Manifest Destiny

May 2, 2004
Outside Magazine

Outside magazine, December 1998

Manifest Destiny
How to track your days in the quest for that elusive "zone"

By Paul Keegan

Jim Loehr wants you to be a control freak. Not the kind who engages in such dubious tasks as color-coding socks, but the kind who can take charge of his life through reasoned introspection. Loehr's tool to help you get there is the mental training log. Start by recording what you did during the day beside each prompt and enter a plus sign if you made a conscious effort to stick to your plan in that area. Want to break your tendency to let a packet of Pop-Tarts pass as breakfast? Jot down "frosted blueberry p.t." next to "Nutritious breakfast?" and soon enough your conscience will take over. Notice that you've consistently felt better on days when you've indulged in an afternoon nap? That'll be all the impetus you need to make it a habit.

Of course, Loehr can't divine what your specific rituals and goals should be, but the example below can work as a starting point. You'll need to continually revise it, especially in the beginning, to make sure it's realistic. Maybe your job won't allow you to control when you sleep. Fine, simply scratch "Time woke up" and concentrate instead on how many hours you sleep. After all, the point isn't to mimic what works for someone else ù it's to figure out what works for you.

Time woke up:
Hours of sleep:
Rate how you feel (1 = lousy; 5 = great):
Light exercise or stretching?
Nutritious breakfast?
Priority list?
Mental rehearsal?
Recovery break?

Nutritious Lunch?
Recovery break?
Nap or brief rest?
Average cardiovascular workout heart rate:
Rate workout technique (1-5):
Any workout pain?
Rate workout (1-5):

Nutritious Dinner?
Reached IPS Today?
Sleep ritual?
Time to bed:
Weight (weekly):

Illustration by Jason Schneider

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