Okay, maybe it’s not a quick and easy solution, but it is a process that will make you more aware of your choices and encourage you to align your choices with your values and aspirations.
The process is relatively simple:
This evening, I want you to write down three things:
1. What did you do today that you’re proud of?
2. What did you do today that you’re not proud of?
3. What is something concrete you can do to try to avoid repeating the thing(s) you’re not proud of?
The items you record don’t have to be spectacular (although if you accomplished something spectacularly good or did something spectacularly bad, by all means, write it down!).
Here’s an example:
- Proud: Exercised 45 minutes
- Not proud: Poor eating–had fast food for lunch, no fresh fruits or vegetables
- How to correct: I will take 20 minutes tomorrow morning to stop at the grocery store and pick up healthy snacks. I will make a good choice at lunch–a salad or grilled fish.
Okay, this may sound boring, but that is often the point–our lives are made up of the choices we make day-in, day-out.
These choices are often mundane, but it’s the additive effect of these choices that moves us toward the positive or negative, and prepares us to make good decisions when weightier issues are at hand.
By keeping a daily accounting, you’re mindful of how you’re choosing to live your life, and you will likely find that your mental compass and self discipline improve.
Finally, notice that the “how to correct” item is concrete.
One of the most common mistakes in self improvement efforts is making vague, idealistic, all-encompassing proclamations which are doomed to fail, i.e., “I will start eating healthier tomorrow!” You should be specific and concrete, but not overly ambitious–one step at a time.
Also, no need to beat yourself up over the little things–coming up with a concrete plan to address the problem is the goal.
If you’re up for a challenge, consider making Daily Accounting a part of your daily routine, maybe your Bedtime Ritual?