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Goldsmith Journaling for a Better Life

One of the most powerful ways to grow yourself is via journaling. It helps you to self-reflect, to see yourself, and to think clearer thoughts. 

I recently started a new form of journaling that I refer to as Goldsmith Journaling. (It joins Drucker Journaling and Daily Reflection Journaling in my lineup of useful techniques.)

As described by Marshall Goldsmith: "It's hard. It's embarrassing. It's humbling.... [but answer] these six questions every day, you're going to have a better life."

Answer these six questions every day, you're going to have a better life.

What's this hard, helpful practice?

Each evening, write down a self-rating from 1 (low) to 10 (high) for each of these six questions.

Did I do my best today to:

  1. Set clear goals?
  2. Make progress toward achieving my goals?
  3. Find or make meaning?
  4. Be happy?
  5. Build positive relationships?
  6. Be fully present?

I've added a few of my own as well:

  • Eat well?
  • Move my body?
  • Build a good habit?

And a last numeric score:

  • How many PQ Reps did I perform today?

Let's look at why this system works so well.

Personal Empowerment and the Internal Locus of Control

The list of questions starts with, "Did I do my best today to...?"

It does not ask "Did I succeed?" but rather "Did I do my best?"

Why do we ask it like this? Why is this better?

Turns out, we can succeed -- and fail -- at external accomplishment through the intervention of luck and circumstances. So actual goal achievement sometimes is a sign that we performed our part well... and sometimes it's a sign we got lucky or unlucky. 

So, when we ask using the form "Did I do my best...?" it shifts our attention away from circumstances or luck, and focuses us 100% on our own individual effort, focus, and follow through -- which are among the only things any of us can truly control. 

One secret to truly succeeding is to focus 100% on the things we can control. This technique of questioning supports us to do exactly this.

For a deep dive into goal setting, I recommend the Huberman Goals Toolkit.

For a step-by-step guided walk-through of Huberman's Goals Toolkit, ask me about the Goals Walk-Through on the Best Boss Academy.