Bullet Journal & Planners, Life Musings, Productivity

Monthly memories collection – lessons learned so far in 2016


Do you journal, review or take notes of your progress during the year? Every month I make a recap to check what worked and what didn’t work for my business and for me personally. In addition to that, I add all the great things that happened, which doubles as my gratitude log. That’s when I give myself time to enjoy the amazing journey (of life, I mean) drawing and writing in my bullet journal. If I had a busy month it’s even more important to do this. It’s a good moment to stop, breathe and be aware of the life I’m living.

>> Special thanks to Kacheri for the inspiration. Be sure to follow her @passion.theme.life

* This post contains affiliate links. You will never find links to a product or service that I don’t trust.

We’re heading to the 97th day of the year (a quarter is gone) and I think that all I’ve experienced so far is bigger than in any other year of my life. So, I thought it would be a great idea to share some of the best lessons I learned that are not too personal and can be applied to your lives as well. Maybe someone out there can get motivated to change, too.

So, here are the most important lessons I learned so far in 2016.

Lesson #1: Clarity leads to efficiency.

Finding clarity is the first step you have to take to start a new project or business, as you will find in many books and workshops – Marie Forleo‘s B-School course as one of them. Clarity about your personal mission and values is the most important thing you need to create the life you truly love and be efficient, as also discussed by Stephen Covey in his book, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (a life changing read, btw). That means you need to be clear about what you want and how you want to live so you can become productive and truly happy.

I’ve been looking for my passion my whole life, at least since I was a teenager if not sooner. I’m a multi-passionate person and it has lead me to a lot of self-doubt. I tried a lot of workbooks, books and techniques to find clarity. More than once I’ve chosen something to pursue that I really liked and got freaking excited about it. I planned, started, had doubts and lost the fire that ignited it in the beginning.

One particular time, after weeks of struggling to beat procrastination, exhausted from trying so hard, I decided to take the afternoon off. I told my daughter I was going to meditate and reflect and I needed some time alone. I locked myself in our master bedroom with my journal, pen and cell phone where I keep my meditation audios. I started with meditation, calming my mind and asking for guidance. I’m not religious, but I’m spiritualized; I have faith in the energy of the Universe and I know in my heart there’s something greater than the physical world we live in. After calming my mind, I got my notebook and pen and started talking to my intuition, as I learned from Jess Lively’s blog and it was revealing. I was told not to worry so much and let go of the fear and to trust that I am meant to do this. All I need is do the work and everything else will follow.

To be totally honest, it wasn’t the first, nor the second, but the third time I was told I should take a leap of faith in my intuition and let go of the fear that I actually did it. So what was different this time? The answer is my current affirmation. As I told you before, one of Albert Einstein’s quotes is guiding me this year and whenever I’m facing a new situation (or an old situation that didn’t work out) I remember his quote and take action in a different direction.


I decided to trust it and because of that I had a clear goal to follow. It has been the most important lesson towards beating procrastination. I’ve been more efficient than ever so far in my life.

Try this to find clarity.

If you’re looking for clarity in your personal mission, you can imagine that you knew you were going to die in two years. In the first year, you would get all the sensual stuff of the way: visit all the places you promised you were going one day, cross off things from your bucket list, spend quality time with your loved ones. Then the second year would come. What would you do? What legacy would you want to leave behind? Oh, and don’t censor yourself, imagine finances are handled.

Lesson #2: Food is an important factor of productivity (energy).

According to the study released by the International Labour Organization (ILO) in 2005, our eating habits have a direct impact on our productivity. In fact, the World Health Organization says that proper dieting can raise national productivity levels by 20 percent!

Last December, we changed one eating habit in our family diet – we stopped eating rice and beans. You may not understand how unusual it is to take rice and beans off lunch and dinner if you’ve never been to Brazil. This is as traditional as Americans drinking large cups of coffee in the morning. We decided to do that after we heard about the paleo diet. It made a huge change in our lives, bodies and energy along the day. In January, we took the 30 days of green smoothies challenge and it was incredibly rewarding. I felt a great increase in the energy during the day and realized I was more productive. That’s why we’re keeping these changes.

Our bodies are like any other motor, take a car as an example. If you don’t put good gas, water and perform proper maintenance, it won’t even start, let alone work properly. Feeding our body good food is essential to be more productive and happier.

Lesson #3: Do things before you can see the big picture, A.K.A. baby steps.

I’m pretty sure you’ve already read and heard the term baby steps many times before. It is recommended that you have it in mind when planning a big project. Baby steps will help you take action instead of feeling lost about where to start or overwhelmed by the magnitude of the project.

I’ve tried using the baby steps approach so many times with no success (so frustrating!) and I believe it is because I didn’t understand it completely before. I used to plan all the steps to reach my goal, even when I was not sure if that would be a viable action since I was not sure what was waiting for me at that point of the journey. It was neither clear or motivating. Things changed for me when I saw one of Geronimo Theml‘s YouTube video tips (he’s Brazilian and the video is in Portuguese… sorry) He is a coach for coaches. In his video, he makes an analogy that made sense to me. (Yes, I got it!) Now I’m doing things towards my goal one day at a time.

The analogy of baby steps that made sense to me.

Imagine you’re gonna take a long road trip. You start your car, and the GPS lights about 0.2 miles ahead of you. You can’t see your destination. It only shows you a certain distance ahead. Then you drive for those 0.2 miles and now you can see more of the road, but still not the destination. You keep driving and again you see another part of the road. You do that all the way until you get to your destination. You don’t need to have everything figured out, if you have a clear vision of part of your project, start it now and it will evolve as you go.

There you have it.Three very important lessons I learned so far in 2016. I had more experiences and lessons learned, but I think these ones are the most important to what I’m focused on right now, that is productivity. The good news is I can always revisit the memories spread in my journal to see things I accomplished and all the lessons I learned or can learn in a near future.

What about you? Have you ever considered having a monthly memory or lessons learned spread in your journal? If you haven’t, I suggest you give it a try. If you have, what did you enjoy most about making it? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.


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3 thoughts on “Monthly memories collection – lessons learned so far in 2016”

  1. I have always struggled with baby steps as well, so that analogy has resinatated with me too. It’s so simple yet…I never looked at it that way. I always do an end of month review but never a ‘lessons learnt’ spread 🙂 I will definitely give that a go. .Thank you for sharing and the inspiration 🙂


    1. Hi, Rachel. Sometimes we need to be told things in a different way so we can truly understand and do it, right? Sometimes we make things more complex than they should. I don’t make a lessons learned spread, but I always think about the lessons life is teaching me. I’m glad you like it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I like how you do a gratitude log…I currently write 3 things I am grateful in my journal at the end of the day but I think I will incorporate it into my monthly reflection too 🙂 give me a chance to step back and look at the bigger stuff. Really enjoying your blog, am pretty new to the blogging world…but slowly finding my feet 🙂
        Best Wishes

        Liked by 1 person

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