“Five seconds… that is how long it takes for your brain to talk you out of making a decision. The only way to succeed in life is to act on your ideas immediately and not to be scared of failure. It is natural for your brain to fight against uncomfortable situations, but life is short and you need to make sure that you live it with no regrets. You are the author of your life – the greatest author of all time.”

The Book of Life can be bought at Tulip Coffee Bar & Bistro.

These were the motivational words of local resident, AJ Stander during the official launch of his series of self-help journals under the umbrella name, Book of Life, last month at Tulip Coffee Bar & Bistro. 

AJ, who’s been living in Hermanus since 2010, has had a keen interest in journaling from an early age. Over the years he has filled a number of journals, but last year he realised that those available in shops just didn’t have enough space or the layout he needed anymore. 

Shortly afterwards AJ had a custom-made journal printed in a layout that he found worked for him. He called it the Book of Life. His partner, Bernice Baumgarten, soon requested a copy of her own, which got AJ thinking – what if other people would also want to make use of it? 

Now, a year later, the first three chapters are available to the public. At the launch AJ explained that each Book of Life journal represents one month (called a chapter) and holds enough space for one month of journaling before you move on to the next chapter.

“A few years from now you could have an entire library of your life – a legacy that your children or grandchildren could someday enjoy, or memories you can reflect back on… but that is not the aim of the books,” said AJ. “These journals were made to help you make a success of your life by learning to put thought to paper, and then to take that thought from paper to action. Don’t procrastinate or be scared of failure; you will only hold yourself back from reaching your true potential.

“You need to spend about 30 to 45 mindful minutes, on your own, to complete a day’s entry,” he continued. “If you miss a day, don’t worry; life does get busy sometimes, but don’t make that an excuse.”

Each journal has pages for you to write down your monthly and weekly goals before you start on your daily entries, which are broken down into different sections:

  • What do I want from life? This will inevitably change, but you have to start somewhere. Use this space to write down what you expect from life. 
  • Thank You: What/who are you grateful for today? 
  • Prayer and Compassion: Think of loved ones or even those you have just met – and wish them goodwill.
  • My Heart and Body: Your emotional and physical well-being. What do you want to achieve in these areas? Do you want to be more compassionate or fitter and/or healthier? 
  • My Future: You can only have what you know you want. Write down what you want in your future. This may seem like a dream page but it is only a dream until you do something to make it real.
  • Canvas: Use this space to write, draw, take notes… or whatever you want to use it for!
  • Big Things Today: Write down the important things you need to accomplish for the day to help you move closer to the future you want.
  • Little Shits Today: A space for all the little things that need to be done, like going to the bank. These little things can be a distraction, so get them done!
  • Diary: Plan your day in this space. Diarise what you need to do today to reach your future tomorrow.
  • My day in two words
  • Reflecting on my day: A personal account of your day. 
  • Synchronicities: These are coincidences. You may, for example, have been thinking about calling someone when a few minutes later they call you; or maybe you are thinking about expanding your marketing business to Cape Town and a few days later meet a person from a Cape Town marketing company.
  • Two people I spent the most time with today

“By sitting alone and making these entries every day you are forcing yourself to find out who you are, which can be very intimidating. Learn to be your own inspiration and don’t be afraid to reflect on your life. Only you can help yourself,” said AJ. “If you are serious about changing your life, you have to start spending time on yourself.”

For more information, AJ Stander can be contacted at www.ajstand.com. Follow him on Instagram for updates and inspirational messages (@AJ_Stand).

The first three chapters of Book of Life can be bought at the Hermanus Country Market, Tulip Coffee Bar & Bistro or at www.bookoflife.shop.

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