This post serves as a follow up of sorts to the post I recently published about how making continuous progress, day after day, is the secret component to reaching your goals. I believe that this is the most commonly overlooked, or even missed aspect in achieving a goal.
Making steady progress day after day is a challenge, even for the worlds top performers in every industry. You’re wrong if you think it comes naturally to those people. They may make it look easy because of the systems and routines that they have cultivated for themselves after many years of trial and error and more importantly, many failures.
I won’t be analyzing or speaking about some of the everyday habits and routines or reoccurring lines of thought that these top performers share as Tim Ferriss has already done this in his book ‘Tools of Titans’. But there is one idea that I’d to speak about as I believe it to be part of the puzzle in making continuous progress in life. In order to improve we need first to review how we’re living to make the necessary adjustments to get better. The habit that I’ve found to be invaluable for this is weekly reviews.
The concept is relatively simple, you sit down at the end of each week for 20 minutes and assess how everything went. What went right? What went wrong? How could you improve for next week? What made you happy? What were the top 3 accomplishments of the week? The questions that you can use for your self-assessment are down to yourself, and where you feel that improvement is needed.
Personally, I can’t sit down on a Sunday and remember everything that happened that week, so I decided to split the review into two parts. The first is an evening reflection in where I ask myself three questions, which come from a Stoic evening exercise:
1. What done amiss? Ask yourself what mistakes you made and condemn (not yourself but) what actions you did badly; do so in a moderate and rational manner.
2. What done? Ask yourself what virtue, i.e., what strength or wisdom you showed, and sincerely praise yourself for what you did well.
3. What left undone? Ask yourself what could be done better, i.e., what you should do instead next time if a similar situation occurs.
The last question is particularly important as I’m taking something that I learned from an event and journaling on how I can improve for next time if a similar situation presents itself.
I would then collect all of my daily reflections to compile into a weekly review and make any necessary adjustments for the following week. I like this method, as it ensures that you are making continuous progress each week by monitoring how each day is going. The other benefit to this is checking in with yourself to observe your thoughts, emotions, and feelings, which is always going to be more important than how much you’re accomplishing each day.