I started the habit of writing what I want to achieve for the future in the year 2013. I was in the classroom in school (in Kenya) on a Sunday, alone. I drew a very big table on the white board. I drafted seven goals and the expected time of achieving them. For some of them, I didn’t achieve them on time. Like my trip to Dubai, I achieved 12 months after the date I set. I am thankful I wrote it down. It kept the goal in my memory most of the time.
Ever since then, I started the practice of writing the goals and what I want to be at the end of a year. This list, I refer to it as my to-be list. For example I wanted to become a green building professional at the end of 2014, which I humbly accomplished. After the to-be list, then I write monthly and weekly goals. So at the end of any particular month, I want to know what I would have achieved.
I created another list called the to-do list. I write what I want to do for the month, the coming week and the next days. Sometimes, I write my daily to-do lists in the morning of the said day, which is not a good thing. Brian Tracy, in his YouTube videos has advised is important you write what you want to do the next day before going to bed, in order to visualize you doing the tasks. I find that quite effective on the days I do it.
I keep many of these records in books only meant for that. Call it my journal. So if I want to recall what I did on a said day from today till the 1st of January 2015, I can easily retrieve that in my notebooks/journal. It’s beautiful I think how I can pinpoint what I did, who I met, what new thing I learnt and the likes. I write them all down in my journal.
But for many days that I relax without doing anything, I do not write anything. Or when I travel and have the mission of only exploring, I don’t keep a to-do list, except if there is something important I should do, which is mostly contacting or reminding someone about something.
At the beginning of 2016, I wrote down only five goals. Sadly. I accomplished two wonderfully. One, about reading twelve books, I partially reached it as I read only seven books only. My first goal, which is starting a PhD, I changed purposely because I didn’t feel I wanted to do that early. I just crossed it off. My last goal, sky-diving, I couldn’t. Money problems.
During the course of the year, I added a number of monthly goals to my to-be lists. Among which is to monetize my blog, something that is really challenging. I wrote down other goals as well, and I achieved most of them.
The sad thing about my first initial five goals I wrote was that I set my ambitions far too low. All could have easily been accomplished. I didn’t write anything that I started working on in January that keeps me going till December. Not even blogging goals. From December 2015, I knew I wanted to increase my blog traffic, but I did not write down as a year goal. I only write them as monthly goals. Had I written something very challenging and more than a handful, perhaps I would have grown much more than what I am now. Having a big picture you always look at is very important.
“The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark.” Michelangelo
Although a few people say, not all that is written down is achieved. Most at times, it gets struck off easily or never been looked back again. For me, this practice works well for me. As you set out to start keeping a daily journal, I advise you have an introspection of yourself to understand how you will effect this new habit.
I like getting a new book, big enough to accommodate what I will all write down for the whole year. So by say mid-year, I could easily flip back and see my earlier set goals, and how much I did in achieving them. I will revise some goals and tactics in achieving them. It is always good to evaluate your action steps. And having one single book for this purpose. If you have two, it might be difficult carrying the two around always. I learnt it the hard way. In 2015, I started with a book that had a few pages. In no time, it filled up and I had to get another. After a few months in the other, I kept trying to recall my earlier goals written in the former book, and that had me always going back to get it.
Till today, I keep all my journals in my bedroom. Occasionally, I did pick any of them to review what I have done, what I left off that can be brought forward, or just simply as a reminder to how much I have done.
I think keeping a daily journal will set you in a good trajectory in achieving many goals you set for yourself. If you are the type that doesn’t set any goals, I advise you start, even if you are in school. If you do, but do not have a journal or need more orientation on how to keep one, I would be okay in sharing from my experiences. I will be running a few coaching sessions on how to start journaling. If you are interested in joining, sign up to my blog and fill the form below.
Next week, some friends and I are going shopping for our journal of 2017. Have you got yours already? How has keeping a journal helped you? If you don’t keep one, why? Please comment below.