After my post, 3 Ways to Make More Meaningful Choices this Year, I had a couple of requests asking about My Little Brown Book.
Put simply, it is a resolutions journal to track my progress and growth based on designated key indicators or life dimensions. It has become a way for me to prioritize and recognize my growth from year to year.
The idea originated from a conference I attended almost ten years ago. Speaker and author, Merrilee Boyack shared her concept based on her own Brown book (she named her book based on her maiden name, Brown. Since my book was actually brown I decided to keep the name.)
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I chose my journal because of its magnetic flap and bookmark ribbon. Find one to reflect your personality, it will be recording your dreams and aspirations for many years to come.
I used the first page to record my name and chosen title “My Work in Progress.” The next page is the table of contents. This page is important because it is what you will refer to each year when recording your progress.
There are six basic life dimensions, and my list is loosely based off of those dimensions. Make your book personal and adjust it to what fits your needs.
Faith (Spiritual) – This is how I will choose to focus on increasing my faith. Sometimes it is as simple as more sincere prayer, other times it has been about an area of study for the year.
Family (Relational) – I usually ask the question: What aspect of my family-life needs more focus this year? It could be related to time spent together, something to accomplish together, or your individual goal to contribute to your family.
Marriage (Relational) – Separate from the family — the focus on my marriage for the year is usually one or two words. Patience, Love, Compassion, Support are a few from previous years. What does your spouse or significant other need you to focus on for them?
Financial (Financial) – This focus has typically been related to savings goals. Getting out of debt, planning for large purchases, and investing could all fall under this area.
Home (Financial) – My husband and I added this one a few years ago when we started needing to make improvements on our aging home. This is the running list of home improvements for us to slowly tackle.
Fitness/Health (Physical) – What would a new year be without some kind of focus on fitness or health? I try to focus on bigger milestones for the year. Last year was to ride my first solo race and next year is to ride a tandem race with my husband. The smaller everyday tasks to make the dream a reality come in with my daily and weekly planning.
Personal Vision (Mental) – Do you have a word for the year? This dimension focuses on your character or habits. Areas where you may need to change or improve personally.
Professional/Education (Mental) – To grow in every aspect of our life we need to evaluate where we have room for growth. Whether we work in or out of the home this is one area easy to forget to evaluate.
These last three are just to add a little fun to the process. To be balanced we need to not only think about how we want to grow, but how we want to enjoy life.
Fun – Life needs some fun woven in. I love coming up with my fun dream each year. Because I love to travel it is often special trip, maybe a night away or even a special event to attend.
Outrageous – Dream Big. This is the hardest one for me to come up with. I don’t know if it is my fear of failure or lack of imagination. It is hard to dream of something outrageous. It might not ever happen, but there is something about writing it down. Honestly, my outrageous dreams have come to fruition more often than not. So it doesn’t hurt to dream BIG!
Quote or Scripture for the year – I started out with a mission statement and moved to a scripture or quote that summed up my feelings for the upcoming year. Think of what inspires you.
Page three could be considered a bucket list, but I prefer to call it my wish list. This is where I can jot down things I hope to someday do. One of my 100 wishes is to attend 100 LDS temples and I have a page in the very back reserved for that record.
Ready to Roll
Once you have this basic format recorded you’re ready to roll. Each year I start at the top of the next available page and start by writing the year, then one by one I go through the table of contents and write down what I want to accomplish under each dimension. As I mentioned before, I usually start by reviewing the previous year to get the creative juices flowing. Have fun as you watch yourself grow!