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Journal Mining 2.0

December 31, 2013 Leave a comment Go to comments

A few weeks ago I wrote a short post about the wonders of journal mining. Coach Dan John has been telling us for years that one of the keys to progress is to keep meticulous journals, and then mine them regularly for clues about how things are working out. Of course you need to keep a journal to mine it.

On New Year’s Eve last year Brenda and I were driving to a celebration and I asked, “How was 2012 for you? Brenda said she couldn’t really remember much, except that we had a really hectic summer. She then turned the tables on me and asked the same. I couldn’t really remember anything noteworthy either, except a real general sort of way.

So on this day last year I resolved to keep a 2013 journal. It was nothing complicated; I simply logged a series of one-liners as reference points for review and reflection come the end of the year. Over the course of 2013 I logged about 175 entries. I’ve mined that journal repeatedly throughout the year for insight, comic relief, and general recollection. In some cases the journal mining yielded a fond memory or a chuckle. In a couple of cases it prompted hours of questioning and self-assessment. Other entries evoked moments of gratitude, decision, prayer, affirmation, and resolve. I had at least one moment of introspection every month that challenged my assumptions about my own role, motivations, and priorities.

Having this journal also helps me remember that in 2013 I read 14 books, took 9 trips for general pleasure and recreation, spent renewing time with close friends on 12 separate occasions, and scratched my head in wonder at 23 international events.

I grew two beards and shaved them both off. I made literally barrels of wine at the Tin Lizzy Winery ,  I planted and harvested a garden, went through three major regulatory inspections, worried about my own health, laughed my ass off at how funny and smart my kids are, and found a 1942 Mercury dime in pocket change. And through the wonders of technology, I had uncounted interactions with some of the most intelligent and interesting people in the world.

The best part of keeping the journal was that the very act of writing, even just one-liners, drove feelings of regret, anger, and self pity into meditations on my own motivations and priorities. And today I started a new family tradition (I hope) of sharing the year in review with my loved ones at home. So here’s to you, reader. Congrats on making it through 2013, and best wishes for a useful, interesting, and wonder-filled 2014.

  1. January 3, 2014 at 6:44 am

    Some people used to write diary in past. I find your approach of writing events kinda different and probably more effective. I liked it.

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