Write It Down
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Here's a simple piece of advice that few follow:
I don't much care about the how or when or where.
It can be short or long-form, daily or weekly, online or on paper.
Journaling regularly is one of the easiest ways of getting to know yourself. Not the "you" that's here right now, but the "you" that was here a week ago, and will be here next week.
As time passes, we learn, grow and change. As we learn, grow, and change, our desires, values, and perceptions change as well.
This means that the filters through which our life passes are in flux. Simply put, the "you" that was here last week is not the same as the "you" that's here today.
But you're not free of that past-you. Oh, no.
You still need to deal with the fallout of that older-you's decisions. The choices you made then determine where you are right now.
Probably a pretty good idea to get to know that older-you, eh?
Looking back, we get a distorted view of our past selves. We're either too harsh ("I've always been a loser!") or too lenient ("It's OK, it wasn't my fault.") We misremember what we knew and when we knew it. We whitewash our flaws and lionize our virtues.
Do this too long and sooner or later, you won't know yourself at all...only the fantasy you project. That leads to poorer decisions in the present, which leads to poorer outcomes in the future.
Luckily, there's a hack for that:
Want to know how I journal?
It's pretty simple:
I journal every Monday morning. It's the first thing I do when I get to work.
I fire up my journaling program (I use Roam Research, but it could be anything) and create a page for that week.
I start with the same questions every week:
What am I grateful for?
What am I thinking about that's not helping me move forward?
I then spend some time reviewing the three core areas of my life:
Health (eating, exercise, sleep, etc)
Wealth (business, work, personal finances)
and Happiness (relationships, friends, parenthood, joy).
There's no real format. I just write down what worked, what didn't, and how I felt.
Then, I review my goals. If you have some, great. If not, no worries.
Then I ask:
What's important for me this upcoming week?
I think about that one for a while, and schedule whatever's important to me so I won't forget.
And that's it.
Your journaling practice can be shorter or longer. It can be free-form or templated. It can be all business or touchy-feely.
What matter is that you journal regularly.
Then, every once in a while (I do this once a quarter, but it's up to you)...
Read back over what you wrote.
Shake your head at the anxieties that never came to pass.
Marvel at how far you've come.
Grimace at the mistakes you made.
Get to know yourself.
You'll be amazed at what can happen.
COOL STUFF TO READ:
From a start-up's public management docs....that makes it sound boring, but I found this very profound, given some of my recent business issues. Definitely worth a read.
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