#031: Why You NEED to Keep a Journal

What happened to you is not nearly as important as the meaning you assign to it.

Arguably the most important part of the learning process is reflection. But it is the one piece that is almost universally skipped over. For achievers, like me, we want to get onto the next task, the next goal, the next project and we sacrifice the valuable fruit of reflecting and processing in our rush to the next accomplishment.


We rarely take the time to evaluate and reflect on projects. However, even more important then reflecting on projects is reflecting on our daily lives. Without it we can get caught up in The Drift and start to wander through our lives.

Journalling is an essential habit that allows us to reflect on our daily lives. It allows us to recognize and process the hard learned lessons that we often face. It allows you to get in touch with who you truly are, allowing you to make better connections.
Here are seven benefits of journalling:
  1. Process events
  2. Clarify thoughts
  3. Understand context and connections
  4. Notice feelings
  5. Connect with my emotions
  6. Pull out major lessons
  7. Ask great questions

Journalling has not come easy to me. I have known the value of it for years but have struggled to make it a regular practice. In this week’s podcast I talk about my struggles with journalling and how you can make it a regular part of your life.

How can I create the habit of journalling:

  • Use a template – I use a very simple template when I journal. It helps reduce the friction of not knowing what to write about. Now, when I sit down to journal I just answer the questions in my template.

#030: How to Go From Resolution’s to Actual Change

On January 1st all over the world people made and committed to New Year’s Resolutions. It’s now January 9th and most have already given up on them. Are you one of them?

I hate New Year’s Resolutions. I love the idea of committing to improvement, and as you know am a big believer in growth and development. But the way the majority of people go about setting resolutions sets them up for failure. We focus too much on the outcome and spend no time thinking about the process.

It’s time that we all stop falling prey to the resolution’s mindset and instead create actual change in our lives through habits and The Snowball Effect. 

The Snowball Effect.002

Making massive improvements can be overwhelming. There comes a point when developing any skill or improving on a technique that the amount of time to make an improvement increases exponentially. Often focusing in and spending that time just isn’t worth it. It would be better to broaden your gaze slightly and improve multiple areas by 1%.
Achieving a goal is not some big event, it is a process. One that happens every day in the choices that you make.
Make small little steps every day. It’s the discipline of making the right choices that gives you a compounding effect. It’s the little actions that get the snowball rolling.
Here is how to put The Snowball Effect to work for you:


In 1937 Napoleon Hill recorded a series on the secret laws of success…I found the whole series in ONE video on YouTube.

This is perhaps THE BEST thing on the interwebs. Think And Grow Rich is the book that is recommended by more successful entrepanuers and businessmen and women than any other book out there.

Grab your popcorn, a notebook, and sit back and enjoy.

The Five Step Snooze Proof Wake Up Strategy

Waking up is HARD!!!

It takes discipline and effort to throw those covers off early in the morning, but doing so can mean big changes in your life. One trait that many successful CEOs and entrepreneurs have in common is the practice of waking up early.

Why early matters?

Waking up early allows you to get a jumpstart on your day. It helps you get more done, and be more focused. Another important benefit is that it begins to build discipline into your life which spills over into other areas and starts to snowball.

Undoubtably, the first question people ask me about getting up early is how early is early? Well…it depends. For me, it’s between 4:30 – 5:00 am. For you it might be different. The time doesn’t matter that much. What matters is that you are getting up sooner than normal to focus on a) improving and growing you or b) an important, valuable project.

Your Worst Enemy

The snooze button. It can derail your progress in a flick of your finger.

I host a podcast show, Taking Life Head On, for my friend Hal Elrod. A few weeks ago he was on vacation and we did not have a chance to pre-record an episode. We decide that I would do a solo episode talking about Hal’s Five Step Snooze Proof Wake Up strategy.

I think you will find tons of value in that episode so I highly encourage you to check it out below:

5 Step Snooze Proof Wake Up Strategy - Nick Palkowski

The Five Step Snooze Proof Wake Up Strategy

        • Step 1Set Your Intentions The Night Before
        • Step 2Keep Your Alarm Clock Across the Room
        • Step 3Brush Your Teeth and Wash Your Face
        • Step 4Drink a Full Glass of Water
        • Step 5: Get Dressed


Comment Question: Do you have other strategies that help you beat the alarm clock in the morning? Share them below.

Increase your confidence with simple steps

The Ninja Tactics video series is a weekly post where I talk about tactics, techniques, or tools that are designed to help you manage your day, do more impactful work, and live a more enjoyable life. Our focus is to become the master of our lives. Find all the Ninja Tactics here

Confidence Competence Loop

People often ask, “How can I get more confidence?” or they exclaim “There is no way I could do ________.”

The best way to increase your confidence is to understand the Confidence-Competence Loop.




A tool to help you wake up easier

We talk a lot about being productive here in the Ninja Tactics series. How to get more out of life out of each hour, and how you can go from working in your life to becoming the master of your life.

Thinking that you can be more productive through shear effort and willpower is a mistake. That’s why I started this whole series was to share some of my experiences and the tips I’ve learned to help me get the most out of my days.

One trap I fell into back in high school and college, and to be honest still struggle with is the amount of sleep I get. Your body needs sleep. Enough sleep. Roughly 7 to 8 hours is ideal. Yes, you can function on less and actually for short periods of times, I would encourage you to, when you need to put in that extra effort to see something through.

Today, I want to show you a cool app that I can help you monitor your sleep and help make it easier to get up in the morning.

Sleep Cycle

#021: The Essentials of Change Making [Podcast]

Are you a supercharged, energizing leader with big dreams, and ready to put your skills to work? Do you want to help shape the hearts and minds of those you lead? Are you a Catalyst leader? Most of us want to be that type of leader, but we aren’t sure how develop those elements that make an impact.


In this episode of the Ninja Leaders Podcast, I interview Brad Lomenick on how to be a change maker. Brad works for a leadership development company in Atlanta, and has the privilege of directing a movement of young leaders called Catalyst.


Here are a few essential points we cover:

  • Hungry. Helpful. Hustle
  • What young leaders need to do when they feel called but not equipped

The best tool I’ve found to stop distractions and increase focus

Focus is your most valuable asset. With it you can produce amazing results. But it can be difficult to control. It can be hard to put it to work.

One way to take your focus, and thus your productivity, to the next level is by listening to music while you work. But if you are like me that means first creating a playlist out of the 3,000+ songs in your iTunes account…decisions, decisions, decisions. But then you find out they can’t be just any songs… When I am working on something creative, especially writing, and a favorite song of mine comes on I get even more distracted and will even end up writing song lyrics instead of what I meant to write! Not good.

The solution…Focus@Will


Recently, I found a new tool that solves these very problems while helping you take your focus to a new level. It’s a little webpage called Focus@Will. This tool is a music player that has been designed very specifically to increase your focus.

1 Way to Build Discipline into your life

Today we are taking a break from specific tactics and tools to manage your to-do lists to look at a foundational concept to becoming the master of your life…. Discipline.

Discipline is something you need to build into your life. The gap between where you are and your goal can only be closed up with discipline.

It’s that special element. The one thing all successful people share. It facilitates growth and improvement over time.

But it doesn’t just happen. It is developed.

We fall into the trap of thinking that we are naturally disciplined or undisciplined, simply not true… discipline is not a personality trait, it’s a skill. Like any skill it is developed with practice. [Tweet This]