Take a step back and review

Review and take stock

Do you ever review how your day, week or month was for you? Last week was particularly energising for me. Things fell into place and one meeting left me in awe. I was almost mesmerised by it and stepped back to see how last week was different. Also, I wanted to see what I can take from it for the future. If you’re anything like me, you too would like to see how to multiple the feeling of amazement and super motivation.

This special meeting was a planning workshop. You’re probably going “Planning? Not again!” This workshop was different though. We had to take a step back, review and take stock. It was fabulous to see how much each participant actually achieved.

1. What was your proudest moment?

For many, the proudest moment of a month springs quickly to their mind. Even if it doesn’t, you can take some time to review how you personally define proud. Merriam Webster defines it as a “feeling or showing pride such as a) having or displaying excessive self-esteem, b) much pleased or c) having proper self-respect.” Interesting, isn’t it?

2. What did you accomplish?

Take the time to list everything you’ve achieved this month. This could start with “still being alive” or being able to feed your family, which also expresses gratitude. Your child may have spent their first day in school and while raising them took just one month, this may be a major accomplishment for you. It could also include completing work reports on time or closing a deal. Maybe it’s losing those last 2 kilos that you wanted to shake off but they didn’t want to leave you.

You can take your diary as a helper to review what happened this month and list all your achievements, no matter how small.

3. What did you enjoy doing?

As you review your month, list the activities, actions, feelings, energisers, etc. that you enjoyed. These are all the positive bits that left you feeling good, motivated or strengthened.

If you follow Marie Kondo, you could possibly even ask yourself “Which activities spark joy for me this month?”

4. What do you need to do more of?

Once you’ve reviewed what you accomplished and enjoyed this month, list any activities crystallise as something you want and need to pursue more often. This could be reading more (something you enjoy), saying “No” more often (to gain time for yourself), getting a cleaner 2x a week (to free you up from mundane activities and return to a clean home after a long day in the office).

5. What did you learn?

Every month, we learn something. Sometimes we may not realise how much we’ve grown in a particular month. As you go through these questions, review also the progress you made for your personal development and for your professional development.

Personal development focuses on what you want to learn to achieve your very own goals, dreams and aspirations. This could be feeling more relaxed or developing a skill like cooking (I should take this up!). You can read books or take online courses to self-teach you. Alternatively, you can also engage with an external teacher, mentor or coach to get the support and knowledge of your desired topic.

Professional development looks at maintaining professional credentials. This may be a university degree, a certification like Project Management Professional (PMP) or Chartered Public Accountant (CPA), short-term courses in your field, conferences or projects to enhance your skills and knowledge within your current company.

6. What challenges and obstacles did you overcome how?

Not every month is going smoothly or even perfectly for most of us. We can encounter challenges and obstacles every day. Which ones did you face this month?

Once you’ve listed them, review how you’ve handled them? What did you do to overcome, e.g. find an alternative?

7. What was your lowest moment?

Just as we have wonderful moments, we all experience low ones. Can you identify which one was yours this month? You can review what happened, how you felt, what implications it had and together with the previous question, write down how you’ve overcome it.

8. What time, money and energy was ill spent?

As you reflect on the previous month, you may quickly remember what time, money or energy was wasted. This could include using shopping as therapy only to feel worse afterwards or recognising a friendship is not balanced, no matter what you do.

You may want to go even further than just looking at time, money and energy that was wasted. What other resources were ill spent?

9. What do you need to stop doing?

Now finally, having seen black and white what worked very well for you, what made you feel good and helped you achieve your goals, review and decide what you’ll stop doing. This could be overcommitting on social activities, eating out 4x a week, ending that unbalanced friendship or studying for a course you don’t even enjoy. By stopping these activities, you’re freeing yourself up.

Some of these questions may be easy for you. You know immediately what you want to write down. For others, you may need to dig deeper and review more. A question to take you to that next level is “Why?”. A brief and very impactful “Why”!

As we’re coming to an end of this month, why don’t you use some time this weekend to step back and review your September. What surprised you?

Until next time,

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