Personal reflection isn’t just something to do on New Year’s Eve. It’s a powerful habit to develop and practice every day of the year!
When you take the time to reflect on what’s working, what’s not working, how you want to feel, where you want to improve, what you excel at and more—you won’t find yourself stuck or stagnant. Regular personal reflection allows you to truly design your life.
But—as with most New Year’s resolutions—it’s not always easy to stick with. If you don’t already practice personal reflection on a regular basis, it will require some getting used to. But it doesn’t have to be hard!
Here are some helpful tips to get you started:
Add It To Your Calendar
Okay, okay, we know we say this a lot, but with good reason! You get done what you plan for (or, at least, you get done more of what you plan for than you do anything else). So find a regular time for a little personal reflection. Maybe you could ask yourself one question every morning? Or do some quick journaling before before bed every night? Find the days and times that work best for you and write it down on your planner. Carve out this space for yourself now, and you’ll be a lot more likely to stick with it in the new year.
Carry a Notebook
You may also want to consider that personal reflection doesn’t always happen at a designated time. Thoughts or ideas or insights may pop into your head while you’re at your desk or cooking dinner or grocery shopping. Carry a notebook with you—or use what you already have: turn to a blank spot in your Day Designer or start a note you can return to again and again on your phone. While you may have a regular personal reflection “date” scheduled in your calendar, every minute of your day is an opportunity to reflect. Make sure you’re ready to capture what comes up!
Ask Yourself Questions
If personal reflection is a bit of a new practice for you, asking questions is a great way to start. You can pick one question to ask yourself every day—something like, “What’s one important thing I learned today?” or “If I had to do today all over again, what would I do differently?” You could also ask yourself a different question at the beginning and end of every day and journal what comes up. You can pick the questions or connect with a personal reflection accountability buddy to ask questions of each other. Just use whatever will get your brain working—and reflecting.
When making personal reflection a habit, it helps not to over-complicate things. Remember that no one else has to read what you write, and there’s no way to do it wrong! If you still find yourself stuck, set a timer for 15 minutes and just start writing—whatever comes out!—until the alarm sounds. Even if you’re writing “I don’t know what to write” over and over at first, eventually the words and thoughts and feelings and reflection will start to flow. Trust that there is so much value already up in your head—when you give yourself the opportunity to write it out, you’ll make it real. And you’ll find that you feel that much more connected to how you feel and the life you want to live.
Make It Simple and Fun
If personal reflection becomes just another “to-do” on your list, you may grow to resent it. “I don’t have time for one more thing,” you might think. Listen, we get it. So why not make it simple and keep it fun? Shift your perspective from this being something you “have” to do to something you “want” to do. Let it be something you look forward to that nourishes and refreshes you. We can’t tell you exactly how to do that—your ideal could be journaling before bed every night or it could be setting a weekly Saturday solo date to reflect on the week. As with any habit you want to create, find a way to make it enjoyable for you.
How do you practice personal reflection? How will you incorporate the tips shared above? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
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