I have already spoken a bit about retrospectives here. But that was regarding the professional environment and your office mates. Retrospectives are always a good way to keep improving anything you are discussing about. So why not retrospectives surrounding your career and yourself?
It’s not post-it talk
It’s obvious that the intention is not to follow a regular retrospective ceremony. The goal here is to check if what you planned (or even what you haven’t planned) is going well.
Let’s say you have that plan, and are able to break it down to some tasks and practices that will lead you to the big goal (which I won’t talk about right now. Just keep your own goal to yourself). Some examples:
- Enroll AND finish that online course – because you want a promotion;
- Find a sport you can get addicted – because you have pain in your back;
- Learning a new language – because you want to travel to Yemen and there they speak Arabic only;
- Forget your fears and give a speech to more than 100 people – because you want to try the academic career at least once;
You can see that I structured the sentences above as: “task” – “motivation”. Or even: “what I will do” – “what I want to achieve”.
Once you have this big tasks, let’s plan at least one thing a month you will do to move forward on this steps. Keep in your mind from now on that some tasks will require a lot of discipline to do whatever you have planned.
How did you make it happen?
After a few weeks (two weeks is a good rhythm) of work on the list, it’s time for a retrospective. You can always take a look back at what you are achieving and check if it’s the result you were looking for. Remember to keep discipline and avoid building barriers that will prevent you to do things you consider as ‘boring’.
Make your progress visual and mannual. Many researches, such as this one, say that you commit and pay more attention to things you write with your hands, than things you type with your fingers. Then put it into a place you will look at daily. The board must be ~ staring at you ~.
So let’s keep up with the track this far:
- Have you enrolled to the course? Or are you prioritizing other things with this money and kept telling yourself you don’t have money enough?
- Have you found a sport? Or are you still complaining about pain on the back, which will never go away because you don’t do sports?
- Have you at least downloaded Duolingo and invited that old friend, who you haven’t seen in a while but speaks arabic, to a bar? Or you kept speaking your own language avoiding contact to people who speaks the new one because you are too shy?
- Have you found a book about techniques to speak for big crowds? Or did you ask for a colleague to present that teamwork at the university?
Do you want the result or the barrier?
During your own retrospective, try those regular questions: 1) what went well during your last cycle? 2) What went wrong during the last cycle? 3) What else could be done? After analyzing the answers, you will find out that some of the tasks were achieved, and for some of them you managed to create a barrier.
For each one of your goals, if the answer for a question (as the examples above) were ‘the barrier’, two things may have happened: either you don’t have discipline enough yet, or maybe you created tasks too hard to achieve (you will know the right answer). The fact is that if you are not well motivated to get those tasks’ results, you will build/find yourself a barrier. Are you pretty comfortable with your current motivations? Is it challenging enough and makes you feel guts?
So if you are finding them too hard to complete, try to break it into smaller steps. If it continues to be a challenge, you can replace the goals and save those replaced for some time in the future where you have more discipline, or are more motivated to get those tasks’ results.
Remember that if you stop improving yourself and wining over the goals, the biggest chase won’t come from your girlfriend neither from your family or your boss. The biggest chase will come from yourself.