Retrospective 2018 – about Learning and Journaling

What a start in 2019 with reflecting 2018. I evolved my way of journaling the last 3 years a lot and this year with a 12+ hours reflection of 2018. I had some one-on-ones since then about the output and findings trying to become a better version of me. One of my main drivers is self improvement, so this was a very special experience for me.

Findings I’d like to share maybe help others to improve or start journaling as well.

Daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly reviews

Having such a big retrospective only once a year is maybe not the best solution, especially not between the years. Therefore I’ll try to do this on a monthly base for at least for the last 3 months.

I practise daily, weekly and monthly overviews as well last year which will improve my thoughts and actions as well. Observing longer periods of time like 3-6 months hopefully helps me to be actionable in specific directions and goals. It is and was always part of the Bullet Journal, and now I’m ready to go that monthly reflection. In the past it didn’t have that much value for me.

The experiment to combine the best of all worlds

  1. Base for my journaling is and was Bullet Journal. I highly recommend Ryder Carrolls way to do it. As of today, I didn’t find something better to plan your week and days in one view.
  2. Last year I was curious about something from Klarheit which offers more a coaching structure. The weekly calendar had an amazing structure, but days even for planning didn’t work out as expected, so I moved back to Bullet Journal for daily writing with this weekly structure and bought the weekly calendar from Leuchtturm to continue with bullet journaling. But this is missing 2 basic views: monthly and weekly reviews due to the missing space. I adapted the monthly view from Bullet Journal and stayed with the fabulous review from Klarheit.
  3. Last but not least I started something new with a different focus which is The 6 minute diary. Why something new? Because of the daily questions and reframing. This was always important for me, when I started journaling with a gratitude journal. It’s so positive and focus your thinking to meaning, not only meetings. In addition the have weekly, monthly and habit trackers. Highly recommended to try it out, this is a life changer.

Fourth experiment: the list to transform into habits and improvements in 2019

Based on the amount of feedback I started to write down my findings and review them frequently. I started planning my days and weeks based on those findings transforming them into daily routines and habits.

It takes about 66 days to adopt a habit (see How are habits formed: Modelling habit formation in the real world). So I work every day to improve myself to become a better version of myself. The quote which is driving me:

“Watch your thoughts, they become words;
watch your words, they become actions;
watch your actions, they become habits;
watch your habits, they become character;
watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.”

FRANK OUTLAW
Late President of the Bi-Lo Stores
https://quoteinvestigator.com/2013/01/10/watch-your-thoughts/

Another great improvement I found was the triple filter test of Socrates, the short version:

  1. Is it true?
  2. Is it good/ kind?
  3. Is it useful/ necessary?

If it passes these filters, speak up. If not, either find a tactful way to make it pass or better still, keep it to yourself.

Quora article

Tim Ferris inspired me to create a “Not to do list”. Added this to my list of findings.

Never stop experimenting and improving

Since the new journals I bought last year, I did some further research about other coaching journals. Not every format fits to my needs so far, but I like the different habits and ankles they address. Examples I liked:

There are a lot of them out there, check them out for example on Amazon, Google or your favorite search engine for more.

Final thoughts about reflections

Discussing the ways, outputs, outcomes and findings with various people and friends always led me to the question: is it to much reflection?

Today my answer is no. And I will answer this question with quotes again, why I believe it is worth it.

“The most important investment you can make is in yourself.”

Warren Buffett

“Happiness is a choice and a skill and you can dedicate yourself to learning that skill and making that choice.”

Naval Ravikant

“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”

Mahatma Gandhi

Those thoughts are so condensed, so there is nothing more to add from my side.

Happy to hear from you about your experiences and thoughts.

Patrick


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