How to Use a Bullet Journal to Overcome Fear & Start Living: The Kaizen Strategy for Habits + Goals

How to Use a Bullet Journal to Overcome Fear & Start Living: The Kaizen Strategy for Habits + Goals


– Hi everyone, my name is Matt, and welcome to another Bullet
Journal Productivity video. In this episode, it’s part two of the productivity yearly planning that I did a couple of weeks ago, so if you haven’t see that yet, you can check out the card right here, or you can look at the description below. There’s going to be a link to
it, and screens, all of that. But even if you want
to start at this video, you’re going to be in really good shape, because this video breaks down the themes, goals, and systems talked about in the other video into really small, actionable steps that you can take in order to move forward in
the things that matter to you. Now, I’m going to be showing you how I do this in the Bullet Journal through a theme and a goal that I have for the year, which is to become more
technically proficient, and learn how to code in SQL, and I’m going to be showing you how I break that down and track that
inside of a Bullet Journal. But I want to tell you, real quick, that the reason that this matters is that, a lot of times,
the goals and habits that we set up for ourselves can
feel a little overwhelming, and we have a tendency, especially in the Western world,
to set really big goals for ourselves, and while
there is some merit to that, it may push you further than you would normally go,
what the struggle is, is that it can feel really overwhelming. And so what we want to do
with these small habits, these small steps, is to make it so laughably easy, in a way, that you can’t help but get started. You would feel silly
for not doing something. Let me tell you how
this would work for me. In learning how to code in SQL, I do have practice systems set up. I have a course that I’m going through. I have everything structured in my environment to set up a time when I can go through that, but the way that I practice, and take small steps on a daily basis, is by reading one page of a SQL textbook, or a learning book, and also going through
five practice questions. Now, I have an app on my phone that allows me to do that, it makes it really easy, but it’s so,
it’s just five quick questions. It takes me maybe five minutes just to review them, and so that is so laughably easy, in a sense, that I would feel silly to not at least go through those five questions unless I just flat-out forget, and that happens
sometimes, and that’s okay. Extra tip on this that I like doing, this comes from James
Clear’s Atomic Habits book, is he has a little rule for himself. It’s like, even if you miss a day of your practice, then
just don’t miss twice. And so that’s something that I’ve tried to stay with when it comes
to those practice questions, is even if I miss a day, or forget a day, that I don’t miss two in a row. The reason that taking small steps can be so effective is that, a lot of times when we think of a big goal, or a habit, or something that we want to do on a daily basis, let’s say with writing or journaling, if you’re a part of the January journaling club, is that we think, oh, I got to fill out an entire page, or I
have to write 1,000 words. Both of those can feel
a little overwhelming, and sometimes you literally may not have time to do something like that. And so what a small
habit, what a kaizen step, would look like, and I’ll come back to that word in a minute, is
taking the smallest possible forward action. And so, for journaling, it
would be, just write one line. And I send out prompts to people. If you want to join, make sure you check out the link below, but I send out prompts to people, and that just gets you, I ask you a question, and you just try and write one line on it. That’s all you have to do for the day. Or you can write one highlight, or anything about the day, but it’s just one line at a time, and that can really help get you started. Another example is from B.J. Fogg, who’s a Stanford professor, and one of the things that he asks people to do in his case studies,
or research studies, is that he asks them to just
go home and floss one tooth. Hey, you just have to
go floss one tooth a day for the next 30 days. The group that was just told to floss one tooth flosses more consistently, and surprise, surprise, flosses
more teeth than just one. So just asking them to do
that super small thing, there’s a similar fitness study, or research, that, if you just ask people to do literally one or two pushups a day, they’ll end up doing more pushups than a group, that you just say, hey, see how many pushups you
can get in in the next week. By giving yourself permission to start, and start small, it almost
feels silly to not do it at all. If you just told yourself, all I have to do is a couple of
pushups, and you did those, you’re going to be like,
aw, well, you know what? I’ll bang out a few more, or 10, or whatever, and before you know it, maybe you’ve done 50 pushups. What the research shows with this, and the reason that it’s so powerful, is because you’re building that system, and you’re building that process, inside of your mind that
knows, hey, it’s time. This is something that I can do. This is something that
I’m comfortable with. The fear that you get to overcome is so much less when you just give yourself permission to start really small. Another way that you can do this, and a way that I do it personally, is by having a moment
of no return mini-habit, and I talked about this in the other video, as well, but let’s say you wanted to wake up early
and go to the gym to work out. Well, that may seem like a big thing to do in the moment, especially get up. You have to do everything. But if you just tell yourself, okay, I don’t actually have to get to the gym, I just have to get in the car, and that’s a trick that I’ve used for myself several times, ’cause all you have to do is get in the car. By the time you’re in the car, then it feels silly to not go to the gym, and once you’re at the gym, it feels silly not to do at least something, and then you’ve at least done the thing. You’ve gone through the system, and you’ve worked the process that your mind has started
to create for itself. You’re creating kind of a habit roadmap that you can just get on and
off whenever you need to. So the way that I do this inside of a Bullet Journal is
that I have a sheet, or I have a collection within the Bujo, that I list all the things that I could do that are small steps that allow me to make
progress on the habit, on the goal, on the theme,
that matters to me and my life. So taking the SQL example, I’m looking at things like reading one page, or writing one query, personally, myself, going through practice questions, a small number of them. All three of those things take less than a few minutes, and what I find, like I said, is once I get started, and I kind of get in the groove, and my mind gets used to the work, then I’m able to actually
do a little bit more than I actually gave myself
credit for at the beginning. There’s a lot of different
reasons for that. We’re afraid of failure,
just for ourselves. We’re afraid to look silly. We’re afraid to waste time. But if we just give ourselves permission to take a few small steps, then that starts to create a framework inside of our minds so we can continue to progress and make really, I think you’ll see, a rapid progress in the things that you want to do, and make
progress, and in your lives. The way this whole kaizen process actually started was with
Toyota manufacturing processes. Is this really radical thing,
because the assembly line of what would happen is, Toyota gave their employees the
power to stop the line, to fix anything, to eliminate waste, and to make continuous small changes to the process that enabled them to become one of the
largest car manufacturers in the world, and one of
the highest-rated, as well. I’ve always known Toyota cars. They’re amazing, and super-reliable. One of the biggest companies
in the world has used to make their business better, is also something that you can do. So taking that mindset of, everyday, I’m going to make small,
continuous improvement and changes to the way that I live my life, to the things that I care about, and making progress on the goals, the habits, and the
systems that matter to me. Thank you so much for watching this video. I’d love to know in the comments if there are any small habits that you could create, small changes that you could make, that would help you progress on the
things that matter to you, and what those bigger goals
and themes are in your life. I’d love to hear. The comments are always really active on these videos, and we love interacting with each other, so hope you do, as well. Give this video a like, and
subscribe if you’re new here. There are always going to be videos about productivity, and making sure you’re in the right
mindset, and making progress on the things that matter
to you in your life. Talk about that in a Bullet
Journal context a lot, but using analog, and kind of offline, methods to make sure that you’re focused on the things that matter to you. There’ll be another video here soon. I hope you stay in the loop, and look forward to talking to you next time. Bye. (electronic music)

45 thoughts on “How to Use a Bullet Journal to Overcome Fear & Start Living: The Kaizen Strategy for Habits + Goals

  1. love your videos! Can you make a study planner/tracker layout for an upcoming big exam? It would be really helpful. Thank you, have a nice day😊

  2. The thumbnail made me cringe 😬. I have started bullet journaling a few months ago but I don’t keep up with it as I would like to. I need to make it habit.

  3. Thank you for this! New subscriber here. One of the small habits that i picked up that has helped tremendously is: Let your last step in a process set you up for success. I heard it originally on the Happier Podcast. A simple example is: You brush your teeth with the last bit of toothpaste. Rather than wait until the morning to have to dig up a fresh tube of toothpaste and unwrap it, etc. just do it when you run out so that it is off your to-do list and doesn't impede your morning routine. Same for the washing out the coffee pot, charging your laptop, or putting your keys at your landing strip. These are little acts that can have big impact in setting yourself up for success so that your forward motion isn't slowed down by little tasks. I apply this to my work as well so that the next time I sit down to work on a task or project, I'm doing as little set up as possible and I can dive into the work as soon as I'm ready to go. This is anywhere from having my desk cleared, supplies stocked, to having relevant files and source material at the ready.

  4. Once again, great video Matt! Love the tips and the work you do. Also, I am enjoying the journal prompt series.

  5. so great, thank you! My micro habit is one plank pose a day, and I'm up to 45 seconds on that. I've been wanting to start a reading journal that includes title, author, summary, concepts w. sketches etc…but it feels like too much. Going to start small and just put the title, author and one new concept. The theme for me this year is being more informed.

  6. Great video! Love the idea to do something so minuscule, it’s practical to continue. Will be trying that out this week

  7. I have a list of 14 things I must do everyday. (Eg meditate, journal, walk, take diabetes meds, talk to a family member/friend, listen to a song) and on my desk calender i rate everyday out of 14. This way I have the inspiration to hit the maximum possible targets.

    Also if there are a few days where I just don't feel like doing a lot of these activities, I can take solace in the fact that I have been consistent for the past few weeks (say) so I don't have to be too harsh on me.

    I am planning to incorporate this as a line chart on my BuJo. And/or can also colour the dates on my calendar based on these ratings.

  8. I've subscribed to your daily journal triggers. It's really exciting! I've always loved writing but could never got myself to continue… Your mail motivates me to write because I don't have to wonder what on earth would I write TODAY! I look forward to the day's trigger every day. Thanks Matt!

  9. That’s how I became a nurse! One class at a time. I gave myself permission to not quit as long as I was moving forward.

  10. Great video. I'm a digital technologies teacher in Australia and I use Khan Academy to teach my middle school students SQL. Great course with videos and activities.

  11. Hi Matt, i really enjoy your videos! i wanted to ask, the color coding and letter signifiers you have on your habit tracking page in your journal, what do they mean? or could you point me to your 2018 video that describes them. thanks!

  12. Great video, Matt! Best wishes for 2019. Keep cranking out the helpful content! Totally agree: BABY STEPS! Just start. And keep going.

  13. It is not the action or the achievement, it is the discipline built to make the actions easier and conveniently successful.

    Great video, as always, Matt. Happy New Year and happy bullet journalling!

  14. I just found you 4-6 weeks ago and am enjoying your content.
    I'm familiar with the Kaizen process from an Agile Software perspective and one of the things I'm trying to do in my personal life is do weekly retrospectives where I look at the past week and ask myself "what worked," "what didn't work" and "how can I improve."

  15. Just like you said… little steps… they are the key to sustaining long term change in behavior… I love the process of checking a box where I have a task to do.

  16. Yeah I set a habits page for every month in my bullet journal and even though I don't do it all the time. I notice that I have been doing it a lot more than I did previously. So safe to say it is changing my life for the better!!!

  17. This is a real mind-changing video and message. You are so right that I can feel so overwhelmed by the things I want to do and the guilt for not doing them. But if I think about each goal I want to do, whether it be teaching my children the Bible, or reading a book, or doing push ups, or running, or journaling…I can write down for myself like you did the smallest step forward so that I feel silly for not doing them. Of course I can do 10 pushups or I can read a page, I can teach for 5 minutes, and I can run around the block. Of course I have time for that! Thanks for the motivation!

  18. Great videos you are posting. Trying to make the conversion to paper from digital is not easy but I'm seeing lots of benefits. QUESTION: Do you use any digital tools (apps or websites) for tasks, notes or are you 100% paper? Also, how do you handle the unplanned tasks that people throw at you or when your driving and you remember you need to do something. You can't easily write those down, so what is your system for remembering them? Thank you.

  19. My issue is focusing on things that I have no control over at the moment. I'll be at work worrying about a project that I'm doing, but that project is at home. So I gotten into the habit of saying to myself, "What can you do now that will set you up for later?"

  20. Yes! Thank you! Small steps help overcome that procrastination. After I do one small step, I realize it only takes a little more effort to get over the hurdle ive been avoiding for 30 minutes prior ^^

  21. for my goal to reading more classical books, I have the habit of reading ten pages a day, and since I am a quite fast reader, it takes me less than 15 minutes, and most of the times I end up reading more than 20 pages.

  22. I suffer from depression and a anxiety plus knee pain, in other words I'm a mess. I like what you said about small baby steps so I won't get do overwhelmed. KISS. First things first.

  23. One book I have found to be very good at explaining the kaizen strategy/philosophy is this one:
    One Small Step Can Change Your Life: The Kaizen Way by Robert Maurer Ph.D.
    https://www.amazon.com/dp/076118032X/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_tai_OXdcDbEVQD4VW

    The author breaks things down like this:
    1 Ask small questions
    2 Think small thoughts
    3 Take small actions
    4 Solve small problems
    5 Bestow small rewards
    6 Identify small moments

    It’s a very practical book and I have found it to be very helpful in my own life.

  24. Just found your channel and also just found out about Bullet Journaling. Using September as a crash course to prepare to kick it into gear for Q4 of 2019, then onto 2020. Thanks for easy bite sized videos.

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