It is sad to see that most people spend days into planning their trips and holidays, but they don’t even spend an hour to plan and review their lives.
Yet, many people complain that life is unfair and things just happened to them. In my opinion, whatever you want to achieve in your life, you must plan and review it in order to materialize it.
Regardless of whether it is to live a financially successful life or live a life where you get to travel overseas 3 times a year, you need to plan for it to realize it.
Success is not an accident. It doesn’t just happen like that. It takes conscious effort, planning, and actions to get there.
This is why reviewing your life is so important.
Reviewing Your Life Allows You to Know Where You Are
First, when you review your life, you know where you are right away. You know if you are making progress or if you are staying at the same point in your life.
I bet that you don’t want to live this year exactly the same as your last year, right? You want something better and you want to achieve more, right?
You Know If You Are Moving Forward or Backward
Next, when you do a review, you know if what you do is going to get you the results you desire or not.
If you don’t do a review, how can you know if what you do is going to get you the results you want?
It is only when you stop and reflect, that you are able to find out if what you do is getting you the results you want.
Don’t just run blindly. You need to run in the right direction in order to get to the right destination.
Life is Like Paddling Through a Raging River
I love how Tony Robbins explains life. He uses the metaphor of a raging river to describe life. You can read more from his book, Awaken The Giant Within. And this is what he said:
“Too many of us don’t make the majority of our decisions consciously… in so doing, we pay a major price.
In fact, most people live what I call ‘The Niagara Syndrome’. I believe that life is like a river, and that most people jump on the river of life without ever really deciding where they want to end up.
So, in a short period of time, they get caught up in the current: current events, current fears, current challenges.
When they come to forks in the river, they don’t consciously decide where they want to go, or which is the right direction for them. They merely ‘go with the flow’.
They become a part of the mass of people who are directed by the environment instead of by their own values. As a result, they feel out of control.
They remain in this unconscious state until one day the sound of the raging water awakens them, and they discover that they’re five feet from Niagara Falls in a boat with no oars.
At this point, they say, ‘Oh shoot!’. But by then it’s too late. They’re going to take a fall.
Sometimes it’s an emotional fall.
Sometimes it’s a physical fall.
Sometimes it’s a financial fall.
It’s likely that whatever challenges you have in your life currently could have been avoided by making some better decisions upstream.”
Do you now know why it is important to constantly review your life?
You don’t want to suffer the “Niagara Fall Syndrome’. You don’t want to wait until a point in your life only to realize that it is too late to change.
Thus, plan and review your life on a consistent basis.
[ctt template=”9″ link=”UAaM0″ via=”no” ]“Nobody ever wrote down a plan to be broke, fat, lazy, or stupid. Those things are what happen when you don’t have a plan.” – Larry Winget[/ctt]
The 4 Great Ways How to Review Your Life
I’m going to share with you some useful ways how you can review and evaluate your life.
Of course, choose the methods that suit you. Some methods are good that you want to use them to review your life each day. Some may take more time and are more about life-reflection, so you may want to do it once every quarter or half-yearly basis.
1. Ask the Question Steve Jobs Asked Himself Each Morning
Steve Jobs, the man who started Apple and brought it to become the first trillion dollar company in the world, was a master of living and working purposefully.
Each morning, when Jobs woke up, he asked himself this one question:
“‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?’ If the Answer is ‘no’ for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.”
You may think that it is ridiculous to think about your mortality at the start of the day, but in reality, this is actually very motivating and filled with optimistic to do better in life, every single day.
By asking this question, you will become aware of what you do on a daily basis. You will know if what you do each day is getting you closer to your goals or not.
And like Jobs did, when the answer he got is no for too many days, he knew that something is not right and he must change it.
So ask yourself this question too. Of course, you don’t have to follow exactly like how Jobs did, you can customize the question a little to fit your own context.
You can read and learn more about how Jobs did it from this article.
2. The 3 Review Questions
At the end of each year, James Clear, one of the famous bloggers in the personal development and productivity industry will perform a yearly review.
James is one of my favorite bloggers and I read most of his posts. These are the 3 questions that he will ask himself to review his year:
- What went well this year?
- What didn’t go so well this year?
- What am I working toward?
It is easy to ask yourself these questions. The difficult part is in getting the answer. What you need to do is to write down your answers.
The problem with most people is that they just do quick reflection but they don’t put down their thoughts in words.
If you are serious about living your ideal lifestyle, you must take this seriously and write down your answers.
In James case, he is a blogger, so he will blog about it. You can check out his 2017 annual review and see how he did it.
As for me, I write down my annual review in my journal. I love to take a day off to do this. And there was a time I took 3 days off having a holiday on a beautiful island in Thailand to do my annual review.
Like James did, I write down what went well throughout the year, what didn’t go well, and what I’m planning to do in the coming years.
Reviewing your life is one of the most empowering activity you can do.
And my suggestion is that you should do it at least once a year.
3. Photo Look-Back
Another great method is through a method calls photo look-back. I learned this from Emily Freeman, you can read her blog post here.
This is a fun and engaging way to review and reflect on your life. This is what Emily says about her experience:
“While the magazines and news anchors are choosing their most fascinating people of the year and their most compelling global headlines, looking back through personal photos helps me to focus on the important headlines in our own family and meaningful moments we shared.”
And Emily nails it when she says that reflection doesn’t always have to lead to productivity or motivation, sometimes, it is just about slowing down and listen to what life has to tell you.
In my opinion, doing a photo look-back can be great, but you have to make sure you don’t overspend your time there until you wasted your precious time living in your past.
The key is to do the reflection so that you can live a better life according to your own terms.
Sometimes, we can spend hours looking back at photos until we lost ourselves in the past. We forgot that we are living in the present and it is what we do now that will determine our future, not the past.
4. Take Time Off
Yes, taking time off is good for reflection. Have you heard about the story of Archimedes and how he managed to discover the water displacement theory?
Well, Archimedes was thinking about the problem day and night, but he found no solution to the problem. Until a time when he took a bath, he saw water displaced as he slid into the tub. You can read the story here.
The Eureka (I found it) moment came to him when he was in a relaxed mood.
Thus, take time off, my friend. Let your soul rest from time to time. Recharge so that you can find your own Eureka moment as well.
When you take time off, you put yourself in a relaxed mood. And this is when creative ideas will flow to you.
Imagine you are sitting in a coffee shop all by yourself. If you are engaged and connected with your smartphone, checking emails or social media, you never give your mind and soul time to relax. There are no way ideas can flow to you.
Now, imagine if you are just sitting there, doing nothing and looking at people walking around. This is the time when you will play with your thoughts. You may think, “Hmm, maybe I can do that,” as you look at random people passing by.
Remember what Albert Einstein said?
[ctt template=”9″ link=”7d139″ via=”no” ]“Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.”[/ctt]
And when you are relaxed, you give yourself to be creative and imaginative.
So want to review your life? Take time off. Relax and reimagine your life.
Success is by design. Things will not just come to you automatically. And in order to make sure that the results you want to come to you, you must perform regular check-and-balance from time to time. This is where you should review your life.
Use the 4 methods I shared above to do a reflection and review your life. You can do it on a daily like Steve Jobs did. Or you can do it on a month, quarterly, or yearly basis.
The key is to do the review so that you know where you are. You can calibrate your plans and make sure you are moving in the right direction.
Let me know what you think about this article by leaving your comment below. And if you like what you read, remember to share it. Cheers.