January 13, 2020
Establishing Weekly Habits & Retrospectives

Looking back at 2019, there were some great accomplishments, some new habits, and a few things that were more difficult for me to make stick.

About half-way through the year, I started working on a new pattern of weekly goals and along with that, reflection at the end of the week.

Of course, with a new approach, there's the itch to create a new habit tracker that incorporates this intentional practice to help others be intentional and ensure they're on course for who they want to become.

More on that later.

The idea for the habit tracking sheet that I'll introduce shortly was derived from these more-visual concepts.

Living With Yourself

When I was at home sick a couple of months ago, I watched the first season of a short show featuring Paul Rudd called Living With Yourself.

It's a series where Paul is feeling like he's in absolute rut. His relationships are tattered, his work is uninspired, and he's mental and physical health is waning. He receives a recommendation to visit a cleansing and renewal spa from his counterpart at work who is now the new leader and creative on all of the marketing campaigns at their firm.

He wakes up and feels like a brand new person. Fresh. Peppy. Smart.

Turns out he was actually cloned (you learn this in episode one or two, so not really a spoiler), and the "old" him was supposed to be killed off and buried. Instead of continuing with just the new clone, the original Paul wakes up buried under woodchips in a forest ~ 6 miles out of town. He isn't sure what happened so he makes his way back to his house to find the new him.

The new Paul is better in every way.

He watches what he eats and eats right.

He works out.

He has brilliant ideas for marketing campaigns at his agency.

He treats his wife with respect and shows affection by helping around the house, cooking dinner, and through his words.


This adaptation of a quote I've heard before came to mind:

I often wonder who I would be now, if I wouldn't hesitate to do what I know to be true and useful, and how much joy that intentionality would bring.

The Habit Tracker

Here's the Google Sheet I created to split goals into weekly and monthly recaps.

Copy the habit tracking template and simply adjust it to make your own.

A brief overview of how it works:

White = a day I plan on completing this habit

Gray = a day I don't plan on completing this habit

The goal column is entered by you (7 days if you're planning to do it every day, 1 for 1 day, etc).

The Tot column is to the total number of days you've completed it that week. The column automatically sums the number of non-blank cells in that week - so I wouldn't recommend adding X's for failures unless you're going to modify the sheet.

Weekly Reviews

If you use this habit tracker, and only use it to mark things complete for a few days or the first week, I believe you'll miss out on the true benefits it can have for you.

A recommended process for using the sheet

  1. First, determine what goals you personally have for this week/month/quarter/year and what habits will help you get there.
  2. Create a schedule so that you have both a time and place you intend to complete the habit. Mark specific days you can hold yourself to, and specific days where you have off / recovery days.
  3. Put the habits on your calendar! Make time for them. Make them a focus. Be clear about when you will complete them.
  4. Bookmark this tab and have it open all day. As you complete your tasks, think about who your habits are helping you become.
  5. Review your progress and mark things off at the end of the day.
  6. At the end of the week (I'm using my Sunday evenings at the end of a week and the start of the workweek), review your progress and what you were able to complete. If there were barriers on specific goals, make sure you adjust your time / place / methods so you can do better this week. Use similar questions that agile teams do when conducting retrospectives:
  7. What went well?
  8. What didn't go so well?
  9. What steps can I take to improve this week?
  10. Get Better Everyday.

Progress, not Perfection

It's not about getting 100% every week. It's about making progress and pursuing the person you are becoming.

“What you are to be, you are now becoming.”

Eric Thomas

Give yourself grace.

If you miss a day for a habit, don't miss the second, but make it the first thing you do. This is a principle that Jocko Willink has used to build successful habits that stick.

If You Find it Useful, Let Me Know!

I'd love to know if you're using the tracker to live more intentionally. Let me know what modifications you're making to have it work better for you.

Here are some other thoughts and approaches I've written previously about considering how you spend your time, and some tactics you can do to keep it so it doesn't get lost.

Get Time Back On Your Side

Become a Keeper of Time