It really doesn’t matter which Self Improvement Project you’re presently working on there are means which will enhance your ability to meet your goals and to see personal or professional growth. So, if your Self Improvement Project is Physical, Emotional, Spiritual or Professional determine to take charge of the project using the best means available to you.
Use the 5 Self Improvement means listed below to move from I wish or I want to I did or I can.
Whether you’ve decided to become a better swimmer or to improve your business marketing skills you must gain information. There is the obvious need to have information concerning the basic skills, rules, strategies or competencies necessary. Gaining that information can come from any number of sources – school, internet, coach, books, parents, friends, magazines, your best friend’s favorite cousin in Kalamazoo or . . . well, you see what I mean.
What it costs to get that information can vary. It may cost you no more than an afternoon spent chatting with your neighbor’s uncle or it might be you need to pay for a college education. And right here is where your journal becomes a part of the equation.
Your journal provides you with information you can’t get anywhere else. Let’s assume you won’t decide that the skill you want to learn is tight rope walking if you’re afraid of heights. You already have an interest in or a bent for whichever aspect of your life you want to improve.
You not only need to know where you are going, you need to know where you’ve been.
Before you embark on any Self Improvement Project use your journal to answer these informational questions:
- Why do I want to _________________ ? (fill in the blank with your particular self improvement project. ie. Why do I want to lose weight?)
- What will change in my life if I ________________?
- How much time will it take? How long is the project and how many hours a day?
- What am I willing to give up in order to see this through?
- How much am I willing to spend?
- Who can help me?
Ask yourself questions which will help you be discerning. Ask questions which will allow you to be better prepared for the what’s ahead. And, ask questions which will give you information about your own personal quirks, strengths and weaknesses.
Using your journal to sort the information you gain and the information you already own helps you move to the next means at your disposal and that is Goals.
Your Self Improvement Project will require one or more goals. Which of these two sentences do you think is more likely to get results?
I’m going to make my business better.
I’ll improve my business by dedicating 1 hour a day, 3 days a week to marketing efforts.
Taking the information you gained in step 1, write your first goal in your journal. Write about the steps you will take to reach your goal. Note things you think may become obstacles to achieving your goals. Write about what you will do when you encounter any of those obstacles.
Your goal should be both achievable and measurable. Neither, “I’m going to lose some weight,” nor “I’m going to lose 150 pounds in 3 months,” will fit the criteria of achievable and measurable.
When necessary, use your journal to break your overall goal into smaller, easier goals. You know the saying, nothing breeds success like success. Put that to your advantage. If you want to become more healthy and you need to lose 150 pounds make your first goal to lose a portion of those pounds within a specified time frame. (Your doctor or health care professional will be able to help you determine the appropriate time frame.) Once you’ve achieved the first goal use the momentum from that achievement to propel yourself through the next goal.
Consider taking advantage of the goals class offered by Journal in a BoxTM in order to gain more understanding of using your journal to reach your goals.
No self respecting Self Improvement Project comes without Data. Use your journal to capture all the important facts and figures.
When you are setting your goals you will naturally begin your data collection.
The following examples use only one step for the sake of convenience. You will more than likely need numerous and varied steps to reach your goals.
Goal: Complete the Great American Novel by June 26, 2013
Step: I will write 5 pages a day. OR I will write for 6 hours a day.
Data: I completed 6 pages today. OR I wrote for 4 hours today.
Goal: Participate in the March 1st triathlon.
Step: I will run 5 miles a day. OR I will run 2 hours every morning.
Data: I ran 5 miles today. OR I didn’t get to run today because . . .
Goal: Move my business from Mom and Pop status to Major Player within 3 years.
Step: I will spend 1 hour a day 5 days a week participating in networking activities.
Data: I was on Facebook for 3 hours today. Note: your journal will let you see when you are wasting your time too. — You understand.
There are other data points you can collect in your journal.
- I lost 3 pounds this week.
- I spent $150 on lessons this month.
- It rained all day so I couldn’t practice shooting hoops today.
- My blood pressure was 122 over 79 today.
- I hired 2 more assistants today.
Your journal gives you a place to collect data, thereby giving you the ability to retrieve the data in order to help analyze your progress.
Guidance and Encouragement
Just as your information will come from a variety of sources so will your guidance and encouragement. Your family, peers, coworkers, employees, friends, coach, teacher can all be a part of your support system. Always take advantage of feedback when it is available to you.
Include in your journal any insights or points of inspiration given to you by others. You may even find quotes or meaningful words of encouragement which you can incorporate into your journal. Write anything which you find useful.
And, always write about your successes. Note your achievements. Discuss your high points in the pages of your journal. Allow your journal to become your very own, personal, private cheerleader.
You are going to mess up. You are not perfect. There will be days when you do not take the right steps or do the right things. You will flub. You will miss the boat. Ah, yuck!
Use your journal to turn these Instructional Failures your way.
One way to do that is to write this sentence in your journal. What I will do to improve is ___________.
Another way to take advantage of your journal is to analyze the data you’ve collected to revamp and regroup. If it becomes obvious you cannot or are not following the steps you set for yourself concerning a goal use your journal to determine why. Or, use your journal to decide how to change the steps to still achieve the goal. Or use your journal to decide on a different Self Improvement Project which is more important to you.
Your journal is a tool which can be used for any and all Self Improvement Projects. And, just like anything else which you want to improve in your life, practice is a key ingredient. Practice using your journal to enhance your Self Improvement Projects and it will soon become second nature to run to your journal when you determine to improve any aspect of your life.
Photo Credit: Creative Commons torbakhopper