Saturday 7 December 2013

Personal change with your Filofax

Your Filofax can work harder for you. Yes it can. It is already busy helping you sort out your day-to-day life. It is your external memory. It gives you quick access to information you need, whenever you need it. But you’re in charge; you have to do all the work.

Maybe it’s time to ask your Filofax to take the strain and to help you out with a special project. If there’s a personal change you want to make, a habit you want to lose or develop, you already have in your hand or on your desk the key to achieving it.

Do you want to stick to a diet or exercise regime? Do you want to read more or cut down on TV or video games? How about getting in the habit of writing a journal every day? Whatever it is you want to change about your life, your habits or your behaviour, you can get your Filofax to be your very own coach and your personal cheerleader. Here are some ways you can set up your Filofax to make the dream come true.

Don’t break the chain 

This is Jerry Seinfeld’s method for developing a daily writing habit. Using a year-to-a-page calendar, put an X over each day that you work on your project:

Look at the calendar above. I’ve built up a chain of 15 days in a row when I’ve kept to my diet, or where I’ve written at least a page in my journal. Do I really want to break a 15-day chain by failing today?

Anchor your motivation

When you start out and commit to a change, you will usually have clear, strong reasons for doing so. Days or weeks later when you’re struggling with your commitment, those can become obscured.

You need to be continually reminded of your original motivation. So on a blank page, before you start working on your change, write yourself a question, such as, “Why do I want to exercise daily?” and then answer it. Make sure you capture all the reasons you can think of. You’ll end up with a page like this:

Make sure this is right at the front of your Filofax. You want to see this whenever you open it up. You can add to the list, too, if you discover additional motivations along the way.

Set up milestones 

Work out some sensible milestones on your journey: one, two, three, four weeks; two, three months and so on. Locate these dates in your diary and write them in now, adding check boxes, like this:

Write these in now, as far ahead as you want to look. Later, when you reach each milestone, tick the box with pride and if there is room in your diary, write a few words about how you feel in reaching the milestone.

A letter to yourself 

Write yourself a letter. Tell your future self why this change is important to you and how much you hope that you can make it work. Make it like a proper letter. Give it a date, a salutation and a signature. Seal it in an envelope and write on the front:

Now put the sealed envelope in the back pocket of your Filofax. When you get to the point of quitting, open the letter. Carefully read what your earlier self wrote. Remember the optimism, the determination, and use these memories to strengthen your resolve.

So get your Filofax working harder. What personal change do you want to instigate?

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