I discovered the amazing power of self check-in to help make decisions about my future. Some of us dream of having the confidence to pursue our dreams and goals. The reality is that this isn’t always easy, especially if you feel like your life is out of control or unsure of where you want it to go. Studies show it helps build self-confidence and might just change your life.
Part of being successful at anything is having a clear action plan for achieving those goals. In this article, I’ll discuss why it’s important to schedule a self-check-in every month, even if it’s just for 30 minutes, and what benefits come from doing so.
Setting Monthly Time Aside For a Self Check In
If your life is spinning out of control, it’s a sign for a monthly self-check-in that is as simple as spending 30 minutes alone and jotting down what’s going well in your life. This exercise can help you discover something positive about yourself or remind you of an accomplishment that could be overlooked during the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Self-check-ins help identifies areas where improvements may be necessary.
The #1-in-60 Rule – Why a Small Amount of Time Will Make a Big Difference
You can make a big difference in your life with just a small amount of time each day. James Clear, the author of Atomic Habits, has an interesting formula that we’re going to call the #1-in-60 Rule, which is based on science and research:
- If you spend 1 hour per week on self-improvement, you will have doubled your productivity.
- If you spend 1 hour per month on self-improvement, it will transform your life over 5 years.
Setting aside time for a monthly self-check-in doesn’t take much at all! And, even though most people are busy or feel like they don’t have enough time for self-development (or maybe not even sure what that means), making improvement plans is actually very easy once you start doing it consistently every day or week or month.
Real-time Course Corrections and Adjustments
A vital step to course correct and adjust is identifying what you’re doing exceptionally well. This is a great way to build confidence, which will help you make the right decisions down the line.
Confidence is necessary because it can be difficult to admit when something isn’t working out as planned, but this step allows you to stay on track without giving up hope or feeling like a failure. Real-time course corrections and adjustments along the way are not easy and are often not fun. But they are necessary for long-term success, so give yourself credit for taking time out of your busy monthly schedule to self check-in!
Related Post: Do You Know Your Strengths?
Dedicating the Necessary Energy and Resources
Remember that you can’t do everything, so you must be selective about where you invest your time and energy. What’s the difference between ‘wants’ and ‘needs’?
Your needs keep you strong and healthy, while wants are just things that are nice to have if there is extra time and energy available. If you have never made this distinction before, you must do so now or else there will be no way for us to help build your confidence.
Focus on What’s Urgent, But Not Important
The idea of what is urgent but not important may sound counterintuitive. However, this is a helpful way to differentiate between things worth your time for a monthly self-check-in and those that aren’t.
For example, imagine you have been working at the same job for 10 years and have never had a raise or promotion. Then one day, you receive an email from your boss telling you that he wants to discuss yearly performance reviews with everyone in the department before making any decisions about pay raises for next year.
In this situation, there are two possible ways of thinking about this meeting:
- I need to focus on getting a raise because it’s urgent (my boss wants me there tomorrow). This isn’t very useful, though, because even if I get my raise, there’s no guarantee that my job will still be around when the next round of layoffs comes around—so focusing on getting a raise might be shortsighted and stressful!
- My job security is more important than whether or not I get a raise or promotion right now; therefore, I will focus on mentally and emotionally preparing myself so that if I get passed up for a pay raise, they may not fire me.”
Asking This Question Cuts Through the Noise
Asking this question cuts through the noise and helps you focus on what matters: ‘Is this important?” What am I spending time doing each day that doesn’t matter? How many hours a week of your life do you spend watching TV or playing video games when there are more fulfilling things to do with your time? Ask yourself whether what you are doing is an urgent priority but not important in terms of long-term impact on your life.
The reality is that most things we think are urgent aren’t actually necessary, and many things we believe are important aren’t urgent at all by comparison. For example, if you want to lose weight, then exercising for 30 minutes twice a week may be enough if it’s done consistently over time (and let’s face it: walking for 30 minutes twice a week isn’t going to kill anyone).
If someone has been sedentary for years and wants to get into great shape in 4 weeks, they need an hour-long workout every day. That kind of intensity isn’t sustainable long term, so even though the second scenario might seem more “urgent,” I would argue that getting into great shape would be less effective than losing a few pounds slowly!
Systems and Habits Aligned with Long-Term Goals
A system is an organized way of doing something. A habit is a routine you repeat every day or regularly, like brushing your teeth or going to the gym. The difference between a system and a habit is that systems are more about the big picture (like how you organize your life), while habits are more specific routines.
If you want to exercise more, one way to do this would be to create a daily workout routine with specific exercises and times for each. But another way could be simply making sure your workout clothes are ready at the door, so it’s easy for when you’re ready! The second option is just as effective at helping people meet their exercise goals but might not appeal as much since it doesn’t seem like such an “official” choice yet. Instead, it feels more organic because there’s no need for organization beforehand (in fact, there might even be less!).
This isn’t a negative commentary on either approach, though – both can work well depending on what works best for each person.
Habits for Making New Habits Stick
I’ve started making a habit of monthly self-check-ins, which has been really helpful. The best part is that you can use these same principles to make new habits stick in your life.
- Start small: The idea behind this is that if you try to change too much at once, it will be overwhelming, and you’ll give up. Take just ONE thing and make that your focus for the month (like having a morning routine). Each month add another thing until, eventually, you have an entire system!
- Set a trigger: A trigger signals us to do something (like putting our keys by the door). Suppose we want to create a new habit. We need an external or internal cue (something outside ourselves), such as an alarm or feeling hungry/tired/angry, etc., that prompts us into action, so we don’t have control over when those feelings arise. However, we have control over how often these triggers happen each day which will help build consistency within our lives.
- Make it easy: If something takes too much effort or time, chances are good that people won’t sustain doing whatever it was because there are always easier ways available! Make sure that whatever habit you’re trying out isn’t overly difficult; otherwise, there’s no point in doing anything!”
Self-check-ins are one of the most important things you can do regularly to help you build momentum and confidence in your professional and personal life. Don’t wait until the end of each year to start thinking about what went well or where you need to improve. Build systems and habits that move you toward your long-term goals. Start now!