Friday, July 3, 2009

Your Life as a Timeline

Original post from here: http://zegarkus.com/2006/10/05/your-life-as-a-timeline/

One of the most satifying self help experiments that I have done this year is create a timeline of my life. Though I have only have done this recently, I had the idea of doing this since my early twenties (I am currently 31 at the time of this post).

Upon constructing my timeline, i’ve noticed three immediate benefits: recognising acheivements in your life, recognising patterns in your life and a creating a sense of purpose for the future.

The instant gratification of putting up a timeline for your life is to recognise achievements in your life. Big events like graduation, losing my virginity, learning the guitar, programming, the first job, and travelling overseas were certainly highlights in my life that I look back on as major events and achievements. The deeper you dig, the more you will find. This can be a major confidence booster!

Another great thing about timelines is that you can recognise patterns in your life. For instance on my timeline - I was able to map out times in my life when I was really depressed and in rut. For me - most of these ‘funks’ came from a failed relationship and I got myself into cyclical series of events that kept me depressed. Conversely, you also find positive patterns in your life - times in your life where everything seemed to be going well. For instance, when I decided in December 2004 to change my life by becoming a positive person incredible things began to happen (to numerous to list here)!

Your timeline shouldn’t be just about your past - make it a living document! Write events in your time that you want make happen in the future. Use your timeline to make goals - write your own future with your time. This is the fun stuff - how will you manifest your future?

Here are few tips and tricks to get started with your timeline:

  • Use excel. For a very simple timeline, you can use the column headers as years (see example below)
  • If you don’t have excell, don’t worry - try google spreadsheets - its free!
  • For a more feature riche timeline try dandelife timelines for free!
  • Don’t expect to finish your timeline in one outing - take your time
  • Don’t feel as if you have to remember the exact dates or times - I found that just noting the timeframe that happened is enough for me.
  • You will found that some events will get shifted around from year to year as your memory improves (which is another benefit of creating your timeline!)
  • Feel free to write down your general thoughts of timeframe. For instance, my 1994 year I have a general entry which says “Was very depressed” (conversely I have a 2006 entry that says “Great friggin year!). Don’t be afraid to add emotion to it.
  • This is your timeline - don’t be afraid write your thoughts. You don’t have have to make it public. Sometimes old events are hard to bring up and face but this can be an excellent way of releasing old hurts and fears.

Example timeline:

1995 1996 1997
met roger went sailing for the first time! met sanda and allan
pet dog died (14 years old - Rover) finished photography course lost 40 pounds
soccer team first in league! broke up with anne got fit!
Employee of the Month! gained 10 pounds Met and started dating Jackie

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