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moleskine notebookMany of us have a notebook obsession. I know I do. A blank notebook is full of promise. It’s an opportunity to reflect, to create, and to express yourself.

Although any notebook will do, many people swear by Moleskine notebooks– a brand of notebook produced by Milan-based company Modo & Modo. Moleskine notebooks are high quality; they’re portable, so you can carry them around with you; and they have a pouch for storage. In addition, the pages have a nice texture—great to the touch—and there’s little bleed through if you use a pen.

Here, then, are 18 things to do with a Moleskine, or whatever notebook suits your fancy:

food log1. Keep a Food and Exercise Journal. Lots of people have life goals related to fitness and wellness. The two major pillars of fitness and wellness are what you eat, and how much exercise you get. Use your notebook to keep a food and exercise journal.

Create a template to keep track of the food that you eat. Across the top of the page write the following: Date; Time; Item; Portion Size (Amount); Nutrients; and Calories.

In addition, create another template to keep track of how much exercise you’re getting and how many calories you’re burning. Across the top of the page write the following: Date; Time, Activity, Duration; and Calories Burned.

time2. Keep Track of Your Time. You can use an empty notebook in order to start keeping track of your time. Find out once and for all where your time goes. In addition, keep track of the following:

  • How much time are you losing to procrastination?
  • How do you deal with interruptions?
  • Do you work on one thing at a time, or do you multitask?
  • How much time do you spend working on your important life goals?
  • How much time do you waste on “busy work” or unimportant tasks?

keep track of your money3. Keep Track of Your Expenses. A good use for a blank notebook is to start keeping track of where your money goes. Keep track of the following:

  • Do you spend your money on frivolous expenses?
  • What do you need to cut back on?
  • Are you investing your money—investing in your education, investing in income producing assets, and investing in creating memories you’ll always cherish—or are you wasting it?

one sentence journal4. Start a One Sentence Journal. If you’re short on time—or writing just isn’t your thing—try keeping a one sentence journal. Every day write down one sentence about that day. It can be something like the following:

  • It was a good day today.
  • A man talking on his cell phone almost hit me with his car; I saw my life flash before my eyes.
  • I finally finished my novel today!

If you do this every day for five years, at the end of that time you’ll have a five-year time capsule in your notebook

gratitude journal5. Keep a Gratitude Journal. You’ve heard this over and over again: the key to happiness is to keep your attention focused on the good in your life. And one way to make sure that you’re doing this is by keeping a gratitude journal.

Studies conducted by psychologists have traced many benefits to the practice of writing down the things that you’re grateful for on a regular basis. The simplest way to keep a gratitude journal is to sit down with your notebook each night for a few minutes and write down five things that you’re grateful for.

morning6. Write Morning Pages. Morning pages—which consist of exploratory writing–were made famous by Julia Cameron in her book, “The Artist’s Way”. The idea is to sit down each morning and write three pages in long hand. Simply write down anything that comes to mind for three pages and then stop.

Use your morning pages to work out issues that are bothering you, to plan your day, and to get in touch with your authentic desires (what you really want, as opposed to what society says you should want).

create you life story7. Record Your Life Story. Gather a list of life prompts that inspire you to reflect on your life so that you can start recording your memories. Then, use your notebook to write your life story.

Life prompts can include questions such as the following: What’s the meaning behind your family name? What are some of the stories your grandfather used to tell you when you were a kid? What are your favorite summer memories?

My eBook, “Create Your Life Story”, contains 444 memory prompts, covering several life areas, to help you get started recording your memories and writing your life story.

how to conduct a life audit8. Keep Track of Your Life Audits. In a previous blog post I encouraged you to begin auditing different areas of your life on a regular basis in order to keep improving and moving forward. You can use your notebook to keep track of your life audits.

For example, if you’re conducting an energy audit you can use your notebook to keep track of your energy levels throughout the day. Do you feel depleted after talking to certain people? Does eating an apple in the afternoon make your energy levels rise? How do you feel after taking a nap?

leonardo notebook9. Copy Leonardo da Vinci’s Notebook Habit. Leonardo da Vinci developed the habit of always taking a notebook with him wherever he went. He would use his notebooks to sketch people, birds, or objects he saw during his walks, and to write down ideas and observations. The simple act of writing down his ideas allowed Leonardo to dwell on them and to improve them over time.

You can use your notebook to write down any of the following: potential names for characters in your novel; the name of a new color you just discovered; interesting conversations you overhear; capture ideas for blog posts; jot down poems you come up with; record recipes you want to try; or just to capture random thoughts and insights.

quote10. Write Down Quotes You Love. It’s great to sit back with a great collection of quotes and just soak in their wisdom. Start jotting down quotes you love and soon you’ll have a notebook filled with inspirational sayings which can serve to lift your spirits at a moment’s notice. You can get started with these quotes:

journal template11. Keep a Journal. A journal is a description of your day. It also contains your feelings and reflections about the things that happened to you throughout the day. A lot of people keep a jar filled with journal prompts to help inspire them to write in their journals. A journal jar is simply a mason jar—or any jar you have lying around—filled with little scraps of paper with a journaling prompt written on each one.

To help you get started, here are 119 Journal Prompts For Your Journal Jar.

An alternative is to create a template for yourself and simply sit down each day and fill out the template for the day. Here’s one template you can use as an example:

  • This made me smile today:
  • This made me think today:
  • This is something I wish I had done differently today:
  • This is something I learned today:
  • This is the good I did today:

art journal12. Keep an Art Journal. An art journal is similar to the journal described in the point above, but you include drawings, doodles, and embellishments. In addition, you can cut out pictures from magazines and glue them into your art journal, and include photographs and other visual elements.

stack of books13. Keep Track of the Ideas in the Books You Read. When you’re reading a book in order to acquire knowledge, it’s a great idea to write a summary of the book, and to keep track of the ideas contained in the book which you find interesting. You can do this in note form, or you can create mind maps. In essence, you’ll be turning a notebook into a knowledge reservoir.

goal14. Keep a Goals Journal. A goals journal is a great tool for helping you to achieve your goals. The benefits of keeping a goals journal include all of the following:

  • It forces you to write down your goals; committing your goals to paper is the first step in turning those goals into reality.
  • Writing about your goals is a great way to create a game plan for achieving those goals. In addition, it can help you to identify any obstacles you may encounter along the way.
  • A goals journal allows you to record your progress.
  • A goals journal keeps you accountable.

socrates15. Examine Your Life. Socrates once said that the unexamined life is not worth living. We cannot achieve personal and spiritual growth unless we take the time to examine and reflect upon our life.

One of the best ways to examine your life is by asking yourself thought-provoking questions. Then, answer these questions in your notebook. Here are some questions to get you started:

bucket list16. Create Your Bucket List. Get a blank journal and use it to create a list of everything that you want to be, do, and have in life. In other, words, use it to create your bucket list. Fill your notebook with entries like the following:

  • Visit Paris in the springtime.
  • Go to Carnival at Rio de Janeiro.
  • Go to the Super Bowl.
  • Take the family to Disney World.
  • Write a novel.

Here are three resources you can use to create your bucket list:

creative writing17. Use It for Writing Exercises. If you want to be a writer,–or improve your craft if you’re already a writer—you need to write, as often as you can. One way to keep your writing muscles in tip top shape is to find a collection of creative writing prompts and use them as writing exercises.

Here are two examples taken from my post, “A Plethora of Writing Prompts For Creative Writing and Journaling”.

  • Write a brief bit of fiction using the prompt, “lipstick”.
  • Your story starts when your protagonist tries speed dating.

learn spanish18. Start a Language Journal. When you’re learning a new language it’s incredibly helpful to keep track of everything that you’re learning. You can do this by using a notebook to create a language journal. Here are some of the things you can include in your language journal:

  • Keep track of every new vocabulary word that you learn.
  • Write down grammar rules.
  • Keep track of the learning strategies that you’re using, and how effective you find them.
  • Write down the errors that you make on a regular basis so that you can make sure to work on them.

Conclusion

A simple notebook can help you to live a better life. What are you going to do with your notebook?

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nature is goodI work outside. As I type away at my laptop I’m surrounded by flowers and palm trees. In addition, the ocean is about 30 meters away from my work area.

Sometimes I’ll get bitten by mosquitoes; or a couple of bees will decide that harassing me is their mission for the day; or a bird will poop on me (this last one happens more often than you’d think).

However, for the most part, I love being outside. I can hear the birds chirping, as I look out toward the ocean I can see the sun reflected on the water’s surface, and every so often a hummingbird whizzes by.

Fortunately for me, it turns out that being outdoors and spending time in nature is good for you. Below you’ll discover 8 reasons why you, too, should spend more time in nature.

1. Vegetation-Rich Nature Improves Your Vitality. In the book “Your Brain On Nature: The Science of Nature’s Influence on Your Health, Happiness and Vitality”, Eva M. Selhub, MD and Alan C. Logan, ND explain that scientific studies show that natural environments can have remarkable benefits for human health.

Among these benefits, Selhub and Logan explain that studies show that spending just 20 minutes in vegetation-rich nature improves vitality. They define vitality as emotional strength in the face of internal and external oppositions, and living life with enthusiasm. So, if you want to be more resilient and have more zest in your life, go outside.

2. If You Live Near Green Space You’re Less Likely to Be Depressed. A 2009 study published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health found that people who lived within 1 kilometer of a park or a wooded area experienced less anxiety and depression than those who lived farther away from green space.

This means that city planners can potentially use green space as a way to improve overall mental wellness. In addition, if you’re feeling depressed, you should consider moving closer to nature.

3. Exposure to Plants and Parks Boosts Immunity. In a series of studies, scientists found that when people spend time in natural surroundings — forests, parks and other places with plenty of trees — they experience increased immune function.  One reason for this is phytoncides, the airborne chemicals that plants emit to protect themselves from rotting and from insects, and which also seem to benefit humans.

In Japan, people visit forests for a therapeutic practice which is called “Shinrin-yoku,” or “forest bathing.” A group of these “forest bathers” were divided in two and they were instructed to do the following:

  • On day one, Group 1 was instructed to walk through a forest or wooded area for a few hours. Group 2 was instructed to walk through a city area.
  • On the second day the two groups switched places.

The researches found that being among plants produced lower concentrations of cortisol (a stress hormone), lower pulse rate, and lower blood pressure.

4. Sunlight is Beneficial. When sunlight hits the skin, it begins a process that leads to the creation and activation of vitamin D. Studies suggest that this vitamin helps to prevent osteoporosis and cancer. In addition, one study found an increased risk of heart attacks in those with low vitamin D levels.

The amount of sunlight that you need depends on your skin tone. Light skinned individuals need about 10 minutes of sunlight a day, while darker skinned individuals may need from fifteen to twenty minutes of sunlight.

5. Spending Time in Nature Boosts Happiness. In May of 2013, more than 10,000 Canadians participated in the David Suzuki Foundation’s 30×30 Nature Challenge. The challenge was as follows: spend 30 minutes in nature, every day, for 30 days. Here’s the impact that the challenge had on the participant’s health and well-being:

  • They reported significant increases in their sense of well-being.
  • They had more energy,
  • Feelings of stress and negativity were reduced.
  • They had less sleep disturbances.
  • They felt more productive on the job.
  • They felt happier.

6. Communing with Nature Can Be a Spiritual Practice. For many people, spending time in  nature brings a feeling of serenity, peace, and calm. John P. Milton–a pioneering spiritual teacher, meditation master, vision quest leader and shaman–writes the following in his book, “Sky Above, Earth Below: Spiritual Practice in Nature”:

“Today, our modern world is filled with high-tech wonders. Our urban and suburban existence surrounds us with crowded, artificial environments of plastic, steel, concrete, and glass. Environmental toxins, high-stress lifestyles, devitalized food, loud noise, unnatural electromagnetic fields, and microwave radiation assail our cells and sensibilities. . .

When we leave these tensions for a while to cultivate our natural wholeness in the wild, we are renewed with the fresh vitality and spirit of Nature. New pathways open for living in harmony with our communities and the Earth. We discover deep inspiration to help transform our lifestyles and our culture toward harmony and balance.”

In addition, being in nature produces brain waves that are similar to those you experience while meditating. Researchers from Edinburgh’s Heriot-Watt University and the University of Edinburgh attached a portable EEG (a device that measures brain waves) to the scalps of 12 healthy young adults.

The volunteers took a walk of about a mile and half through three distinctly different areas of Edinburgh:

  • A shopping district;
  • Park-like green space, and
  • A busy commercial district.

Afterwards, the scientists analyzed the volunteer’s brain wave records. The analysis showed evidence of lower engagement and arousal, and higher meditation when the volunteers were moving into the “green zone,” and higher engagement when moving out of it.

While the volunteers were in the “green zone” they were paying attention, but it was a type of attention that scientists refer to as involuntary or effortless. This effortless/involuntary attention allows us to reflect, and it refreshes the brain from the hyper-vigilance and arousal that’s required in offices and city streets.

7. Being in Nature Inspires Creativity. A study done in 2012 revealed that a group of backpackers were 50% more creative after they had spent four days on a hiking trail. Furthermore, the study shows that creativity peaks after about three days of really getting away from it all and immersing yourself in nature.

A standard creativity test was given to four groups of backpackers–totaling 60 people–before they went on hikes. The same test was given to a second group of 60 backpackers; however, this second group took the test four days into their hikes. The second group–those who had already been hiking for four days when they took the test–scored 50% higher than the first group.

The lead researcher in the study–Ruth Ann Atchley–explains that the constant distractions and stimulation of modern life are a threat, and they sap our resources. When we’re in nature our minds can drop down those threat responses, which leaves us with leftover resources which we can apply to being more creative.

8. Taking a Break in Nature Improves Memory and Cognitive Function. Taking in the sights and sounds of nature is beneficial for our brains. Research done by Doctor Marc Berman and partners at the University of Michigan shows that performance on memory and attention tests improved by 20% after study subjects took a pause for a walk through an arboretum. When they paused to take a walk down a busy street, no cognitive boost was detected.

Conclusion

Make it a habit to spend more time in nature: exercise outside instead of going to the gym; have lunch outdoors; and spend as much of your weekends as you can out in nature. At the very least, get a plant for your office. Live your best life by spending more time in nature.

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how to conduct a life auditWhat are you worth? How would you evaluate your life? When was the last time you stopped to take stock of yourself?

Of course, an easy way to calculate your worth is by subtracting your liabilities from your assets in order to determine your net worth.

When you’re doing this for financial reasons, your assets are anything of economic value which you own, including real estate, stocks, money you’re owed, and so on. Your liabilities are the things that you owe, such as credit card debt, your mortgage, and your car loan.

However, your net worth only gives you an assessment of how you’re doing in one very specific area of your life. It certainly doesn’t give you the whole picture. Is your life really worth much if you have a high net worth but no family or friends to share it with, or if you’ve traded your health for your wealth? How about if you have no leisure time or any spiritual life to speak of?

What if you were to define assets and liabilities in ways that don’t involve economic value? For example, your good habits are assets, while your negative habits are liabilities. Among your assets you could list the following:

  • Meditation.
  • Keeping a gratitude journal.
  • Spending thirty minutes a day working on a hobby you enjoy.

Among your liabilities you could list the following negative habits:

  • Procrastination.
  • Smoking.
  • Hitting the snooze button when the alarm rings in the morning.

Another thing you can do is to list your positive character traits as assets, including things such as the following:

  • Honesty
  • Humor
  • Optimism

On the other hand, your negative character traits would be liabilities. These could include things such as the following:

  • Impatience
  • Indecisiveness
  • Being Overemotional

Conducting a life audit can help you determine whether you’re in control of your life and whether your life is headed in the right direction. Below you’ll discover how to conduct a life audit.

Life Areas to Audit

There are many areas in which you can conduct a life audit. These include the following:

  • Audit how you spend your time.
  • Audit your productivity.
  • Audit your effectiveness.
  • Audit your skills.
  • Audit your education.
  • Audit your health.
  • Audit your finances.
  • Audit your fitness level.
  • Audit your habits.
  • Audit your character.
  • Audit your relationships (with your family and friends).
  • Audit your living conditions (how clean and organized your home is, and how comfortable you feel in your home).
  • Audit your creativity.
  • Audit how happy you are.
  • Audit your energy level.
  • Audit your career.
  • Audit your spiritual life.
  • Audit your leisure time.
  • Audit how well you’re doing in terms of achieving your major life goals.
  • Audit how much fun you’re having.

Process for Conducting a Life Audit

The seven-step process for conducting a life audit is the following:

1. Decide what aspect of your life you’re going to audit, or evaluate (I gave you several ideas on areas you can choose to audit, above).

2. Decide on the metrics that you’ll be using to measure how well you’re doing in your chosen life area. For example, in the area of fitness you could use measurements such as your weight, your waist circumference, and your percentage of body fat.

In order to measure your happiness you can set an alarm to ring on your smart phone every hour; each time the alarm rings stop and assess how happy you feel at that moment in time on a scale from 1 to 10.

You can measure how creative you´re being by your output, such as whether you’re writing 1,000 words of your novel a day. Another way to audit your creativity is by the the amount of time that you spend each day being creative. As an illustration, you could choose to give yourself a high score in creativity if you spend at least one hour a day working on a creative project.

Another method that you can use in order to conduct an audit is to simply ask yourself a series of questions related to the life area that you’re auditing. As an illustration, if you’re auditing your relationship with your friends, you could ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do I remember my friends’ birthdays and special occasions?
  • How often do I speak to my friends on the phone?
  • How often do I see my friends?
  • Are my friends supportive of me and my goals? Am I supportive of them?
  • Do my friends have healthy life habits?
  • Do my friends enrich my life?

3. Design a form that you’re going to use for your audit. It can be something very simple, such as the following:

life audit

4. Conduct your audit. If you feel that you can’t be completely truthful–after all, it can be incredibly difficult to evaluate yourself–, ask a trusted friend or family member to help you.

5. Once you’ve determined where you are now, decide where you want to be. For example, if your audit reveals that you’re overweight and have an unhealthy waist circumference, determine how much you want to weight and how many inches you want to lose from your waist.

6. Create an action plan for getting to where you want to be. What are the steps that you need to take in order to move from where you are now, to where you want to be? As an illustration, your action plan in the area of fitness could include things such as the following:

  • Change your diet.
  • Buy a treadmill and walk on it for half-an-hour every morning as you watch the morning news.
  • Consult a friend who’s in great shape and ask them for tips.
  • Drink more water.

7. Carry out your action plan and give yourself audits along the way to make sure that you’re making progress. Make adjustments as needed.

Conclusion

Conducting a life audit can mean the difference between living life by default or living the rest of your life by design. If you need more help in conducting a life audit, Worksheet #8 in my “Create and Achieve Your Life List Workbook”, which is part of the “How to Live Your Best Life” system, contains a thorough life evaluation you can use.

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B.C. ForbesThe following 105 epigrams–or wise, pithy statements–on life by B.C. Forbes were taken from the book “Forbes Epigrams: 1000 Thoughts on Life and Business” which is now in the public domain.

1. The most profitless thing to manufacture is excuses.

2. To fill your job, fill your mind.

3. Sturdy trees grow slowly.

4. The man who has done his level best, and who is conscious that he has done his best, is a success, even though the world may write him down a failure.

5. Learn and you lead. Loaf and you lean.

6. Aspire then perspire.

7. He who has good health, good humor, and no debts is not poor.

8. Diamonds are chunks of coal that stuck to their job.

9. Think not of yourself as “the architect of your career ” but as the sculptor. Expect to have to do a lot of hard hammering and chiselling and scraping and polishing.

10. The longer you gaze on an obstacle the bigger it becomes.

11. You aspire to become a boss? Then need no bossing.

12. After all, you have to give full, fair value or you won’t last.

13. Don’t just float or you’ll sink.

14. You drift towards the rocks. You have to row to reach success.

15. Don’t talk about your abilities, demonstrate them.

16. There is no higher efficiency than doing the right thing in the right way.

17. Your boss may determine your salary, but you yourself determine your worth. To get more, make yourself worth more.

18. If you have ceased to smile, you have lost out in the game of life, no matter what your bank account may be.

19. The only hopeless failure is the person who has ceased to strive for success.

20. You can’t build a skyscraper on a faulty foundation. Attend to the foundation first.

21. When an unpleasant task lies ahead of you, get it behind you without delay.

22. A dose of adversity is often as needful as a dose of medicine.

23. Water that is stagnant becomes worthless. So do men.

24. If you do the best and the most you can today, don’t worry about tomorrow.

25. The raw material of success is thought.

26. Don’t intend; do.

27. The man without a savings account is usually a man of little account.

28. Look forward and press forward.

29. If you’re not garnering a proper amount of fruit, examine well your roots.

30. To avert pain later in life, take pains.

31. The promising man keeps his promise.

32. There’s a difference between living and being alive. Which are you doing?

33. Improvement begins with I.

34. In school you didn’t expect to advance unless you studied. How about now?

35. Golf without bunkers and hazards would be tame and monotonous. So would life.

36. It’s polite to apologize, but it’s more polite not to do anything calling for an apology.

37. The best investment for a young man is investment in his own education.

38. The man who sells his health for wealth makes a poor bargain.

39. Have a goal other than gold or you’ll end up a disappointed mortal.

40. No man is completely a failure as long as he retains faith that he will one day succeed.

41. Don’t wait for something to turn up. Go and turn it up.

42. Be your own efficiency expert by doing your job the best way it can be done.

43. Are you sure your troubles are not mostly self-created?

44. If you had no difficulties to triumph over you would have no triumph. Make this thought part of your mental equipment.

45. To get, give.

46. Organize, systematize, deputize, realize.

47. To become a top-notcher, keep in top-notch fettle mentally and physically.

48. The whole philosophy of life can be summed up in two words: be kind.

49. To make headway, improve your head.

50. The really big man never allows his head to get too big.

51. Improve your mind and your output will improve.

52. Purpose and perspiration are a winning team.

53. Any time is a good time to start carrying out a new idea.

54. Hustle, or you’ll get left behind.

55. Be sure to distinguish between having self-respect and having conceit. The first is indispensable. The second is contemptible.

56. Show nerve, not nerves.

57. Strength comes from struggle, weakness from ease.

58. Don’t worry so very much about what people think of you, but see to it that they ought to think well of you.

59. The real satisfaction comes from the struggle, not from the reward.

60. Unless you deposit wealth in your mind, you’ll never be truly rich.

61. It’s noble to succeed, but it’s nobler still to help the other fellow to succeed.

62. Have respect for others or you will not have the respect of others.

63. Getting on is largely a matter of getting up each time you are knocked down.

64. Every act is a boomerang.

65. It is better to err on the side of initiative than inactivity.

66. A recipe for happiness: give and forgive.

67. There’s only one letter of difference between 1-e-a-r-n-i-n-g and e-a-r-n-i-n-g.

68. The brain is capable of becoming just as big as you take the pains to make it. To grow, it must be fed and exercised.

69. Education that leads to knowledge is fine. Education that leads to action is better.

70. Good habits will in time make the going comfortable and easy.

71. If you’re sufficiently anxious to see and seize opportunities, you will have little time to note or talk about the shortcomings of others.

72. Any man can face one day’s trouble. It’s trying to carry tomorrow’s, too, that weighs us down.

73. Show me a happy person and you show me a busy one.

74. If you don’t have patience you are never likely to have much else.

75. Your income depends on your output.

76. Success usually is a plant of slow growth although its flowering may seem sudden.

77. Being a thoroughbred doesn’t depend upon your ancestors but upon you.

78. Do you make up a mental balance-sheet of yourself every night?

79. To get more don’t only work more but work more intelligently.

80. Impatience has prevented many a fellow from taking firm root in the soil of success. Don’t expect to reap the moment you sow.

81. Feel discouraged? Remember, the goal worth reaching isn’t reached easily.

82. To win and keep friends, be one.

83. One investment that pays good dividends is stick-to-itiveness.

84. Thinking costs nothing, yet creates everything.

85. Ability and reliability make a good team.

86. To score, set up a target.

87. I asked the president of the Central Union Trust Company of New York, George W. Davison, his formula for getting ahead. He replied in three short words: “Keep at it”.

88. If there be an elixir of life, it is laughter.

89. The thing the lack of which makes you so unhappy are you sure you would be happy if you had it?

90. In making your living, try to make yourself agreeable to others, and thus help to make the world go round more harmoniously.

91. To be well thought of, think of others.

92. Do; strive; seat; serve.

93. Good judgement is the raw material of success.

94. Life is like a bank: You get out of it what you put into it with interest added.

95. It doesn’t help a great deal to know more than others if you don’t put your knowledge to work.

96. Don’t stand still. Go after something worth going after.

97. Success is nothing but doing your full duty to the very best of your ability. Whatever rewards come are only trimmings.

98. Don’t sit down and take what comes; go after what you want.

99. Get your motives, your principles, your ambitions right, and nothing can utterly daunt you. Inward strength will succor and sustain you.

100. To rise above the crowd, crowd your days and hours with study, observation, effort and resolution.

101. Hope, of course but hustle, also.

102. Listen to the advice of wise people, then do your own thinking and follow your own judgment.

103. Our eyes are placed in front because it is more important to look ahead than look back.

104. It is poor policy to be so busy working as to be too busy to think.

105. Great achievement must be preceded by great preparation.

Conclusion

Fitch Gibbens once described epigrams as “wisdom sharpened to a point.” Apply the 105 Forbes epigrams above and use their wisdom to live your best life.

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This is from an essay which B.C. Forbes, a Scottish financial journalist and author who founded Forbes Magazine, wrote in 1917 called “Keys to Success”:

Your success depends upon you.
Your happiness depends upon you.
You have to steer your own course.
You have to shape your own fortune.
You have to educate yourself.
You have to do your own thinking.
You have to live with your own conscience.
Your mind is yours and can be used only by you.
You come into the world alone.
You go to the grave alone.
You are alone with your inner thoughts during the journey between.
You must make your own decisions.
You must abide by the consequences of your acts.
“I cannot make you well unless you make yourself well,” an eminent doctor often tells his patients.
You alone can regulate your habits and make or unmake your health.
You alone can assimilate things mental and things material.
Said a Brooklyn preacher, offering his parishioners communion one Sunday: “I cannot give you the blessings and the benefits of this holy feast. You must appropriate them for yourselves. The banquet is spread; help yourself freely.
“You may be invited to a feast where the table is laden with the choicest foods, but unless you partake of the foods, unless you appropriate and assimilate them, they can do you no good. So it is with this holy feast. You must appropriate its blessings. I cannot infuse them into you.”
You have to do your own assimilation all through life.
You may be taught by a teacher, but you have to imbibe the knowledge. He cannot transfuse it into your brain.
You alone can control your mind cells and your brain cells.
You may have spread before you the wisdom of the ages, but unless you assimilate it you derive no benefit from it; no one can force it into your cranium.
You alone can move your own legs.
You alone can use your own arms.
You alone can utilize your own hands.
You alone can control you own muscles.
You must stand on your feet, physically and metaphorically.
You must take your own steps.
Your parents cannot enter into your skin, take control of your
mental and physical machinery, and make something of you.
You cannot fight your son’s battles; that he must do for himself.
You have to be captain of your own destiny.
You have to see through your own eyes.
You have to use your own ears.
You have to master your own faculties.
You have to solve your own problems.
You have to form your own ideals.
You have to create your own ideas.
You must choose your own speech.
You must govern your own tongue.
Your real life is your thoughts.
Your thoughts are of your own thinking.
Your character is your own handiwork.
You alone can select the materials that go into it.
You alone can reject what is not fit to go into it.
You are the creator of your own personality.
You can be disgraced by no man’s hand but your own.
You can be elevated and sustained by no man save yourself.
You have to write your own record.
You have to build your own monument – or dig your own pit.
Which are you doing?
- B.C. Forbes

Live your best life by recognizing that what you make of yourself is in your own hands. It all starts with what you’re thinking. Are your thoughts leading you toward the goals that you’ve set for yourself, or are they leading you away from them? The keys to success are within your reach.

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starbucksThe amount of willpower or self-control that you have is one of the best predictors of how successful you’ll be.

If you have poor self-control you probably overspend, overeat, and procrastinate. On the other hand, if you have high levels of self-control you probably follow a healthy diet, exercise, save, and are good at getting things done.

Fortunately, if you’re currently lacking in willpower and self-control, there are strategies that you can apply in order to help you solve this problem. One of these strategies is reward substitution, which is explained below.

Reward Substitution Explained

Dan Ariely is a professor of psychology and behavioral economics at Duke University. Ariely explains in a TED Talk which he gave at Duke that the problem of self-control is the following:

We have all of these desires for ourselves in the long-term—we want to be fit, financially secure, successful, and so on—but in the short-term we fail to take the action that will lead us to those results.

When he was in high school, Ariely had a serious accident which landed him in the hospital. While he was in the hospital, he got Hepatitis C–and liver disease as a consequence–from a bad blood transfusion. About seven years after he left the hospital, his liver started giving him problems, so he sought medical advice.

Ariely’s doctor told him that the FDA was running a clinical trial to see if a drug called interferon could help cure Hepatitis C. He advised Ariely that if he didn’t join the trial there was a good chance that he would die from liver cirrhosis in the future.

The treatment that Ariely’s doctors wanted him to take consisted of the following: he had to inject himself three times a week for a year-and-a-half. If he did this, there was a chance that he might not get liver cirrhosis thirty years down the road. However, each time he injected himself he would get headaches and feel nauseous for the next sixteen hours.

In other words, the scenario was the following:

  • Feeling sick for sixteen hours each time he injected himself was unpleasant, although not as unpleasant as getting liver cirrhosis thirty years later.
  • However, getting sick after injecting himself was not just unpleasant; it was also immediate.
  • The possibility of getting liver cirrhosis was thirty years in the future.

Ariely explains that when making the decision between doing something now which is unpleasant, but which will have positive effects in the long-term future, or avoiding the discomfort in the present, we often over-focus on the present and sacrifice the future.

So, how was Ariely able to inject himself three times a week, for a year-and-a-half, even though he felt sick for hours every time he injected himself? He stopped focusing on the long-term reward of not getting liver cirrhosis. That reward was too far off is the future to make him willing to put up with discomfort in the present.

Instead, in the mornings on the days in which Ariely had to inject himself, he would go to the video store and check out a few movies. Watching movies is something that he loves to do. So he would walk around all day with the movies in his backpack looking forward to watching them. Then, when he got home in the evening he would inject himself and pop in a movie.

Ariely created a reward substitution. The reward of not getting liver cirrhosis was too far away in the future to motivate him to act in the present moment. People are just not designed to care very much about delayed rewards. Therefore, what he did instead was to focus on the immediate reward of watching movies.

How to Implement Reward Substitution in Your Own Life

A blog post I wrote a short while ago got over 25,000 views in one day. It was a post on how to slow down aging and live longer. Obviously, living longer lives with fewer years of disability is something that we all want.

One of the most important things you can do in order to live a longer, healthier life is to do some sort of cardio exercise for 30 minutes, five days a week. However, for most of us, exercising involves at least some degree of discomfort and unpleasantness. While you’re exercising you’re tired, you’re sweaty, and you have to exert yourself for the amount of time you’re exercising.

When you get home from work each day you have the following options:

  • Kick off your shoes, lie down on the couch, and get the immediate reward of relaxation; or
  • Put on your t-shirt, sweatpants, and sneakers, and go out for a thirty minute jog, so that your chances of having a heart attack or a stroke thirty years from now are greatly reduced.

The reward of longevity is just too far off in the future to prevent you from lying down on the couch and taking it easy. Therefore, you need to find a reward substitute. You can try the following:

  • Right before your jog, prepare everything that you’ll need to make your favorite smoothie, and put it all in the fridge so that you can make the smoothie as soon as you get home after your jog.
  • Make a date with your spouse or your roommate to watch a TV show that you both love when you get back from your jog.

Find a compelling reward that you can give yourself in the present to focus on, in order to get yourself to take the action that will get you a much larger reward further down the road. Ask yourself:

  • What long-terms goals do I want to achieve?
  • What actions do I need to take on a regular basis to achieve those goals which are likely to cause discomfort or some unpleasantness?
  • What reward substitutes can I use to reward myself immediately, instead of trying to focus on a reward that is so far off in the future that it won’t motivate me to act now?

Conclusion

Think of a large object that’s right next to you. Then it starts to move away. As it moves away, it looks smaller and smaller. Soon, all you can see is a tiny speck. Large rewards that are far off in the future look like tiny specks in the present. And it’s very hard to get motivated by those tiny specks.

Instead, choose to focus on rewards which—although much smaller than the ultimate reward that you’re striving for—look much bigger in the present because you can have them right now. Live your best life by increasing your willpower and self-control with reward substitution.

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The 20 questions below were taken from the book “How to Turn Your Ability Into Cash”, by Earl Prevette. They’re worth pondering.

1. What is my attitude toward myself, toward other people, toward God, toward my neighbor, and toward my job?

2. Do I think and act positively?

3. Am I tolerant and considerate of other people?

4. Do I honestly respect the rights and opinions of others?

5. Do I interrupt while others are speaking?

6. Do I tell my affairs to everyone I meet?

7. Do I practice the Golden Rule?

8. Do I permit the whims and fancies of misfortune to deter real issues?

9. Do I monopolize the conversation with a big “I” and a little “you”?

10. Am I arrogant and impudent?

11. Am I honest with myself?

12. Am I persistent and progressive, without being offensive?

13. Am I blown around from opinion to opinion, like a thistle in a windstorm?

14. Do I cultivate habits that make me strong physically, mentally and spiritually?

15. Do I have confidence in my ability?

16. Do I dare to think for myself?

17. Do I hesitate, falter, postpone and procrastinate?

18. Do I practice the little acts of courtesy in my daily associations?

19. Do I covet what others have?

20. Am I envious? Am I jealous?

Live your best life by constantly asking yourself questions in order to examine your habits of thought and how you’re relating to yourself and to the rest of the world.

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Here are 14 ways to be uber creative:

burdock1.Look to Nature for Inspiration. Velcro was inspired by nature. The Swiss Georges de Mestral–the inventor of Velcro– noticed how the sticky seed heads of burdock plants attached themselves to his pants and to his dog’s fur after they went for walks in the woods.

Under a microscope he saw that the seeds had little hooks that would attach themselves to anything passing by to aid in seed dispersal. He realized that the same mechanism could be used to join other things together. This observation led him to invent the product now called Velcro.

soup cans2. Follow Andy Warhol’s Lead. Take a “known” image, and turn it into something new and fresh. One of Warhol’s most iconic works is a canvas filled with soup cans. Anything can serve as inspiration: old photos, pictures of the circus or a carnival, graffiti, a store display, and so on.  Turn the mundane into something special.

tips for writers3.  Gather Tips From Successful Artists. The internet is filled with tips: tips for writers; tips for graphic designers; tips for film-makers; and so on.

Start gathering these tips–in a blog, in a notebook, or using whatever tool suits your fancy–and turn to them when you’re not sure what to do next.

 

collection4. Collect Stuff That Catches Your Eye. Look at the following quote from Lynne Perrella, author of “Alphabetica: An A-Z Creativity Guide for Collage and Book Artists”:

“Whether we call it collecting, scavenging, accumulating, scrounging, gathering or junking, it’s all about the urge to surround ourselves with our stuff, our loot, our stash, our hoard, our mother lode of treasures, and to read the inspiration that these sometimes inexplicably irresistible objects provide. Whether the collected objects are actually used in works of art or merely provide inspiration, the synchronicity between Artist and Object is undeniable.”

bamboo5. Persevere. The Chinese bamboo tree will not sprout for the first five years after you plant it. You water and fertilize it for five whole years and nothing happens. Then, sometime during the fifth year, the Chinese bamboo tree sprouts and grows ninety feet in six days.

found6. Be a Tireless Warrior For Your Project. Davy Rothbart, founder of “FOUND Magazine”, started a website–then a magazine, and then created several books– based on a collection of notes, letters, photos, journals, and to-do lists that people have plucked up off the ground, found in alleyways, and picked up off the subway floor.

His enterprise all started when someone mistakenly left a note on his windshield. Davy indicates that when trying to bring your ideas out into the world, you have to be thick-skinned. He had to deal with lots of rejection when bookstores didn’t want to carry his magazine.

doodle7. Improve your visual thinking. Visual thinking is about using pictures to help you solve problems, think about complex issues and communicate more effectively. It takes you beyond the linear world of the written word, lists, and spreadsheets, and into the non-linear world of maps, sketches, symbols, and diagrams.

reframe8. Reframe your mistakes. Edward de Bono suggests that there is a need for a positive word to describe ‘a fully justified venture which for reasons beyond your control did not succeed’. The available words such as ‘failure’ and ‘mistake’ are unfair and squelch creativity.

In addition, de Bono says the following: “It is better to have enough ideas for some of them to be wrong, than to be always right by having no ideas at all.”

alarm clock9.  Think of New Combinations of Everyday Objects. Many creative people have defined “creativity” in much the same way as Thomas Disch does in the following quote: “Creativity is the ability to see relationships where none existed.”

Here are three examples:

  • Wheels + gym shoe = roller skates;
  • TV + Music = MTV;
  • Clock + Alarm = alarm clock

tall tales10. Avoid crowds. Take Hugh MacLeod’s advice: don’t try to stand out from the crowd. Instead, avoid crowds altogether. Mad Magazine’s Al Jaffee conceived of his comic strip “Tall Tales” while going through difficult financial times. He managed to break into the business of syndicated comics by doing something different than what everybody else was doing.

Instead of drawing a traditional horizontal strip that would compete with the existing material, he opted for a seven-inch-tall vertical strip, which gave editors a lot more flexibility as to where in the paper the strip would run. Ask yourself: how can you avoid the crowd?

receptive state of mind11. Practice being in a receptive state of mind. Instead of constantly having the television on, listening to your iPod, and surrounding yourself with noise and other distractions, practice being in a relaxed, contemplative state of mind. This state of mind is the one most conducive to allowing creative thoughts to slip into your mind.

explorer12. Adopt the Four Roles of the Creative Process. Follow Roger van Oeck’s advice from his book “A Kick in the Seat of the Pants” and adopt the four roles of the creative process: Explorer, Artist, Judge, and Warrior.

  • The Explorer. When it’s time to seek out new information, adopt the mindset of an Explorer. Get off the beaten path, poke around everywhere, be curious, and pay attention to unusual patterns.
  • The Artist. When you need to create a new idea, let the Artist come out. Ask what-if questions and look for hidden analogies. Break the rules and look at things backwards. Apply creativity techniques. Exaggerate. Look at things from many different perspectives.
  • The Judge. When it’s time to decide if your idea is worth implementing, or if there is anything that needs to be added or subtracted from your idea, see yourself as a Judge. Ask what’s wrong and if the timing is right. Question your assumptions and make a decision.
    • The Warrior. When you carry your idea into action, be a Warrior. Get excited about implementing your idea, eliminate all excuses, and do what needs to be done to reach your objective.

make your creative dreams real13. Make Your Creative Dreams Real. The amazingly creative author SARK explains in her book,“Creative Companion: How to Free Your Creative Spirit”, that you have to make your ideas “real”.

SARK had the following idea: she wanted to make some cards to guide and help people in their spiritual journey. Therefore, she set about inventing their form. Here’s what she did:

  • By tearing French rag paper into small squares, and hand-coloring the edges, she created a canvas on which she could write her messages.
  • She then folded an envelope out of the same paper, dyed some cotton string to tie it shut with, and wrote a simple instruction guide.

And voilá . . . these became spirit cards and she sold thousands of them.

drawing214. Make Time to Be Creative. Many people have the intention to make time for creative pursuits, but life keeps getting in the way. After all, there’s commuting, work, doing the laundry, picking up the kids from soccer practice, and the list goes on and on.

You won’t suddenly find the time to be creative; you have to make the time. Carve out one hour a day for your writing, drawing, composing, and so on. Use your creative hour for self-expression, to discover more about yourself, to enter the state of flow, to bring something new into the world, and to simply disconnect from the stress of everyday life.

Live your best life by being uber creative.

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You have two options: you can live a shorter life with more years of disability, or you can live a longer life with fewer years of disability. The choice is yours.

There are changes you can make to your lifestyle that will help you to both extend your life and improve the quality of your “golden years”. Below you’ll discover 17 ways to slow down aging and live longer.

George Clooney1. Get a New Perspective on Aging. Instead of thinking of getting older as an inevitable decline, think of it as gaining knowledge and wisdom.

Studies show that those who have a positive view of getting older look and feel younger than people of the same age who view aging as something negative. In addition, those who feel younger than their age have less cognitive decline.

Greek Yogurt2. Eat Low Fat Greek Yogurt. If you don’t get enough calcium in your diet, the body steals some from your bones. This may compromise bone strength and put you at a higher risk of osteoporosis.

The Institute of Medicine recommends that adults 19 years old and older get 1,000 mg of calcium per day, with an upper limit of 2,000 mg. One 8-ounce cup of Greek yogurt has 415 mg of calcium, almost half of the recommended daily amount.

meditation (3)3. Take Up Meditation. Dean Ornish, M.D., author of “The Spectrum”, explains that telomeres—the caps at the end of chromosomes that keep DNA strands from unraveling–shorten with stress. Ultimately this means that chronic stress can shorten your life from 9 to 17 years.

However, the damage caused by stress to the telomeres can be reversed by finding effective ways to release stress. In addition, one of the best ways to release stress is through meditation.

wear suncreen4. Always Wear Sunscreen. Dr. Wendy Roberts, a board certified dermatopathologist, explains that wearing sunscreen slows down the development of wrinkled, premature aging skin. In fact, up to 90 per cent of aging is caused by external factors, the big one being sun exposure.

Choose a sunscreen that has broad spectrum protection against both UVB and UVA rays.

sunglasses (2)5. Wear Sunglasses. In addition to protecting your skin from the harmful effects of the sun, you also need to protect your eyes. You want to keep ultraviolet light from getting into your eyes and onto the lids and the skin around them.

Long-term, excess UV exposure can cause a variety of eye problems, including cataracts and age-related macular degeneration, a leading cause of vision loss among people age 50 and older. Make sure that the sunglasses you choose block out 99 to 100 percent of both UVA and UVB radiation.

reading6. Stimulate Your Brain. A study published in the journal Neurology confirms that people who habitually read, write, and otherwise process information are less likely to experience mental declines late in life. Mental stimulation is extremely valuable in slowing down cognitive decline.

walking7. Get Regular Aerobic Exercise. People who are active have a lower risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, some cancers, depression and dementia. Aim to do at least 150 minutes, 2 hours and 30 minutes, of moderate-intensity aerobic activity every week.

Going for a brisk thirty-minute walk, five days a week is a great way to ensure that you can continue to carry out the activities you enjoy as you get older.

strength training8. Start a Weight Training Program. One unfortunate aspect of aging is the loss of muscle tissue and strength. However, it’s possible to slow down the aging process by improving strength. In addition, studies show that increasing your strength also makes your genes younger.

friends (2)9. Hang Out With Friends and Family. Relationships play a key role in health and life expectancy. Social relationships don’t just improve the quality of our lives, but also the length of it.

A study found that strong social ties can be as important as losing weight if you’re obese; getting active if you’re sedentary; and giving up cigarettes if you’re a smoker. One of the best things to do if you want to live longer is to strengthen your ties with others.

wedding (2)10. Get Married. Marriage brings better mental and physical health and reduces the chances of premature death by 15%.  Research shows that married people lead healthier lifestyles. In addition, marriage reduces anxiety and the risk of depression.

Of course, it has to be a loving and supportive marriage in order for it to be beneficial to your health and longevity.

Secretary of Defense joins hundreds of volunteers to build a playground in one day as part of 9/11 Day of Service and Remembrance11. Volunteer. Researchers have studied the psychosocial benefits of volunteering. They found that volunteers live longer than non-volunteers. In fact, volunteering appears to reduce risk of death by 25 percent.

Some theories as to why this is so include the following: helping others leads to feelings of perceived usefulness and competence, as well as providing social integration and support. In addition, when helping others, hormones such as oxytocin and progesterone are released; these hormones regulate stress.

dark chocolate12. Treat Yourself to Dark Chocolate. Dark chocolate can boost blood circulation in your brain, lower blood pressure and inhibit stroke damage. Be sure the cocoa content is at least 70 percent, and eat at least half an ounce of dark chocolate a day. Like anything else in life, it’s also important not to overdo it.

sleeping (2)13. Get Seven Hours of Sleep. Research has shown that, when it comes to sleep, seven is the magic number. A study of more than 30,000 adults found that heart attacks and stroke are twice as high among those sleeping less than five hours a day, compared with those getting seven hours.

Those who slept nine hours or more also had a markedly increased risk.

pet14. Get a Pet. Studies have shown that having a pet has a myriad of health benefits. First, having pets helps lower our stress levels and decrease blood pressure. Pets also improve our mood and boost our immunity. In addition, having a pet significantly decreases a person’s chances of dying from heart disease. All of this translates into a longer lifespan.

organized15. Be conscientious. Research has found a correlation between conscientiousness and lower blood pressure, lower rates of diabetes and stroke, and fewer joint problems. For one, people with conscientious personalities are less likely to engage in harmful behaviors–such as smoking and risky driving–and more likely to adhere to healthful ones.

Attributes of being conscientious include being organized, being disciplined, and having self-control. Things you can do in order to become more conscientious include creating a daily schedule and sticking to it, being more punctual, and organizing your desk every day before leaving work.

goal (2)16.  Have a Purpose. Research published in Psychological Science shows that at any age, having a sense of purpose could add years to your life. In fact, purposefulness has been found to be one of the strongest predictors of longevity. Therefore, if you want to live longer, set meaningful goals. In particular, set an overarching goal for what you want to achieve during your lifetime.

smaller dishes17. Eat to 80% of Fullness. The residents of the island of Okinawa in Japan are known for their longevity. One of the secrets to their long lifespans is a practice they call hara hachi bu — eating only until you are 80 percent full. Here are four ways to practice hara hachi bu:

  • Eat until you’re satisfied but not yet full.
  • Eat slowly in order to give your body time to send you cues about fullness.
  • Use smaller plates.
  • Err on the side of eating less than you think you need; if you still feel hungry twenty minutes later, you can always go back for more.

Conclusion

Experts estimate that about 10% of your longevity is determined by your genes. The other 90% is in your hands. Follow the tips above in order to live longer, and live better.

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keeping a journalA journal can be a powerful tool for achieving your goals. You can even think of journaling as a self-coaching session. In this post you’ll discover the ten benefits of keeping a journal, as well as the eight steps to follow in order to start keeping your own journal as a goal-achievement tool.

Benefits of Keeping a Journal

Here are ten benefits of keeping a journal:

1. Keeping a journal forces you to commit your goals to writing. When you write down your goals you turn vague desires into well-articulated targets you can clearly see and aim for. You’re taking the first step toward turning the desires in your head into something concrete that exists in the material world.

When you write down your goals you’re laying the first brick, or planting the seed.

2. By setting aside fifteen to twenty minutes a day, every day, at a predetermined time to write about your goals you’re guaranteeing that you’re going to spend at least that amount of time each day thinking about your goals and how you’re going to achieve them. In other words, it’s time that you’re going to spend “tending your garden”.

3. A journal allows you to record your progress. If you’ve encountered setbacks while trying to achieve an important goal you may be feeling discouraged. When you feel like you’re losing your motivation to keep moving forward it’s a good idea to take out your journal and look back at the progress you’ve already made toward the achievement of your goal.

In addition, even if you’ve made several failed attempts at achieving a goal, looking back at what hasn’t worked can be helpful in coming up with new approaches which could work.

4. A journal is evidence of past success. Before you start working on a new goal it’s a good idea to sit back with some of your old journals and read about your past successes. This will help motivate you to get to work on the new goal with a feeling of certainty that—just as you’ve been able to achieve other goals in the past—you’ll be able to achieve it.

5. Having a set time during which you’re going to write about your goals each day keeps you accountable. Nobody wants to sit down and write: “I did absolutely nothing to move closer to the achievement of my goals today. Instead, I wasted time watching TV and playing video games, pursuing other people’s goals, or doing busy work.”

Knowing that at the end of the day you’re going to have to sit down and write about what you did that day to move you closer toward the achievement of your goals is a great motivator to get you to do what you’re supposed to be doing. You can even pretend that your journal is an accountability report which you have to hand in to a supervisor.

6. Writing about your goals helps you to uncover hidden fears that may be holding you back, as well as limiting beliefs. A lot of the time we can’t see how we’re holding ourselves back. Writing can help you to get in touch with a deeper part of yourself and bring stuff to the surface that you didn’t even realize was there.

When you’re writing about your goals you may “hear” yourself saying things such as the following:

  •  People with my background can’t achieve a goal like this.
  • I just don’t have what it takes.
  • If I lose weight, then my friends—who are also struggling with their weight—won’t want to hang out with me anymore.

Once you’ve brought your hidden fears and limiting beliefs to the surface, you’ll be able to deal with them. A journal can help you gain self-awareness and bring your blind spots within your visual range.

7. A lot of the time we know what we want, but we don’t know how we’re going to get it. Your journal can serve as a brainstorming tool for coming up with steps you can take in order to achieve your goals.

The brain loves a challenge. Give yours the following challenge: “In the next twenty minutes come up with a list of 100 things I could do in order to achieve this goal”.

Even if nothing you come up with makes any sense, your brain will continue working on the task while you sleep or do other things. Then, the next time that you sit down to write in your journal it’s likely that you’ll be able to come up with an idea on how to proceed that’s both realistic and actionable.

8. Writing about your goals helps you to identify possible obstacles that you may encounter, and create an action plan on how you’ll deal with those obstacles when they arise. Then, when an obstacle does appear across your path, you won’t be caught off guard. Instead, you’ll know how to deal with it.

9. A journal detailing how you solved a problem that others may be having—or how you achieved a goal that others may want to achieve—can be turned into an eBook which you can give away or sell. Creating a product you can make money from can be another source of motivation to keep you moving toward the achievement of your goals.

10. A journal can help you to keep the ball rolling. The last thing you should do before closing your journal for the day is to give yourself an assignment. That is, identify what you’re going to do the following day in order to move your goal along.

How to Keep a Journal

Here are the eight steps that you need to follow in order to keep a journal with the express purpose of helping you to achieve your goals:

  1. Decide what you’re going to use—you can use a notebook, an online journal, or anything else that you feel comfortable with.
  2. Keep one journal for every major goal.
  3. Decide on a time that you’re going to set aside each day to write in your journal.
  4. Commit to writing every day.
  5. Don’t worry about grammar or punctuation; you’re not writing a literary masterpiece.
  6. Don’t censor yourself –your journal is just for you. Allow yourself to write whatever you feel.
  7. Don’t get up from your writing session until you’ve given yourself an assignment for the next day and you’ve scheduled it in your appointment book.
  8. After each writing session give yourself a mental pat on the back for the progress that you’ve made so far toward the achievement of your goal. Also, feel gratitude for the people who have helped you, and the resources you’ve had access to.

Conclusion

Keeping a journal can be a powerful tool for achieving your goals. Live your best life by setting goals, and then keeping a journal which will help you to achieve those goals.

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