The Stoics saw that virtue, wisdom, and excellence of character were the ingredients of a happy life.
But they also acknowledged that these things don’t always come easy, and training is often required.
Seneca discussed a nightly review, which in recent years has become a staple practice for many aspiring Stoics. Seneca writes:
“I make use of this opportunity, daily pleading my case at my own court. When the light has been taken away and my wife has fallen silent, aware as she is of my habit, I examine my entire day, going through what I have done and said. I conceal nothing from myself, I pass nothing by. I have nothing to fear from my errors when I can say: ‘See that you do not do this anymore. For the moment, I excuse you.’”
Both Seneca and Epictetus reference The Golden Verses of Pythagoras, as inspiration for the nighttime routine.
The key questions they recommended us asking are:
What did you do amiss?
What did you do?
What duty was left undone?
I’ve experimented over the years with many means of using this technique, but nothing compares to the Notion template method.
In the free Notion app, I’ve set up this template which auto-fills whenever I open it at night:
I’ve tried longer lists of questions and shorter lists of questions, but this is the best list I’ve found to work for my consistently.
Sometimes you are tired and don’t have the energy to fill out a demanding writing prompt.
If you’re a regular reader of The Stoic Handbook, you will also be familiar with my morning template which I share here.
🎧 Add Guided Visualisation
To derive even more benefit from the journalling exercise, you can follow along with my 8-minute bed-time reflection.
Listen to the guided visualisation on Insight Timer here.
I hope that you found this useful. It’s the exact morning and nighttime system I’ve been using for many months, and it works extremely well.
As always, if you have any questions, drop a comment below. And if you find this useful, pass it along to a friend.