Be sure to scroll to the bottom of this post for a PDF version and other notes.
If you’re new to Daily Prompts, you may want to start at the beginning of the series here.
Year______ Month_______Day______Consecutive Practice Days_____Missed Days______
Program Your Self Empowerment
One aspect of goal setting that can really start to wear on you is that you’re basically always operating in a steady state of failure. When you set a goal to be achieved on a certain date, the idea is that you’re working toward being successful by achieving that certain outcome by that certain time. But all the days leading up to that are days you haven’t achieved that objective. It’s a way of thinking that tells your subconscious that you are not yet successful— another way of saying that you’re a failure until you reach your goal.
By focusing on daily practice as the objective, you’re successful every day that you participate in your practice. It’s easy to feel like you’re succeeding when your objective is to just put in a minimal amount of time.
If, like me, you’ve convinced yourself that you’re not quite up to the task, you can take one further step to reprogram your subconscious into believing that you’re a productive, capable person. Instead of making to-do lists, try making what I call a To-Done list.
Use part of your Daily Journal to list what you did do in the last 24 hours. See your progress in the smallest of victories. What healthy food did you eat? What practice did you do? What subject did you study? What activity or exercise did you get done?
When I first tried this exercise, I was at a point in my life when I felt like quite a failure. My business wasn’t going well. My relationship with my now ex-wife wasn’t going well. I felt like I had let a lot of people down personally and professionally. I had somehow convinced myself that I was not ambitious enough, or not energetic enough, or not effective enough.
As I began listing all of the things I had done that day, I was shocked at the amount of work I got done in a day that I normally would never have given myself credit for. When I made a to-do list, it seemed to always grow larger and larger. This was programming my brain to believe I just wasn’t good enough. But when I made a To-Done list, I found that I had a pretty impressive number of things I was getting done each day. Seeing that list at the end of each day started to really bolster my confidence in my ability to get things done.
Of course, I still feel like I could be more effective. Don’t we all? But that’s a far cry from believing that I’m inadequate.
As an added bonus, I was also able to see things I was doing that weren’t really taking me in the direction I wanted to go. I was able to let go of some work that I had been feeling guilty or stressed out about. Not only was I programming myself to believe in my effectiveness, but I was also becoming more effective through this uplifting form of self-analysis.
Try this exercise now. List everything you’ve done in the last 24-hours or so. I’m willing to bet you’ve been busy. I imagine you’ll see that you’ve accomplished more than you give yourself credit for. If not, perhaps you can at least see some activities that you’d be willing to give up in order to start a new daily practice. Either way, this exercise is much more valuable than the amount of effort it requires.
Give it a shot: for the next week, make a list of all the things you’ve done at the end of each day.
Daily: (The pdf version below contains three lined pages for your daily journal)
The above is an excerpt from the upcoming The Lyceum Course Journal. We will be releasing it here for free as a Daily Prompt blog post. If you would like a physical copy, we will link to it here once it is released.
I realize a daily journal prompt on a blog is a little weird. This is how I would suggest using it: Open your favorite note-taking software such as Evernote, copy and paste this post into it, and write your daily entries there.
Download a PDF version of this post here. Feel free to print it out, or access it through a PDF editor where you can type in your daily entry.
Collaborate With Me!
This post series is a first draft of the future book. If you have suggestions, comments, or see errors, please reach out so that I can make the final product more valuable for you and the rest of the community. Your feedback is greatly appreciated!