Reflection — the process where thoughtful consideration of who we are. How we interact with our surroundings based on our core values, how we change, and how these things relate to our future experiences — is a skill not to be undervalued.
Self-reflection allows us to you grow our understanding of who we are, what we value, and why we think and behave the way we do.
It is a form of personal analysis that allows us to bring our life into alignment with what we wish it to be. True ongoing self-reflection allows us to make lots of small behavior and thought modifications away from less desirable thoughts and behaviors toward those that promote greater personal growth.
If you've been here a bit you'll know I use a planner and bullet journal regularly. I have for years, and even have an Instagram dedicated to my many versions of planners. Planning and Bullet journaling allow me to:
Review and organize tasks and track those that are complete
Connect with myself and establish a "life vision" on a daily, weekly and monthly basis
Measure my progress
Adjust my strategy and plan
Reflect on new things I've learned
Identify potential improvements
Set new tasks for the based on these ideas
These actions are actually a form of self reflection as well. I use this process as a "baseline".
This baseline is about understanding yourself and noticing, not judging or forcing yourself into changing anything.
I also try to regularly Journal. A journal is not about your day and what happened, but about your thoughts, your perspective, your feelings, your words, your actions and about the feedback from your environment. Becoming aware of why you behave the way you do. Documenting the results of your behaviour. Journaling allows you to be come more aware of who you are. Honest Journaling will reveal what your true desires are.
Many people don't journal long enough to get past the phase of what seems like only journaling negative thoughts and behaviors. It takes time to work through those thoughts, to understand what they are, where they are coming from, the different types of negative thinking that exist and how to deal with them. Its a difficult process to keep going through.
Perseverance should lead to insights, understanding and better knowing yourself.
End of Year Reflections
Another practice as part of this Journaling and planning is to create a larger End of Year reflection. I Start by recalling the events of the year as best I you can. I write down moments that stand out. This can be a simple list or a visual overview.
Once the events of the year are down, it's about reflecting on what those brought. The journaling part. Going event by event asking what each has taught, what emotions were brought up, what reactions. This can be especially empowering when examining an event that was particularly difficult.
During this review inevitably brings about things it is time to let go of, these are actions, thoughts or belief systems that no longer serve you. It is important not to hold judgment of ourselves for these out grown actions or beliefs. At one time all of these things served a purpose in our life, for these that purpose has passed.
Time Looking Forward
I have found it extremely helpful when reflecting and planning on the future to ask myself more "what" than "why" questions. It is easier to create actionable items based on a "what" question.
What aspects of my life require my attention?
Where do I want to be?
What do I want to become?
There are a few more great reflective prompts on this post on my Instagram.