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.