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Why You Should Write Down Your Achievements

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To start off in a cheesy way - personal development is a key to happiness. I'm not talking about Hustle Culture and working 18 hours a day, but the pure act of growing as a person and challenging yourself in new ways.

I want to share some practical tips that make personal development a key theme of your life in order to better both 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?

Did you struggle to come up with a list? That's fine, and predictable, as human beings are incredibly apt at forgetting progress. After all, it's common for the mind to remind of how far you are from your goals, instead of how far you've come.

What you need, is the ability to go back and refer to all of your accomplishments. David Goggins calls this the "cookie jar".

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. This is a list of some awesome things you want to accomplish that will make you proud.

back-log-complete

2. Get Focussed

From our list, we want to pick only a few items to work on at once. We don't want to stretch ourselves too thin. We want to stay lean, focussed, in order to effectively go after the few things we want most (at this time!).

How many items is a "few?" It depends on you, but I like to use "5", as per Warren Buffet's 5/25 rule.

3. Define Our Goals

Next, follow the SMART system in order to flesh out each of the goals you're choosing to work on.

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.

Accountability

The last and most important piece of the puzzle is making yourself accountable to your goals. If you can't make and keep a promise to yourself, then how much do you really want yourself to win?

Accountability needs to become a habit, something that just happens without conscious effort. The way I tackle this is making journaling & goal-reflecting a part of every morning. It keeps me centered, stress-free, and honestly, happy, to know I am heading in the direction I want to go, even if failure is a part of that path.

If you want help creating habits, I suggest either Atomic Habits or Power Of Habit.

If you've any questions or want to talk about any of this, email me directly, which you can find on the home page.