Illustrations by Anna Doherty.

What is a bedtime review?

A bedtime review is a simple bedtime routine that uses the power of your mind to learn from the lessons of the day, reinforce what you did well, and plan for a better day tomorrow.

How much time will it take?

A full bedtime review can be done in 5-15 minutes. With consistent use, this short routine will help you set new reference points for success that your brain will strive to achieve.

How do I do it?

Sit or lie down and get comfortable. Close your eyes and take a deep breath in through your nose, expanding your belly fully as you breathe in, and exhale through your mouth, bringing your belly back to normal.

Go to a deeper level of mind by counting down from 10 to 1. With every number, you’ll go to a deeper level of mind, getting more and more relaxed.

When you get to 1, visualize a big screen about six feet in front of you, 15 degrees on your right. On this screen, you’ll see a replay of your day,  just as it happened. Pay attention to the times where you fell short of your goals. Don’t judge yourself, just review the day for what it held. See it and let it go. 

Now, clear the screen and move it directly in front of you. Review your day and pay attention to what you did well.  Relive the pride and satisfaction you felt after you worked toward your goal. Feel proud of yourself for choosing wisely.

Now, clear the screen and move it 15 degrees to your left. See your day tomorrow going just as you want it to. Feel the emotions of making great choices. Feel pride and satisfaction. See things lining up for you, making your day easier. Feel and experience the day like it’s really happening. Once you’re done, replay your ideal day up to three times. When you’re finished, clear your screen and lay down. Go to sleep knowing that you’ve taken steps to change your mental model. Your intentions are clear about who you will be tomorrow, and your brain will help you get there.Why does this work?

There are many scientific reasons why a bedtime review works, and we’ll cover a few of them here.

Bedtime reviews are based on neuro-linguistic programming (NLP)

NLP is a set of models that allows someone to create successful change in their thoughts and habits to achieve their goals. An NLP principle states that behavior follows thought (it’s called a BMIR, or behavioral manifestation of an internal representation). Simply put, the thoughts we think determine our behavior.

For instance, if you think, “I’ve tried everything and I can’t lose weight”, how does that thought filter down into your behavior? You start doing things out of resignation. You start thinking things like, “I can’t lose the weight, so I might as well have this cookie” (which leads to several cookies). 

Instead, try this: 

“I have tried many things to lose weight; however, I can think differently. I’m the thinker of my thoughts and they are not real. When I think differently, I behave differently, and I get different results.” 

This simple change of thoughts can make you feel more powerful, which affects your behavior and the choices you make during the day.

Bedtimes reviews help you adopt a BE-DO-HAVE mindset

A bedtime review is also tied to the BE-DO-HAVE model of living. However, most of us live our lives following the HAVE-DO-BE model. We usually say things like, “When I HAVE the energy, I’ll DO the exercise, and then I’ll BE healthy.” In reality, it should be the opposite. We should say, “I am BEING a healthy person, so I’ll DO the exercise to HAVE more energy.”

A bedtime review reminds us who we need to BE (which comes first) before we can HAVE better health. Becoming healthy isn’t just what you are doing, it’s who you are being.

Bedtimes reviews help you determine your intentions

While it’s great to have goals, it’s important that you set intentions to those goals.  When you work toward a goal, you’re operating with the same skill set, the same belief system, and the same habits. In contrast, Intentions allow you to show up as the highest version of the person you want to be. A bedtime review helps you determine what kind of person you need to show up as in order to hit your goals, and it helps you shorten the gap from where you are to where you want to be. 

A bedtime review takes advantage of your most suggestive brain state

Right before we go to sleep, our brain is operating in Theta brainwaves— our most suggestive brain state. The brain is processing what it sees, hears, and feels six times more effectively than during the day when we are operating in Beta brainwaves. So doing the bedtime review right before you go to sleep means you’re using your brainpower when it’s most effective to help you achieve your goals.

When you use visualization during your bedtime routine and you feel the positive emotions from that vision, those thoughts and emotions travel straight to your brain stem. Here, your brain takes ownership of that vision. This is called the Endowment Effect. Your brain can’t tell the difference between something real and something you’ve vividly imagined. Once you visualize a goal, or your day going just as you want it to, your brain will ‘own’ it. Once your brain ‘owns’ what you’ve imagined, it will take incredible steps and send messages to the rest of your body to help you achieve it.

How do I get the most out of my bedtime routine?

Embrace your bedtime routine! Make it the best part of your day. Don’t let your ego (which shows up as doubt) get in the way. Do this routine without fail. It sets up a new habit for changing the story that you’re telling yourself. We all have stories we tell ourselves, and these stories determine the action we take (or don’t take) in life.

Do you doubt this could work? Keep an open mind

Realize that your mental model of life may not be complete. We all have mental models, which are things we believe regarding the way the world works. The problem is, most of us aren’t aware that we have these models. We think that our beliefs actually are the way the world works. When we meet someone who has a different mental model, we instantly ask ourselves if what they are saying is true. So you’re probably reading this post, asking if what I said is true. Try asking a different question instead. Ask, “Is the mental model that I’m using working for me in my life, or is there a better model to follow?” Simply put, be open to trying a different mental model that could change your life for the better.

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