11:01 – started reading the new Sherlock Holmes novel
12:53 – put on clothes, getting ready to go to school
2:53 – came back from school, writing an article on effort4success.com…
What is this I just wrote down?
Some kind of diary? Am I a girl in my teenage years who writes about the boys they like and the drama that comes along with it?
What I am doing is keeping a journal. This is something that the popular Jim Rohn has recommended to “keep track of your life”, and I will tell you WHY it is so important in my own words and with my own experience.
I will tell you how I moved from a gamer who played non-stop, to someone making money online and developing character, in the matter of months.
So, the obvious question is: why the heck would you write down what you are doing? How detailed do you have to be? How the heck will this help me in any way, shape, or form?
Well, I am here to answer all these questions for you, so that hopefully after reading this, you can make your own conclusions and find benefits in this yourself. Let’s start with the first:
Why would you write down what you are doing?
You may have heard the phrase ‘Carpe Diem’, or ‘Seize the Day’ in Latin. But how many of us actually seize the day? It seems as though the days fly by extremely quickly and you are just unable to catch up to all of them.
You do the things you love and enjoy during the day, and sometimes don’t realize that the day has just gone by.
Now the problem occurs when you spend your day doing things that are completely irrelevant to your life goals, and basically a time-waster, like me playing games. Not that there’s anything wrong with playing video games, but I knew I was not going to become a gamer, so playing games was distracting me from my goal of becoming a successful businessman.
I found that as long as time kept ticking by, and the days kept on passing by, I could do whatever I wanted, since there were no repercussions. I had an OK job, was making a living, and had enough to sustain myself. So why go through the extra hassle?
The problem with that thinking is that 10 years down the road, I KNEW that I was going to look back on my decisions and regret them. Spending time on useless activities, getting nowhere in life was NOT my life plan in 10 years.
So I started listening to some motivational speakers and decided to try out what Jim Rohn proposed: keeping a journal and writing down your daily decisions.
Now I kid you not – after a few days of writing down what I was doing with my life, my life COMPLETELY changed.
Seeing myself write down that I was always playing games non-stop in the journal made me feel ACCOUNTABLE for what I was doing – and that’s the key phrase.
Until I started feeling accountable for my actions, I didn’t care – I kept playing and savoring the minute of fun, not even bothering to think about the future.
But when I started realizing how much time I was wasting, I immediately felt BAD and needed to take action. The best part about this is, I didn’t need to FORCE or DISCIPLINE myself to do anything. I just naturally started reading more on the topic of business, and learning more overall.
And it felt great. I was also completely honest with myself in the journals and was forced to FACE my reality, something sometimes impossible to do unless you write it down!
I felt accomplished and knew that as long as I kept writing down what I was doing in my journal, I felt accountable and would refrain from engaging in useless activity, replacing it with worthwhile actions.
Also, interestingly enough, as soon as I stopped writing the actions down in my journal, I slipped back to my original self and completely stopped engaging in self-developing activities. Imagine that.
It has been a year now since I have been recording my day, and I still do not regret my decision.
So the answer to the question in short is: you start feeling accountable and honest with yourself, and realize how important every minute of your day is, not to be wasted – thus only engaging in activities that help you reach your goal(s) (with the exception of the once-in-a-while break).
How detailed do you have to be in your journal?
I started off writing my journal by including all my emotions felt, and the exact details of what I was doing.
So if I was wasting my time playing games, I would write down exactly how I felt engaging in that activity, and what exact game I played (I still am a big fan of Blizzard, and really spent a lot of time playing World of Warcraft or Hearthstone).
I also wrote down my emotions and feelings after engaging in self-developing actions, such as reading. I wrote that I felt accomplished at that feat, and felt like I was doing something productive for a change.
Because I wrote so much detail, I felt emotionally-connected to my activities, and knew that “hey, I just wrote that I felt great doing this… Why would I do something else?”.
This reinforced my willingness to do actions that helped me reach my goal.
Given that, over time, I have slowly changed my approach. Instead of writing down everything to the smallest detail, I only recorded the big idea.
So if I started reading a book, all I would write was “11:20 – reading”.
But this is because I already had a pattern and knew the emotions associated with particular actions.
I think as long as you write SOMETHING down, it is progress, as you will feel accountable and more responsible for your day.
So in answer to this question is: you don’t have to be super detailed. Just start by taking the first step and writing down what you are doing every hour of the day.
How the heck will this help me in any way, shape, or form?
We have already decided and (hopefully) agreed that keeping a journal will keep you focused and make you feel accountable for what you do.
This will help you because the way you achieve any goal is through persistence, effort, and hard work.
If you keep on engaging in the right activities, your path to success is set before you.
If you keep improving and growing stronger, you cannot fail. As my previous article said: just do the best that you can.
By keeping a journal and engaging in the right activities, you WILL be doing the best that you can, and your success will follow shortly.
If you are interested in more of Jim Rohn, here are a few affiliate links you can go to to buy some of his books/speeches on Amazon.
- Journal I use to record my activities:
- My Philosophy for Successful Living (book) by Jim Rohn:
- The Art of Exceptional Living (audio CD) by Jim Rohn:
- 7 Strategies for Wealth & Happiness: Power Ideas from America’s Foremost Business Philosopher (book) by Jim Rohn:
- The Treasury of Quotes (book) by Jim Rohn International:
Feel free to check out any other of Jim Rohn’s material, as he has a plethora of different books and audio books with useful insight.