When 2021 started, I was thinking about what was going to be my goals for the year. I started setting yearly goals in 2018 and it has been life changing, but this time, I wanted to change it up a bit, and instead of setting goals and doing everything I can to reach them, I wanted to do the opposite. Instead of running towards something, pursuing something in front of me, I wanted to remove things that were keeping me from running, I wanted to get rid of all anchors so I can be able to move forward at full speed.
So how did I go about removing my anchors?
I bought a little book on Amazon called Gratitude Journal for about $6 and It’s a very simple but wonderful journal that has some questions as prompts to think about the day ahead and also be able to look back at how the day went at the end of it.
So every morning when I wake up (except on rare occasions), I write in my gratitude journal. And I have 3 specific questions I answer every morning:
- Today, I’m grateful for …
For this question I try to find 2 or 3 things I am grateful for, from the previous day and it can be anything like “I’m grateful for getting home safe.” , “I’m grateful that I had a really ripe avocado last night.”, “I’m grateful that traffic lights were working, and it helped me get home without getting into an accident.”
- How will I make today awesome . . .
For this question I write down 2 or 3 things I’m going to do to make the day go by fast, or emotionally easy and some real example I have actually written down are: “I’m going to work hard and leave everything on the playing field (give it my all).”, “I’m going to strike a conversation with that person that I really don’t like for some reason.”, “I’m going to be kind and present.”
- Positive affirmation . . .
For this question I write down something positive about myself, like “I look good.”, “I’m a smart and caring person.”, “I’m proud of myself for noticing and willing to get help in becoming a better husband and a better father.”
And every night before bed, I answer 3 specific questions:
- Little things that made my day . . .
With this questions, I look back and see which little things that made my day a little brighter and it could be something like “I got home and my kids came running to hug me.”, “I talked with my mum about various things.”, “A coworker said something nice about me.”
This is by far my favorite question to fill out, because it helps me look back at the day and force myself to find something nice about that day especially when it feels like it was a looooong day!
- Learning(s) from today . . .
I try to find at least one thing I learned that day, and it could be anything from “Today, I learned a new word” to “I was having a conversation with someone and they said something that really resonated (and state what that thing was)”
- Goals/Plans for tomorrow . . .
Here I write down one or two goals I have for the next day and these days it has been mostly 2 goals : “I want to be more kind towards others and towards myself.’ and “I want to be present, in the moment with whoever I am with or wherever I am.”
Lastly at the bottom of the page, I rank how the day was from a -2 to a +2. So some days are 1 or 0. And this ranking is only about how I felt that day emotionally. I could have a really busy day with lots of challenging work and I’m exhausted at the end of the day and I might rate that day a +2 because I was very happy emotionally.
After 30 days, I look back and see what I did on the days I had -2 and try to limit or delete the things I did on those days out of my life if I can, and I write down what I did on the +2 days and try to repeat or replicate those in my daily life and I even go a step further and schedule those things I did on the +2 days and have them on the calendar for the next month that way nothing else gets scheduled before them, which makes a huge difference in whether I have a good month or a great month.
Some of the things I found that makes my days +2s are: talking to my mum (and these are long telephone conversation sometimes 4 to 6hrs), having dinner with Valerie (my wife) and having different conversation about various things, Working really hard at work and giving my all, having a conversation with a colleague and going deep on a subject, playing with the my kids before they go to bed …
Maybe with me sharing this, It might help you find what I’m able to find, the ability to find great things about my days especially on those days where it feels like it was a dread, and being able to track what happens on the days with +2 and do more of that and what happens on days with -2 and do less of that is a very easy way to engineer some joy in our daily life.