How to Keep a Journal and Absolutely Crush Your Goals

If your mind is cluttered and you find it difficult to define your intentions and what you want out of life, keeping a journal will give you the self-awareness to express yourself more effectively and productively. Before you start, you want to design your new habit of journaling so that you see the most benefit.

Step 1) Eliminate the Burnout Mentality

When you first begin to journal, you may look to change yourself overnight. Instead of buckling, straining, and stretching yourself thin for a quick boost, settle into the journey of self discovery and do not burn out. Forget about being a superhuman and ditch the idea that you’re going to see incredible gains in the short term. I started small with a two to three sentence summary of how my day went and where I needed to improve. The habit was tiny, but it worked. In fact, the ease and simplicity of taking these notes was the key to my journaling success. The cure for over-ambition is long term thinking. You have a life ahead of you, and make the effort to embrace the time you have.

Step 2) Turn Your “Why” into Fuel

Notice the time frame you have in mind. If you fast-forwarded 5 years from now, you should still see yourself journaling. You should also see the powerful benefits that have blossomed as well. The only guarantees are death and taxes, but understand that you have now placed journaling among the ranks those two dire guarantees. You’re no longer thinking with a burnout mentality, and now you have free reign to befriend the real reason why you want this habit. Tap into the 1 year, 5 year, 10 year, or even 30 year vision of where you see yourself and turn the energy you find into the leverage that will get you there.

Step 3) Make The Process Exciting

Who wants more chores anyways? We have enough so find ways create a process that is as simple and enjoyable as possible. These don’t require any genius stroke of creativity; they could as simple as journaling your achievements for the day so that you have something to look forward to putting down. I also recommend keeping a gratitude journal about whom and what your grateful for. The exciting part is that the source of your gratitude will be drawn forth, and the achievements and tasks you’ve completed will have acknowledgement and momentum. Your journal should be something you look at and be proud of. You are under no requirement to enjoy the time you take to journal, but you will surely find yourself sticking to the habit if you do.

Step 4) Review Your Journal Regularly

You put in the effort and consistency to make entries and have logged your life into your journal, but this will do you no good if there is no follow up. Our brains are programmed to forget the majority of what goes on which is why journaling is so valuable. It allows us to capture our exact state of mind, feelings, thoughts, and perspective at that time. Journaling by itself will forge self-reflection and self-awareness into our lives, but the real gold is found when we can go back in time occasionally to rediscover and expand ourselves into a deeper knowledge that we wouldn’t have had otherwise.

Control Your Life by Controlling Your Time Part 2

Suppose you just got off your lunch break from work and I call you all the way from New York. I say “Listen, if you meet me here at the John F. Kennedy airport by 3pm sharp, I’ll give you $750,000.” You look at the time and it’s a quarter past noon. You’re first reaction is no way. Impossible. That’s a little under 3 hours. The flight is two, and traffic alone to the airport would be an hour. But wait with three quarters of a million on the line you get creative.

We talk ourselves into believing we cannot control events that we can really control. The better you feel about yourself, the most productive you will be. What types of things do you do that make you feel best? You feel best when you do things that matter most to you. What are the highest priorities in your life? Of these, which do you value the most?

Why do we have so much trouble accomplishing the things that mean the most to us in the long term? We think we are going to have more time at some unspecified future date than we do now. “Well, I’ll do that next week, or next month, or next year, or when I retire, or when I make better money,  when the economy is better etc”. We think we can somehow save time. As if you don’t have it already. That’s like trying to jog a mile faster by saving your energy. You have all the energy you need. Instead of walking half the damn time, we should focus on actually running.

You would be very upset if someone gained access to your bank account and stole all of your money. Why then don’t most people blink an eye when all sorts of distractions creep into our lives and steal our time?Procrastination. The dirty word. Why do we procrastinate? Important tasks are likely unpleasant. What’s sexy about balancing a checkbook, counting calories, or taking out the garbage? Be productive and successful requires us to leave our comfort zones.

Set a deadline. Do the most unpleasant part first. Make a game out of it. Build in a reward.

Control your life by controlling your time: Part 1

What is time? What a silly philosophical question, right? Most of us would rather ask for the time than ponder it’s existence and meaning. Think of time like this: The train does not arrive at the station at 7:00PM, the train arrives at the station at the same moment the little hand reaches seven. The basic element of time is an event. Controlling your life means controlling your time aka the set of events in your life.

What’s the best example of someone who is out of control? A drug addict. They are no longer in control of their lives and are only reacting to their addiction, and the events surrounding their poor lifestyle. The best example of someone who is in complete control of their professional environments? A symphony conductor. Which a flick of a baton, an entire group of people respond and perform. Events fall into a control continuum of things we have control over and things we don’t.


What are some events in which you have no control? The sunrise, tornadoes, the World Series, your height, your boss. How do you feel when you face events that you can’t control? Stressful, angry, fearful, and frustrated most likely..

Perhaps you’ve tried a dance class. For me, dancing is an out-of-control experience. When I joined my first class, I could not control my dance moves at first. Whenever I tried to imitate the other performers in the group, my body would do flail, twist, flop, or do something completely different, or sometimes nothing at all because of complete bewilderment! I must have control over how we can move our body, right?  But without practice I didn’t at first.

There is a surprising amount that we can control.control-of-events

Rate these events from 1-5 with 5 being the MOST in control. How would you describe the feeling when take control of the events that you have control over? Happy, exhilarated, powerful, confident, maybe even surprised most likely. Focusing on event control makes all the difference.

Part of the reason some of us fail to take control rests upon the conditioning we’ve been raised to accept. Take a circus elephant. These massive 5 ton animals are able to be bound and constrained by a silly rope attached to a stake. When the elephants are young, they believed they couldn’t move freely. The tethers in their minds were stronger than any chain or rope.

There are events we can’t control, but believe we can, and there are events we can control, but believe we can’t.

Whirling in a torrent of Inspiration (SURPRISE QUESTION AT THE END)

I could go on and on and on and on, but I will save you the lengthy preface, body, and eulogy and get right to the meat. One tangent I stumbled upon today dealt with the stock market. My blog does deal with success and finance after all. However, a post was made on Reddit about how you could take 9 randomly generated stock charts and a real one, throw them in a pile, and you would not be able to tell the difference or find the true stock chart. This then lead me to hunt in Wikipedia and soon after I found the Turing Test, and then I found ELIZA, and then I found the script for ELIZA. The Turing Test is a set of philosophical questions to determine whether or not machines or artificially intelligent programs can think like human beings. ELIZA was a program developed in the 1960s by a psychologist named George Bernard Shaw, and the gist of the program was: a psychiatric patient was to communicate via text to this program, and based on keywords that the person gave, the program would generate a response. Almost all of the patients who were diagnosed by ELIZA believed there was a real human on the backend of the responses.  When they were told it was a program, they simply refused to believe the conductors of the experiment. The philosophical implications can be discussed here for many, many posts, but I will save you the headache and present you with this question. Many of us work professions and jobs and can all relate to the term, “unconsciously proficient”. Much like how you can drive a car with ease, there are some areas of your life where you know how to do things with a level of unthinking mastery. What is the difference between someone who is unconsciously proficient and a machine that could automate what you do? 

I seriously want you to ponder this.

My response: I believe there is barely any difference, if any between the two. Although humans are more than just machines, we have programming inside of us that gets tweaked, reworked, and perfected. Now let’s use the driving example because it is an example we can all relate to. I believe few things in this universe are truly and wholly perfect. Let’s say you can program a machine to engage the accelerator pedal at the “perfect” time or press the breaks with the “perfect” amount of force, it would still be an imperfect mechanism. However, in order to drive, you do not need to drive exactly at 65 mph on the highway, or break at an exact time before every red light. You just need to get to your destination. The programming that you use when you drive is not a perfect system. I don’t believe there is one; even for our theoretical self-driving machine. The process we use is not perfect, but modular, and I would argue that we reach a level of “perfection” that suites our purpose. Once this level is reached, I do not believe there is any difference, if any between an unconsciously proficient process and an automated machine.

A letter to Sarah Joy

“By taking someone who is undeserving through your emotional obstacle course, you risk losing not just a good person and potential life partner, but yourself.”- Shantell Jamison

Yesterday was beautifully disappointing. I’ve met this girl and am growing strong feelings for her. Yet I seemed to be in the friendzone. I don’t believe the friendzone is somewhere you go without having the blame. However; I don’t exactly know what I’m doing wrong, and I feel as if I still have a chance at her heart. So I wrote this letter:


Dear Sarah Joy,

A love letter may seem a little intense after just three weeks, but I hate having important feelings unspoken. With as many deep convos as we’ve had, I’m sure you can handle it 🙂    I know what’s real when I see it, and I want to consume every part of your being, to laugh nonstop, to be lost in your eyes when you’re talking. At the same time, I want to never talk to you again because I don’t want to pay for anyone else’s wrongdoings or past pain when I know the happiness we have is real and new. i know that sounds harsh, yet I’m willing to risk the superficial sugarcoating in order to tear down your walls and find what’s on the other side.


Sincerely yours,

Carnell Tate

Autumn fell more than once…

Post bloom excitement has now simmered into a forest ready for sleep. Cooler air now exhales from changing colors and recede their losses into the organic burial of their roots.  I look above me and I see a projectile of birds thrown in higher altitudes and heading south as the night follows behind them. Changes surround me, and red dusk drowns my vision washed by hightide eyelids crashing back and forth violently. As lost as I am I know where I want to be, and a trek later I am brought to a creek. Downstream a she-howl pierces. Jolting spikes of hair on my back raise, and fight or flight kicks in immediately. I turn to my bloody left and growl back with my tail erect and my stance aggressive. But, I stop in the red silence. Does she want an answer to her cry? If I wait, I will be befallen love; still in my love I always see clearly. My flight of escape narrows gently; I will fight. Yet as my paws tread closer, I only see two feet wading in the creek. Fallen. Drowning in the sea.

The song which inspired this short prose-etry- Fall Creek Boys Choir

Thank you