Last Updated on November 21, 2023
How to learn something new every day
In yesterday’s post, I talked about a powerful morning routine.
It involves three simple things:
- Feel good.
- Set three priorities for the day from your “options” (not “to-do’s”).
It seems too simple to work, but it’s an amazing way to start the day.
I don’t always do it perfectly, in fact today I haven’t done it yet!
But when I do, I really feel the difference all day long.
Close the Loop with Love
I also think it’s important to close the loop.
In other words, to check in on the priorities you set, to see if you did them.
Many people though are very harsh with themselves here.
I know I have been in the past for sure, and still struggle with this sometimes.
If I didn’t do something I intended to do, the negative self-talk would start up.
“What’s wrong with me?”
“Why can’t I just get things done?”
Even when this “works,” it is very stressful.
This negative self-talk does has a positive intention though.
You want to actually do what you intend to do!
And that’s a good thing.
But there are even better ways to do what you intend that don’t involve shame and self-hatred.
We can use self-compassion instead.
Love creates the conditions for learning.
Beyond Aggressive Productivity
Most productivity advice is very aggressive.
People say you should “kill your inner critic.”
Or “crush it” in business.
Or go to war with your inner “resistance.”
What if there was an even better way?
Well, there is!
Here’s one possible way you can do an end-of-day review that feels good.
The Evening Review
You can choose to do this at the end of your workday, or before bed.
Whatever works best for you.
First, I like to start off again with a little relaxation.
I spend from 30 seconds to 5 minutes settling into a more relaxed, centered state.
Then I practice taking in the good.
That’s Principle 3 in my Joy of Doing system.
Many people’s minds immediately go to all the things they didn’t get done.
And then they beat themselves up for it.
In fact, some of my clients with insomnia can’t sleep because they are up at night beating themselves up for all the undone things.
So to retrain the mind, we instead practice taking in the good.
I do this by asking myself the question, “What went well?”
What did I accomplish today?
What good things happened today?
Or you could fill in the blank: Today was a good day because…
List all the things you can think of that you accomplished or did well today.
Transforming Failure into Feedback
You might also have encountered challenges during the day.
Many people instead fill in the blank, “Today was an awful shitty day because…”
That’s not a conscious practice they are doing.
But it’s an unconscious habit many people are stuck in.
So instead you might also try filling in this blank:
Today I was challenged by… but despite that, what I did well was…
Like this morning I was challenged by having a stomach ache.
But what I did well was I learned that some spicy food I ate last night doesn’t agree with me.
So in the future I can buy food from the grocery store that is more mild.
Yay, I love learning!
I can also forgive myself for making this mistake.
I thought it would be delicious…and it was!
But I forgot to play out the movie until the next day when I would be in pain.
Rather than beating myself up for this, I can practice self-compassion.
I really wanted to believe that I could handle spicy foods, and I was wrong.
Even though I was wrong about that, I deeply and completely love and accept myself.
Much better than beating myself up about it!
And I still have choice.
If I choose, I can eat foods that make my belly hurt.
But I’d rather not delude myself about the consequences.
Reviewing What’s Undone
If at the end of the day there is something left undone, that’s OK.
I often fail to complete what I intended.
You can force yourself aggressively to complete everything on your list each day.
Many people choose to live that way.
Me personally, I want to live without needless stress.
I tried forcing for many years and found that way lacking.
So my goal is to keep learning until I can do things without forcing, but with joy!
So when I review what’s undone, I use AFLI:
- Acknowledge the truth, without shame or blame, so I can…
- Forgive myself, so I’m ready to…
- Learn something new, so I can…
- Iterate and improve by trying something new, not repeating the same mistakes.
AFLI is a simple but powerful process.
It allows us to respond resourcefully when we fail.
In fact I think this process is more important than getting it all done.
Because when we practice AFLI, we are growing in honesty, kindness, curiosity, and experimentation.
And then we are on an upward spiral of growth.
Until next time,