red question mark in center of blue maze

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results– Einstein.

My coach, yes and I do have one, gave me an exercise. Every morning, I take a few minutes and review the previous day. Still in my nightgown, on the sofa or back porch, I just jot down quick responses to the following questions:

What worked yesterday?
What didn’t?
How is my body today?
How is my mind today?
How is my spirit today?
What am I grateful for?
What are my intentions for the day?

This morning when I wrote what didn’t work … eating bread and drinking red wine. I realized I had written those same two things many times. DUH. These are things that are totally within my control. So why am I still doing them? I don’t have the answer to that question yet, but I will!


For the next three weeks, take a few minutes when you first wake up in the morning to write a few lines that answer those first two questions about the previous day:

What worked?
What didn’t?

Getting a good night’s sleep will help you answer these questions objectively, so it’s great to do them first thing when you wake up. If you frequently miss a good night’s sleep, that may be something that “doesn’t work”. Your goal for the next three weeks is to be curious and observe. It only takes five minutes, and it can really change your life!

Of course you can answer all the questions, but at the very least, do the first two.

Over time, patterns will emerge. Seeing them, becoming conscious of them, is the first step in changing the ones that are unproductive or that don’t help you move toward your YIPPEE.

What didn’t work may be how you used your time, playing solitaire on the computer. How you cared or not for your body. How you engaged with a difficult person in your life.

Be curious.

After three weeks, when you have seen which patterns are emerging, write down the answer to these questions:

What are my theories about why I repeat what doesn’t work?
What can I do to remind myself BEFORE I start to do the thing that doesn’t work?  (HINT – It’s NOT saying ugly things to yourself!)

I’ll be considering this myself with the following questions:

What are the situations where this behavior is mostly likely to arise?
What am I thinking?
What am I feeling?
What other actions could I substitute that would have a better outcome?

Let me know what YOU come up with.

Once we start observing, then we can move from unconscious, automatic responses to actions that are intentional and focused on what’s important in our lives.

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About The Author

Elizabeth B. Crook's picture

Elizabeth B. Crook is CEO of Orchard Advisors. For over twenty years, she has worked with CEO's and entrepreneurs to think and act strategically to grow their companies' bottom line and have more overall satisfaction. She has a gift for making sense of complex situations and mapping them so creative and practical approaches emerge. Clients speak of her insight, skill, authenticity, and willingness to ask the hard questions in a gentle way. 

She is also the bestselling author of Live Large: The Achiever’s Guide to What’s Next. Recent media features include ForbesFast CompanyDaily WorthPBS Next AvenueThrive Global, Conscious Company, and BetterBook Club.

A mother, grandmother, and ardent hiker, she lives on Music Row in Nashville. 

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