While all of our conversation was helpful, the biggest gift that she gave me was some structure to my journaling. I'm a big believer in writing and try to do it regularly, but although I've used prompts I don't tend to stick with them. Enter (fanfare please) The Daily Debrief.
Written first thing in the morning each day, the debrief has three main parts - good things, bad things, and intentions.
- Good things (5) has overall mood and is ranked by benefit and enjoyment. Strive for five -- even after a rough day there are five good things to look back on.
- Bad Things (3 or less) can be skipped after good days. A key point here is to LIMIT the number of bad things written about and also to acknowledge mistakes
- Intentions (1-3) are the priorities for the day, the attitude adjustment to facing the world, the change to behaviors so mistakes don't happen again. This section is also limited to just 3 intentions for the day. This avoids analysis paralysis as well as that sense of guilt if the to-do list doesn't go to-done at the end of the day.
I've been doing this fairly regularly for the last two weeks and it's been wonderful for me. There's something about seeing my worries in writing that makes them more manageable. I've been surprised by how few worries we actually have -- even though the ones we have are big ones -- and even after the roughest days how much there is to be thankful for in our lives. Simply getting it all out has definitely helped calm my mind. The very act of thinking about what I want to do next has helped me focus my time and be more productive.