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Why You Should Write Down Your Achievements

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Personal development should be practiced consciously as an evolving, integral part to our lives. I'm certaily not advocating for Hustle Culture, but the pure act of growing as a person every day.

The only person you should ever compete with is yourself, anyway.

This article covers practical tips you have to apply immediately in your life to better your career growth as well as your mental health.

Pat Yourself On The Back

Let's do a little exercise together. Here's a question I want you to answer:

what were some of your biggest accomplishments last month?

How about last year?

How about in the last 5 years?

Here's my whole point: Did you struggle to come up with a list? That's fine, and predictable, as human beings are incredibly apt at forgetting progress. When you're half-way through running a marathon, it's more likely your brain will daunt you with the 13 miles left to run, as opposed to reminding you of the 13 miles you've already ran.

What you need, is the ability to go back and refer to all of your accomplishments. Why?

1. Keeps you focussed

Knowing what you're chasing, and what you've already worked towards is incredible in keeping you focussed on the task at hand.

2. Career growth

At the end of the year, it's important to be able to go back and list off important milestones you've helped the company achieve, or that you've achieved personally.

A good leader will be doing this for their direct reports, but it never hurts to have more than one person tracking this.

3. Mental Health

It's easy to forget how far you've come. It's a rewarding experience to be able to go back to a list of goals you've completed.

What Does the System Look Like?

It doesn't matter whether you use a journal, a Google Doc, or in my case, a Trello board. As long as you're consistent in your process and it keeps you accountable.

1. Define your goals

Do you know what your current goals are? If not, let's start by brainstorming a list of everything we want to do; Regardless of how grand or small the want is, write it down.

Remember, this isn't a "todo" list.

back-log-complete

2. Get Focussed

Depending on how large they are, you want to pick a maximum of 5 ideas. Why 5? We don't want to stretch ourselves too thin and risk failing everything. We want to stay lean, focussed, in order to effectively destroy the few things we're set on accomplishing.

This is known as Warren Buffet's 5/25 rule.

3. Define Our Goals

We follow the SMART system in order to add details for each of the goals we're tracking.

This makes it easy to track, and keeps us accountable. You can't lie to yourself about whether you've "Lost 15 lbs by May 15th".

Your Trello board should start to look something like this:

back-log-complete
I use green and yellow labels to track if I've completed or failed a goal

Now, hopefully we have a system that keeps us focussed and accountable for the things that we want. More so, over time, this list will grow, hopefully with things that you've been successful in accomplishing.