Journaling Everyday

Although I am new to journaling every day, I can already see benefits impacting my days. It acts like a meditative practice. To guide me through the process, I use questions:

  • What am I grateful for (3x)?
  • What would make today great (3x)?
  • How could I have made yesterday better (3x)?
  • What amazing things happened yesterday (3x)?

I also write down my daily affirmations (3x) and The Four Agreements from Don Miguel Ruiz’s teaching.

It takes about 15 minutes to write, but it’s a great investment. It fills my mind with goodness, and sets me on the right path into making the day fantastic. Of course, it doesn’t make problems and challenges disappear, but I suspect it helps put them in perspective, and not make them bigger or smaller than they really are.

If I have time to spare, I’ll go ahead and write about a chapter from a book that got me thinking, or I’ll reflect on something I’m having trouble with. Writing gives order to the chaos that reigns in my head.

Do you journal? Would you like to, but think you don’t have time to commit?

 

Action

I’ve talked before about how I have trouble with information overload. There’s always a new book, a new TED talk, a new YouTube video to watch, a new blog post to read.

They all get me excited about making myself into a better person, creating a better video for my website, making my body fitter and stronger, or understanding the needs of my loved ones better.

I know I’m naïve. I thought I just had to consume the information, and my brain would take care of the rest.

Of course, that never happened.

What I try to do now, is to take one deliberate action on the information I consume and practice it until I have absorbed the knowledge. It’s hard, I struggle, because I’m addicted to the excitement I get from starting a new book, listening to a new TED talk, or YouTube video.

And that, my friend, is the foundation of consumerism.

I sometimes imagine I could read the same book over a period of a year. One or two chapters a month. Dig deep, and practice the knowledge until I make it my own, until it becomes second nature, until I’ve mastered the teachings.

Level Up

I tend to think that we live our lives in levels, sort of like when we play a video game. You can only go to the next level or chapter until you learn the lessons from the current level you’re living in.

If you want to know the lessons you’re meant to learn, look at the things you’re afraid of, the things you complain about, or the things you’re avoiding.

The way to get to the next level, and learn the lessons, is by taking action. When you try the first time, you’ll either succeed or survive a failure.

If you succeed, congratulation, you’ve learned the lesson, and you can level up!

If you survive, examining the failure, and picking your brain on what could be the lesson, you can try again with a better understanding of how to succeed the next time.

Until you succeed, you’ll be stuck at this level, and the same type of challenges will be thrown at you until you learn the lesson.

When you’re aware of this, life’s challenges become fun because you’ll want to level up!

What are you afraid of, avoiding, or complaining about in your life?

Use Simplicity to Take Action

When something is complicated, the mind bumps into, and focus on the complexity instead of taking action. To help you take action, breaking down what you want to do in simple, clear, small and easy tasks will often do the trick. When a task is so small that it takes only a minute to do, it’s easy to have a first win. That easy win will grow into more successes.

Whether it’s exercise, eating better, creativity, work, un-cluttering, or learning new skills, using simplicity is an easy to reproduce system for everything in your life that you feel needs a change. Starting simple, clear, small and easy will compound into big results over time, even if today, it seems ridiculous.

Can you think of big tasks you’ve put off because they seem too complicated, and break them into simple, clear, small and easy steps?

“When the book is open, it’s easy to lean inside and read a few lines.”

 

The Perfect Day

I love writing down how a perfect day would look like for me. I ask myself, “what if I didn’t have to work?” or “what if money wasn’t an issue?” or “what would a perfect day be like for me”.

Then I go ahead and start writing how a day would look like with these questions in mind.

At first, my real days didn’t look much like my dream days. But every time I do the exercise, I come closer to live my perfect day.

Some of the things I wrote a while back, and that are a reality now, were:

  • Wake-up to the sound of birds.
  • Go for a walk with my dog every morning.
  • Exercise everyday.
  • Take some time to connect with the precious people in my life and tell them how much I love them, and how important they are to me.
  • Play.

What would a perfect day look like for you? 

 

Ask Great Questions

Our mind is always chatting, and we let it drift to where ever it wants to go. It sometimes tells us shit we wouldn’t dare think of telling someone we care and love.

But we end up telling ourselves unacceptable, harmful, demeaning, destructive things without even fighting back.

It’s like this flow of thoughts that if only we could redirect, would let us have an extraordinary life.

I found a great way to direct my flow of thoughts into positive, constructive thinking.

I ask myself great questions. They start with “what” and “how”, almost never with “why”.

Here’s a few I ask on a regular basis.

  • What are you not doing, but you know you should be?
  • What feels messy or confusing, and how can you make it tidy?
  • What have you been putting off because you’re scared? (this one is my favourite!)
  • What’s the most obvious change that would benefit you?

What are great questions you ask yourself?

Make a Feint

If you have something on your mind that you want to do, dream to do, wish to do, now is the right time to do it.

I hear you. I mean, I hear your excuses in my mind. Because they’re also my excuses for not doing the things I want, dream, wish I could do.

The excuses can always be boiled down to the same obstacle. And that obstacle is fear.

You know the drill. The only way to have a full life, an extraordinary life, is to face fear by doing the things we’re afraid of doing.

Surprise your fear, make a feint, and score a goal!

What have you been putting off because you’re scared?

It Doesn’t Matter What They Think

Most people agree that it doesn’t matter what other people think of them. That’s in theory.

In reality, without realizing it, we attach importance to the opinion others have about us. Yes, you do it too… and that’s okay. For now.

What they think of us matters, but we would like the tranquility that comes from not giving them any power over us through their opinions.

Start by being conscious that what they do, how they feel, and what they think isn’t in your control. Their actions, their feelings, and their thoughts belong to them.

And then do the exercise of not taking what they do, feel, or think personally.

You’re wrong 99% of the time when you give meaning to someone’s action, or you try to guess what they’re thinking of feeling. You don’t have telepathic powers. So stop acting and talking as if you had 😉

Letting Go

There are things that you have to let go in your life because they act like poisons. It’s hard because that thing you have to let go is usually connected to intense feelings.

And the brain has a way to remind you of that thing you need to let go for your own good. It seems to pop from now where, and even though you don’t want to think about it, a subtle cue can trigger the thing to emerge from deep within.

You need to be aware of the cue that triggers your thing, and prepare something to replace it -your thing- whenever it comes up. It could be as simple as “if I start thinking about my thing, I’ll sing Brother John until it goes away”.

Letting go is going to be much easier if you remove everything that reminds you your thing. It’s a process that can take years, but the sooner you eliminate triggers, the faster you’ll let go. And when you let go, your mind is free to focus on positive things.

Morning Ritual

Whether it’s exercise, meditation, or journaling, a morning ritual isn’t so much about the activity you do, but more about the habit of reflection. Taking time to examine what’s going on in your life, to look inside yourself.

It helps you to get conscious of the choices you make during the day, and gives you direction and purpose. Because you’re prepared for the day, you’ll be able to act -not react- with love, patience, and understanding.

You already have a morning ritual. Is it one that primes you for the day? Being aware of your current morning ritual will open your eyes on the kind of days you usually have.

Every morning, you build your day. Every day you build your life.