Regardless of the activity if you really want to improve you have to take stock and assess the work you’ve done.
Running, Swimming, Writing,Cycling, Jumping, Stretching, Reading…. Are you where you want to be? Is you’re prayer life where you want it to be? Scripture reading? Discipline? Eating?
One of the big problems of course is doing your best not to do assess alone. A few weeks back I had one of the best races of my life against a friend, and I know I couldn’t have gone faster without him swimming alongside him. Inspiration is one part of improving, and there’s nothing like friendship to help you along.
But there’s more.
I’m a liar when it comes to myself.
Recovery groups take what’s called an honest self inventory, and I would add the qualifier ‘brutally’ to the word ‘honest’ for good measure. We all tend to take cut rate measures when we assess ourselves, and it isn’t always helpful. Sometimes we don’t even know what’s going wrong with our bodies or our mental or our spiritual lives.
How many Ironman athlete or marathon runners end up quitting because of just a momentary lapse on nutrition before or during the race?
My point here is that there are several ways in which we struggle to faithfully self assess:
1. Scope – We don’t look enough before, after, and during – or we didn’t chart well enough to know what went wrong.
2. Detail – My toddler get’s in a foul mood if she’s just a few minutes less sleep than she needs. She also struggles to go to sleep or sleep through the night if she doesn’t go to bed on time. Every detail counts from diet to timing to sleep.
3. Goals – Take stock of failures and successes from little to big and help reframe the next set of goals with what you’ve learned from the past.
I would love to say it’s simple, but it’s challenging and tedious. It’s also one of the only ways to progress.