How to write weekly/monthly and yearly reviews of your life

Life goals

Have you ever wondered why all major religions have a day each week dedicated to prayer?

It is because there is huge power in repetition.

Human brains are forgetful. We need reinforcement. We need to hear things over and over again to keep what is important to us top of mind.

It's just the way we are.

You should not fight the human condition. Instead, use it to your advantage.

If you have goals that you want to achieve, you need to remind yourself of the details. Regularly!

Reviewing your goals and your progress frequently is powerful. It inspires action and allows you to re-adjust your methods constantly.

A flight from London to New York is not pointing directly at New York for 96% of the flight. But it still gets there.

That's what you need to do with your goals. Know where you're going but regularly check in with yourself and make minor course corrections.

In this article, I will describe the periodic reviews that I think everyone with big life goals should be doing to maximize your chance of success.

Life goals

Life review timeframes

This is going to sound like overkill.

But bear with me. It is not as much work as you think it is.

I think that we should all do 4 different types of reviews.

  1. Weekly reviews (the most important timeframe)
  2. Monthly reviews
  3. Quarterly reviews
  4. Yearly reviews

It sounds like a lot but it takes surprisingly little time (for a huge payoff) to do these reviews because each one of them builds on the previous one.

For example. If you wrote your weekly reviews for each week in January. You only need to read those weekly reviews in order to write your monthly review. Monthly reviews are actually quicker to write than weekly reviews!

It's the same with your quarterly reviews. Reading the three monthly reviews that you wrote refreshes you enough on the details that you can write your quarterly review in less than 5 minutes.

You get the idea.

The key is your weekly reviews. That is where the magic happens. They are the building blocks and foundation. If you write those everything else becomes easy and quick.

If you can setup a system to make writing your weekly reviews quick and painless, then you win.

So how do you make writing weekly reviews as quick as possible?

It is also easy but it has a prerequisite. You should capture what you do on a daily basis.

In the next chapter, we will talk about what you should capture (in an ideal world) in order to keep your weekly review writing time as short as possible.

Life goals

Capturing what you do daily

Many people already keep a rough log of what they do daily. It might be as simple as a daily checklist of what they have been working on.

But to really simplify the process of writing your weekly review, you would ideally have a few additional pieces of information.

  1. What you spent your time on each day
  2. How you feel each day
  3. A journal entry for each day

Obviously, if you are an Angstrom user, you already have all three pieces of information. You can view exactly how much time you spent on each activity. How you felt each day along with your journal entry in one place.

For those of you that do not already use Angstrom, it does not matter where you record this information.

It can be a page for each day that you create in Notion or in any notes app or even in a physical journal.

What matters is that you record the information.

The first two items above are completely mandatory for writing effective weekly reviews. Journal entries are icing that teleport back to each day during the week and what really happened.

If you're writing a review on Sunday, it will take you a long time to remember how the previous Monday / Tuesday went if you do not have the information to hand.

Capturing the data every day is quick. Priceless even. But more importantly, it is accurate. Our memories distort information. The further back we try and remember the more distortion there is.

You may as well be guessing about your state of mind a week ago.

It is also worth noting that this can be hugely fun. From time-to-time, I will go back and read what I did a year ago and how I was feeling about life and my goals at the time.

You learn a lot about yourself when you see how your attitudes to life change over time. The memories flood back when you read what you were worried or excited about at the time.

Even if you don't write a weekly review this week, you can come back and do it at a later time if your daily capturing process is strong enough. I have started writing weekly reviews from last year! All of the information is captured in Angstrom already. It is so cathartic and in my opinion, fun to review this stuff.

In the next chapter, we will get into the process of actually writing your first weekly review!

Life goals

Weekly reviews

Ok. So you've captured everything the way that we discussed in the previous chapter. For each day of the week, you know what you worked on and how much time you spent. You recorded how you felt every day. And. If you're epic. You also wrote a small journal entry each day.

Believe it or not, at this point you've nearly completed your weekly review.

Firstly though, you need a little bit of setup.

Pick a day for your weekly review!

I recommend Sunday. Sunday marks the end of the week for most people. You are already starting to mentally prepare yourself for the upcoming work-week.

You will not regret turning your weekly review into a 10 minute Sunday routine.

Find somewhere quiet. Don't leave it too late in the day. Ideally around two or three a clock if you can. You want to be fresh.

Creating your review is a short process. So when you start it, finish it in one sitting. Try not to break in the middle of it.

Step 1 of 3: Read what you have captured for each day

Start on Monday and read what you did each day of the week. If you have a journal and how you feel too then you can accurately remember the emotions of each day. You will have a much better sense of how the week actually went.

Reading what you have captured will most likely not take more than 5 minutes unless your journal entries are excellent.

Step 2 of 3: Use what you have captured when writing

Let what you have read wash over you and sink in.

Then just start writing.

Just try and summarize what you did and how you feel.

This is not poetry. Just summarize.

A weekly review is also not a novel. It does not need to be long. One or two paragraphs is plenty. To help yourself along you can ask yourself a few probing questions after you've written the summary.

These questions are very much bonus material. If you've spent more than 10 minutes already they are not strictly necessary.

  • Did you make progress on your goals?
  • Were there any big wins or notable events this week?
  • What went wrong this week?
  • What could I have done better?
  • What can I do next week in order to improve myself?

Keep in mind as you are writing that you will be reading this review again. It will help you to write your monthly review.

Be factual and emotional. Both are useful. Required even.

Step 3 of 3: Rate your week

This is just a simple number rating. One to five. Was it a good or a bad week based on what you have written?

  1. It was a terrible week
  2. It was not a good week
  3. It was an ok week
  4. It was a good week
  5. It was a great week!

That's it. You're done! Pat yourself on the back and enjoy the rest of your Sunday.

Life goals

Monthly reviews

Monthly reviews will take you less than 10 minutes.

You do not need to pick a specific date (like the 1st of the following month) to do these the way you do with weekly reviews. They can be done anytime after your weekly reviews but ideally before the end of the next month.

The only timing advice that I would give you is to not do them on the same day that you did the last weekly review.

Leave it a few days. Let the last weekly review of the month sit for a while.

From my experience with monthly reviews, you gain a little bit of perspective when you read your weekly reviews a few days after writing them.

For some reason this is the opposite of weekly reviews. Weekly reviews need to be done in a timely manner. Monthly reviews have a longer shelf-life.

Step 1 of 3: Read what your weekly reviews

Go back to week 1. Read all 4 or 5 reviews that you have for that month. If those weekly reviews are well written, you will feel the emotions that you had each week.

Step 2 of 3: Use what you have captured when writing

Let what you have read wash over you and sink in.

Then start summarizing. One or two decent paragraphs are all it takes.

Step 3 of 3: Rate your week

Again this is just a simple number rating. One to five.

But this time you do not decide what the number is. You calculate it.

It is too hard to put an entire month into one number based on what you have read. Trust your weekly reviews. Those smaller timeframes are more accurate reflections of how the month went.

Add up the scores from each week and divide by the number of weeks in that month. Then round to the nearest whole number.

Your results will give you a score that will determine what kind of month it was.

  1. It was a terrible month
  2. It was not a good month
  3. It was an ok month
  4. It was a good month
  5. It was a great month!

Nice! You've now completed your monthly review and it was easy and quick!

Life goals

Quarterly reviews

As with monthly reviews, you already have all of the building materials for your quarterly reviews.

When sitting down to write a quarterly review the only thing that you need are your monthly reviews. They encapsulate all of the successes/failures and emotions of the quarter.

The lower timeframes are always more accurate. That's why religiously doing your weekly reviews is so important. Not having that strong foundation makes it nearly impossible to write monthly and quarterly reviews.

Step 1 of 3: Read what the three monthly reviews

Start with the first month of the quarter and read the three reviews that you have already written.

Step 2 of 3: Use what you have captured when writing

Let what you have read wash over you and sink in. If you wrote solid monthly reviews that are dripping with facts and emotion, this will be easy.

Now start summarizing. One or two decent paragraphs are all it takes. You can consider higher-level questions here. Consider how much progress you have made toward your life goals.

There should be noticeable progress. If there is not, talk about it. Why is there not? A quarter is a long enough timespan that there should be.

What have you not been doing that you should have been doing. What prevented progress. Can you remove these roadblocks going forward?

Do you need to fully reassess your goals? Are there some that need to be modified?

What do you want to tell yourself when you are writing your yearly review?

Step 3 of 3: Rate your week

Again this is just a simple number rating. One to five.

Use the same technique from the monthly review. Calculate the quarterly score.

Add up the scores that you have for each month and divide by 3. Round to the nearest whole number.

  1. It was a terrible quarter
  2. It was not a good quarter
  3. It was an ok quarter
  4. It was a good quarter
  5. It was a great quarter!

Done and done.

Life goals

Yearly reviews

And finally. The big one. The yearly review.

If you have been doing the smaller timeframes, this one is extremely easy. But that being said you can spend as much time as you like on it. You could spend 5 or 6 hours if you like. They are so infrequent that time is not relevant.

It can be argued that it is the least important of the reviews that we have discussed. I am firmly of the opinion that weekly reviews are more important. And significantly so.

If you want to do a short a simple yearly review. Here is what you would do

Step 1 of 3: Read what the four quarterly reviews

Start with the first quarter and work your way forward.

Step 2 of 3: Use what you have captured when writing

Let what you have read wash over you and sink in.

Start summarizing. One or two decent paragraphs are all it takes.

You should now read your goals. Especially, the "why" for each goal and your description of what "failure looks like". If you do not have these written then you have not set your goals properly. Get on it.

There should be significant progress on each goal. Ideally a full year worth of progress. That will be the case if you have been reviewing throughout the year.

Step 3 of 3: Rate your week

One more time, a simple number rating. One to five.

Use the same technique from the monthly and quarterly reviews. Calculate the yearly score. At this point, you understand that what really matters is how you rate each week. Weekly scores are all that counts.

Add up the scores that you have for each quarter and divide by 4. Round to the nearest whole number. And you have your yearly score

  1. It was a terrible year
  2. It was not a good year
  3. It was an ok year
  4. It was a good year
  5. It was a great year!

Course correct your entire life

With all that being said. The yearly review can be an entire life course-correcting exercise. Spend time on it. It's something that memorializes the year. You will come back and read these for years to come. Make it good.

Life goals


Hopefully, I have been able to convince you of the power of doing regular reviews of your life and that doing weekly/monthly/quarterly and yearly reviews is not that much work because of their additive nature.

Let me quickly remind you of the important points that we discussed in this article.

The hardest step in creating good reviews is to get into the habit of capturing the daily data in the first place.

Weekly reviews are the most important timeframe and should be written on the same day every week.

Monthly/quarterly and yearly reviews all build on the foundation that you lay down with your weekly reviews.

If you are an Angstrom user, you are already capturing what you are working on (and how much time you are spending), how you feel, and your journal entries. And as of October 2020, the process of creating the reviews has been automated for you.

I cannot overstress how much these reviews help me and will help you. Regular course corrections to make sure that you achieve your goals is simply a requirement to succeed in whatever you want to achieve.