As we enter a new year it’s also a great time for reflection on the year that was….and WHAT a year it was! We all dealt with unique and foreign challenges to how we live and work, and how we process disappointment and uncertainty.
Have you spent time reflecting on your 2020, and how you felt, and dealt, with everything it threw at you?
Self-reflection… an important growth tool
Without self-reflection we can get stuck, and feel like we’re simply trying to keep our heads above water. We end up doing the same things in the same way, over and over, even if those things aren’t producing the results we hope for. Self-reflection allows you to consider the consequences of your actions and words and enables you to consider the best, most effective, and most helpful way to react in a given situation.
So how exactly do you perform self-reflection?
One easy way is to use a journal and determine a period of time you plan to look back on ie. the last week? Last month? Last year? Last 5 years? Then, take stock of what actually happened during this period and list the highlights and lowlights.
Some prompt questions could include:
- Did you travel anywhere during that time?
- Did you experience any personal or family milestones?
- What changed in your relationships, work, or passion projects?
- Consider your list of highlights and lowlights and see if there are any patterns.
- Do your highlights generally involve certain people in your life? Or any specific activities?
For each lowlight, ask yourself if it was within your control. If yes, ask yourself what you’d do differently next time. If no, ask yourself how you may find peace with it.
Take time to reflect on your self-reflection
Looking back at your chosen time period, rate yourself on a scale of 1-5 on each of the following six areas of your life:
Mind – Do you feel clear-headed, engaged, and intellectually challenged?
Body – Does your body feel healthy, nourished, and strong?
Soul – Do you feel at peace and connected to the world around you?
Work – Do you feel interested in and fulfilled by your work?
Play – Do you feel joyful? Are you engaging in activities that bring you joy?
Love – Do you feel positive about the relationships in your life?
After selecting a rating, write what made you feel that way. Expressing your feelings is a great way to have a deeper, and more meaningful reflection.
When Should You Practice Self-Reflection?
There are a number of times when self-reflection is particularly helpful and it can be useful to do it for a few minutes each week. Focus on what has been on your mind that particular week.
It can also be helpful to practice self-reflection at the end of each month or year as an in-depth personal review of your life. This practice will provide you with a helpful perspective, and ensure you are living life to the fullest.
Ancient Greek philosopher, Socrates, had it right when he stated that, “the unexamined life is not worth living.”
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