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The basics of “self-evaluation”

Assess your progress to date, troubleshoot any problems, and put your focus on the right steps for progress.



How do you know what might need sprucing up?

Well, sometimes it’s obvious. Maybe your weight loss has slowed down, or you know you’ve been sneaking a few extra nachos.

Other times, it’s more puzzling. Maybe there’s a funny sound under the hood or in your kneecaps. Maybe it’s harder to start up in the morning.

Either way, the basics of self-evaluation are easy. Just use the acronym DAIJA. (Yeah, it’s not really memorable, but it works.) It stands for:

  • Describe;
  • Analyze;
  • Interpret;
  • Judge; and
  • take Action.


When it comes to troubleshooting (or knowing what’s already working), a little “DAIJA view” is in order.


1) Describe

What are you experiencing? What are you doing? What are you seeing?

For instance:

I have lots of energy in the mornings, but run out of steam in the afternoon.

(Or, I have ninja energy all day!)

My back hurts

(Or, my back feels great!)

I have a limited range of foods.

(Or, Jamie Oliver is calling me for tips.)

Take today to observe your daily routine, thoughts, emotions, and physical feelings like a scientist.

What are you doing, thinking, feeling, and experiencing?

Take notes.


Don’t focus too much on the things that might be bugging you, if any. Look for positive things too.

  • What are you experiencing that’s exciting, empowering, and inspiring?
  • Where are you succeeding?
  • What’s bringing you joy?


Focus on finding as many good things as possible. Often, you don’t need to “troubleshoot” (i.e. focus overly on what’s wrong) — you just need to find what you’re already doing well… and help yourself do more of that.


2) Analyze

Once you’ve described your current situation, look for patterns, without making any judgements just yet.

Hmm… in the afternoons when I have lots of energy, I’ve had less coffee in the mornings.

When I get up often from my chair and walk around, my back feels better. But when I sit all day, it aches.

When I look through cookbooks, I get excited about adding new foods. But when I’m busy and rushed, I feel uncreative.

Patterns aren’t always easy to find. Sometimes they don’t even make any sense. That’s OK — analyze anyway. We can interpret next.


3) Interpret

After objective analysis, looking for patterns without judgement, it’s time to interpret.


What does this mean? What are the connections? What’s the significance?

My long-term energy levels are connected to caffeine intake.

My back pain is connected to my movement (or lack thereof).

I’m actually quite creative — I just need inspiration!

But interpretation isn’t judgement. That comes next.


4) Judge and act

Now that you’ve assembled all that insight, do something with it.

Decide how to move forward based on your analysis and interpretation. Then act.

One cup of coffee in the morning should be enough. Or maybe I’ll even switch to green tea. Bring on the day!

Movement is important for feeling good. I’m going to schedule time to move every half hour!

I’ll check my favorite food blog once a day. Maybe grab a copy of a good cookbook. Where’s my chef hat? Let’s do this.


What to focus on

Here are some reminders of where you should focus your energy in the coming weeks.


1) Focus on problem solving, not just problem finding.

If you’re stuck or challenged, there’s always a solution. Start digging and thinking. Use your DAIJA view!


2) Focus on taking action rather than ruminating or over-thinking.

Once you know what you need to do, figure out how to DO it! Do one small, meaningful action today. Or even right now.


3) Focus as much as possible on what you’re already doing right.

Then just do more of that. Easy!


4) Think long-term.

Small improvements add up.


5) Stay focused on the big picture.

Do what really matters: lessons and habits. Refocus when you get distracted.


6) Visualize yourself succeeding.

Find real role models who have successfully solved the kinds of challenges you’re facing.


7) Remember that you’re normal.

Weight plateaus are normal. “The Grind” is normal. Relying on scheduling and systems more than “inspiration” and “motivation” is normal. And in PA Coaching, feeling awesome is normal too!


8) Be patient, don’t panic, and stay on track.


9) And don’t forget: Try to be a LITTLE better today.


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