So, when I monitor and record my behaviour, I am far more efficient, happy, and confident that I can actually make a change.
Toni Morrison said, “If there’s a book you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, why then you must write it.”
Well, no journal existed which tracked all the things I like to track, so I designed one for my daughters, myself–and for you, if you’d like to get one. A lovely 406 page journal!
There are the sections.
1 Gratitude Journal. Hey, this one is a life-changer. I record ten reasons for gratitude every night, and in the course of it, I frequently find that what I has thought of as a ho-hum day, with the everyday frustrations and irritations was in fact full of tiny, unnoticed goodnesses—the stretching of yoga class, the beauty of my golden retriever, the faithfulness of my labradoodle, a husband who loves me, birds at my feeder. It changes your mood, and your perspective on the day, and those who develop the habit of recording blessings report being 25% happier.
2 Habit Tracker. It’s useful to note down the habit you are trying to develop, and get it down before developing the next one. It takes about 66 days to create a new habit, researchers say. (The four foundational habits to master, incidentally are getting better sleep, exercise, eating healthily, and decluttering/efficient home organisation.)
3 Food Journal. Those who record their food intake lose TWICE as much weight as those who don’t. I’ve struggled with remembering to food journal, but this time round, am having better, though not perfect, success.
(A tool that’s helping me is to rate my hunger before eating on a 5 point scale
1 Very Hungry, 2 Hungry 3 Content. No need for any food at this time. 4 Satisfied 5 Gluttonously full
and only eating at 1 or 2.)
4 Exercise Journal…My Fitbit HR keeps track of my steps, calories and active hours. I personally need to take 11,000 steps, and to burn 2400 calories a day to lose weight (at present). When I hit a plateau, I increase these, and add in resistance training, weights and additional yoga.
My step goal shapes and defines my day, of course, and the increased steps and mileage also have powerful creative benefits. “Engaging in physical activity before engaging in a creative act is very powerful,” neuroscientist, Shane O’Mara, the author of In Praise of Walking: The new science of how we walk and why it’s good for us writes.
Haruki Murakami, author of “What I talk about when I talk about running” is, of course, the sensei of using physical activity to enhance creative activity.
5 I resort to keeping time sheets, whenever I wonder where my time is disappearing to. It takes five minutes to do, but can save hours of wasted time. A game I play with myself is to try to get more done at an earlier hour than I did the previous day, and to inch up my productive hours. So, of course, the journal has time sheets.
6 Again, I haven’t had written goals in the past, but for the last 18 months, I have been using Bill Hybels’ 6 by 6 method of goal-setting, and have found it useful. There are sheets for yearly, monthly and weekly goals.
8 And of course, there’s a To-Do and Planner section.
So, that’s it, guys. I hope you will get one for yourself or for your children if you think it might be useful.
Some Useful Books
Shane O’Mara In Praise of Walking: The new science of how we walk and why it’s good for us on Amazon.co.uk and on Amazon.com