When I was researching there, the NSS lab at UBC had an opt-in mailing list where members shared weekly progress reports. I found it a great way to stay on track and remain motivated.
Personal improvement has a lot of similarities to academic research:
- Most of the time you are working alone.
- There is no boss to tell you exactly what to do – your supervisor can, at best, suggest paths that may be more fruitful, but they are not breaking it down task by task the way your boss at work might.
- It often feels like you’re not making any progress.
- You set goals, but they change so much along the way that it doesn’t even look like the same goal anymore by the time you get there.
So I figured that writing and sharing progress reports might be a good way to accomplish my personal goals, as well.
Beginning in January 2020, I am sending progress reports out at the end of every month to a list of interested readers.
0. Ground Rules
You can request to join my progress reports mailing list by sending me an email. Anyone is welcome to join and read my reports.
Please do not forward my progress reports, or add recipients when replying. These reports are very personal and I would like to know who reads them. If you think someone would enjoy it, instead of forwarding, send me an email.
For filtering purposes, the email subject will always begin with “[personal-progress].”
Do send me your progress reports!
1. Why and How
Writing the progress report makes me look back on the month and reflect on it in the context of my greater goals.
If something has gone well, the progress report is a mini-celebration. If something has gone poorly, then writing the report helps me identify it before it becomes a bigger problem and make plans for how to improve it.
(“Meh, I don’t care enough to do anything about this” is a valid plan.)
Currently, my progress reports take the following form:
- Recap of this month’s goals from previous report
- What went well this month
- What went poorly this month, and any action items
- Next month’s goals
- What I’m most looking forward to next month