“It is in your power to withdraw yourself whenever you desire. Perfect tranquility within consists in the good ordering of the mind, the realm of your own.” —Marcus Aurelius
One of your new habits is journaling. Writing out and about your day each and every morning. Writing about a memory from your childhood, maybe making notes about some insight or wisdom that your accountability partner shared with you.
Marcus, as emperor of the entire Roman Empire, was a very busy man with a lot on his plate. But he was a thoughtful person who put time and energy into making sure he was doing the right thing and being a good person.
He would have conversations with himself every day in his journal and his mind, just like you do now. But not every conversation is healthy to have. The voices of naysayers, the voices of worry, anxiety or your own ego puffing you up. There are even times the voices are self-loathing and we’re tearing ourselves apart even more than the world is.
We must get rid of this mental garbage if we’re going to be successful. We have to let go of the negativity and focus on those things that are of good rapport, that are beautiful, and bring us joy. Journaling should be a means of improving oneself and expressing the joys and beauty of life.
So, this is also a time for you to get those maddening, negative and stupid thoughts out of the way. Sometimes our mind works like a drunk monkey swinging from negative branch to negative branch. So let’s do what Julia Cameron suggests in “The Artist’s Way”: “Once you get those muddy, maddening, confusing thoughts on the page, we face our day with clearer eyes”.
So, let our thoughts flow in our journal and write about the crap, the good, the ugly, the beautiful, the problems, and how we’re going to react to those problems.
Starting today, after you journal, add something to it. Add a “Mind Sweep”. The Mind Sweep was developed by David Allen as part of the “Getting Things Done” methodology, and it’s the perfect habit to add on top of your morning pages.
The Mind Sweep allows us to get out, on paper (real paper or electronic paper) all the confusing and maddening thoughts and how we’re going to handle them. Once we meet these thoughts head-on and think through them, we can more easily put them aside. You may not solve every problem, but if you do this enough, you will develop another habit… the habit of turning problems over to your subconscious mind. And when you do this, you will be so pleasantly surprised by how often solutions will just spring to mind at strange times in the day.
But most importantly, if you trust us that the Mind Sweep will work, you will be setting yourself up to free your mind to focus on the things that matter most during the day… the tasks right in front of you at that exact moment… and allow you to eschew all other tasks until it is their turn to have your full focus.
Mind Sweeps are easy to do and only take 2 minutes of your time.
When you are done journaling, write out a list of things you need or want to do that day. List out the things that are important, but you dread doing.
When you are done with the 2-minute Mind Sweep, look at the list and ask yourself if there is anything on that list that can be done in 5 minutes or less. If so, then DO IT NOW.
Once that’s done, prioritize the other tasks and then attack them, in order, from most important to least important. If something else is on the list that can be done in a few short minutes, then do that one first, otherwise do it in order of priority.
If you have a problem on your Mind Sweep that you don’t know the answer to, turn it over to your subconscious and trust in the process that a solution will occur to you. If a solution doesn’t occur to you in a day or two, talk about it with your accountability partner or your BHFM consultant.
Seneca once said, “We are frightened more in imagination than in reality.” Taking the time to write these things down and address the 900-pound gorillas in your life will show you that, in the vast majority of cases, the 900-pound gorilla is not what you thought it was, and may just be an easy problem to solve.
NEW HABIT: Perform a Mind Sweep every day at the end of your journaling.
NEW TASK: Discuss your Mind Sweep with your accountability partner and/or BHFM rep every day.