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.
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.
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.
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:
- What went well this week in terms of my goals?
- What didn’t go so well this week in terms of my goals?
- 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!