It’s easy for people to get lost in the day, week and even the month. Sometimes you blink and a whole year is gone. Days often fly past in a complete blur. Up early in the morning, get to work, or take the dog out, or head for the gym – or all the above. Then you grind through the day’s meetings, e-mails, and phone calls. Then home for the evening routine, and before you know it, the alarm rings and you start again.
With such a hectic schedule, people need to take a break and reflect. Slowing down and taking time to think about your life is extremely helpful in creating a better sense of you are, who you want to be, and how you will get there.
We learn by experiences and mistakes. But, unless we question ourselves about what our experiences mean and think actively about them, research has shown that we won’t make any changes. Self-reflection enables you to move from just experiencing, into understanding.
Self-Refection is defined as “meditation or serious thought about one’s character, actions, and motives.” It is the process of bringing your attention to what’s happening in your life in a mindful and open-minded way. It’s about taking a step back and reflecting on your life, behavior and beliefs.
Self-reflection can help you process your thoughts and feelings. When we keep our thoughts floating around in our heads, we only confuse or frustrate ourselves more. There are many ways to practice self-reflection, but an easy one can be writing, to process thoughts and feelings. Journaling can help you to learn more about yourself by identifying patterns, habits, and regular themes that come up in life. Getting your thoughts on paper can help you understand why you’re feeling a certain way and make those feelings a little easier to navigate.
If you’re on your own self-improvement journey, you need to know both where you’re going and where you are right now. Without self-awareness, we can’t fully understand our emotions, values, goals, or strengths. We can learn so much about ourselves simply by reflecting on the place you are at right now and considering how it will help you get to where I want to be.
Reflecting helps you to develop your skills and review their effectiveness, rather than just carry on doing things as you have always done them. It is about questioning, in a positive way, what you do and why you do it and then deciding whether there is a better, or more efficient, way of doing it in the future.
This time is specifically focused on questions about your goals, your behavior, and your general state of mind. You can’t be of any good to other people unless you are first good to yourself. Set aside time every week to unplug from everybody and everything.
Ask yourself questions that challenge your assumptions.
Who are you?
How effectively am I performing?
What are you most proud of?
What are my strengths and areas for improvement?
How can I improve these areas?
What improvements have I made in this lesson and what do I need to do now?
How will I know I have made improvements?
What are you most grateful for? What is most important in your life? Is your allocation of time congruent with what you find most important?
Who are the 5 people you spend the most time with? Are these people enabling you or holding you back?
What are your biggest goals? What is stopping you from pursuing them?
Strength and support are all around us. Where is support available to you already? Who can you share your goals with, or ask for support?
What are the biggest things you have learned in the last year? How can you use your past experiences to help you in the future?
Where do you put your attention and energy when you are overwhelmed or stressed? Is this how you want to spend your resources?
Although self-reflection can seem difficult at first, or even selfish or embarrassing, as it does not come naturally. you will find it becomes easier with practice and the end result could be a happier and more efficient you.