ACTivity/ Better Than Resolutions

My New Year vision board back in December 2006. Now I use a practice that is even more fun, and much more effective and sustainable.

My New Year vision board back in December 2006. Now I use a practice that is even more fun, and much more effective and sustainable.

Ubud, 29 December 2015 — Now that 2015 is drawing to a close, are you feeling a familiar temptation to turn your tired dreams and good intentions into New Year Resolutions to start afresh? Regardless of how well-intentioned you are, the reality is that most resolutions do not make it past the month of January, or even die before that.

The good news is that there is a better way for you to achieve the result you want. You will have more fun as you move forward, you will sustain your dreams, and you will celebrate progress every day. It is simple, stretching, and scalable. 

It is called journaling.

And not just any journaling. I mean journaling with a light and helpful structure, using the power of three.

Spending just a few minutes in the morning and the evening following this method will give you a deep and transformational impact on your success in the new year ahead, and in the years after that!

What does it involve? You just ask yourself three questions, and write the answer in your journal.

  1. What 3 wins will you celebrate today?
  2. What will you invest in your growth?
  3. How do you build on yesterday's wins?
Writing is fun. Typing too. Why not enjoy both?

Writing is fun. Typing too. Why not enjoy both?

No long answers are needed. Can you see how this is simple (1), stretching (2) and scalable (3)?

Question 1. Focusing on three wins in the morning is easy. Put your longer to-do list aside—focus on three that matter most. Your intuition will help you choose the most important ones for the day, each morning.

Question 2. Now ask yourself what you will invest in your growth. We often forget this, being so busy finishing work for others. You can answer this question daily by selecting small activities to help you grow.

It also makes sense to start answering this second question for the whole year, looking ahead. Review what courses you want to take. Which conferences, workshops and festivals will help to bring out the best in you. Mark them in your calendar now, to make space for them already.

In the evening, revisit your journal entry for the day and celebrate how you achieved your three wins. Make a few notes on your lessons learned along the way. What went well, what you can improve next time, and what new insights you had during the day.

Question 3. Once you get going, you can already answer the third question on the second day, building on yesterday’s wins. That way, you develop insights how to leverage and multiply your earlier wins.

There are journaling methods that go far beyond this. I found it best, however, to keep it simple, and to expand this routine only once you are firmly established in your journaling practice to the point where you miss it when you skip an entry.

So there you have it. Journaling has allowed me to sustain my good intentions through the year and keep it simple and fun.

For  best results, Blow into your dreams daily.

For  best results, Blow into your dreams daily.

When we emphasize our good feelings about our dreams and daily wins, we give life to them, like blowing into a beautiful colorful balloon. Without blowing into the balloon regularly, we know it will land and deflate sooner or later.

A note on where to journal. We are blessed with multiple opportunities nowadays, so why not use more than one to suit our mood. I journal in Evernote, which saves my notes so I can see them on my Mac, my iPad and iPhone whenever I want. Evernote also makes my notes searchable, and that’s handy sometimes when you look for a topic or activity you did.

When I want the tactile feeling of writing—that endangered art—I either use a stylus to write in Penultimate (which automatically saves it to Evernote), or I use a pen to write in a Moleskine notebook. I then use Evernote’s camera function to scan that handwritten note into Evernote, so it’s there too.

With all that said, you can now turn your temptation to make New Year’s Resolutions into a journaling practice that is much more fun and sustainable and will give you the results you want, to realize your dreams. 

Happy New Year!