The beginning of the week can give you that fresh-start, clean-slate feeling.

You've got big plans and your days all laid out in a row…

…but of course, even the best-laid plans can get the hiccups.

It's easy to get a bit off center during the week—maybe your weeknight plans changed at the last minute, or you got some unexpected work dropped in your lap, or you're just feeling less energetic than you thought you might be.

The good news: There's no need to wait until next Monday, or the weekend, to pivot.

You can check in with yourself at any time and adjust your priorities as needed. One of my favorite ways to do this: With a Wednesday midweek check-in.

Research shows that a short period of reflection—like considering the lessons learned at work—can actually make people perform better, and that people who reflect and plan the day ahead are often happier and more productive. So why not start?

Amber Rae first inspired us with her smart "Start of Week Check-In" which zeroed in on determining your #1 priority for the week, what you want to do less (and more) of, how you want to feel, and what to do if you get stuck.

Share this article with someone who might need a midweek check-in.
Tweet

And you can bring that same magic to your Wednesdays or whatever day feels the most midweek to you. These check-ins are essential for us mentally and emotionally—think of it like rebooting your computer.

Here's how to start—and keep up—your own Midweek Check-In. Ask yourself these questions out loud, journal them, or share your answers with us on Twitter or Instagram.

How do I feel about what's happened so far this week?

Take a look at your week so far and ask yourself what felt right and not so right in your work and personal life.

Try to assign specific emotions to each activity—say you had a work meeting that put you in a bad mood; did the bad mood happen because you were annoyed because you felt your time was being wasted? Or, were you frustrated because you felt you weren't being listened to?

Accept where you are with all these emotions. You're not judging yourself, you're simply checking in.
Tweet

Get as specific as possible with how you feel.

Most importantly, accept where you are with all these emotions—don't beat yourself up if things didn't go your way. You're not judging yourself, you're simply checking in.

How do I feel about what's happening the rest of the week?

Next, take a look at what you have coming up. Will your week be getting crazier or ease up a bit? Are you nervous about anything? Intrigued?

Identifying what's to come can be helpful when the event itself actually arrives—in a subtle way, you're mentally preparing before it happens.

This is also a great time to identify any holes or what you feel your week needs more of.

Say it's Wednesday and you realize you don't have any major weekend plans—that could be great news (yay, ice cream-and-TV!) or it could be an inspiration to plan dinner with a friend or check out a museum.

By consistently checking in with yourself and what you need, you can avoid that whole “Where did the time go?” feeling come Sunday.

I'm excited to focus on…

Halfway through the week is also a good time to redirect your attention; if you feel like you've been neglecting a certain part of your life, you can re-center it by finishing the above sentence.

Making time for something that gives you joy can also make the end of your week feel extra special, like you're sneaking in a lil' something extra.
Tweet

What are you excited to focus on? What will you spend time on? And how will that make you feel?

Making time for something that gives you joy can also make the end of your week feel extra special, like you're sneaking in a lil' something extra.

I will create space from…

Instead of looking at the rest of your week and becoming overwhelmed by things you don't want to do, own your ability to choose to do something else.

Say you signed up for a workout class a week ago, but now you're dreading it because you'd rather throw a picnic or go for a run outside. No one's making you do the class—you get to decide.

Instead of looking at the rest of your week and becoming overwhelmed by things you don't want to do, own your ability to choose to do something else.
Tweet

By assessing your week and selectively choosing where to move forward, you can create space and better serve your needs in the moment.

What am I avoiding?

This might be the toughest question of all—but you probably already know the answer. (I know mine right now!)

Perhaps you're avoiding a tough conversation, an annoying assignment, a mountain of emails.

Being honest with yourself about what you're leaning away from can often make the thing itself less stressful, which helps you to answer the last question…

And what will I do about it?

That's sort of the beauty of the middle of the week. You don't have enough time to keep procrastinating, yet there's still time to make progress toward the things that matter.

So during your Midweek Check-In, if something is lingering or nagging or bothering you, figure out your Now Step—the next step you can take to move forward—and schedule it into your week. I promise you won't regret it.


Read next: Use These 4 Questions For Your End-of-Month Reflection

You're more than your stress and anxiety. Take back control using Shine's award-winning self-care program.

Tweet