I’ve never been one to journal–I always thought it was unnecessary time spent away from actually living life. But if anytime was the time to try something new that I previously rejected, 2021 was the perfect year. I didn’t think I was ready for a daily journal commitment, so I decided to start on a weekly basis. Excited about my new habit, I created a Notion page for reflections that I would complete on Sunday evenings. If it’s on Notion, it’s serious.
My weekly reflection template has 5 sections, all of which either help me remember more of my experiences and feelings or help me achieve my goals and recognize important benchmarks that I am potentially hitting or missing. Here’s how I organize my weekly reflection:
- Gratitude. Everything starts with giving thanks. That’s why before even detailing what I did this week, I started by listing three things that I’m grateful for. You can have gratitude for literally anything, and acknowledging it in a journal makes it even more powerful. This week, I was grateful for a particular friend who was there when I needed her and gave me encouragement, cocoa powder because I’ve found it to be an awesome substitute for sugar when I’m craving chocolate, and the fact that I have a car which gives me the ability to go anywhere at any time without much restriction. These are just the first three things that I thought of within a minute of sitting down to journal, but I probably could have come up with hundreds more. I’ll simply save those for next week.
- Happenings. This is where I wrote down everything that I did this week. I noted each interaction I had with friends in-person and what memory we shared together. I also wrote about how these engagements made me feel, if they brought me energy or if I felt worn down after the interaction. While still limited due to COVID-19 restrictions, social interaction is a key part of my happiness, so I always make a conscious effort to see my friends safely very often.
- Workouts. I’m currently training for a marathon, so this one is of particular importance now, but might not always be. I analyzed each of my workouts and how I felt after them. I looked at my progress from the previous week and reflected on how I can improve my runs in the coming days. This past week was a low mileage week for me because I am just coming off of an injury, but I feel strong enough now to increase the intensity, something I might not have realized without doing this weekly reflection.
- Nutrition. I’m always trying to eat healthier. Aren’t we all? I’ve been tracking my macros and have noticed that I don’t get as much protein as I should, especially for how active I am. Once I recognized this deficiency and started incorporating higher protein meals and snacks into my diet (thank you, NutriBullet), I saw an increase in my energy levels and satisfaction after meals. Nutrition is something we don’t take time to reflect on holistically, often scrutinizing every meal as “good” or “back” instead looking at our entire track record for the week.
- Morning and Evening Routines. Developing strong and healthy habits is one of my main goals for the first few months of 2021 and morning and evening routines are the best ways that I can measure and track these habits. This week, I did pretty well on my morning routine including drinking lemon water, doing a 10 minute core workout, and some kind of outdoor exercise. On the other hand, my evening routine lacked consistency where I trended to either complete all items or none at all. However, one habit that I’ve been working to build–reading a novel before bed–went pretty well this week. I finished We Were Liars and have now started The Silent Patient.
While this practice of weekly reflections is very new to me, I’m going to continue for the next few months to see if it helps me progress more consistently towards my goals. I also set myself a reminder at the end of each month to re-read all of my weekly reflections. I’m hoping it will jog some happy memories as well put my progress into perspective.