As I’ve mentioned many times, I spend an hour or two each weekend simply reflecting on my life and goals. I look ahead, not only at the following week, but at long term goals as well, and I ask myself whether I’m on the right track with them.
At the same time, I look back over the week, clear out any little tasks left undone, and spend some time reflecting on those days.
Most of the time, the reflection on the week just passed takes the form of making a short list of mistakes and another short list of successes. I look back at the things I did well and the things I did poorly over the past week.
For each mistake, I try to look for something I can keep in mind so I don’t repeat that mistake in the future.
For example, this past week, I misused too much time on several evenings. One evening, I mostly just sat around experimenting with the features of a recent birthday gift from my in-laws. Another evening, I spent two hours playing an online game with some friends when I really should have been doing some household chores.
My big take-home from those mistakes is that I need to be more conscious of my time use, especially in the evenings. It’s fine to play a game or to enjoy an activity, but if it’s taking time away from something genuinely important (even if it’s not an urgent thing), you might be making a mistake.
Another example of a mistake I made this week: I didn’t take the time to talk to some people that I really owed a conversation with. I didn’t make time for two different people I cared about, and I really regretted it.
I had two responses to that mistake: one, I contacted them almost immediately and had that conversation, and two, I recognize that I need to always make time for the people who are truly important to me.
For each success, I try to look for something I can keep in mind so I can make that success a repeatable one.
For example, this past week, I spent no money at all on hobbies or entertainment. Instead, I enjoyed the things I already had on hand.
My big take-home from that success was that I don’t really need to spend money on these things unless there’s a strong and compelling reason to do so. I had a perfectly enjoyable week without spending money on my hobbies or anything else besides food and basic bills.
Another success I had was that I enjoyed a few really great bonding experiences with my daughter. I worry quite a lot about that relationship because I grew up in a family with just boys and, at least during my elementary school years, I did not have any female friends. I do fine relating to female adults, but I worry that I’m not good at relating to my little girl.
What did I take home from that? Mostly, I gained some insights into how my girl thinks. I got to see her thought processes and responses up close in some areas that I hadn’t seen before – and, frankly, I was very proud of her.
That little bit of time spent reflecting on the mistakes and successes of the week helps point me in the right direction for the following week. I now understand my daughter a little bit better. I reinforced that I really don’t need to spend money on my hobbies to enjoy them. I also saw that I need to work on communication and on my evening time management.
Life is a journey, one that will take unknown turns as we go. All we really have to learn from is the steps we’ve already taken.