Master the Art of Self-Reflection and Use Your Life Review to Achieve Your Goals and Live Your Best Life
Most goals fail because of a lack of motivation. We build so many systems that it pains us to admit it. But motivation is the true cause of the problem.
You can work with low motivation. Thanks to the healthy habits you build around your projects, you can even work without it for a short period. But after a while, you will give up if you don’t find a way to reignite motivation. And one of the simplest ways to do it is through a life review.
What is a Life Review?
A life review helps you keep track of your long-term goals and understand how you are working towards them.
Usually, you have to split long-term goals into smaller pieces you can track easier. But this way, you may lose focus on why you are doing certain things instead of others and, therefore, lose motivation.
Yet, with a life review, you can reignite the passion and motivation that made you choose those goals in the first place.
How to Make a Life Review
You can do a simple life review analyzing four things:
- your weaknesses
- time management
- and improvement.
But you must be honest while doing it. Otherwise, you will never achieve the desired results, and your motivation will never reignite.
So be critical. Be honest. And let’s dive into it.
(You can even use the infographic below to record your answers and keep an overview of the analysis.)
1 — The Pain Points
First, review your pain points — a.k.a. the problems that prevent you from working at your best.
Those problems might be temporary, like a stressful period at work, or recursive, like procrastinating too long.
In both cases, you must acknowledge them and the effects on your performance.
Review your problems.
The best way to review your problems is to note them as soon as you notice them.
For example, if you are trying to work but worry about your job keeps you from focusing, write them. And the simple activity of writing pain points makes you acknowledge them and become more resilient.
Also, your mind will start troubleshooting and problem-solving them passively once it becomes aware. Therefore, the best way to review your problems is to keep a pain points notebook or sheet that is easily available and that you can always reach every time you meet a new issue.
So during the life review, you can write the effects and solutions of the problems in your notebook.
Review the effects.
When you ask people to review their problems, they start brainstorming whatever comes to their mind. But that’s ineffective because there’s only a slim chance you will get the real problem this way. And you will probably list common issues everybody has that don’t have anything to do with your specific case.
Yet, to solve a problem, you must get personal. So it would be better, during the life review, to spot problems by starting from the effects.
Suppose I procrastinated all afternoon yesterday. Why was that?
I was binge-watching YouTube videos. And why? Because I sit in front of my PC. And why? Because I usually have lunch in front of a YouTube video. And why? Because I don’t want to have lunch in silence while alone.
The problem is the same — procrastinating. But going from the effect backward, you can find the real pain point. So my issue was not binge-watching videos. I was afraid of eating alone in silence. And I should have worked on that.
Review the solutions.
Once you find the personal issue that keeps you from working consistently, it becomes easier to solve it. And instead of solving procrastination, you only have to solve eating alone in silence, which is way easier.
So during your life review, find solutions to your pain points because you will use them as your goals later.
2 — The Success Stories
A life review doesn’t only focus on the negatives. Otherwise, it will never reignite your motivation. Therefore, focus on your accomplishments and the feelings they triggered.
Review the accomplishments.
You can review the accomplishments in a similar way to the pain points. You only need a notebook or a piece of paper.
But you don’t have to fill it as soon as they happen. You will probably remember them for longer. So you can fill the success stories in one iteration during the life review.
Also, build a clear definition of a success story. Otherwise, you will put everything in there only to feed your pride. So think about your goals and purposes and describe how you followed that path in the past few months.
- What courses did you follow?
- Which book have you read?
- Which strategies did you try? Did they work?
- And how much progress did you make?
Review the feelings.
Success stories help your motivation grow stronger because they remind you everything is doable. But besides factual data, you should also collect emotive ones.
How did you feel when you accomplished the first milestone of your project? And how does it make you feel now?
Do you want to replicate the same feelings? And how could you do it?
Again, if you recognize those desires, your mind will troubleshoot them and search for solutions to live those moments again.
3 — The Time Management
How much time do you spend doing the things you want to do?
Do you have plenty of time and use it poorly? Or do you use every minute at the maximum?
Time management is fundamental in a life review because time is your currency. And you have to make sure to spend it efficiently.
This doesn’t mean you have to work every minute of the day. On the contrary, breaks are a strong ally if done right. But you must be in control of your time and make sure you are not losing it to external stimuli that come from marketing campaigns and social networks.
So how do you do that?
You can work towards two things: flexibility and strictness.
Review the flexibility.
If your friend asks you to take a 30-minute walk tomorrow, could you fit it into your schedule without ruining the week’s planning?
Suppose you have a weekly plan (otherwise, you should build one). Then, your flexibility defines how much you know about your task’s length and how fast you can finish them.
The more you know, the more flexible you will be. And improving this parameter is not that hard. You only need to keep track of the repetitive tasks in your day and note how much they take until completion.
It takes me about two hours to train for one hour at the gym. It takes me about four hours to write an article, plus two hours for each additional 1000 words. So it starts from six hours going up.
But do you know how much it takes you to do anything?
Knowledge is essential in your life review because low flexibility implies lower chances of success. And when life throws an opportunity, you must be flexible enough to take it. Otherwise, you will let go and never advance.
And if you want to achieve flexibility and more free time, here 3 steps that could help you.
Review the strictness.
How strict are you with your plan?
The importance of flexibility might suggest you should not be strict, but it’s the opposite.
Flexibility is a short-time value. You must be flexible to take that opportunity in the moment or the near future. But strictness is a long-term value. And you can’t miss the deadlines of your tasks.
So flexibility allows you to move your working hours around, while strictness guarantees you finish each task before its deadline.
Reviewing your strictness is simple. Take your goals and their deadlines, and count how many you respect. The ratio between this number and the total indicates how strict you are. And you want to take care of it, especially if you work directly with clients.
4 — The Space for Improvement
Now that you have all this data from your life review, you should finally trigger your motivation again. And you can do it in two ways:
- update your goals
- and set new goals.
Update your goals.
The first thing to do once you finish your life review is to update your goals with the new problems and solutions you found.
Most times, you set long-term goals in a state of ecstasy or blind luck when everything is going great. But after a while, you might realize that wasn’t the norm. So you might want to scale back your goals based on that data.
Also, old goals are the ones that need the most motivation because it diminishes over time, and you might be in disbelief. So take care of them. And don’t overestimate your abilities this time.
Set new goals.
Practicing your old goals might have uncovered pain points you didn’t even know you had. Or you might want to try different strategies that work better (at least in theory).
So, besides updating old goals, you might also set new ones based on your life review and how well you did.
But don’t try to improve everything at once. If you have many pain points to fix, start with the first. Make a goal for it, solve it, and then go to the next.
You can’t make the same error you made with your old goals and overestimate yourself. So take one step at a time, and you will succeed.
A life review helps you understand your current state and your direction. And it could help you with long-term goals you fail to track efficiently.
In time, we lose motivation. And we commit less and less to our goals. But a life review can reignite your motivation. It could make you spot your setbacks and get over them. So you can update your long-term goals and create new ones that will make you succeed.
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Cover photo by Joshua Earle from Unsplash for How To Make a Life Review To Reignite Your Motivation.