Always Well Within

Calm Your Mind, Ease Your Heart, Embrace Your Inner Wisdom

The Importance of Charting Your Progress

You get whatever accomplishment you are willing to declare.”Georgia O’Keeffe

Aspirations tend to pop into my mind spontaneously.  Does that happen to you?  I eagerly capture them on paper and then leave them to germinate in the background of my life.

I don’t focus on my intentions in a tense or religious way.  But, I occasionally check back on them.

Why?  So I’m able to:

  • Reset my course if I’m off-track or find that a particular intention no longer resonates for me.
  • Allow new possibilities to incubate.
  • Declare and celebrate my accomplishments.  This always gives me a natural high and thus becomes fuel for further growth.

In these times of high distraction, it’s essential to chart your progress occasionally or you could end up in Timbuktu!  That means dissatisfied with a long trek back to your real passion.

Recently, I took a moment to look back at my summer aspirations and reflect on the corresponding accomplishments.  This is what I found.

Summer Success

1.  Clear clutter.  I cleared clutter and, true confessions, re-cluttered.  But, I’m closer to a de-cluttering method that works for me.

2.  Get ready for downsizing.  We kicked around ideas for living in a smaller (not tiny) space and drew up possible plans.

3.  Catch up on half-read books and start the new stack.  I devoured and recommend*:

(*affiliate links)

4.  Take a month-long blogging break.  This allowed me to stay sane given a challenging workload.   I also took the opportunity to play with injecting relaxation in between the activities of the day.

5.  Weed, trim, and beautify the garden.  More like beating back the jungle than creating botanical gardens, but at least you can see the outline of the plants and trees.

6.  Carve out more time for focused meditation and study.  Quiet evenings of study and reflection were the answer.

7. Clarify and invest in my career evolution.  My exciting mix of career activities included my writers’ group and women’s council, a dash of memoir writing, the fabulous Goodblog Project, and a path-clarifying business consultation with Courtney Carver.

I moved my blog from to, began to recommend resources and books on my blog, simplified the blog navigation, and integrated my blog title and tagline into the header with help from Robert Wall, The Untitled Minimalist.

These blossoms are naturally seeding my next cycle of growth and activity.

I used to post a monthly review on my blog, which I personally found very clarifying and directional.  But, I wasn’t sure it these updates were so interesting or helpful to you, my readers.  I’m curious about that and would love to hear any feedback you might have.

Seasonal changes are the perfect time for a review.  As we enter the transition period between summer and fall, have you taken time to reflect and chart your progress?  What methods work for you?

Thank you for reading and sharing!  If you enjoyed this article please subscribe for free updates by email.  With love,  Sandra

P. S. You might enjoy my new post at the Envision Writing Blog:  Exceptional Links on Writing, Blogging, and Microbusiness – August



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  1. jean sampson

    Wow, Sandra, what a rich post and what a full life! I am with you on the de-cluttering. I got my studio cleaned and ready for new students! I got the HUGE paintings ready for an important show and found a photographer who has done a great job on the paintings! I also got my bedroom cleaned —I do it superficially all of the time, but this was a throw away, be merciless type of operation in which I removed enough cat hair to make a whole other cat! I am working on the kitchen and think that my supplements need to rent a house of their own. Several months ago, I rearranged my basement gym . But the truth is, I live in a tiny house and there IS no perfect way to fit everything in without having more room! The thing I am going to tackle now is a “on-my-hands-and -knees scrubbing of the kitchen floor! Which will stay clean about one day, but at least I will have a clean floor for one day.
    So that is what I have accomplished so far—-and it really is never-ending, so it IS really important to stop and appreciate what we have done! XO

    • Jean,

      I’m so excited by the way you have cleared your studio space. I’m sure that will have will have an auspicious effect on your work.

      What a great sense of humor you have, Jean. I used to have that many supplements too! And, I love scrubbing the floor on my hands and knees occasionally. It seems like we had similar summers! I tried to work in little bits not to tire myself out too much.

      Congratulations on your energetic environmental transformation! May it serve you well.

  2. Sandra, this is such a timely post for me. I am constantly reviewing, updating and changing my intentions! Reading and de-cluttering seem to have a permanent home on my aspiration list. However, I do stop on occasion, to appreciate the other things I have accomplished.

    The period between summer and fall is a great time to reflect, review and revise my accomplishments. Thanks for the reminder.

    • Gladys,

      Seems like you have the perfect cycle in place and that we could all learn from you! I’m glad we’re stopping together to take a few moments to celebrate!

  3. I like your reviews a lot. I think of this service as The New York Times books section with a more specifically directed focus. Charting is a pretty regular part of patient care. I didn’t do much of it until I was taught how in the past decade. It is useful. I’m charting when I write newsy posts about our activities at home, or things I’m learning and understanding better.

    There are different methods for charting. I generally do “SOAP”:
    S-ubjective. Organize data from opinions on what the problem is.
    O-bjective. Take measurements, gather concrete information.
    A-ssess. Estimate likely positive and negative outcomes.
    P-lan. Create a timeline to correct and change things.

    • Hi Mikey,

      Thanks for your feedback on the reviews! I like the way you capture the idea of charting in “newsy” posts. We can all learn from each in this way! I think my problem was calling them “reviews”, which sounds a little dry. But I usually liked the content. It’s nice to be compared to the NY Times. Thanks for that.

      This is a neat method for charting! Thanks for sharing it.

  4. I find myself less “aspirational” these days, although I do have my ongoing short lists on sticky notes. I’m not sure why. I think it might have to do with my continuing transition to retired life, and also with the jam packed year I had last year and from which I’m still recovering.

    Having said that, several of the things on your list, particularly the decluttering (I am also a reclutterer) and making more time for meditation and study, struck a familiar chord with me as things I have wanted to do as well.

    I love your reflections. They invite all of us to do the same. One aspect of your reflections that is such a great model is the way you present them as an opportunity to gain self insight, rather than a trigger for self recrimination.

    As I look back on this year so far, I have been busier than I intended to be, but I have still settled into a fairly regular meditation/study rhythm. I have gotten more involved with some new martial arts, which, to me, are part of that rhythm. The clutter? Hmm, still looking for a system I’ll stick to.

    You see, even this post has led to some self reflection!

    • Hi Galen,

      My sense is that we have these inner and outer cycles in life and sometimes it’s appropriate to put our aspirations on the back burner and just “be.” It makes sense to me that you are following your inner voice, moving gently, and not getting all rung out about aspirations.

      Like you have done here, my reviews were like a reverse reflection process! Instead of setting monthly aspirations, I looked back and reflected on what I accomplished. That was such an enriching process that it nudged me over into the aspiration camp.

      You seem to be well; aligned in a good cycle for you, but a bit of self-reflection can be useful for seeing and affirming that. I enjoyed your mini-reflection!

  5. Sandra,

    Congratulations on taking time to reflect and then make changes that have clarified and enhanced your business and your life.

    I find that my birthday and seasonal changes are times when I take a closer look at my life. The first changes for me are in my thinking which leads me in new directions.

    I, too, have begun decluttering, resumed reading my stack of books and taken a break from some activities while I reconsider them.

    Thanks for sharing your accomplishments. They inspire me.

    • Hi Flora,

      Birthdays are big time of reflection for me too! I always find change naturally begins to occur a month or two before my birthday. I try to catch the new wave and see where it’s taking me.

      It seems like you doing a lot in the decluttering department too, but also taking space to reconsider your activities. Thanks for sharing your process.

  6. Hi Sandra,
    I love your writing, and how you present.
    I am well downsized however, I don’t know where it is leading. Just the next step here, I suppose, as the school year begins again soon.
    Spent a few weeks woofing (working on a farm for room and board) at my friends’ farm. Turned out very well, abundant harvest of garlic. I met many chickens, so miraculous with their egg production, wow!
    It is still very warm and summer like.
    love/peace, Richard

    • Hi Richard!

      So nice to “hear” from you. I imagine you could teach us all about downsizing. What a beautiful summer! There is a lot of “woofing” in Hawai’i. I’m not sure I would be up to it. I’m totally amazed by your willingness and flexibility. I have my mini plot here! Glad you are still having some warmth there. All my love and best wishes to you.

  7. Hi Sandra. Great post! This is something I’ve never really done — jotting down my goals for the next few months or years, as they pop into my head. I think I’d love to be able to go back and see what I have or have not done. And I think I may even start a journal with these ideas! 🙂 Thanks!

    • Hi Amanda,

      It’s been an amazing process for me as I really see the movement and change in my life when I take time to reflect back. I hope it works for you too!

  8. Wow, that’s quite a list, Sandra. I encourage my writers to keep a Success Log, where they track progress made on writing projects. It can be really helpful to look back on when you feel like you’ve not gotten anything accomplished. I have the Fire Starter session and haven’t read it yet, but I will soon!

    • Hi Charlotte,

      It does seem like an impressive list, doesn’t it! Summer, it seems, is becoming like that for me. I love this idea of a Success Log for writing project. This afternoon I was feeling like I hadn’t gotten anything done, and I had to tell myself, “Wait a minute, I finished off a post.” I can see the success log could be very simply and a great reinforcement.

      You probably know quite a lot of what’s in the Fire Starter Sessions but it’s a great reminder and I picked up some unique ideas too. La Porte is very encouraging.

  9. Hi Sandra,
    I am reading this and it is Spring here in Australia and after doing a Blue Moon Becoming ceremony I read your blog post and I am about to chart out what I intend to do this month and was about to head to google to reset a tracking chart as I know this is empowering. Yesterday I wrote down my weekly intentions and on what is a magical Monday I am inspired to take your list and expand on it for me. I do need to clear the clutter, I spent yesterday planting tomatoes, kale, comfrey and doing a little weeding. I have increased my meditation time daily and know that brings abundance in so many ways I had a month off blogging- wasn’t planned my plan now is to get my blog back on track.
    I am inspired Sandra and I am going to make a decluttering mind map so by September 30 I have released all the stuff that no longer serves me

    Thank you namaste Suzie

  10. I love all the creative and practical ways you are working with tracking your goals and progress! A decluttering mind-map! What a creative idea. Your life sounds so beautiful and rich! Thanks for giving us a glimpse into your garden of bounty.

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