Every year, I take time to reflect on the past year and set goals for the year ahead. These goals usually require some kind of change on my end — if I want to publish more newsletters (a goal I achieved last year 🎉) I need to change how often I sit down and write, and I need to make sure I have a process in place for planning out my content.

These seem like small changes but think about how easy it is to fall back into old routines. Change is hard, and working towards something big is also hard. It’s easier to just keep doing what you’re used to doing. It would be easier for me to have just sent sporadic newsletters when I remembered I had published a few articles. So, how was I able to stay on track? I believe setting up the right systems is the way to go, and one system I swear by is doing daily check-ins and weekly reviews.

The case for more frequent check-ins

I’ve shared a lot of the tried and true systems I use in my work and life. How I set goals, manage performance reviews for myself and others, review my week, and create more content with a content creation system.

It’s not just about having these systems (though that’s essential), but the timing of how frequently I am working on these systems and the change they represent is just as important.

For some reason, a lot of my old systems were set up to occur every month. Review my goals monthly, review my performance monthly, etc. Those systems are now daily and weekly, respectively, and they’re serving me much better.

It seems like it would be easier to check in only 12 times a year instead of 52 or hundreds of check-ins — but I’ve found that it’s not. It’s the opposite.

The less frequent the check-ins, the more energy it took to start that specific routine because I didn’t do it very often. I lost the flow of it.

On the other hand, I check in on my goals on weekdays and in my weekly review. These more regular checks have the benefit of only taking me a couple of minutes, plus they keep my goals top of mind when thinking about how I want to spend my time on any upcoming week.


  • I check in on my goals most weekdays in a Notion Daily Journal.
  • I do a weekly review of the past week and plan for the week ahead.
  • I make performance review notes weekly.
  • I do content creation weekly.

At my best for exercise, it was the same. I was exercising every day. It meant it wasn’t a question of “what days am I exercising?” It was “When am I exercising every day?” I just picked the mornings and stuck to it. Exercising daily made everything simpler, and I worked out more than I ever had before.

Scale back until these actions are small enough to do daily

The key here is that I’m creating check-ins and routines that are small enough that adding them in daily feels easy, not difficult. If you’re struggling with doing more frequent check-ins on goals or habits, try scaling them back to be the smallest possible version so you can easily do them daily.

For example, I wanted to reflect more and build reflection into my daily routine. One method is Julia Cameron’s Morning Pages. It’s a tool she talks about in her book The Artist’s Way, which I would recommend to anyone doing creative work. The idea is that you write three full pages of stream of consciousness every morning before you do anything else. Just get everything out of your head. It’s a process that a lot of writers now swear by.

I’ve written many morning pages, and it has had a huge impact on me. At the same time, writing three full pages can take a long time depending on the day. Also for parents, you never know when your kids will wake up, even if you do all sorts of planning around them sleeping until their usual time.

Don’t get me wrong — I still recommend the Morning Pages to absolutely anyone who is doing creative work or who wants to build in more reflection. But for some, a smaller version of this might be needed.

The smallest version I’ve found of creating a daily journaling and reflection process is writing just one line a day in a journal at the end of the day. There are these five-year journals for just this called One Line A Day and I just completed my second at the end of last year.

These journals with just one line for every day is the smallest version I’ve found of reflection that is easier for me to do daily and build up more consistency.

Here are a few things I’ve shrunk to make the smallest version of themselves either in my current or past routines:

  • Read more philosophy → Read one page of the Daily Stoic every day
  • Journal more → Write one line every day
  • Do more yoga → Do a few stretches in bed every morning
  • Do a monthly review of my goals → Check in on my goals daily via my daily journal

All that to say, if there’s a goal you’re trying to achieve or a new habit you’re working on, consider doing it more frequently. Is it possible to do it daily? Try to scale it back until doing it daily or weekly feels not only realistic but easy.

You might be surprised how it takes less time and mental energy to do things more often, and then after several months, you are hopefully pleasantly surprised at all of the progress you’ve made towards making these changes.

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