People who don’t make progress on their goals share one thing in common:
They never identify what isn’t working.
Instead, most people (unproductive people that is) stay caught up in a vicious cycle of going week in and week out always looking for a brighter future. They’re waiting for that promotion, that new job offer, the new car, or anything else that steals their attention from what life is like now.
They only look towards the future, but never stop to understand the past - and that’s the problem.
Successful people are thinking about their past as much as they are the future. Not in a negative, pessimistic way, but in a reflective way. They try to identify what went wrong last week, last month, last quarter. They look to see what days they were distracted and why. And what days provided the most results.
The problem is most people don’t do this.
Every Sunday night, take 15 - 45 minutes to reflect on your past week.
This could be writing in a journal, taking the dog for a walk, or glancing back at your calendar. Wherever you find the most peace, audit every hour of every day.
Where were you most productive? Where were you least productive?
What project/client was draining your energy? Which one gave you energy?
Why didn’t I finish that project I said I was going to? Did something get in my way, or was I just lazy?
Examine every hour of your past week and come up with a plan for how you will approach the following week.
Failure to constantly examine your life will eventually lead you to not being in control of where you’re headed.
Most people push, and strive, and work to be the best they can possibly be in the future, hoping it can give them what they want. Instead of reflecting on the past to identify why they didn’t reach that goal last week.
This causes people to have a reactionary mindset on life. They sit at their desk, waiting for their boss to call for that promotion. They sit on their couch, waiting for the cute date to find out they’re free – they don’t understand that life favors those who take offense.
If you want to have a less stressful week, take 15 minutes on Sunday to examine the previous one.
Open your calendar and look at the last 7 days. Ask yourself, what decisions could I have made that would bring me closer to the person I want to be today?
Then, imagine yourself in that same situation the following week making a different decision. Do it now, so you’re ready for it when it happens.
This reflection habit will fundamentally change your life.
It will make you feel better about last week. And make you more relaxed for this week.