Reflect, review and realign with just 5 empowering questions
The following 5 questions can be applied to any context, not just blogging. I have followed this format for many years to help me reflect, review and realign whenever I lose clarity.
Checking in with yourself like this is empowering and will inspire you too to look ahead positively and make meaningful changes. And, if you’re wondering whether to carry out a more detailed review of your progress, you can always use this simple format as a starting point.
Think about how you’d like to capture your answers. You could try rational or intuitive thinking or even creative exploration. Please have a notebook, journal or piece of paper at the ready, or open a note page on your phone or computer.
Review your progress with 5 simple questions
Which timeframe would you like to look at? The last 3, 6 or 12 months? This is not just an end-of-year exercise. It can be carried out whenever you are wondering whether you’re on the right path.
1. What were the highlights?
For me, it‘s having come through the last year or two safely despite all the upheavals in my life, something I am deeply grateful for. I am feeling more mindful, more creative and clear about my intentions.
Amazingly, my colleague Jean and I recently finished the writing process. This hopefully final draft is about to go to our beta readers, which is so exciting. But realistically we will still have to incorporate some of the feedback amongst a list of other things before we can get it online.
There have been many twists and turns since writing the first draft. Who knew that most of the hard work happens after the initial writing!
Over to you now. Choose the time period you want to think about. What were your highlights?
2. What was your biggest challenge?
There may be one thing that stands out for you. Or there may be more. I think 2022 felt pretty challenging. The war in Ukraine, the energy crisis and recession and the collective “social push” back to some normality after two tough years.
Perhaps it has been affecting you so much that you neglected your writing? Or you went the other way using your blog as a creative or therapeutic outlet?
For me personally it was managing the new symptoms and health flareups after my vaccinations. Also, not trusting myself to say “no” to the booster when I could, and then not being able to do some of the things I wanted (like travel more frequently).
What was your biggest challenge?
3. What’s the learning you can take forward?
The last few months have shown me how important being patient and kind to myself is for a positive mindset. I haven’t “hustled“ for a few years now, and never try to pack too much in. But occasionally things do pile up for reasons outside my control and I can easily lose my balance and sense of inner peace. I know I need to be mindful of that.
As far as my writing goes, it does actually help me to stay positive. Some people seem to think that blogging is dead. It is anything but, even if there has been a noticeable drop in engagement. I reckon social media’s pesky algorithms are part of the problem. Also, there is so much noise online now that readers get distracted and pulled into too many directions.
And yet, how many times have you found the answers to your questions in a blog post online? Or have looked for online recommendations before making a purchase? We do that because we like to feel reassured that the writer is trustworthy and able to help us. Whilst we can all claim to be that very person, discerning readers (and buyers) want more. They look for proof in your blog.
But I am digressing… back over to you!
What’s your learning from the last few months? (Remember you can think about blogging specifically but also about the big picture.) And how would you like to apply it the coming months?
4. What would you like more of?
In the past, things that typically sprung to mind for me were more visibility, more readers (or customers), more recognition, more content ideas, or more consistency.
But if, like me, you don’t find these things very motivating, you may want to dig deeper. This is when I realised that what I really wanted was more ease, more confidence or perhaps a stronger sense of ownership, more truth and authenticity or even more freedom.
It’s because my blog would typically reflect what’s going on elsewhere in my life or business. So as you ask yourself what you want more of for your blog, make sure you also look at the wider context.
What you want more of could also point to your guiding word or words (you can have more than one) that many of us set for a whole year. After you’ve created a “more” list, try to condense it to the essential words. What feels more important than anything else?
If you are reflecting about a shorter time period than a year, this gives you an opportunity to check if anything has changed, and if your words may have changed too.
Are you feeling creative? A great way to capture your word(s) and other ideas is in a collage or vision board.
You may find that your special words can help you to set an intention. This alone can be motivating enough for some, more so there is no need for a detailed plan.
But if you’re someone who likes to think through what you need to do to achieve your “more”, try to remember what mindsets or strategies helped you in the past. Or, alternatively, what tripped you up!
Sometimes clients give me a list of things they should do to achieve x, y, or z. Do you use the word “should” much?
It’s quite a disempowering word because it can keep you standing still. Every time you use it you feel guilty about all the things you haven’t done. This makes you no more likely to work towards x, y, or z in future than before.
What about replacing the word should with “will”? “I will be more creative” sounds more intentional and positive doesn’t it! The right language can be very powerful.
Another strategy that helps is to start with the easiest and most achievable ways to make your “more” come true.
But hey, let’s create your more list first.
5. What would you like less of?
Perhaps your answers to this question deserve even more attention than the previous one. They will be so good for your self-awareness and for enticing the right action.
You may want to experience less stress or worry about your present situation or the future. Or you want less wasting of time (and other resources) or feel less unsure whether you’re following the right path altogether.
When you explore what you want less of, always consider what needs to happen first so you will hopefully get less of that in future.
What needs to change?
Of course you can’t control everything but you can control your own thinking, your habits and behaviour. Perhaps you’ll consider some new strategies whilst trying to resist any old engrained habits that no longer serve you.
Have you ever written a “not-to-do list” for yourself? It can be a very helpful reminder of habits that sabotage our good intentions.
Question 5 is very powerful step as it will help you to make space for positive change.
So what is it to be? What do you want less of, and what needs to change to make it happen?
I hope you feel inspired to capture all your thoughts and ideas. These 5 important questions will help you to review your progress, and so much more. They would also make great prompts to explore in your journal or in your own blog.
Start by selecting a specific time frame, e.g the last 3, 6 or 12 months.
- What were your highlights?
- What was your biggest challenge?
- What’s the learning you can take forward?
- What would you like more of?
- What would you like less of?
A little reminder…
Regardless of what kind of writer you are, you have the potential to reach a lot of people with your thoughts and ideas. If you believe in your voice, which I hope you do, please make the most of your blog. Don’t let it go quiet or use it half-heartedly. Because it really is the heart of everything you do. Social media is so fleeting by nature, it might be here one day and gone tomorrow. It can never compete with your blog!
Ps. If you have tried my 5 questions to help you reflect and review your progress, I’d love to know how you got on. You’re welcome to message me here.
The main photo is by Unsplash,all others are my own.