The Unexamined Day is Not Worth Living

The Unexamined Day is Not Worth Living


When it comes time to talk about New Year’s resolutions, do you have mixed feelings? Do you have negative feelings?

To be honest, I didn’t really want to make resolutions this year... because I felt forced to examine unfulfilled or semi-fulfilled resolutions of last year.

I was listening to a podcast that I love where the hosts stated that 25% of people abandon their New Year’s resolutions after one week.

One week! And 60% abandon them within 6 months. Yikes!

Finally, the average person makes the same resolution 10 separate times without success.

I know I failed at some of mine. What is the point of coming up with plans that are so unlikely to be actualized? It makes me think of throwing spaghetti noodles against the wall and wondering if they will stick.

Thinking on this, I was forced to re-examine my approach to resolutions. More than that, it made me re-examine how deliberately and intentionally I approach life.

What I came to is this: if you can’t measure something, you won’t change it. We can dream up all kinds of better versions of ourselves, but if we aren't tracking our progress (or lack thereof), we are not going to move that needle one bit.

So my one resolution is this: daily record keeping. Do you want to know what that means? It means recording and becoming aware of how I lived my day, so that based on reality, goals can be made.

Here is a screenshot of a template that I came up with for my record keeping. For about 10 minutes each evening, I spend time reviewing the day and making notes on these things. For the spiritual questions (not in the photo, but linked below), I prayerfully ask God to help me see these things with clarity.

It is a common practice for Catholics to examine their days spiritually; I've just expanded upon this practice to include other dimensions of my life. 

Would this, or some modified version of this, help you with your goals? If so, feel free to use it! Here is a link to the full document.

Sure I still have goals. I’d like to be more fit. I want my relationships to be meaningful and intentional. I want to be deliberately improving as a person. And I want to be closer to God than I’ve ever been before.

But I know that if I don’t examine these things daily, I know I will more or less flop. And keeping records means I can challenge myself and create new goals throughout the whole year. Hey-oh!

Socrates said that "the unexamined life is not worth living." If you examine your life a little more closely this year, it may be more worth living than ever before.  

Question: What would you add to this examination? 

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