journal

On Monday, I posted a piece about planning for 2017 today following a proven, three-part strategy: Identify What You Want, Identify Why You Want It, and Identify The Steps Required To Make It Happen. This is a system that has done great things for me and countless others, but only because the plan never really goes away. If we take the time to think through the steps only to put our plan in a drawer until next year at this time, it loses all of its power.

How then, do we keep ourselves focused on the plan we just created? The best tool I’ve found so far has been a journal.

I truly wish I could trade in every journal that I’ve ever paid for and then only marked up a couple of pages in. I’d probably be able to put a kid through college…almost. For years, I bought them and tried to use them, only to discover that I’ve been doing it wrong.

A couple of months ago, I posted this piece about using a journal template. I admit that I do this every day, but I prefer to use the apps on my phone or computer. To actually fill up my first journal, though, I followed a different path.

Every morning, after I get home from the barn, I write down the goals that I listed in my plan. All of them. I write them down in the present tense as if I’ve already achieved them beginning with the words “I am”.

After I make this list, I reflect for a minute and then I write down the three big tasks that I am going to accomplish that day that will bring those goals closer to reality. I choose just three, and I make them my three biggest priorities for the day.

I’ve found that doing this every morning forces me to focus on the plans that I’ve made. Giving myself three big targets for the day ensures that I’m taking some kind of action toward their achievement and helps me keep my priorities straight when other people’s emergencies begin to roll in.

The process is simple: write down all of the goals from your plan in the present tense beginning with the words I AM, and then list the top three things that come hell or high water, you’re going to accomplish that day. That’s it.

What has astonished me is the number of things that I’ve written down in my journal day after day that I’ve made happen. I attribute these accomplishments to the focus that simply writing them out every day has brought to my work.

For the first time, I feel like I got my $14.95 worth, plus thousands more, by simply focusing on what it is that I want. After you create your plan to make 2017 your best ever, I urge you to start filling up one of your blank journals and see if you don’ have similar results.

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