Lukas Rosenstock's Blog

Lukas Rosenstock's Blog

A weekly review is a valuable practice to regularly check in with yourself and see how you’re progressing. It should be a part of every self-improvement journey. However, establishing a weekly review as a ritual can be difficult. I have tried a few times and failed to keep up, but now I have found something that works for me. Let me share my approach in the hope that it will be helpful for you, too.

The first thing is finding a regular space to do your review. To establish the practice as a ritual, you should do it at the same time every week, so you need to pick one that works consistently and where you are also in the right mood to do it. If you do it on the weekend, you may not always be able to do it at the same hour due to different weekend plans. If you do it on Friday, you may be too tired and feel like postponing. I’m doing it as my first task on Monday mornings, which works well.

The second and even more crucial thing is finding a format for weekly reviews you enjoy so you don’t dread doing it and start procrastinating. I tried using the plus-minus-next method Anne-Laure Le Cunff of Ness Labs popularized. I pushed it multiple times, but it didn’t stick, even when I made a pact with myself last January. Back then, I blamed the timing and being overwhelmed on Mondays, but now I realize that my primary issue was likely the planning aspect - the “next” column. With short-term goals, the “plus” and “minus” columns became nothing other than a previous week’s “next” column checklist. I felt good about the goals I accomplished and bad about those I didn’t. This checklist drowned out other things that I could have written there. While I could say more about my problems with planning, the key to making a review practice stick was to detach these two: a review that doesn’t try to be a plan.

My current review practice encompasses five columns or questions. As expected, there’s a “positive” and “negative” list. I fill those out based on how I feel about the past week at the review time. Although what I feel good or bad about comes from who I want to be, there’s no explicit checklist to consider. I’m also creating a “so-so” list for things I have mixed feelings about, for example, if I enjoyed something but have spent too much time on it.

The fourth question is about relating my review so far to my goals. And goals, in this context, don’t mean a to-do list for the week. It refers to long-term aspirations that I’ve stated separately. For example, one of my goals is to build out my freelance business with new clients and services. I will ask myself if I’ve done anything in the past week to pursue this goal. If there’s nothing, I should adjust my priorities. Again, I won’t set explicit goals for the next week. Sure, the standard advice is to make something actionable, but it’s better to drop the advice if the fear of not fulfilling a plan stops you from questioning yourself about your progress. Interestingly, this goes both ways. If I’ve mentioned many things as positive in the past week that weren’t related to goals, does this mean I have to revise my goals?!

The fifth question is a fully open question. It’s labeled “other thoughts” and is an invitation for free-flow journaling. It’s a place to write down what answering the previous four questions brought up in my mind. Part of that could be revising goals and priorities or making connections between this week’s and last week’s review and understanding patterns. Again, this is all optional and intended to keep me on a self-improvement journey without enforcing a rigid structure I can’t keep up with.

In summary, my weekly review (nearly) always takes place at the same hour, contains five prompts (positive, negative, so-so, connection to goals, other thoughts), and is entirely detached from any planning. If you have a similar practice or try mine, please share your experience.