The Power of Weekly Reviews (+ 40 sample questions)6 min read

Weekly Reviews 4
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We have good intentions, but we often forget them at key moments of our life. We have goals, values, aspirations—but they are not as present in our awareness as they should be. We often gain insights and have moments of epiphany, but then we get busy with other things and don’t fully integrate them.

This is what I call the lower mind—it is busy, distractible, forgetful. The Buddhists call it the “monkey mind”. Its nature is to jump from one object to the next, reacting to the inputs of the environment, and to our own internal triggers. Its movements are haphazard and conditioned.

Yet this is not the only way to be.

It is possible to cultivate what I call the higher mind, which is the more evolved, conscious, and intentional aspect of our being. Using the Buddhist analogy, we could also call it the “monk mind”.

The higher mind has the capacity to tame the lower mind; or, to use a gentler term, to coach it or harness it. The higher mind can give a focal point to the lower mind, and guide it to come back to it again and again.

With its self-awareness, the higher mind can contemplate the values, goals, and principles that it cares about; then, with its willpower, it can guide the lower mind back on track. This can take the form of learning from one’s mistakes, setting intentions for behavior change, or simply reconnecting to one’s goals, values, and insights.

Creating time to do this regularly is the discipline of Reflecting in the Higher Mind System. The two main ways to implement this, in practical terms, are:

  • Daily: using the three-question journal available in the app.
  • Weekly: implementing deeper self-reflection through a weekly review.

This article gives you some ideas of what to do during the weekly review.

Weekly Reviews — the Why and the How

Weekly reviews give us an opportunity to do one or more of the following:

  • Review your core values, power words, aspirations, and goals, so you strengthen your commitment to them
  • Feel grateful for the things that went well, for yourself, and for your life in general
  • Consolidate your learnings, by looking at the week that passed and seeing what were the key lessons in the different areas of your life
  • Decide what you want to do differently the following week
  • Bring closure to the previous week, and build momentum for the next
  • Renew your intentions around the good habits you are building, the bad habits you are breaking, or any other behavior change you are working on
  • Review powerful ideas, insights from books you’ve read, and inspirational quotes you live by

Weekly reviews are checkpoints of awareness. If you don’t have them, then we are living without awareness. You are living on autopilot, and your life feels less purposeful and less centered.

The unexamined life is not worth living.

— Socrates

Self-reflection is the main way to gain wisdom and awareness. It is also indispensable for you to achieve your goals in any area of life. It keeps you focused and accountable.

You can develop your own template, with the reflections and checklists that are important for you. Below are some powerful questions you can include in your template.

Weekly Reviews — The Core Questions

Here are the four core questions I recommend you include in your weekly review. They are the minimum action of the practice and are basically the same questions as the daily journal.

  1. What were the biggest wins in each area of my life this week? (Gratitude)
  2. How did I take a step away from my values, goals, and aspirations this week? (Awareness)
  3. What will I do differently next week? (Intention)
  4. From 1-10, how do I rate myself in living aligned with my values this week? (Alignment)

For the awareness question, remember the core tenet of Mindful Self-Discipline: it’s never about beating yourself up. It’s not about feeling guilty nor shaming yourself. It is only looking at what you need to pay more attention to, seeing where there is room for growth.

For the intention question, don’t just quickly decide it in your mind and move on to the next thing. Let the intention sink in. Close your eyes, and spend a few moments holding on to that intention powerfully. Make it a resolution rather than just a wish.

For the alignment question, if you have done the Power Words exercise in Wise Confidence, you can choose one (or all) of your power words to rate yourself. Otherwise, you can choose one of your core values or aspirations.

Weekly Reviews — Additional Questions

Here are other powerful questions you can add to the four core ones. Don’t feel overwhelmed by their number. You don’t need to use them all. Instead, choose four or five that are most relevant to you, or create your own.

Focus Questions

  1. What was the most important thing accomplished this week?
  2. Which tasks or activities done this week will still matter a year from now?
  3. Which tasks were trivial?
  4. To what should I have said “no” to?
  5. How well did I stick to my plans?
  6. What is the number one mindset, virtue, or quality I need to focus on now?
  7. Close your eyes and connect to the wisdom of your higher mind for a minute. Then ask, “What is the most important thing for me to focus on next week?”

Self-Discipline Questions

  1. What habit did I forget to do? How can I create a stronger cue for it?
  2. What task did I procrastinate on or avoid? How can I make it easier next time?
  3. What excuse did I tell myself? How will I challenge it next time?
  4. What distractions did I indulge in? How can I remove them from my environment?
  5. What goal did I lose motivation for? List seven reasons why that goal is important for me.
  6. What day was most hectic? How can prevent that from happening again?
  7. What could I have done better in terms of time management and energy management?

Quality of Life Questions

  1. How can I slow down?
  2. What do I most need right now?
  3. What areas of life did I neglect this week?
  4. What activity gave me the greatest sense of meaning this week?
  5. How can I create more time to rest, renew, and replenish next week?
  6. If one burden could be removed from my life now, what would that be?
  7. What recurring negative emotion did I experience?

Deeper Learning Questions

  1. Which strategy or approach do I need to re-think?
  2. What assumptions am I holding on to that might be wrong?
  3. What are the most important lessons I’ve learned this week?
  4. What do I need more clarity on? Do a brain dump of all your thoughts on the topic.
  5. What is going on in my life now that I need to take more time to digest?
  6. What is one thing I need to change so I can be more true to myself?
  7. What repeated lesson in life am I overlooking?

Growth Questions

  1. What is one thing I know I need to do, but am hesitating? What can I do to move forward?
  2. What unrealistic expectation am I holding on to?
  3. What can I remove in order to simplify my work?
  4. What is one thing I can do to accelerate my growth?
  5. Where am I currently stuck? What is one step I can take to get unstuck?
  6. How can I better embrace the pain in the journey?
  7. How can I use my current challenges to fuel my commitment and determination?

Finally, the ultimate question:

Am I happy with how I’m spending my time?

Your Next Steps

Weekly reviews are a tool for self-reflection, awareness, and re-alignment. To experience its power, schedule a recurring event on your calendar. Most people like to do them on Sundays or Mondays, and many take the opportunity to also plan the week ahead in the same sitting.

You can allocate thirty minutes to an hour for it. If that is too much for you at this phase of your life, then start with ten minutes, and cover fewer questions. Soon you will realize that weekly reviews give back more time than they take.

If you have found this article helpful, consider sharing it with someone you care about.

Weekly Reviews 4

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