How To Achieve Goals Faster With Regular Self Reflection

Do you want to achieve your goals faster?

Well yeah…. That’s a dumb question, Clarissa. It’s like asking if the sky is blue, or if 2020 was a rough year. 

Of course you want to achieve your goals faster, everyone does. It’s human nature. But being the big-brained mammals that we are… there’s a lot we have to take into account.

For example, the safety and sustainability of the methods that we choose to reach said goals.

Now I’m not promising you’ll achieve your goals fairy-godmother fast.

Goals, habits, and anything else worth having in life takes time, patience and a whole lot of effort.

What I am promising, is “faster”. 

In this post I’ll introduce you to a simple process with three insightful self reflection questions that will teach you how to achieve goals faster by learning faster.

I’ve even made you a free downloadable Weekly Self Reflection Worksheet so you can get started right away! Sign-up here to get access to it and the rest of my resource library instantly!

How to achieve goals faster with regular self reflection
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The Importance of Learning In Habit Formation

New habits and goals are a lot like science experiments.

It’s going to take awhile for them to work out right. And frankly, you might have some small explosions here and there before it’s all said and done. 

This is because habits, goals, and science experiments all require some trial and error.

When we have trial and error situations, the key to success is learning

Learning from your mistakes, making adjustments as needed, and trying again. That’s how goals are achieved.

What I am going to teach you today is how to learn faster. 

The faster you learn, the faster you can settle into a routine that works well for YOU (not Pilates Pam in accounting).

What Happens When People Refuse To Learn & Adapt

Many times people refuse to approach building a new healthy habit like an experiment.

Instead they think they have the “perfect plan” right out of the gate and feel that any deviation would be nothing short of admitting defeat.

These people end up doing things that aren’t working well for them for far too long, simply because it worked for someone they know or they read that it was “the best way to ______”. 

So they stubbornly race along with their blinders on, ignoring the fact that their plan isn’t working, until they smack right into a brick wall and inevitably, call it quits.

This stubbornness is irrational. It is very unlikely that you’ll come up with the perfect action plan the very first time around. 

Tweaking the plan should not be considered failing. 

Instead it should be considered strategic and resourceful because it means that you are learning and adapting. Both of which make it much more likely that you’ll actually achieve your goal.

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How Regular Self Reflection Can Help Increase Learning Speed

Self-reflection is defined as the process of examining your own thoughts, values, behaviors, and/or habits for the purpose of personal growth.

In a moment, I will share the Weekly Self Reflection Worksheet with you. But first, let’s look at a case study to help us understand how self reflection can speed up learning when trying to form new habits.

Barbara is a middle aged woman with high cholesterol and a family history of heart disease. 

At her annual check-up, her doctor recommends that she lose some weight and try intermittent fasting (only eating during a particular window of time during the day).

Barbara is committed to improving her habits and getting healthy so she begins a walking program and plans to eat only between the hours of 7AM and 7PM.

For the first week she eats dinner around 5PM and then walks around her neighborhood after dinner. But she is often starving by 10PM, which is outside of her designated eating window.

After completing the Weekly Self Reflection Worksheet, Barb learns that the problem is that she is eating dinner too early. She thinks she might have better luck eating dinner closer to the end of her window.

So for the second week Barb adjusts her action plan and eats dinner at 6:30. But she realizes that by the time she is done eating dinner and cleaning up after, that it is getting close to dark.

After doing her self reflection worksheet, she concludes that the 6:30 dinner is working well but that she needs to make her workout earlier. 

So for the third and fourth weeks she switches her workouts to before work, and keeps dinner at 6:30 which seems to work much better for her!

See how many times Barbara tweaked her action plan? She used the Weekly Self Reflection Worksheet to figure out the problem and then was able to adjust her strategy quickly to settle on a routine that worked well for her.

Imagine if she didn’t stop to reflect on what was and wasn’t working. Or if she was dead set on sticking to her first action plan no matter what.

She likely would have failed.

How To Achieve Goals Faster With The Weekly Self Reflection Worksheet

Alright! Now that you understand the importance of regular self reflection, are you ready to use it to learn how to achieve goals faster?

3 Simple Self Reflection Questions

The Weekly Self-Reflection Worksheet that I have provided for you in the free resource library contains three, simple self reflection questions.

1 – What Went Well This Week In Terms Of My Goals?

In this section, really dig deep and give yourself credit for things that went well during the week, no matter how big or small. 

Write down your successes, and take time to celebrate them!

Then consider what you can do to make sure you repeat these successes next week.

2 – What Didn’t Go So Well This Week In Terms Of My Goals?

In life, there will always be things that come up that we don’t expect, and sometimes they will throw us for a loop. That is just the nature of life.

Take time to write down anything here that didn’t go quite as well as you would have hoped. Then take some time to reflect on why you think it happened.

If you are having trouble getting to the bottom of why it happened, try the “5 whys” activity.

It is important that you don’t beat yourself up about the things you are writing down in this box. That is not the purpose of this exercise. The purpose is to figure out what went wrong, so you can fix it going forward.

3 – What Can I Do To Make Next Week Go More Smoothly?

When answering this question, consider what you wrote in the other two boxes. 

What went well, and how can you do more of that? What didn’t go well, and how can you prevent it from happening again?

Sometimes it will be the case that you had an excellent week and nothing needs to be corrected. It is absolutely okay to write that in this last box.

But if things do need adjusting, this is where you can go back and make changes to your action plan if necessary.

It’s important not to get too attached to your action plans. They could be great plans, but if they aren’t working for your particular situation, they are no good to you. In this case, it’s time to throw out plan A and move on to plan B.

Remember, there are many ways to reach a goal. It is always better to change the action plan, than to stick to one that doesn’t work and end up quitting the goal altogether.

Conclusion

Regular self reflection speeds up the learning process so you can find a routine that works for you, and achieve your new habits and goals, faster.

At the end of each week, before you start a new one, ask yourself the following 3 self reflection questions:

  1. What went well this week in terms of my goals?
  2. What didn’t go so well this week in terms of my goals?
  3. What can I do to make next week go more smoothly?

Taking a few minutes to answer these self reflection questions each week will make the trial and error of finding a routine that works for you much less frustrating!

I’d love to hear your experiences with self reflection!

  • Do you regularly do self reflection?
  • What is your best advice for how to achieve goals faster?
  • What are your favorite self reflection questions?
  • If you don’t currently do a weekly self reflection, do you think starting might be helpful?

Let’s continue the conversation in the comments!

And if you’d like more tips on building healthy habits and a positive mindset, don’t forget to sign up for my weekly newsletter so you never miss a post!

~Clarissa

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Author: clarissa.cabbage

Clarissa is a teacher, a coach, and an avid adventurer! Armed with a master's degree in Exercise and Wellness, she is on a mission to teach people how to build healthier habits that support the adventurous lifestyle of their dreams. There is nothing Clarissa is more passionate about than helping people get active and live their lives to the fullest!

74 Replies to “How To Achieve Goals Faster With Regular Self Reflection

  1. This post is what I need this week!!! I’m so happy I read this today before the work week tomorrow. Everything you mentioned is so spot on and I agree to it all!

    I love how you touched on the importance of learning and adapting. There is no such thing as perfect and if it is one thing I have learned over the years is things happen and setting big goals without reflecting makes it hard to attain. Small goals, learning to adapt, and reflection are indeed key to achieve goals.

    Thanks for the worksheet as well!

    1. You are very welcome Rebekah! I hope you find the worksheet useful. I do this exact reflection every week for my new goals.

      I absolutely agree that the ability to adapt is a game changer. I feel like so many times people go in with unrealistic expectations and think that they’ll have that perfect plan right away. But that’s rarely if ever the case. Thank you so much for stopping by and sharing your insight. ☺️

    1. Good point Antonia, you may be right that some people set goals just because others do. I have seen some research that a surprising proportion of people never actually get started on their New Year’s resolutions. Maybe that’s what’s going on. Thank you for stopping by and adding to the conversation by sharing your ideas!

    1. I would agree that many people struggle to achieve goals because they never stop to diagnose what’s going wrong and how they can fix it. Thank you for stopping by and sharing your ideas!Thank you for stopping by and sharing your ideas!

    1. You are very welcome Jenni! I think it’s very important to take time to stop and recognize our successes no matter how big or small. Achieving new goals takes a lot of confidence in our abilities and this is one of the major ways to build that. Thank you for stopping by and giving this a read!

  2. I like the part that enjoins to write down our success, I think we neglect how great that can be for our minds, motivates us to do more and does so well for our overall happiness. Thanks Clarissa.

    1. You are welcome Abayomi! I absolutely agree that stopping and taking time to review I absolutely agree that stopping and taking time to review our is amazing for our overall mindset and confidence in our abilities, which are both very important for being able to achieve our goals. Thanks for stopping by and giving this a read!

  3. I loved this.
    I believe in self reflection so much because it allows you to be aware of yourself, the areas you’re doing well and the areas you need to work on so you can be the best version of yourself.
    It definitely helps with achieving your goals more eficiently.

    Great post.

    Nons Mshengu – Cher Belle

    1. Yes I absolutely agree Nons! Self-reflection is a really powerful tool for assessing how things are going so that we can make little tweaks and changes here and there to get the most out of our effort. Thank you so much for stopping by contributing to the conversation!

  4. What is your best advice for how to achieve goals faster? It is the journey that is always memorable. I believe in this and do follow it too. Take time, but do it. Is my motto. Don’t push to much on yourself is my slf-talk. I love the way you have written the post. Celebrate the small things and writing it to read when you are low is the best.

    1. Great point Lubna! I agree that it’s the journey that we need to focus on. What that means in terms of our goals is to focus on the process. And this self-reflection is definitely part of the process and I would agree that it makes it in more enjoyable process by decreasing frustration and wasted effort. Thank you so much for stopping by and sharing your thoughts with us!

  5. Wonderfully written article! January is always a great time to reflect, regroup, and reorganize my priorities and goals! Thanks for posting! Bookmarking to reference back to!

    1. I’m so glad that you enjoyed this Jessica! I definitely do a little bit more reflecting at the end/beginning of the year, but I think it’s important to do this year round when you’re trying to build a new habit. Once you’ve established the habit and got a routine figured out that works really well for you it can definitely decrease in frequency. Thank you so much for stopping by and giving this a read!

  6. This is such a helpful post. I never used to do any form of self reflection before but I am doing it on a two weekly basis this year. I can definitely see how it works better for achieving goals and will continue to sit down and reflect on how things are going regularly.

    1. Awesome Kelly that sounds like a great plan. Every two weeks works as well. Everybody’s a little bit different in what they prefer and I think it’s important that they pay attention to that. I tend to do this self-reflection weekly when I’m trying to work out a new routine or habit. Once I’ve really got it down though I tend to do this a little less frequently maybe once a month or so. I like to do it at least once a month though. Thanks so much for checking this out and I hope that you like the self-reflection!

  7. This post was very helpful and an interesting read, Clarissa! I had always been the impatient and stubborn person that keeps going its way even when stuff is not working, but got better with time. This will surely help even more. Thanks for sharing x

    1. You are so very welcome Cristina. I used to be like you were as well and be very stubborn and think that it was a failure if I changed my plan in any way. But then I finally recognized how irrational that was and how it was holding me back from achieving the goals that were so important to me. We tend to become a little more realistic about these things as we get a little older don’t we? 😂🤷 Either way, I hope this helps you to continue on your journey and achieve your goals. Thank you so much for stopping by and giving it a read!

  8. A really informative and helpful post. I’m definitely one of those who want to achieve my goals as soon as they come to mind and can be incredibly impatient with myself when I don’t achieve them quickly and rarely reflect on the ones I have achieved. Definitely going to consider this and start self-reflection more regularly when considering my goals too.

    1. It’s human nature to want to achieve our goals as fast as possible Hannah. I think most of us are probably in that same boat with you there. But yes, if you think this self-reflection would help it might be worth giving a try. I think you might find you like it and it may help you be a little bit more patient when you’re actually seeing some of your progress. At least for me it helps me focus on how far I’ve come rather than how far I still have to go which can be motivating. I hope you find it helpful, thanks so much for stopping by and giving it a read!

    1. You are very welcome Courtney! If you have a lot of goals to keep track of and plan for I have a couple of resources in the free resource library that you might find helpful. There’s a habit tracker in there as well as an action planning template to map out how you’ll actually go about achieving those goals. Check them out if you like I think you might find them helpful! Either way thank you for stopping by and giving this a read, and best of luck on all your 2021 goals!

    1. Thank you Sophia I’m glad you like the idea. I think the key word that you mentioned is “efficiency”. the self reflection process definitely does make things a little more efficient so you can prevent wasted energy. Thanks so much for stopping by and taking the time to leave a comment!

  9. Self-reflection is really important! TBH, I have only self-reflected “properly” this new year, so I’m planning to do it if not weekly, then monthly!

  10. Amazing post! I really love number 2, I think reflecting on what you did wrong is difficult at times. But it can be really helpful in the future. Thanks for sharing these tips!

    1. You are welcome Sejal! I agree that it can sometimes be tough thinking about what went wrong. I think it’s important to recognize that it’s not done to beat yourself up or place blame so much as to learn from it. If you can do that it becomes a little easier to do step two there. Thank you so much for stopping by and taking the time to comment!

  11. I love that you talk about self-reflection in this post! It seems like such a great idea to use it to help achieve goals. Really examining yourself helps a lot of things, but I never thought about in regard to goals. Very nice article!

    1. Thanks So much Stephanie I’m glad that you enjoyed this article. Yes social reflection can be used in a lot of different contexts. Using it in the context of goals I think is incredibly helpful. Give it a shot I hope you find it as beneficial as I do. Thanks for stopping by and giving this a read!

  12. As a person who loves learning and setting/achieving new goals I back everything you said in this post! Great job!

    1. That’s awesome Tiffany! The weekly sale for reflections make all the difference when you’re trying to establish new goals habits or routines. Thank you so much for sharing your experience with us!

  13. Found this post really helpful! I’m currently doing a qualification where we are expected to do a lot of self reflection and it’s something I struggle with. This has definitely helped me to view self reflection in a more positive way so thank you!

    1. You are very welcome Nicci! I’m glad to hear that I was able to help you view self-reflection in a more positive light. It’s got to be for a purpose if it’s going to be helpful. Self reflection for the sake of self-reflection can be annoying, But when you think of it in terms of learning it takes on a meaningful purpose. Thank you so much for stopping by and checking out my post!

  14. A weekly check-in not only keeps us reminded about what our goals are but also helps us refresh and find new ways to achieve them if our original plan of action is not working as we thought it might.

    I love the questions you pose to help with self-reflection; figuring out what did not go so well is as important as figuring out why! 🙂

    1. Yes I absolutely agree Jaya! And I think that doing regular self-reflections and checking on how your plan is working sets your mindset up so that you are more open and willing to change the plan if it’s not serving you well. Which is really important for conserving effort and reducing frustration. Thanks so much for coming by and taking the time to leave a comment!

  15. I just really love the way you structure your blog post! It’s like the perfect example of what a blog post should be! And yes, I definitely agree with your points here! Goals and habits are like science experiments (TRUE), we all have to try to figure out which works and which doesn’t. It’s all about trial and error and self-awareness! Everyone wants to his/her goals faster but we all have to be patient and realistic lol.

    http://www.lifebeginsattwenty.com

    1. Yes exactly Monique! I find that very few people go into building a new habit with the mindset of it being an experiment. But by adopting that mindset they are so much more willing to adapt and overcome and therefore actually achieve their goal. Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts and experiences!

    1. You are welcome Kia! I agree that we can sometimes feel overwhelmed and be focused on everything that’s happening externally and not so much internally. Thank you for stopping by and checking out my blog!

  16. This is a fantastic post, Clarissa! Having self-reflections every couple of days helps me so much. I love having measurable goals so that I know whether I’m on the right track on not. The 3 main questions you included are so helpful in setting yourself up for the following week. Thanks for sharing x

    http://www.lynnmumbingmejia.com

    1. You are very welcome Lynn! I’m glad to hear that self-reflections have been so helpful for you as well. Yes I absolutely agree one of the biggest motivators is seeing progress on a measurable goal. I think these reflections give us the opportunity to check up on that progress and really see how far we’ve come.

  17. I love this post Clarissa! It is important to practice self reflection. It is important to practice self reflection as often as possible – at the end of each day, at the end of each week, at the end of each month and so on.. Self reflection does help us see where we need to improve and work towards becoming a better version of ourselves, self reflection also helps us find new ways, methods and tactics to achieve our goals if our original plan/tactic isn’t going as planned and I’ll definitely start practicing self reflection more often. Thank you for sharing.
    Ruth| Ruthiee loves Glamour

    1. You are very welcome Ruth. I’m glad that this message resonated with you so much. And yes I agree that one of the best things about self-reflection is that it gives us the opportunity to experiment with new methods or techniques to reach our goals. Thank you for taking the time to share your experience and leave a comment!

  18. I love this! It pretty much sums up my Sunday evening! I spend the evening relaxing, but also looking back at the last week- what worked and what didn’t! Looking at my goals from last week, and then setting new ones for the following week!

    Katie | katieemmabeauty.com

    1. That’s awesome Katie! It sounds like you and I have a very similar Sunday routine. I think it’s the perfect day for as you said reflecting on the week that’s past and planning for the coming week. It’s like our own little weekly reset which I think is super valuable. Thank you so much for sharing your routine with us!

  19. Really interesting and useful post! I completely agree that self-reflection really can help you achieve your goals faster as you learn what works for you and what doesn’t, and you can change that accordingly xx

    1. I’m so glad to hear you found this post so interesting and useful Della! I think people really overlook the importance of learning when it comes to goals. It seems they focus on everything else but forget the role of adapting and learning to overcome obstacles. Thank you for stopping by!

  20. Okay, you have convinced me that I need to implement self-reflection into my weekly routine. I have a lot of goals and habits I am working on this year so anything that will help me in working towards those is something I want to give a try.

    1. That sounds like an awesome plan Sarah! I think it would be especially useful for you if you have multiple goals that you are working towards. I hope this helps you find a routine that works for you faster and saves you some frustrations. Thanks so much for stopping by and best of luck with all your goals!

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed the article Elle! I think many people forget that the whole purpose of self-reflection is learning. Learning what worked well learning what didn’t work so well learning to celebrate our successes. And learning to adapt and overcome when necessary.

  21. This post is so helpful! Self-reflection is indeed so important when setting goals. It’s crucial to know what went well and what didn’t, in case you need to adjust something.

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