As we enter the last full week of the first month of 2018, this is as good as point as any to review and reflect on your progress so far. Whether you choose to make several resolutions once a year, or set yourself goals throughout the year, you need time out to check your progress.
Review and reflection is important because it identifies lessons which can be learned, and questions which you can ask yourself, such as;
- What has worked well so far, which I could continue?
- What hasn’t worked well, and what have I learned from this failure or setback?
- What skills and knowledge have I gained so far?
- What gaps still remain in my skills or knowledge?
When you review how far you have come since you set out on your journey, you will also find yourself re-energised and with your motivation levels replenished.
Maintaining your motivation and focus is essential, especially now as we approach the point in the year when reality sets in, and far too many goals and resolutions go out of the window.
Why does this happen, especially in January? Well, resolutions are very often made, and goals set, as we approach the New Year. They are declared with a strong sense of optimism and belief, with everyone declaring that THIS year will be their year. The problem with this, is that these promises and pledges are made at a time when people traditionally have a fortnight’s holiday to celebrate Christmas. So, there’s a LOT more free time to get excited and be optimistic when making plans for the future.
Then, we go back to work, and back to reality. You start strongly, before work and family commitments eat into your time. Late nights at work, business travel, spending quality time with your other half and your kids…it all adds up. So you find yourself feeling increasingly tired, and perhaps a little stressed. Not a great way to start the year is it? Something usually has to give, and it tends to be the goal or resolution which suffers. Short on time and always tired? Skip the gym. Your partner decides that you don’t have enough stuff in the house, and wants to go to Ikea to stock up? Skip the reading, journalling or job-hunting time and spend it instead in this hellish labyrinth of Swedish minimalism.
Very rarely are our journeys derailed in one fell swoop by a major event, but rather it tends to happen over time due to a lack of discipline. We miss one workout in the gym. Having missed one session, it becomes easier to miss a second or third. This applies to whatever it is that you are striving for, not just health and fitness. Break your commitment once, and it becomes more likely that you will do it again, and again, until you give up altogether.
This is where review and reflection comes in. It boosts your motivation to keep you moving forward. It highlights lessons to be learned, and how far you have come since you started. Best of all, it helps you to clear your head, refocus and identify how best to move forward.
If you are serious about becoming the best version of yourself, and committed to doing whatever it takes to achieve this, help yourself. Schedule checkpoints throughout the year to review and reflect on your journey so far. Your future self will thank you for it.