Reflect, Plan and Relax

Alice Cooper got it right. “Schooool’s out…for…summer!” When my boys were little we’d blast that song on the front steps of our house as they came running and jumping home from their last day of school for the year. My wife would make special treats for them and we’d all laugh and celebrate the conclusion of another successful year. We all looked forward to that day as it was a fun reminder that the boys’ hard work actually paid off. It was time to relax, recharge, and have a great summer before starting all over again in the fall.

We need to do this type of thing in our adult lives too. Every Friday, the Loverboy song, “Working for the Weekend’ plays in my head but it makes me often think, “Do we really relax, recharge and enjoy the satisfaction of yet another successful week?” It seems to me that we may be grateful that we got through the week and we may be happy that we get a couple well-deserved days off, but the important reflection period often times gets lost and the benefits that go along with it.

There are many reasons that reflection should take place as soon as possible at the end of our weeks. It can give us a sense of accomplishment, it allows for a critiquing of what we could have done differently, and of course, it creates a positive look back at all of those wonderful things that we actually did right.

Too often we only focus on the negative and forget the positive. That approach is not only emotionally defeating, it also limits our ability to learn from what our right choices and behaviors were in order to continue doing those same things again in the future.

Here are my suggestions:

Reflect: Start with what went wrong. What results would you like to change? What actions happened to cause those things? What behaviors generated those actions? What mindset did you have that caused those behaviors? What identity were you living in that produced that mindset? Everything is connected and a specific reflection on these areas will help to pinpoint what areas disrupted achieving your goals.

Reflect: Move on to what went right. Do the same thing here. What was the positive result? What actions happened around you that produced it? What behaviors did you exhibit that caused the actions? What was your mindset around this? And what was the identity that you were living in that produced the mindset?

Reflect: Compare the two situations. Look deeply at the differences in the Identity you had for those situations. What Identity would have developed a better eventual result in the areas that you struggled? Do the same thing for Mindset, Behavior, Actions and Results. What are the differences and what will you do differently next time.

Plan for next week. Put your learnings to work for you. Be intentional about the new efforts that you will take and make sure that, if executed fully, they will produce the results you want.

Relax. Forget about the plan for now. Focus on some of the other things in your bucket that really matter…things like family, friends and self. Let the power of relaxation work its wonders on your psyche. This is key in recharging your batteries for the new week ahead.

With this process, you can really relax because you’ve executed the steps necessary to kick start your next week on the right foot. You have learned from your experience and put a great plan together that will ensure success.

Reflect, plan, and relax.

Start this week and enjoy your summer… Just like Alice Cooper!

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