How often do you get excited about a new big goal, start working on it, and then forget about it? Don’t be too hard on yourself if you have, it happens to all of us. And it’s not your fault, either. Society doesn’t teach you how to set and accomplish goals even though it’s a critical life skill. But if you want to change the way you work toward your dreams, you’ve got to learn the vital skill of reviewing your goals regularly.
Reviewing goals regularly means setting aside time, usually weekly, to ask yourself how you’re doing with your goals. This will:
- Boost your chances of success.
- Show you where you can aim higher.
- Allow you to identify areas you need to try something different.
To start reviewing your goals weekly, simply:
- Pick a time to review your goals.
- Ask yourself what went well, what you want to improve, and how you can adjust your goals for greater success.
I’ve been reviewing my goals each week for over two years now and it’s completely changed my life. I’ve improved faster, gotten to know myself and what I can aim for better, and have seen far greater success in all areas of my life.
These are just a few of the many benefits of having a weekly goal-review session. And at the end I’ll show you how to do it yourself!
Reviewing Your Goals Will Make You More Productive
“When performance is measured, performance improves. When performance is measured and reported back, the rate of improvement accelerates.”
– Pearson’s Law
How would it feel if you could accomplish your 12-month goals in just 12 weeks?
Can you imagine how inspiring it would be if you crushed your yearly goals in a quarter of the time?
This is the power of applying a review pattern to your goals by writing down your progress daily and reviewing that each week.
Research shows that by reviewing your goals weekly and sharing them with an accountability partner, your chances of success rise by 76%. That’s almost double!
I’ve known about Pearson’s Law for over a decade now and I know that it works. This added level of accountability to your goals makes you much more likely to succeed because it decreases the chances you can lie to yourself or justify inaction.
Each week when I’m reviewing my goals I get to see in the form of a number how I did on every task. Whether it’s faith, family, finances, or fitness, I have a number from 0% to 100% that describes how I did. That’s backed up by daily percentages that I get from reporting to myself how I did at the end of each day.
Just a couple of years ago I didn’t have this system. I had no way to determine whether I was becoming a better husband and father, getting closer to being financially independent, or growing healthier.
Now, however, I can see clearly whether or not I hit my daily action steps that I know will lead to my desired weekly outcomes.
That means that each week I know if I’m going to lose weight, earn more money, or become closer to my family because I can see it. My performance has improved because I write down all of my goals and track them. But the rate at which my improvement increases has skyrocketed because I report back to myself each week when reviewing my goals.
It Lets You Adjust Your Goals to Push Yourself Higher or Give Yourself a Break
“It’s about finding that balance where you have one foot in the familiar, one foot in the unfamiliar.
If you have two feet in the unfamiliar it’s overwhelming.
If you have two feet in the familiar then there’s just boredom.
It’s about having both.”
– Humble the Poet
How often do you get to the end of the day and get frustrated at everything you’ve left unaccomplished? Or on the few days you manage to exceed your own expectations, how frequently do you let one little mistake tear down your excitement?
The truth is, it’s hard to know how hard to be on yourself, and you’re not a bad person if you struggle with that. External factors affect your ability to stay positive, and we’ll get to those in a moment. But for now, it’s time to figure out how reviewing goals weekly affects your ability to know whether you need to go easy on yourself or push harder.
When you set a goal, one of two things happens:
- You set your sights too high, overwhelm yourself, fail, and beat yourself up about what you couldn’t accomplish.
- You aim too low, get bored, forget about the goal, and never see it through to completion.
Mihaly Chiksentmihaly’s research identifies that people perform best and get into the flow state when the task they are working on is just slightly above their current level of skill. In other words, there’s a sweet spot between too easy and too hard, and you need to find it.
And you guessed it, reviewing your goals weekly is the answer.
How to Interpret the Data
As I mentioned before, at the end of every week I end up with a score on my efforts in all four major categories of my life including faith, family, finances, and fitness. It might look like this:
- Faith: 95%
- Family: 75%
- Finances: 110%
- Fitness: 135%
Now that’s just a random example, but it really is rare that I ever reach exactly 100%. This might not seem significant but it holds the secret to reaching flow. Here’s how to interpret the data:
If I’ve accomplished less than 100% in a goal area, that means I need to reduce my expectations so that I can accomplish it. If I don’t, I run the risk of overwhelming myself and failing.
Whenever I’ve hit over 100% in any area, I recognize that the goal is too easy and that I need to push harder. If I don’t, then I’d likely get bored pretty quickly and give up, never reaching my full potential.
What often happens is that one week I’ll be below 100%, adjust my goal to be lower, and the next I’ll be above 100%. Or on the flip side, I start above 100%, adjust lower, and then the next week have to take it down a notch.
It takes a lot of trial and error, but if it weren’t for the weekly reviewing of my goals I wouldn’t be able to get this information. Because I do this, I can find that sweet spot where I’m most productive.
If you track your goals daily and then review them weekly, you also can find this perfect zone of productivity. This will make you consistent at improving yourself, and before you know it you’ll have reached your full potential and more!
Reviewing Your Goals Weekly Shows You How External Factors Affected Your Efforts
“When you start living the life of your dreams, there will always be obstacles, doubters, mistakes and setbacks along the way. But with hard work, perseverance and self-belief there is no limit to what you can achieve.”
– Roy Bennett
2020 has been the wildest year of my life. You might think “well duh, it’s been that way for everybody!” But hear me out for a minute.
I began the year taking classes in graduate school. The pandemic hit in March and shut everything down and I went online. Seems normal so far, but just wait, it gets worse. Or better, but busier, actually.
In June we had to buy a new car. July came and we had our third child a month early. He spent the next couple of weeks in the neonatal intensive care unit learning how to breathe. When we finally got him home, he still had to be on oxygen for another month.
Oh, and I was still in graduate school for all of that. Luckily, I graduated in August. But it doesn’t end there.
To top things all off we unexpectedly got an opportunity to buy a house. Because of the limitations of me being self-employed, we didn’t think we could do that until next year.
We fell in love with this house, jumped on the opportunity, and to top everything off, purchased our first home on a Friday the 13th in 2020.
Oh, I forgot to mention another thing. Our son that was born in July had a cleft lip. Which means he had to have surgery. During a pandemic. And right after we moved!
Thankfully, I think we’re finally in the clear with all the craziness. I have a lot to be grateful for, but that’s not the point I want to make.
Reviewing Goals Makes You Ready For Life’s Unexpectedness
The main principle here is that life comes at you at lightning speed, when you least expect it, for better and for worse.
Regardless of whether the stuff is good, like getting a new car, baby, and house, or bad, like a pandemic, the baby being in the hospital, and him having to get surgery, it affects your ability to stick to your goals.
This is where the habit of reviewing goals weekly saved my performance again and again and again. At every step of the way I kept following my system, reviewing my goals weekly, and adjusting for what was going on.
Some weeks I performed terribly and had to cut my goals in half. Others, I was crushing it and pushed myself even harder the following weeks.
Inevitably though, life would always strike again and I’d have to readjust. But I was prepared every time.
That’s the beauty of this habit. It’s so resilient that even life’s greatest challenges and opportunities can’t beat your goals down as long as you’re following it!
Think about how you would feel if, when a setback happened, you knew that you wouldn’t fail at all of your goals. What if you had the confidence that you could still crush your biggest ambitions even in the midst of chaose?
That’s the power of reviewing your goals weekly. I know it because I’ve seen it. And now I want to teach you how to do it too so you can see these same benefits.
How to Start Reviewing Goals Weekly
I know that in your head right now you might be wondering what the masterfully complex process that I use for reviewing goals is that gives me all of these benefits.
It’s actually really simple, and boils down to just two steps:
- Pick a time to review your goals.
- Ask yourself the right questions.
Choosing the Right Time
The best time I’ve found is weekend mornings because nobody’s around to bother you. I looked out my window after waking up early last Saturday morning and just stood there enjoying the peacefulness.
There weren’t even any cars on the street!
Giving up sleeping in on the weekends might sound tough, but it’s a habit that top-performing people know leads to success. Do you want to become extraordinary? Sacrifice that time so you can review your goals and reap the rewards of success.
Asking the Right Questions
It’s a good idea if you haven’t already to grab a journal to record your daily efforts and weekly progress. Or, if you want my spreadsheet you can get it for free by clicking here.
When you sit down to check your progress, plan on asking yourself a few questions. There’s no set rule here, but you want to gear each of them toward the purpose of seeing how you’re doing with the intent to plan your goals for the following week.
Write the questions that come into your mind and answer them in the first week. Then, in each review in the following weeks you can cross out the questions that don’t help you determine how you’re doing and what you need to do to succeed in the next week.
Here are just a few examples of what I ask myself during my weekly review session:
- What were some of last week’s wins?
- Is there anything I want to improve on?
- What AREAS did I overperform in (>100%) and why? Do I need to set higher standards in these areas?
- Which DAYS did I overperform and why? How will I prevent this next week?
- What AREAS did I underperform in (<100%) and why? Do I need to adjust my plan or performance or were there external circumstances affecting how I did?
- Which DAYS did I underperform in and why? How will I prevent this next week?
There are more questions in my weekly review, and you can see all of them in my spreadsheet. Remember that it’s not important that you answer all of them. Find what works for you and do that.
The key is that you’re reviewing your progress so you can report, adjust, and determine how hard you need to push yourself or what you must scale back on in the week ahead.
Let’s Wrap This Up
I want to help you succeed with reviewing goals, so I’ll end here with a quick summary and two questions to help you utilize this vital skill.
Here are the potential benefits that can come if you’ll commit to reviewing goals weekly:
- You will grow faster as a person and reach your goals sooner.
- You’re going to know exactly how to adjust your goals each week to either push yourself harder or cut your goals to make them achievable. This will make it easier to stick to your goals.
- You will see when external circumstances have affected your performance and be able to adjust accordingly.
And to have your weekly goal-review session all you need to do is:
- Set aside a time.
- Ask yourself the right questions, such as what went well and what you can improve on.
The two questions I want you to consider now are these:
- What’s one thing you learned from this article?
- What are you going to do differently because of that one thing?
If you’re sincere about asking these questions and proactively make adjustments to your goal-setting system, you will succeed.
The benefits I’ve mentioned will be yours and you will start to see that accomplishing your goals becomes easier, quicker, and is a whole lot more fun than you could have ever imagined.