How to Find Clarity and Live More Consciously by Doing Weekly 5-Minute Reviews

In my article about doing an end of the year review I wrote about how I had slacked off with my training during 2012 and how I wanted to add a habit of doing weekly reviews to my life.

I am happy to say that I have been doing pretty intense cardio sessions twice a week since then (except for one week when I only did one session).

I have also done 5 minutes of end of the week journaling sessions on Sundays since the 1:st of January. And that is what I’d like to share a bit about today.

How I use my journal

Here’s how I go about it. I sit down every Sunday (or on Monday If I am unable on the previous day) and write in my journal program for a few minutes.

I start with a sentence or two that summarizes the week or highlights important goings-ons.

Then I ask myself:

  • What went well this week?
  • What did not go so well this week?

I ask myself these two questions for three of the most important areas in my life: my health habits, my relationships and my work.

There is also headline called “to focus on next week” where I write down one or two things. It could be things I was supposed to focus more on during the past week. Or something I discovered during the past week that I want to change or experiment a bit with. Or simply something I want to keep taking action on.

That’s the basic how.

So what have the benefits been for the past six weeks?

More clarity about my real actions and results.

It is easy to fool yourself. To think you have done more of value in a week than you actually did. Or to think you didn’t get much done even though you actually did.

By writing down what I accomplished and what I did right I see if I stuck to the plan this week.

I see if I missed or procrastinated on doing something. If I did then I ask myself: how I can avoid that next week?

This weekly journaling can also over a bit of time help me to find trouble spots where I have more frequent issues. Trouble spots that could easily go unnoticed or could more easily be rationalized away or simply forgotten without the written record.

Quicker adjustments to my actions.

I don’t let possible course corrections, course experiments or changes be for weeks or months before I take action on them.

Instead I get them done – or at least take the first step with them – during the next week.

Surprisingly powerful accountability.

When I have the journaling to do each week I feel more accountable to stick with my plan.

To get my most important tasks done (as best I can).

To eat healthy (most of the time). To get my sessions of cardio and free weight exercise done.

To follow up on what I wrote beneath the “to focus on next week” headline.

This was actually a bit surprising to me. I thought it might make me feel a bit more accountable. But I felt at least double the accountability that I had imagined.

Living more consciously.

Weeks don’t just go whoosh! and are gone so quickly as much anymore. I experience the days and weeks more consciously because I do more new things and because I reflect upon my days more than I used to.

A self-appreciation journal.

Just as the journal can help me to see what I missed doing or help me discover trouble spots it can also be a self-appreciation journal.

When I feel that I haven’t gotten much done it can help me see the facts and see that overall I have done very well over the past 6 weeks.

I imagine that in 6 or 12 months this will be an even more powerful resource to do some reading from when I am having a bad day or an unmotivated week.

Plus, it will certainly make it easier to do my end of the year review this year.

How do you use your journal? Share your tips with us below.

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About the Author

Henrik Edberg is the creator of the Positivity Blog and has written weekly articles here since 2006. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Gothenburg and has been featured on Lifehacker, HuffPost and Paulo Coelho’s blog. Click here to learn more…

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • What a fabulous idea! I’ve been trying to create/adopt some type of journaling routine, so I’ve been reading a lot about it lately. This is something I hadn’t come across. It’s like a weekly progress report to keep you on track and focused! Thanks for the tip, I will be implementing this for sure!

  • Hello Henrik,

    That’s actually a great idea when you think of journaling as five minute reviews as a weekly activity. I usually sit down and then struggle as I run out of things to say. Having a set “agenda” makes it easier and also helps set goals like you’ve mentioned.

    • Thank you, hope you will find it helpful it you decide to try journaling this way.

  • I tend to keep a running tab in my head that keeps me accountable. Journaling holds no interest for me.

    But I can certainly attest to its power when it comes to training. Now that is one journal that I used to keep strictly. So I understand the power of accountablility our journals can have.

    Keep up with your workouts. Good luck!


    • Thanks for sharing your experience, Trevor! And I will keep it up.

  • Hi Henrik,
    What a lovely focused article encouraging the practical use of a journal instead of just jotting down reminders or a brief narration of events.
    Writing in this way is as good as practising mindfulness and helps you to stay focused on your short term as well as long term goals and aims.

  • Thank you very much, Maurice!

  • Glad you liked the idea, hope you’ll find it useful!

  • There’s one neat journalling technique I’m currently playing with. (Funnily enough, I got this one from a client I was coaching.)

    Every morning, I list four things I am looking forward to that day. And every evening, I look back and see how they went. This routine starts my day off on a positive note, and helps me have more positivity and gratitude in my life.

    And if I ever struggle with thinking of four things to write, it reminds me to do more things I enjoy!

  • I’m a first-time visitor to your blog and this is the first post of yours I’ve read and I love it! I have tried so many different journaling techniques but none seem to work for me. Your idea is really simple and I am adopting it right away. Thanks for sharing this really helpful idea!

  • Mohammad Mazahir

    Very helpful Henrik really it will help me a’lot to do this in my practical life.I think writing your tasks and mentioned it is the best way to get better and better in your life.
    Thank you for this helpful article.

  • Shane McGrath

    I’ve been keeping a journal for the past two years now, all in the same word document. Sometimes I break away from the word document and hand write when I’m feeling more reflective, and I enjoy it more.

    Anyway, the journal is absolutely fascinating. Looking at multiple entries through time reads like a movie script. Major themes emerge across the daily entries. I am now focusing on refining my daily journaling methods, as a way to improve my life.

  • Very helpful, Henrik! I’ve been journaling for years and have found it to be a very useful habit. After reading your post, I’m now going to start adding your 2 questions (of what went well and what didn’t go well) to the mix… So, thanks!

  • anusha

    Hi Henrick,

    Its a great idea and simple tool to improvise our routine schedule BUT with clear focus..Thanx for sharing ur inputs from other part of the world…keep posting ur good thoughts to create flow…