reflect on your progress

Do you reflect on your progress?

Goals, objectives, targets.  We are getting very good at defining what we want to accomplish.  We are inundated with strategies and ideas around setting goals and creating good habits, especially at the beginning of the year.  But today is March 1st.  How many of us have already given up our resolutions?  Or maybe we’ve simply forgotten what we set out to do in the first place?  Be kind to yourself.  Take time to reflect on your progress.  I think it’s the best way to ensure you’ll keep striving towards what you want to achieve.

A Personal Performance Review

I don’t have a boss. So I don’t get an annual performance review.  Whether you’re self-employed, a student, a homemaker, or any other myriad of options where you don’t have a traditional work structure, you will benefit from building in self-evaluations.  Or perhaps you do get one at work…don’t forget your personal goals too.

I set out to create the habit of kindness in my life.  In my article, Making the Habit of Kindness Stick, I outline the structure I use.  Reflection is a key component.  At the end of each month, I review my goals, objectives and progress made.  It’s a time I re-jig what isn’t working and take time to recognize what I’ve accomplished.

Remember to be kind to yourself during the process of reflection and evaluation.  As Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz say in their book, The Power of Full Engagement, “Measuring your progress at the end of the day should be used not as a weapon against yourself, but as an instructive part of the change process.”

Benefits of Reflecting

Everyone Needs a Pat on the Back

Positive feedback is motivational.  It energizes and makes you want to keep performing.  You can provide yourself with that positive feedback if you take the time to reflect.  Look at where you started – think about how that felt.  Where are you now?  Have you made any progress?  Even if you’re not at your end goal, recognizing that some progress has occurred can give you that jolt of energy to keep striving forward.

Noticing Growth

I think we forget how hard things are when we begin.  When I started volunteering at Mount Sinai, I was very intimidated by the monthly meetings that included all the key players for the division.  But now, I hop on those zooms without a second thought.  Growth.  Pushing yourself out of your comfort zone creates growth.  By taking time to reflect on those past feelings, we can appreciate how far we’ve come. 

Is it Time to Change Your Goals?

Sometimes a goal that you’ve set for yourself just isn’t right.  Maybe you were too ambitious, or your priorities have changed.  That doesn’t mean you’ve failed.  It is probably time to re-think that goal.  By reflecting on your progress, you can recognize when something isn’t working and create a new goal that does.

Meditation was one of my goals.  I tried different methods and strategies, and every month, I’d find that I just wasn’t making progress.  I’m letting it go for now; I will revisit it again someday.  Maybe I’ll be ready then. 

Fight the “Meh”

You know that “meh” feeling I talked about in my article, February Funk? That feeling also goes by the name of languishing. Celebrating your progress, even with small accomplishments, injects positivity into your life and can help fight those feelings you may find pulling you down.

It’s Fun!

Reflection shouldn’t be a chore.  It can be an opportunity to reminisce on the past.  You can go through old photos, journal entries or reports that you wrote.  One of my goals is to do a daily entry in my gratitude journal.  Upon reflection, I realized that I wasn’t getting much out of this new habit and wasn’t really enjoying it.  But then I started looking back at my past entries.  It’s fun to look back and see what was going on a year or a month ago and reminds me how much I have to be grateful for.

What’s the Best Way to Reflect?

There’s no right answer to this; just find a way that works for you.  You’ll know it’s working when you do it on a regular basis.  Be creative.  Make it fun.  Involve other people.  Just make sure you take time to reflect on your progress.  Your future self will thank you.

Do you take time to reflect on your progress? If yes, how?

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