Habit

Journal

Jim Rohn’s Journal Available from Knowledge is King

Have you ever wondered why people keep a journal? Have you ever wanted to keep one but couldn’t think what you would write in it? This may inspire you.

One thing that has changed my life in a dramatic way is writing more. The more I write, the more I have to write about. I write down my ideas and suddenly I get even more ideas. I try to write everyday, sometimes it’s a lot of rubbish and sometimes the stuff I write ends up on my blog, or becomes a great business concept or marketing plan…it just depends.

What I want to ask you is, how often do you write down what’s on your mind? Do you think it’s worth considering keeping a journal to take counsel in? Perhaps you don’t have anyone to share your ideas with, or you want to write your ideas down first before you share them? A journal will help you work out your ideas and also help you underst and the way you behave and how you react to things around you.

Let me try and sell the idea to you by using my own examples and some information from Jim Rohn. If you already keep a journal perhaps you could share your story and back me up.

Jim Rohn on Keeping A Journal

Jim Rohn often tells a funny story about when people ask him why he would spend so much money on an empty book, i.e. his journals. His response is that it pushes him to write something valuable in them. So if you do buy a journal, make sure you use it, otherwise it’s a real waste of money!

Here is a quote directly from Jim about why you should consider using a Journal.

A journal is a gathering place for all of our observations and discoveries about life. It’s our own h andwritten transcript that captures our experiences, ideas, desires and conclusions about the people and the events that have touched our lives. The past, when properly documented, is one of the best guides for making good decisions. The very act of writing about our lives helps us think more objectively about our actions. Writing tends to slow down the flow of information and gives us time to analyze and ponder the experience. The intense scrutiny of journal writing can enable us to make refinements in our philosophy that are truly life-changing. Jot down what you learn and be a buyer of empty books. It’s the small disciplines that lead to great accomplishments.  Source (Accessed 9th March 2013) 

Don’t Trust Your Memory!

It’s true that our past experiences helps us to get better, but if you aren’t actively taking note of what’s going on, what is there for you to reflect upon?? We forget and miss a lot of what goes on around us. Mr Rohn is quoted saying – “Don’t trust your memory” and I can totally relate to this. I keep lists of all the things I want to achieve, and I write down my goals. I know that I can go back to these lists and notes at anytime and I don’t have to worry about forgetting things. What do you think you would gain from doing the same thing? It’s worth a go isn’t it?

Examples of what to write in your journal

I keep a Post-It Note in the inside cover of my journal to remind about all the things I should write about, which gives me a little structure. Here are a few examples of things I write about and perhaps you could write about too: –

  • My partner – I’ll write about how she is, what we talked about, if we fell out and why. How did she look today, how is she feeling. That sort of thing. This is a good place to start because it makes me think about Andrea on a daily basis.
  • Gratitude – I think about what I’m grateful for today. Sometimes it’s just basic stuff like having a car that works, being able to learn and read, having a roof over my head. Sometime is more complicated than that and more personal, it just depends. It’s important to express some level of gratitude everyday.
  • Conversations – who have I talked to today and what we discussed.This is a great exercise and it usually reminds me of something I’ve forgotten to follow up on.
  • Ah – Ha moments – Any moments that took place that made me stop and think. An Ah-Ha moment is a moment of clarity. I normally write about behavioural things, for example how I reacted to something or someone, and perhaps how other people react and how I can learn from them.
  • Attitude – I will spend time writing about my own attitude, especially if I happen to be grumpy. It helps me to figure out what’s wrong and how to get better at being more positive.
  • Personal development – what have I read today, what did I learn and what am I going to do with this new knowledge.
  • Ideas – Usually a follow on from the above – what ideas I have come up with and try to work through them.

Important things to remember about your journal

  • Privacy – Protect your journal. It’s a private book for your eyes only, look after it. You have to feel like you can write anything you want in it.
  • Accessibility – Keep your journal h andy so you can write in it when you need to.
  • Regularity – You don’t have to write in your journal everyday, but try and write in it often.

2 Minutes with Jim

Here’s a two minute video from Jim discussing collecting stories in his journal and how you can use these stories to learn from them and get better. You can see how your journal becomes a place to confide in and a place where you can write down what’s on your mind and how you feel.

Where to get one?

You could choose to keep an electronic journal or you could buy an empty book from most stationary stores. The journal featured in the picture is available from Knowledge Is King.

Conclusion

You will have noticed that I have talked a lot about what I do in this article, and the purpose of this is to give you some idea of what keeping a journal can do for you, and also how you can use it. If you have your own story please share it and if you have any questions or feedback please leave a comment below.

Don’t forget to be awesome!

Chris.

Introduction

Because this is a slightly longer blog than normal – here’s a short summary about what’s included.

I put this together to inspire you to build your library, consistently read books and educate yourself. The sole purpose of reading is to advance your self-education and continue to improve yourself. For example, I make sure that I read for 30 minutes a day, and I think it’s one of the best habits I have, and that’s why I’m sharing it with you here.

This topic heavily influenced by Jim Rohn (1930 – 2009), and I listen to him almost everyday. I’ve said it before, he’s a very wise man and some of the most successful people have learned from and implemented his practices and lessons of life. If you don’t already have some of his books or audio I highly recommed you make that your first task…directly after reading my blog of course!

I hope you find some value here. As always, thanks for reading.

Collections

I’ve always been good at collecting things. From graphic novels to guitar magazines, from Lego Technics to Corgi cars, from Baseball and Ice Hockey cards to UK and EU Stamps! I just love to collect things that I find interesting and important. If you are anything like me you’ll get annoyed when you’re missing a part of your collection…you just want to have the complete collection and have it sitting on your shelf…it’s a great feeling when it’s complete!! You’re probably a collector too, if so I’m sure you can relate. Btw, it’s cool to collect stuff, it’s a little nerdy, but it’s cool in my book.

As I’ve grown I’ve slipped away from the collections of my childhood into collecting books and building a library, which, I’d like to admit, still includes comic books and guitar magazines!

In the last year I’ve really concentrated on finding the best books in the subjects that I want to study, which include marketing, business development and living a better life/philosophy.

Where To Start Reading

In a previous blog, I wrote about becoming an expert, and one of the first things the list advised us to do is read the top 10 books in our industry, or we could read the top 20 or 50 if we wanted to. I think one of the toughest things to do is find out what the top 10 or 50 books actually are; you don’t want to waste your time reading the mediocre books or the trash. I’m sure you’d rather skip past that stuff and head straight to the good stuff…the books that’ll really make a difference to what you do. So where’s the best place to start?

Perhaps one way to find a good place to start is to speak to those who inspire you, or whom you view as a mentor or a leader in your particular field or industry. I’m sure they’ll be more than happy to give you a reading list, here are the books I recommend. One other option is a Google search! Have a think about other ways to get the correct recommendations.

Balancing Your Library

Getting balance into your library is very important. As an example, it’s like going to the gym and only working on your upper body…you’ll end up all out of proportion – big arms and chest, but skinny spindly legs! You need to get a balance across the major subjects in order to have a balanced education.

Jim Rohn really stresses how important a library is to your future wealth and well-being, and also that of your friends and family. Here are the major subjects to think about in order to strike the balance: –

  1. Philosophy & Attitude
  2. Sales & Marketing
  3. Finance & Accounting
  4. Leadership & Management
  5. History
  6. …think about what else would you add in here?

Studying the Books

As you’re most likely aware, there’s a major difference between reading the books and studying the books. If you want to get the most out of them you have to study them. Here’s a tip: For each book I’ve got a ‘one-use’ bookmark that I can write on (to take note of recommended books in the text), along with a sharp pencil. I write notes all over the pages, underline and circle key words, phrases, and sentences. At the end of each section or chapter I write down everything I remember along with any ideas that have come to mind. Doing these little things makes it easy for me to flick back through and pick out the main parts and nuggets from the book. Perhaps you do something similar or you have your own technique? I would be interested to find out what you do when studying books. My advice would be to not be afraid to write on the pages and mess the book up a little, just get stuck in!

Don’t give your books away!

It doesn’t matter if you rip the pages out or write and draw all over them, because you aren’t going to give them away or sell them, are you? My advice would be to never give anyone a book from your library. There have been too many times that I have let someone borrow a book that contains all my notes… and it’s never returned! So bloody frustrating! It is especially annoying when the book isn’t at h and for you to grab when you need it for reference. Here’s my advice for those whom express an interest in what you’re reading: –

  1. Either buy them the book as a gift, OR
  2. Get them to buy it for themselves – they’ll be more inclined to read it if they buy it.

Remember, these books are your investment in your library, your education, your future and your family’s future.

Planing Your Reading

A Daily Habit

Try to build in a habit of reading for 30 minutes per day. Just for benchmarking purposes, I can get through about 20 pages in 30 minutes and I’m not particularly slow or fast. Therefore, a book of around 250 pages takes me about 2 weeks. I also try to get in an additional 20 minutes before bed, which is usually a positive thinking book, and typically a repeat read which doesn’t require too much thinking, but keeps my brain ticking over while I’m sleeping.

Perhaps you think that’s slow progress but I take pride in the ability to get through a book in 2 weeks; I read it from cover to cover and, at the end, I know exactly what I got from the book and I can apply the concepts almost immediately.

This is what works for me, you just have to find what works for you. Just try something until you find your flow.

Thinking about what book is next

Make sure you’ve got a book lined up for after you’ve finished the one you’re currently reading, and one for after that too. This will encourage you to keep the habit going, and through planning you can make sure you’re getting the right balance into your reading.

Taking Action

I know a lot of people who fly through books…sometimes 2 a week! OK, they might be speed readers but I still struggle to figure out how they’d get the most out of it. 30 minutes per day over 2 weeks gives me time to synthesise the material and figure out how it applies to what I do. Again, you just have to find what works for you. I’m a bit of a thinker…so it suits me to take in small sections at a time.

Whatever your technique is, it is important that you actually take something from the books you are reading and apply the ideas and concepts, otherwise what’s the point? There’s no point in just being inspired, you have to be educated, you have to take action and you should be implementing your lessons.

Book Lists & Recommendations

Here’s a great list – the top 25 books for success published on the Success.com blog. I’ve read some of the books on the list and I’m sure you have too. This looks to me like a fantastic place to start building your library…these are the success classics!

Why not pick a book from the list and buy it from Amazon today? Just do it…what’s £10 or £12 invested in your education? It’s certainly not a barrier.

Here are the top 5 Books that are continually recommended by super successful people: –

  1. Think and Grow Rich – Napoleon Hill
  2. How To Win Friends and Influence People – Dale Carnegie
  3. Awaken The Giant Within – Anthony Robbins
  4. Who Moved My Cheese – Spencer Johnson
  5. The Yes! Attitude – Jeffrey Gitomer

If you were going to do any reading at all you should really read these 5.

Have fun building your library and have a great time learning and educating yourself! Invest the money in your self-education and start building your library today. Remember, you’ve got to put something in before you get anything out!

Have you got any Recommendations?

If you could recommend a book to me, something that has had an impact on your life, that would be greatly appreciated! I’d like to find out what books are important to you.

Thanks and all the best!

Chris.

Comments and Feedback

Jim Rohn says that “Everything affects everything” and what he means by this is that if you slack on one of your goals, the likelihood is that you will slack on other things too. His advice is to start with the easy stuff and build it into your life over time. Mr Rohn is a very wise and intelligent man and I recommend The Art of Exceptional Living as a starting point.

Over the past 3 months I have been concentrating on building new habits into my life. My main reasons for this are to be: –

  • Healthier
  • More Productive
  • More Positive
  • More Intelligent
  • More Successful

I figured out what I want my life to look like, then I disaggregated that vision into what kind of person I need to be in order to achieve that lifestyle, and then topped that off by working towards becoming that person by introducing new habits and disciplines.

Building in a New Habit

What I have realised is that you cannot do everything at once. You can take a few approaches to make sure you are achieving your goals: –

  1. Either build many habits up slowly over time, increasing the exposure incrementally, OR
  2. Take one new habit and build it into your life, then once you have it nailed, move on to the next.

There is various advice out there on how long it takes to build up a daily habit. Darren Hardy in The Compound Effect says that it takes 21 days to build the foundations of a habit, but a further 300 positive reinforcements to secure it into your life.

What is working for me is nailing one habit and then moving on to build in another. You then repeat this cycle until you have built in all the habits you need, in order to be the person you need to become. If you take the 21 days principle, by the end of one year you will have changed your life completely and built in approximately 17 habits! That’s pretty amazing for just making one change per day for a year.

I’ve had a few challenges along the way. For example, I tried to do too many things at once and ended up feeling a little disappointed with my progress. I then realised that if I just concentrate on only one or two at a time it was far easier to achieve my goals, which made me feel a little better about my progress.

Monitoring your Habits

One of the main things for me was having the ability to record my daily routine. I wanted to have a note of my habits, the targets to meet every week and the ability to record my progress on a daily basis. I’m quite anal this way…I like to have lists and spreadsheets! If you are anything like me then here are three methods that I use to record my progress, that you will probably like too: –

  1. Using the Achievement Management System in Darren Hardy’s Living Your Best Year Ever – This works very well and I use this everyday, week and month to review my targets. I have been using this method for approximately 3 months and it is by far the most complete personal goal setting programme I have ever used.
  2. Commit application for the iPhone (£1.99) – This is a great way to keep on top of your commitments. It allows you to track your daily progress and adds up how many days in a row you have done something. If you miss a day, then the counter will resent to zero, which gives you the motivation to make sure you complete the task and tick the box.
  3. Lift application for the iPhone (£FREE) – This is a fantastic application that allows you to enter in your daily disciplines and then monitor your activity each day. The advantage that this app has over the other two methods is that you can leave a comment on each activity everyday, allowing you take further notes regarding your activity and progress.

Commit

Commit

Lift

Lift

Goals

Living Your Best Year Ever


The iPhone applications are great because you can do things on the move, and the book I have mentioned above is very much worth looking into if you would like a complete programme to follow.

Action

If you feel strongly enough about changing your life, your habits or routines then please look at the books and audio I have recommended in this blog. You will find them very informative and helpful.

Also, please feel free to contact me if you want to chat about things. Email me me or use the multitude of social media platforms to get in touch.

Comments

As normal, comments and feedback are very much welcomed.

There are 2 main ways to comment. Either using the Facebook application below or scroll down further to comment directly on the website.

All the best,

Chris.