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10 Reasons Why People Who Keep Diaries Are Successful

10 Reasons Why People Who Keep Diaries Are Successful
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Diary entries are normally associated with the teenage years, scrawling down passages about you and your friends or your latest crush. However, diaries are not just for the besotted teenager – carry on reading if you’re interested in the traits of successful people who keep a regular diary.

1. They Practise Self-Discipline

Regular diary writing takes self-discipline and perseverance. There is no expectation for results, which some may find difficult as there isn’t any obvious success to show for their work. However, diaries can teach the art of discipline, writing regularly in order to look back on entries, rather than seeing results instantaneously.

2. They Use Diaries to Self-heal

There’s nothing more healing than spilling your feelings to a friend – however, sometimes we don’t want anyone else knowing our business, so what better way to self-heal than writing a diary. People who write regular diary entries become able to boost their own feelings, getting all their thoughts down onto a page in order to see perspective.

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3. They are Confident

In being honest about how they’re feeling, people who write diaries are naturally very confident, particularly if they’re using an online diary for example. Even if no-one else is reading your diary, it is normal to feel a sense of determination, as having your feelings on a page can give you a sense of direction and courage in decision making.

4. They Have a Strong Focus on Ambition

People who write down their thoughts and feelings regularly tend to know where they’re going – perhaps they can see more clearly where they’ve gone wrong in life, and when they’ve been successful. Being able to look back on past thoughts and feelings can allow you direction and ambition in future ventures.

5. They are Motivated

Due to their confidence and ambition, people who keep diaries are usually motivated individuals who want to use their time wisely. Writing down your thoughts allows reflection, and can show how well you’re using your time, a great motivator for future aspirations.

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6. They Always See Perspective

Keeping a diary certainly gives people perspective on life, as the ability to look back on your thoughts and experience gives you a refreshing outlook on life, in which you will never settle for anything.

7. They Can Link Their Past and Present (Woolf)

Being able to reflect on your past allows you to link it to your present. Famous for ‘stream of consciousness’ writing, Virginia Woolf has commented on her thoughts of a diary being a bridge between the future and the past.

8. They Keep Their Brains Uncluttered (Andre Gide)

Due to the chaotic nature of everyday life, some believe our brains can become cluttered, and an easy, acheivable way to ‘declutter’ your brain is to keep a diary. Writing down your thoughts can help to discover oneself and declutter the mind, as thought by the nobel laureate Andre Gide.

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9. They Understand Their Own Emotions

Working through your feelings can very much help to understand them, seeing your emotions almost from an outside perspective. By taking a step back, your thoughts and feelings become more obvious, and it is easier to decipher the best way of dealing with them.

10. And Finally, They Have a Productive Way to End the Day

There’s nothing better than getting home from a long day and talking it through with someone – however, by keeping a diary you can manage your thoughts at any time, and can conclude your day by getting everything down on paper to clear your over-worked mind.

These traits are present in most people who keep diaries, and many of these may infact derive from keeping one. Give your mind some extra space by writing down your thoughts regularly – you may be pleasantly suprised at not only how much better your feel, but also how successful your other ventures are, just because you’ve given your mind a break.

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Featured photo credit: Picjumbo via picjumbo.com

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Nicola Vaughan

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Last Updated on July 21, 2021

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
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No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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