They say to examine the trailblazers who came before you and learn from their experience. But what about learning from your own?
I thought it would be a great way to reflect on the habits and stories that I’ve developed for myself over the years. Never did I imagine that I’d be sharing this process with someone else, let alone multiple people. But here we are.
It started out as a way to be accountable to myself and truly examining—without judgment—the habits and stories that have shaped who I am today. I would look back at the choices I made and look at them honestly to notice if I’d listened to my inner self when I made them, or if I ignored her and spun away from center. The latter was a common occurrence.
I would muster the courage to break down my walls, peel off the masks, shed the skin, all of the relative metaphors, and help myself so I could better help others. And so, in March 2018, I began in earnest developing a journal process that I have honed and refined and shared with just two of my friends.
The first iteration was mostly based around to-do lists. I had been reading The Path to Personal Power by Napoleon Hill, which inspired me to define my major purpose in life. It was an obsession that grew and grew in me, like a seed I’d planted and nurtured until it sprouted in an incredible explosion of energy and passion while driving in what could only be described as schizophrenic weather on my way to a work conference in San Diego. But that’s another story.
In one of my earliest entries, I committed to three to-do lists: “Personal Care” listed first, then “Chores,” then “Work.” I drew arrows instead of check boxes or bullets—little arrows to direct my attention to the task. I love the intention, but whether or not it’s actually effective to use arrows over check boxes I’m not sure. Most list makers have their personal preference, so I won’t be overly prescriptive of arrows.
The first list, “Personal Care,” typically had 3-5 recurring tasks that I had to complete before the day’s end. These included meditation, yoga, a jog or bike ride, and connecting with love or sharing gratitude for three people in my life. That last one has actually dropped from the latest version of the journal process. I’ll get to that later.
Flipping through the first few months, I stuck with this three-category list making practice with moderate success….