Any people who follow me on Twitter or Instagram will or should be aware of my Life Journal. Each time my book fills up I post a short clip of my progress. On this page I am going to explain what the journal is and the progress of my self-development.
The book started off as a diet journal. I have always been inconsistent with my diet and as age is increasing I feel now is the time to set things right. My health is huge to my well being. I have always been an up and down sort of person who is also a Mental Health sufferer. I refuse to take medication as this earth has all the answers we need as people.
How did we get to where we are today if this isn't true?
I wanted to monitor my food intake and see if being more consistent helped me become more consistent within myself. And, yes, it did help. As the weeks passed by ideas started to fruit with how I could engage more with this journal. What else could I add that will benefit my life and health? Questions emerged.
As I came to the end of the first book I started to think about the things I like doing that are healthy for the mind & body, Though these things I know of, I am also, inconsistent with to see rewards. After searching for some details in famous people's diaries and life journals, I made up a list for each day of the week.
Chess (Rapid one minute games)
Gardening (Minimum 30minutes)
Bird Watching (Whatever time allowed)
Meditate (10-20 minutes)
Classical Music (30 minutes min)
Philosopy (Any books on this subject, 30 min)
Stretching (Around 15 exercises)
Deep Squat Pose (Sets of 30 seconds)
Brain Training (Crosswords, Scrabble, Math)
10 minute walks
The last one is a fantastic idea to reduce insulin and lose bodyweight. After each meal go for a ten minute walk. It's hard to be commited and you may look crazy to your family members but the rewards are outstanding.
I have been having issues with my left hip for some time so I added deep squats pose into my daily routine. I will go as low as I can for 30 seconds and build up the time.
This list is not something I aimed to do everyday! But it became a guide for me to think about, and use my time in an efficient manner that will enhance my well-being and life. I listen to Classic Music most days but I can go months without birding. I love bird watching. I have a job to do and the hours of work take away a lot of my time each week. Creating this journal allowed me to see how often I was not doing the things I enjoy.
As you are maybe aware, I am a Poet. I do read everyday and write or redraft poems most days. This process is in me at such a level I have no need to add them to the list. My aim is to create a life that keeps me focused on improving all aspects of life. Time is such a hard thing to control writing down these disciplines and ticking them off each day benefits all aspects.
In my first journl I aimed to complete 4/5 activites each day.
The next journal gave me a good platform to improve my daily objectives. How am I to improve this Life Journal and what direction is next? This time I added more to the daily list. I kept one page for my diet notes and one page to tick what I have done.
I also put down the hours I worked and a brief note on my Mental State. This would highlight if anxiety or depression may be stirring, and to see if there is a reason or trigger for this via my diet, or expenditure.
The new list became
10 minute walks
HIT (Up to 40 minutes)
Bodyweight Squats (100+ depends on work hours)
Hangs from pull up bar
Audio Education (Podcasts, education videos on YouTube)
Massage Ball/Stick (10 minute all over body massage)
I started to learn new ideas off web searches. My mind expanded with knowledge and I thought about areas I have never been interested in. When I was younger I trained a lot but during my thirties I hardly touched a weight or press up. My body was ageing quicker than my mind. HIT training is one of the best forms to train. Even 30 minutes in the form of cycling, bodyweight exercises, or a jog will reap benefits faster than most things I have tried. The hangs from a pull up bar were added to increase my flexibility and grip strength. You may smile at the housework, I regularly do housework but adding this to my list made me think about it far more. It's amazing how important something becomes once you expose it to your daily diary, blog, journal. Your awareness increases. I do also belive it's good for the mind in terms of being in the moment. We all should do housework, it gives us a human self-respect that watching TV will never achieve. During the book I aimed to hit 6 or more things each day. Some days it would be in the double-digits. On days off it becomes my guide for the whole day.
The previous journal lasted over 3 months. Now I moved onto my 3rd book, amazed at how far I had come and where this next one may lead. My aim with each book is to review the previous and see what works and what doesn't and where do I need to improve?
The 3rd book had the same principle, page 1 for the daily list, page 2 for the diet. This book expanded in such a way I actually started to hit a wall.
Nature Sounds (Listening to nature sounds via YouTube, 30min)
Nature Sitting (Any chance to sit amongst nature and let life happen, usually by the river during break in work)
10 minute walks
HIT Ex Bike
Hangs from pull up bar
Planks, Deep Squat, Hangs
Doodling (20min + to let my mind wander)
As you can see I added to the list but have also broken it down into 3 areas. I knew some of the lists were not in the right section. This was something I would deal with for book 4. As you can see new areas, Nature Sounds, Nature Sitting, Doodling, Planks, I tried to pick 8 a day and usually hit double digits, even on a work day. The only days I struggled are the long shifts of 7 hours plus. I don't drive and we live 1 1/2 miles from bus stop. So this adds two 30 minute walks to my day. Plus walking the dog! So some days can be quite tiring. My work hours vary each day and week.
During book 3 I added, Memory Training, Gregorian Chants, Drawing, Medicine Ball, Exercise Bands, Grip Training, 20 minute morning fast walk, Virtual Travelling, and the Powerbag.
This is when things got a little too much! I started to lose touch with my poetry as the lists became too long. The Life Journal started to dictate my life. I had to balance this out or lose my head.
I also added what time I went to bed, and also the quality of sleep. Sleep is a huge aspect of your well being and life. The amount of people who have no respect for the power of sleep is incredible. It's nature's way of helping us. And it's free!
Mental State- Fine
Work - 8am - 3pm
Bed - 22.15pm
QoS (quality of sleep) - Good, but woke early.
My current book is number 4. I asked many questions, re-shaped the journal.
Meditation or Box Breathing
Virtual Travelling (30 minutes)
10 min walks
20 min morning fast walk
Some of the disciplines combined. I took out what didn't work for me. Gregorian Chants, for some reason, made me tired. All the training devices I just turned into a fitness session. Yoga is not my strength, but the rewards are fantastic. I am very very far from an expert.
This journal is about me doing things that are benficial to my well being. If they help me come more creative and my poetry improves, brilliant. I won't let any discipline hold back my poetry. Part of the help from all of this is for me to make the most out of my time as a poet. We only have one life, such a short space of time on this earth, guiding my journey through the Life Journal has given me so much this year.
You may ask 'What is Virtual travelling?' a great way to escape your mind by watching videos on YouTube. I have found people walking through Everest etc holding a camera or being in the drivers seat of a train. Now I have found a guy walking the streets of various cities and you feel such an effect. It is a way to feed to brain. Cognitive work is a good way to improve your mind. The 3 categories I have now I try to do 2/3 out of each one a day. Not always possible, but some days I can do more. As long as I keep those ticks going I know the difference in myself and my creativity.
I have also added three questions for each day - What am I grateful for ? What has made me smile? What have I learnt?
These three make me think and stay in touch with every day.
BOOK 5 UPDATE
During book 4 I narrowed down the list further. The reason for this is to make it more profound and reasonable to achieve each day. My work days vary in length, but also the walk to work and sometimes the walk home eats into my time. I also have a dog to walk twice a day. This journal is to improve my well being and overall health. Enhancing my creativity is a bonus. I do have to say my creativity has improved immensly as a poet.
Here is my new format and one that has started book 5.
4. Breathing Techniques
5. Virtual Travel
6. Nature sounds/sitting
1. 15KM cardio ( a combination of walking/jogging/exercise bike) I do not achieve this everyday, mind!
5. Massage Ball/Roller
6. Grip Training
7. Fitness (Medicine ball, elastic bands, high rep stuff, powebag)
2. Brain Training
3. Philosophy/Spiritual/Religious Reading
5. Audio Education
6. Classical Music
My aim is to get 6-8 a day. If I hit double figures it's a great day. This is part of my life as a poet so there are days when I read. write, redraft poetry and this takes up time. I do try to complete one of those three things a day. Being a poet comes first. Somedays I am fatigued from work or completing the above tasks, if it gets too much I will go down to 2-3 a day until recovered. Poetry comes first. It's who I am.
On the other page I also have my daily meals, followed by the four main questions of my daily being -
Below these -
Mental State -
Quality of Sleep -
Moon Phase -
Sunlight Hours -
You may be asking why the moon and sunlight? This is to monitor my own Mental State. I do believe a Full Moon can have an affect on a person's mind. So I have added this as a monitoring exercise. I have also put the sunlight hours as the big thing in the sky has a huge effect on our day to day mind set. I am searching for patterns of behaviour.
At the top of this page I also write down the weather.
Try your own Life Journal. Write down the things that you enjoy, find some things that will benefit you, and make a daily list. Watch what you eat/sleep and see the benefits. Being consistent is huge. You will have a completely different book to mine but it does not matter. We're all different so life doesn't feel the same.
Keep going, never give up.