Several years ago when I first begin my career working in community service, my work required the consistent practice of creating plans, completing reports, meeting deadlines and successfully reaching goals.
Hence, I learned the benefits in life and business of writing things down; my ideas, motivations, frustrations, to-do lists, notes, strategies etc. and using my own personal journal to house it all in.
Recently, as I was perusing one of my retired journals, I was taken by what it revealed about who I was and how I got things done.
Here are 15 virtues of my retired journal and why if you’ve never used a journal or planner, you should start now!
1. It will reveal your priorities at the time.
2. It will reveal your progress or lack thereof.
3. It will reveal your personal growth, if any.
4. It will reveal your greatest strengthen & weaknesses
5. It will tell you if you’re a quitter.
6. It will tell you what you’re good at.
7. It will tell you what you love.
8. It will tell you why it didn’t work out.
9. It will help you chart a new course.
10. It will reveal your mental and emotional state at the time.
11. It will remind you of what you’ve forgotten and left behind.
12. It will show you how far you’ve come.
13. It will reward you.
14. It will embarrass you.
15. It will tell you the truth!
To create a written account of your day to day life ie what you want, need, plan to do and how you will do it, takes courage because you never know how it’s all going to work out in the end. And when it doesn’t work, you’ll have it all there, in writing, to remind you. But when it works, when you can check off that last item on your list, you feel validated and capable!
For me, one of the most revealing things that I discovered about myself was that I seldom included “me” on the list. Most of my lists or plans were either about my family, household or work. I think my thinking was that since it was for me, I wouldn’t need to write to down. Surely, I wouldn’t need to be reminded to do something for myself!
I was wrong!
So the lesson learned here was, I should have put myself first more often. I would have be better positioned to do anything else that came after.
Also, I noticed that in some cases, I would just ignore the things that didn’t get done, like they were never there! My thinking on this is, when I first listed these things as something I planned to do, I probably knew then that I wasn’t going to follow through. Either the thing was too big to tackle at the time or it didn’t mean that much to me in the first place. So I turned my head and let it die…:(
The lesson learned here was; don’t write it down unless you feel that there is a good chance that you will follow through! The last thing you want to see is a bunch of things that went undone. This will do a job on your self-confidence and hinder your ability to believe that your word has any value.
Whatever the outcomes are, it’s hard for me to imagine a greater retrospective tool for gaging some of the most important aspects of who you are and how you get things done!
So if you’re ready, my best advice for selecting the right journal/planner is, not to pick one that asks questions you’re not ready to answer. A lot of planners can be pretty elaborate which can be intimidating.
For a first time user, I suggest using a simple journal type planner with lined paper and a wire spiral spine; that way, you can decide on the when, what, how and where, when you’re ready. If you still need help getting started using your journal, start by creating a simple daily to do list and grow from there.
Revisit your journal long after you have retired it and brace yourself for it will reveal about you!
Download my FREE eBook – How to Begin to Believe, 12 Essential Steps to Believing You Can Do It! It will help get you on your way!
1. Am I grateful?
Gratitude is a great balancing force. It allows us to be kind to ourselves and have a greater perspective of where we REALLY stand. Find something to be grateful for and remind yourself of it everyday!
2. Are my expectations/goals realistic?
Sometimes we can set goals higher than we can climb at one time. Let yourself off the hook and break down your goals/expectations into smaller more do-able pieces.
3. What actions I am I repeating over and over again that never seem to work out?
We can have a habit of repeating certain actions or practices, not because they’re working but because we’re comfortable with them and/or we’re too lazy or fearful to come up with a new way of doing things. Think about it; make a list…find the courage to make a different turn and you may find yourself in a different place.
4. What can I do differently?
Change is scary. But knowledge is power strong enough to beat change into submission…so read up on how to begin to change ONE thing for the better…start with something small.
5. Am I consistent?
Start…stop…start…stop! Successfully accomplishing anything like this is almost impossible! Instead, create mini-plans, each big enough to move you forward but small enough so that you can get it done before you’re tempted to quit!
6. Who am I spending my time with?
A lot can be said about the company we keep. We know full well who the toxic people are in our lives… pull back a little. They’ll be pissed for a while and probably accuse you of thinking that you’re better than they are but guess what, you probably are!
7. Do I speak positively of myself and my circumstances?
I can’t do this… It’s never gonna work…I suck! Instead, try saying this repeatedly everyday…Day by day, in every way with the help of God, I’m getting better and better and better and better!
8. Do I spend too much time complaining?
For some reason, complaining can feel so good! But we know that it’s a complete waste of time and energy. Fight the urge to complain by recognizing the triggers; do you complain when you hear other people complain, do you complain over lunch or when the bills come in or at the end of the day. Instead consciously decide to say the mantra in #7.
9. Do I pray regularly for myself and others?
“Prayer changes you and then you can change things”! Or how about this one, “You have not because you ask not”- James 4:2-3
10. Do my good habits outweigh my bad ones?
Make a list of all your good habits and all of your bad habits, now adjust the scale in your favor!
11. When was the last time I had a good laugh?
Laughter is a powerful thing. It’s said to even have the power to heal. But I know one thing for certain, during that moment when you’re laughing you’re head off or even smiling really hard, you’re not thinking about what’s going wrong in your life, you’re simply enjoying your life NOW at that moment and the more moments you can have like that, the better! Here’s joke to get you started…A snail gets mugged by a gang of turtles. When the cops show up and ask him what happened he replies, “I don’t know. It all happened so fast.”
12. Am I taking good care of my physical, mental and emotional self?
You can’t do your best if you don’t feel your best and nobody will take better care of you than you. Fix what’s ailing you!
13. Am I getting enough sleep?
There are those people, like my husband that need no more that 4 to 5 hours sleep tops and they’ll ready for the day. Not me, if I get less the 7, I’m screwed! So whatever your number is, make it happen consistently. And when you find yourself getting tired, stop for a while and start again when you’re refreshed.
14. Am I preoccupied with thinking the worst?
What we think and how we think weighs heavy on our actions and their outcomes. Thinking positive doesn’t mean be unrealistic, it means that once you’ve done all you can, hope for the best… I mean, why not? And one more thing, stay away for from negative thinkers and negative talkers, they are not your friends!
15. Am I a procrastinator?
I think it’s safe to say that we all procrastinate sometimes, some of us more than others! Refer back to #5 about creating mini-plans and schedules to keep yourself on task. And remember, if you fall off schedule, just start again!
16. Do I surround myself with more takers than givers?
Weed out the takers and let them go…slowly if you have to BUT LET THEM GO!
17. Are things really as bad as I think?
Go back to #1- Am I grateful. But don’t get me wrong, I understand that the answer to this question for you may be “Hell Yes!” And if that’s the case, that means you’ve learned a lot about what not to do. Study all the mistakes you’ve made and why and what you should or could have done instead, now do something with everything you’ve learned… write about it, start a blog etc. But most importantly re commit yourself to never making the same mistakes again!
18. Am I a priority in my own life?
Why do we have such a hard time with this? (me included!) Try this, at the beginning of each day, do one thing for yourself first before doing anything for anyone else. Hopefully, this will help you to begin a habit of thinking about you first…this is a good thing!
19. Am I doing the best I can with what I have right now?
When you think about it, can you honestly say you’re doing your best? If so, then be patient, your hard work will pay off eventually and propel you to your next level. It may not look like you think it should so be prepared to accept it however it comes. If you’re not doing your best, ask yourself why, maybe this thing is just not that important to you …maybe it once was, but not anymore. Re-evaluate and start again..try harder this time!
20. Who can help me?
Have you asked for help or better yet, have you asked for help from the appropriate source? Bad advice is bad advice even when it’s met with good intentions. Find someone who has done what you’re trying to do and spend time studying how they went about it; then use their plan as an outline to create a plan specific to your needs and goals.
21. Who can I help?
No matter how bad you think things are, you’re better off than the next guy. Find this guy and help him out. We all have the gift of making somebody’s life better, use it and at some point you may realize that things may not be so bad after all.
Download my FREE eBook – How to Begin to Believe, 12 Essential Steps to Believing You Can Do It! It will help get you on your way!
“There is no difference between my humanness and your humanness, the only thing is if you’re trying to get there, you cannot stop believing.”- Tyler Perry
Focus, Hard Work, Believing & Grace
Pick one and start there; to get anything done successfully you will need to engage them all!
I started with grace. Grace has been defined as unmerited favor; goodness or gifts that are bestowed upon us that we have no reason to expect.
The challenge lies not in the lack of grace in our lives but lies in our inability to recognize and acknowledge it. Acts of grace are abundant and are all around us. Here are a few gifts of grace that you may have lost sight of;
It is by God’s grace that:
- We can ponder the idea of a life of greater purpose.
- We desire right and not wrong.
- We have this day
There are many, many people who work really hard to make great things happen but when you can walk in a spirit that is conscious of the grace factor, aware that even if you fall short, grace can not only make its way in and carry you over but it can bring you to the door of divine possibilities!
Make a list of moments of grace in your day to day life, while also making note of those moments when your reward far exceeded your expectations. Make it a practice to acknowledge these moments. This habit will humble your heart and make you more worthy than you will ever realize.
.. that ability to center our minds on the manifestation of one thing. Some of us are blessed with many gifts and it becomes difficult to choose what to solely commit ourselves to. But know that if you are truly in line with your gift, no matter what you do, you will always return to it in some way.
Look for this!
Look for whatever that thing is that consistently appears in your life, that thing that you are always being told you’re good at. When people tell you you’re in the wrong business, what are they referring to? Yeah, that!
Work to begin to narrow your energy and effort to this thing. When you’re in line with your gift, focusing on it will be something you look forward to and you do gladly! You just need to create a system that allows you to focus on it consistently and effectively.
Begin with these steps:
- Create your plan of action. It should have a small and doable end goal, one with easy action steps that will be easy to commit to. Once you’ve completed it, you will be more encouraged and have the confidence to move forward to something bigger and get even closer to where you’re headed.
- Decide when you have uninterrupted time to devote consistently to manifesting your plan of action. The important thing here is consistency; stopping and starting won’t get you there!
- Write it down. Keep a journal and pen ready for expected and unexpected ideas and inspiration.
- Stay organized.
- Find reliable support & resources.
I think the concept of hard work is relative. On the outside, it may look like you are making tremendous sacrifices, laboring hours upon hours and YOU ARE. But what’s happening inside, is a spirit of excitement, eagerness and purpose! You love it and in fact you lose all track of time.
Don’t be disillusioned, there will be times when you will want to stop, give up or question whether or not you’re on the right course. These moments are the hardest. These are the times when what you believe for yourself will either pick up and move you forward or have you to pack it up and call it a day…more on this later.
So, how do you ensure that your hard work is effective and that you’re not just running around chasing your tail?!
One of the most important keys to making sure your hard work pays off is a well thought out plan. The last thing you want to do is to jump out there and wing it. You will waste a lot of time and energy and open the door to failure and doubt. Know exactly what you’re going to do every time. When you take the time to plan your hard work effectively, it will always yield good fruit, even if it’s not what you expected.
Five major components of a well thought out plan include:
- Goals- Long & Short Term
- Doable & Realistic Action Steps
- Reasonable Timetables
- Reliable Resources & Support Sources
- An Dependable Accountability System
Note the use of the words, doable, realistic, reasonable, reliable and dependable. Don’t get so carried away with getting it done that you sabotage your efforts with unrealistic ideas and expectations.
This is where the magic is! Your belief is what will sustain you when times get tough. Believing has the power to move barriers and can cause the universe to lean in your favor!
Believing in yourself is that part of your Spirit that speaks to what your true purpose is. Either we listen to it and have the courage to act on it or we close our minds to it because we have yet to recognize and accept our God given potential, our gift!
Your belief system is nurtured and fortified every time you get it right! When you are in line with your gift, you will begin to experience successes. They may be small at first, but that’s ok, that’s all you need for now. These successes will validate that you are indeed on the right track.
They may not appear as you expect so be prepared to accepted them however they come.
So, I guess your question now is, what if I’m not getting it right? Suppose I’m not having any success at all?
My answer is to give it some time, only you will know how much. If your allotted time has passed with no validation or confirmation that you’re headed the right way, slow down or stop all together. Review all that you have done. Reconsider your purpose and intention. Revise your strategy and start again. Take the best of what you’ve done and redesign your vision, you have started out on this course for a reason; keep believing…you cannot stop believing!
Read much more on this in my ebook How to Begin to Believe- 12 Essential Steps to Believing You Can Do It! It’s free to download here!
Time For Prayer & Gratitude:
Thank You for renewing my spirit of hope and encouragement. Sometimes I get tired and it gets hard to stay on the path. These words of direction have strengthen me and I’m ready to go a little farther. Allow me to also be a source of encouragement to someone else along my way.
“Oh, you hate your job? Why didn’t you say so? There’s a support group for that. It’s called EVERYBODY, and they meet at the bar.” —Drew Carey
We’ve all heard the saying, “Choose a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life”…ok, but what do we do in the mean time? How are we supposed to find or stay connected to our true purpose when we are stuck doing work we don’t love ?!
When I’ve found myself in this dilemma, here are the steps I took to stay connected and on the path!
1. Get creative! From time to time come up with ideas on how to incorporate what you love into your work while staying in line with doing what you have to do.
I have a passion for being of service and for helping people to accomplish things they never thought they would.
So, when I was once in a not so happy workplace, I created a community event called the South Dade Summer Camp Fair. It wasn’t a part of my job description to do this event but it was something that I felt strongly about bringing to the Community and it fell in line with the overall mission of the agency.
This event brought together dozens of summer camp programs and services from across South Dade; many of which the residents would not have otherwise been aware existed.
It required a lot of coordination and planning but it was an undertaking that I happily took on because I knew how important it was to the children and families we served.
Because I was so passionate about the event, I did not charge a fee for the camps to participate because I didn’t want money to be a deterrent. Instead, I asked for donations which allowed my agency to make much more money than they would have had I charged a standard fee.
So, at the end of the day;
- Dozens of programs and agencies participated
- Residents were informed and assisted
- We raised more money than expected.
- I and the agency I worked for built healthy and long standing relationships within the Community.
- I was seen as dedicated, selfless, hardworking and a self-starter.
- And I felt connected to something bigger than the task at hand…my true purpose!……..Win-Win!
2. Take yourself out of the mix-
Instead; connect to who, what or why you’re doing it. You may have to go deep before you find a worthy cause but it’s there, so keep looking. When we can remove our feelings i.e. frustrations, exhaustion, boredom, etc. from the task at hand and focus on the benefit the task will have on someone else, it will immediately change our attitude and create a better outcome.
3. Only you can do it-
Good or bad, you’ve found your way to this place right now at this moment for a reason. You have been selected to make this thing happen. There is something about you that is required at this moment in order manifest the appropriate outcome, if not, then it would not have been so. Take up the charge and respond knowing that you were chosen!
Or maybe your purpose for being there may not be obvious, it maybe something as unexpected as establishing a lifelong friendship or maybe even to find the love of your life, so keep your eyes and heart open!
Maybe there is something you must learn, an experience you must go through or someone you must meet in order to get you to where you’re SUPPOSE to be.
4. Ask out loud “why I’m I here? (preferably when you’re alone).
Listen for the answer, it may not reveal itself right away, but it will come.
By incorporating these practices, great things are bound to follow:
- You will feel more fulfilled once the task is completed.
- Others will see you as dedicated, smart and positive to work with and pleasant to be around.
- You will have greater successes.
- You will sleep better because you know you’ve happily done your best.
- You will be more optimistic about what the next day will hold!
- You will inspire someone else to do the same!
And at some point, you will find that you’re spending less & less time doing things that suck and more & more time maybe not living your purpose but preparing for it!
Time for Prayer & Gratitude
Say this with me…
Thank you for the patience, tolerance and peace of mind that will allow me to get through this day…Lord knows I gonna need it!” :)
We’re working at it really hard, we’re studying, learning, writing thinking, planning every day!
But how is anyone supposed to know what we’re doing, if we don’t shout it out from the roof tops!
Open the windows and the doors! In other words, to get the life you want, you have to find every opportunity to put yourself and your work out there so it can find you! (click to tweet)
We find excuse after excuse to wait;
- I’m not ready!
- It’s not ready!
- Suppose it’s not as good I think it is?
- Suppose I’m as good as I think!
I once had a friend to tell me that after she lost weight she would start her blog! I still don’t get that one and she couldn’t quite explain it either!
The truth is you can always find a reason not to move forward. You can put a thing off forever!
And yes, you may not be ready and it may not be ready and it may in fact not be as good as you think but if you’re brave, here’s what you can look forward to!
- The feedback you’ll get will be invaluable, even if it hurts!
- Once you make the first step, you’ll realize you’re brave enough to take a second step!
- You’ll be that much closer to where you’re going.
- Once you start, there’s no going back…and that’s a good thing!
- You may realize that you ARE ready, it IS ready and it IS as good as you thought! Wouldn’t that be great?! But you wont know until you GO!
Go to my Gumroad page and Download my ebook How to Begin to Believe- 12 Essential Steps to Believing You Can Do It! It’s Free Until June 7th! It will definitely help to get you on your way!
Time for Prayer and Gratitude
Say This With Me…
Thank you God for the courage to do even the smallest of things, for this I’m truly grateful because I know that “small” is relative . Allow me the power and energy to grow in courage, wisdom and understanding so that I may be a help to the world as a whole.
So, as I thought about today’s post, I decided to post this video that I posted on my blog inspirationenergy. It is powerful and to the point . I took the opportunity to highlight some of the great quotes for you to share and refer to when you need some valuable motivation!
“The thing that I live for is inspiration.”- Kim Hastreiter- (click to tweet)
“I always wanted to be a writer/editor; I never doubted for a second.”- Christene Barberich- (click to tweet)
“This is the job I want and the job I deserve and I’m just gonna tough it out!”- Jil Abramson- (click to tweet)
“Things will become easier when you really like what you do.”- Jeanne Yang – (click to tweet)
“Instead of paying to go to school, go and work somewhere for little or free…work for someone you admire.”- Kim Hastreiter (click to tweet)
“When you are in the environment of a work place, you can gain more knowledge than sometimes in a classroom.”- Jeanne Yang (click to tweet)
“I have learned more by my failures than by my successes and probably had more failures.”- Jane Rosenthal (click to tweet)
“The richer you are as a person the more interesting you will be as a performer”- Renee Robinson- (click to tweet)
“Sometimes it takes a little bit longer than you think.”- Christene Barberich- (click to tweet)
“There is a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other out and I really truly believe that.”- Jeanne Yang- (click to tweet)
“Each person will have to find the specific details of what they will need to make their journey it’s most sparkly!” – Rene Robinson (click to tweet)