“The pessimist resembles a man who observes with fear and sadness that his wall calendar, from which he daily tears a sheet, grows thinner with each passing day. On the other hand, the person who attacks the problems of life actively is like a man who removes each successive leaf from his calendar and files it neatly and carefully away with its predecessors, after first having jotted down a few diary notes on the back. He can reflect with pride and joy on all the richness set down in these notes, on all the life he has already lived to the fullest. What will it matter to him if he notices that he is growing old? Has he any reason to envy the young people whom he sees, or wax nostalgic over his own lost youth? What reasons has he to envy a young person? For the possibilities that a young person has, the future which is in store for him?
No, thank you,’ he will think. ‘Instead of possibilities, I have realities in my past, not only the reality of work done and of love loved, but of sufferings bravely suffered. These sufferings are even the things of which I am most proud, although these are things which cannot inspire envy.’ “
Viktor Frankl – Author of Man’s Search For Meaning
In each day, a gift is present. Opportunities lay all around you. Reflecting, journaling, and taking action allow for growth in multiple areas.
Empathy – Compassion – Learning from failure – Perspective
They all have their place in the continuum of reflection. Identify what you want to improve, set a goal, and go for it. Use a calendar or make a big poster board of boxes. With each day you do the task you set the goal of doing, you make a red X in the box. I got this from Jerry Seinfeld and his advice was all you have to do is keep the chain of X’s going.
Do you want to walk 30 minutes every day? Do it first thing in the morning and feel the gratification with the X in the box.
How about writing? Simple enough, write your allotment and put the X in the box.
It is an important part of the habit to mark the X in the box.
Charles Duhigg, author of The Power of Habit, talks about the Cue, the Routine, and the Reward.
Identify your habits. Monitor why you do what you do.
Duhigg’s suggestion is to identify the routine, experiment with rewards (different than you are currently employing), and isolating the cue. He goes on to talk about implementing a plan.
I’ll give you an example of something from my life.
Routine: Writing each morning
Cue: Drink water, light incense, drink coffee, listen to motivational videos in background
Reward: Put X in the box of my calendar
Before this continuum had been identified, before I had come up with a ritual for writing, I was inconsistent. Some periods of time I would do great. Then there would be months of no writing. Having this simple ritual (the cues) puts me in “writing mode” and I don’t stop until it’s done.
This is why rituals are so important.
Reflect and learn. Grow from your experiences and make a difference in the lives of the people you love.