Journals are powerful, a time machine to the past. Remember the rules to the scientific method? If you don’t write what you’re trying to do down, tally the results, and then review again, what did you really accomplish? How do you measure success going through life’s daily grind and motions? It’s hard without data and a sample size. I’ve been keeping a journal for five years. I wouldn’t say I’m consistent at it all the time. Processes evolve. Things change.
In review, I posted daily, at length. Other times, sigh, I went months between posts. Looking back, these are big black holes. The minutia lost. Yet, I have been consistent about one thing. Each year, I write down my New Year’s resolutions. I can go back five years now. I’ve hit the highlights. Lose weight. It’s been listed several times over (See BMI). Read more. In 2012, it was a book each month. Then, I changed to Shakespeare. This year, it was philosophy and nonfiction. Topics and quantity changes (Books, chapters, words). A great philosopher once said:
“It’s evolution, baby.”Eddie Vedder
That’s the beauty of resolutions. They change. And so do we.
But the most powerful resolution I’ve ever made, was to keep a journal. I’ve filled mole skins, leather-bound specials, and the tried and true spiraled Meade scientific notebook ($0.99 special). Here are my best practices, steal as needed:
- Starting out, try a Moleskine journal, no lines. It gives me the flexibility to draw (I’m terrible at this) and tape in important news paper clippings and other really important stuff that I want to look back on. I can also write big, small, and somewhere in between, just depends on what I’m thinking about. I even have a few letters to Santa Clause taped into the pages.
- Keep multiple journals. I don’t have just one. I have journals for ideas, random lists and things to do, expense reports for work, and cooking ideas. And journal number two should have lines. You have to, it’s a must.
- Expanding on multiple journals, one should be electronic. I’m a believer in Evernote and OneNote (I am a Microsoft employee so need to note this as I’m talking about a Microsoft product, corporate policy). Yes, electronic journals are important. I clip web pages, attach emails that are important, print presentations, and jot ideas down from writing to building projects. I designed a table using clippings from Pinterest, drawn dimensions from a different journal (photographed and tagged), and photos from Lowe’s. Yeah, it was cut and pasted from places all over. But it all went into one page in the electronic notebook. Check it out.
- And tasks are powerful. There are many applications to choose from for this including Wunderlist, Things, Outlook tasks, and more depending on what’s the flavor of the day in the app store of choice. As part of a resolution last year, I automated my monthly tasks (Including appointments I’m supposed to make as I’m notoriously bad about remembering to make the dentist appointment three months early after I cancel it two times over. Yes, I have a task for that now).
- Each morning, I write one grateful thing down from the previous day. General stuff doesn’t count. We all love our families. But I love it when my wife makes these awesome monster cookies. Yeah, I wrote about it.
- And I now log my running miles for the day. I don’t do it to say, look I’m awesome. It’s more of a necessity. Knowing your shoe’s mileage is essential. Yes, Nike, Newtons, Addidas, Asics, Brooks, etc., all wear out and can hurt you. This year, I’ll probably take the mileage and put it in a weekly spreadsheet. Because, despite writing a post about my shoes, I ended up doing it again. Instead of killing my knees again, it was my achilles. Go figure.
So, go ahead and make your resolution on weight (I have one for this again too) and career. These are the most popular. Note, Time Magazines snapshot on resolutions are below. But, if you want to take it to the next level. Write your goals down and keep a daily journal. The scientific method is important for a reason. Knowledge is power. Understand your progress.
Morning Pages (the Artist’s way), it’s a spiritual journal with a meditation twist.
Timm Ferris on daily journal, more on Morning Pages.
Google’s Most Searched Resolutions According to Time Magazine:
Some day, we’re sure Google will be able to tell us how many of these resolutions got kept, but in the end, it’s the thought that counts, right? Actually, most of these resolutions revolve around losing weight and career (they are just real specific) and one who are these people.
- How to get rid of stress (career),
- How to make kale chips (weight management),
- How much water should I drink to lose weight (weight management),
- How to write a resignation letter (career),
- How to cook lentils (weight management),
- How to cook cabbage (weight management),
- How to write a letter of recommendation (career),
- How to cook collard greens (weight management),
- How to steam broccoli (weight management), and
- How to crochet a beanie (who are these people).
Sheryl Sandberg and her New Year’s Resolutions. Facebook loves resolutions.
And Time Magazine really loves articles on Resolutions. Here is another. Now, choose one and write down the results. No excuses. Play like a champion. Now, that’s a great movie.