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Activate Happiness in 5 Minutes with Alex & Mimi Ikonn

Alex and Mimi Ikonn are global citizens and entrepreneurs based in London, UK. You can find them all over the internet on YouTube, various social media channels, their podcast, or through their company Intelligent Change, home of the Five Minute Journal and other productivity tools.

We’ve spoken about the power of journaling on the podcast before, but how many of you are doing it every day?

In just five minutes in the morning, we can supercharge our minds to achieve happiness throughout the day. Journaling is a powerful and practical way to focus our minds for the day, seek gratitude, transform our lives and achieve our goals.

Today’s guests are entrepreneurs Alex and Mimi Ikonn, founders of Intelligent Change and the Five Minute Journal. They have helped thousands of people around the world build the habit of journaling and made the habit accessible and sustainable. They’re here to tell us how we can get the same effectiveness from journaling for five minutes a day that we would only otherwise get from working for 1-2 hours.

In this conversation, we delve into the inspiration behind the Five Minute Journal, explain the power of gratitude, and give you a quick routine you can use every morning to supercharge your brain. We’ll give you some reflections you can use in your evenings too, and go over why building a journaling habit will completely transform your life.

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"Your morning is one of the most important times of your day to set the overall mood for your day."

Alex & Mimi Ikonn

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  • Your morning is one of the most important times of your day to set the overall mood for your day.
  • Five Minute Journal was inspired by a friend of Alex’s who used to journal for 1-2 hours a day.
  • Given most of us only have 5 minutes in the morning, he asked himself how can we get the same effect in 5 minutes as if we were doing something for 1-2 hours?
  • We all have 5 minutes to use journaling to change our life. Taking 5 minutes to journal is simple and effective, and you can treat it as a habit like brushing your teeth.
  • The book mentioned: Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor
  • TED Talk mentioned: The Happiness Advantage TEDx Bloomington


  • Gratitude can increase your happiness, and as a state, it can transform your life.
  • Alex & Mimi were able to create the life they did because of gratitude.
  • Try building the habit of thinking of one thing you’re grateful for when you wake up.
  • Without gratitude, even if you’re a powerful person, you won’t be able to enjoy the fruits of your labor.
  • Our brain is a muscle, we have to use it — so to experience gratitude you have to practice it.


  1. List 3 things you are grateful for.
  2. List 3 things in answer to the question: “what would make today great?”
  3. List your daily affirmation: one line reaffirming to yourself who you are and who you want to become.


  • Using these questions every morning hones your brain in on what you want out of the day, helps you focus on what will you do to make the day great.
  • Journaling is much easier when you have some structure to what you are writing.
  • You will see a difference after you practice for only a few months.
  • Consistency is the most important thing, just like with anything else in life (exercise, healthy eating, etc.).


  • Before sleep, you can reflect on your day and the amazing things that happened.
  • This can be small things — e.g. you shared a nice experience with your spouse, received a compliment at work.
  • We usually think of all the things we didn’t do or the things that went wrong, but there’s always something positive that happened.
  • You can do this exercise with anyone in your life: ask a loved one or a friend.
  • What were 3 amazing things that happened today?
  • How could you have made today better?
  • This last question might sound negative but you want to identify habits that aren’t serving you — e.g. going to bed late.
  • Write your answers as if you’re already doing it — e.g. I go to bed at 10pm every day.
  • You can always see areas for improvement in your life but by writing it down in a positive form you avoid seeing it as a problem and instead, see it as an area for improvement and then you can find solutions to get there.
  • People think success has to be complex and difficult, but simple is best—it is hard for someone to be consistent if they’re trying to do a huge amount of work.


  • There is magic in writing it down.
  • When you write it down it goes into your subconscious and becomes an anchor in your mind to guide your focus throughout the day.
  • You’re in a twilight zone, a different brainwave state early in the morning and late at night, so working on yourself at these times will help you to reprogram your brain and build better habits.
  • These exercises help your brain focus on what you want to do and experience, refresh your mind morning and night, and help you to have a more positive mindset on a daily basis.
  • Treat these exercises like a toothbrush for your mind and be consistent—do you ever stop brushing your teeth? Do you ever not do it before you leave the house?
  • This is good mental hygiene, and you do it not just for yourself but so other people don’t have to deal with it as well.
  • In order for us to be healthy and fit, we need to exercise gratitude and mindfulness.
  • Everything starts from within—you have to do the work.
  • If you do these exercises for a year you will see tremendous mental change.


  • Work on having a clear vision, otherwise how will you get there?
  • Reflect on your goals and write them down as if you have already achieved your goal — e.g. I am living in the apartment on the sixth floor.
  • Try being grateful for things before you even have them in your life. This could be something like a state of mind, a relationship — e.g. I am grateful for feeling confident.
  • Whatever you keep putting into your mind will manifest.
  • Today is a fresh day and a fresh chance for you to start journaling.


  • Don’t forget to take a screenshot of this episode, tag us on social media (@alexikonn, @mimiikonn & @jimkwik) and share your greatest “aha!” moment from this episode with us!

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