Thrive! 2012: A New Paperclipping Series

Thrive! 2012

I stopped setting goals and resolutions a few years ago and found that I accomplished more without them.

It’s not that I have no dreams or ambitions. I just think specific goal-setting is less productive, uses up lots of valuable time, and can close your mind to opportunities outside of the specific goal you set for yourself.

So what do I do instead?

Last year I chose a word for the year that related to all of my areas of interest and I developed a chant — or a list of mantras — that I said to myself most days while meditating. That helped to keep my focused.

Then partway through the year I figured out an approach that helped me to be even more successful in my desired areas — again, without setting goals.

And that’s what this post is about — I’m starting a new year-long series here at Paperclipping (in addition to the Photo Stories series) where I’ll be sharing the process with you, and I hope many of you will jump on board and share back!

Thrive! 2012

Thrive! 2012 is all about keeping track of progress, developing empowering plans, keeping important relevant information, and documenting what you’re learning — all in the area(s) in which you’re interested in improving or learning skills.

These journals or Plan + Progress books will help you develop whatever it is you want, and at the same time they’ll become a document of the journey you took to get there!

Here’s the story of how this started for me and why I’m so passionate about this…

This fall I added seven new dance classes to the one I’d been taking already. I may be too old to become a professional dancer, but there’s no reason I can’t fulfill my own dreams of dancing for myself — not just casually, but with a real effort to learn and improve my skill.

My Dance Journal

I bought myself a journal where I could document what I learned or worked on in each class session:

  • class corrections from the teacher
  • personal corrections from the teacher
  • areas I was focusing on for a lesson
  • improvement I was seeing
  • instructions or choreography I felt I needed help remembering

Do you know how much journaling has helped? Before the journaling, attending class was almost like starting over every week. Progress was slow. Once I started journaling I saw sudden rapid improvement and my daughter has commented numerous times how fast I was learning things.

I’m now an enthusiastic convert of journals and smash books and folders and binders that are dedicated to learning and tracking progress! I have been starting new journals or Plan + Progress books of varying types for each of the areas I’m trying to make real strides in.

It’s my opinion that if there is anything you’re serious about learning or improving, keeping a journal that is dedicated to the subject is one of the best things you can do.

Way more motivating and helpful than making a list of goals.

Way more instructive, too.

And way more flexible, encouraging you to take advantage of unexpected opportunities throughout the year; opportunities that you could never have seen way back on January 1st.

Here are the books I’ve been using and their purposes:


  1. Gardening + Planting (potted and un-potted, indoor and outdoor).
  2. Home Decorating
  3. Dance
  4. Work – Paperclipping
  5. Art (not shown)
  6. Drawing and sketching
  7. Food Menu
  8. Doodle Brainstorming
  9. Sleep Journal – This is an online journal for the Zeo.

Some of them are more about journaling to track progress (Dance, Art, Drawing). That’s what I mean when I refer to a journal.

Others are more about brainstorming and planning ahead in order to make things happen (Home Decorating, Work, Food Menu). This is what I call a Plan + Progress book.

Throughout this month I’ll share photos and details of my various journals and Plan + Progress books. I’ll share the type of book I’m using, what the purpose is, and how I’m tracking and planning in that book.

Then I’ll post updates with photos of my books throughout the rest of the year.

Anyone else here dedicated to improving a specific area of your life? Want to start a journal or Plan + Progress book to help you do it?

Please leave a comment to let us know what area(s) you’re focusing on. If you’re ready, tell us what type of system you think you’ll use (journal or Plan + Progress book).

As we continue with Thrive! 2012 this month and through the year, I’d love to see photos of your own books and what you’re doing with them! You’ll have opportunities to share with us when I post my updates!