Understand What's Working and What's Not
how to review well
Reviewing has a two-fold purpose: to celebrate and to course-correct.
But for many of us, taking the time to actually review our lives feels burdensome, or perhaps it never even occurs to us!
Perhaps we don’t feel like it’s worth the time and energy to pause and look back, whether it’s daily journaling, talking to a trusted friend our counselor, or just processing thoughts in our minds.
Generally, most of us want to be people of action, not people of reflection.
But reflection, this pause, is where growth happens. It’s where we notice how we’ve grown, shifted, failed, succeeded, been consistent or even inconsistent. This reflection allows us to go deeper, not only into the circumstances of the past days or weeks, but to ask ourselves the why of those circumstances.
For example, it’s easy to say “I didn’t get enough done this week, so next week I’m going to work harder.” But to pause and ask ourselves “why?” is to allow growth to happen...
- Am I saying yes to too many people?
- Am I too scattered without enough of a plan?
- Am I wrapping up my identity in what I accomplish and not able to recharge in a healthy way?
Or perhaps I'm not working enough. Why? No plan? Procrastination because of fear?
Or not connecting enough. Why? Working too much? Selfish with my time?
### Is this becoming a pattern?
We often excuse our lack of Igniting, Recharging, or Connecting because of external circumstances. (e.g., doctor’s appointments, people-interruptions, tight deadlines). And there’s definitely grace when we don’t work, rest, or connect enough because of the interruptions or unusual circumstances of the week. But if ignoring one of these elements is happening week after week, then review your week will help you begin to see patterns .
And those patterns are probably revealing deeper issues. Perhaps about your need to get strategic, or the practical, logistical issues or your life and Dream. But perhaps about heart issues…
not being able to say no to others because you fear their opinion
not being able to move forward in your Dream because of fear of others’ opinions
not understanding your true worth and the worth of the Dream that God is calling you to
You may have patterns you see upon review that reveal a need to go bigger and look at the larger issues: the need for clarity around your Dream itself, or the need to Unshackle from fear, or the need to evaluate your larger Vision, Strategy, and Tactics.
### Be careful with your attitude
For most of us, there will be a strong tendency to focus during our review on what is going wrong in life, or at least not as well as we’d like. Even if we’re not generally negative people, focusing on the past carries the danger of making us discontent or too self-critical.
One way to balance this tendency is to make sure your review includes a time of gratitude to God for the things you were able to get done at all, for the work and life and people you’ve been given, and the chance to partner with God in loving others and building His kingdom. Gratitude is always the antidote for discontent!
And take a little time in your review to think about what went right! Notice when a procrastinated project finally got underway, and ask yourself why you were finally able to start. Congratulate yourself for a project that was completed, and express gratitude to God for the purpose and the ability to carry it out. (If this is something you find really difficult, you may want to read this resource: https://www.impactivity.com/feelthejoy
### Find a way to make it simple
If you’re not a regular “reviewer” – with some kind of process in place like journaling, the easiest way to get started is to record yourself talking on video or audio on your phone.
You’ll be able to process verbally while recording. It’s much faster than writing, and something about the act of recording often causes us to articulate more clearly than when we’re simply thinking in our heads.
Try recording yourself while walking, or even while driving – your car is like a moving soundproof studio!
You may not ever listen or watch these recordings after you've finished, but the simple process itself can reveal much.
Or perhaps you have another person with whom you can review the day. Don’t just talk about the stuff that happened. Talk about why, and check in with your hearts. Are you living the life that God has called you to live?
If it feels like reviewing is too much to fit into your routine, commit to something small and easy, like a few minutes of talking into your phone while you’re driving to work every morning.
### Pay special attention to where you’re challenged
When it comes to review, perhaps it feels too cumbersome to be asking yourself lots of questions about your Igniting (your work), your Recharging (your rest), and Connecting (your relationships). But make sure that you’re at least asking yourself questions about the area in which you feel weakness.
Perhaps you are great at getting the work underway, but not-so-good at taking breaks. Or you have that balance in hand, but aren’t making time for relationships.
The days and weeks go very fast. Without the intentional pause, not only to look at the circumstances but to ask the questions of why you will find the years going by without the benefit of intentionally making a shift or even feeling gratitude.
If you need a jumpstart in this review process, or like the idea of having a tool to help you both review the past week and plan the week ahead, check out the Weekend Watershed link under the dig deeper link below.