visualization is a powerful tool to help you anticipate your actions in the day to come. The better you get at it, the more you will find yourself acting on the insights and intentions you build from journaling.
Finding Time for Your Three to Five Minutes in the Morning
The best way to always fit in your three to five minutes of visualization journaling is to create a morning routine and make this part of it. This means that every morning, you have a series of things you do before you do anything else. Even if you have to get up extra early for an appointment, you still do this routine.
The best morning routines are:
• short, ideally no longer than 30-40 minutes
• scalable, so if you have to rush, you can strip it down to 10-15 minutes and still follow all the main beats
• flexible, so you can do things in a different order if you want to change it up
You don’t have to do your three to five minutes of visualization right away. Just make sure it’s part of your morning routine.
I usually do my morning visualization as the last step. My morning routine sequence looks like this:
• Open the curtains.
• Read starred email queue with coffee.
• Feed the fish.
This way, when I do my start-of-day journal, I’m fully awake and loaded like a spring, ready to launch into the day as I visualize how I’m best going to harness its potential.
Getting Real with Visualization
Visualization is the act of using your visual mind to picture yourself doing something. For your journal, you are trying to envision what you expect to do in the day ahead.
Caveat: You’re not staring into a crystal ball. You’re not trying to do magic or wishing for good things to happen. Instead, focus on what you actually see happening.
It’s one thing to visualize your day. But this doesn’t force you to challenge how realistic something is. Writing each thing down helps you become more critical.
For example, if you have to go to the gym and get to a doctor’s appointment, don’t just write, “Go to gym,” and “Go to doctor’s appointment.” Instead, visualize how each will happen as part of your day, especially in a way that will anticipate obstacles and how you will overcome them. You might come up with: “Go to gym on way home from doctor appointment.”
Visualizing and writing down what you visualize is no good if you don’t take action. This is why it’s important to visualize things that are within your control. Being proactive means you are in charge of your actions.
Let’s say, for example, I write down, “Drive to work.”
This action is passive. It’s what I would do if I wasn’t making an effort to think about what I could be doing better.
Instead, if I write, “Queue educational podcasts and play while driving,” that’s proactive. It’s what I am going to do because I’m taking charge of my actions.
Fending Off Your Inner Perfectionist
Be sure to put your inner perfectionist away. If you try to visualize your day until it’s the perfect day, you’ll be there for half an hour, maybe more. You’ll also probably be more stressed out.
Ideally, this should flow quickly and easily. The clarity in visualizing your day better will come with doing this for many consecutive days. Consider this a skill you want to hone as you go forward.
The fact is, you’ll never be perfect at visualizing your day. Otherwise, we wouldn’t need an “x” or a “~” to mark ourselves on how we actually did.
Think of this as a gym workout that you go back to again and again, where you keep getting stronger over time, and as you get stronger, you can slowly see how you can improve even more.
Apply all these tips to your visualization tomorrow and for the remainder of the course.
Speaking of tomorrow, stay tuned for the next lesson, when we’ll be talking about the end-of-day reflection.
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