When the year-end is coming, many people start to think about what they accomplished during that year. It is a great opportunity to stop and do self-reflection. Whether you are a person who likes New Year’s resolutions and goalsetting or the person who prefers to live at the moment, self-reflection will definitely have positive impacts on you.
What Is Self-Reflection?
If you do not want to read long academic descriptions about self reflection, just read the Cambridge Dictionary’s definition: “the activity of thinking about your own feelings and behaviour, and the reasons that may lie behind them” Self-reflection is basically means understanding yourself better, observing yourself from another, external point of view. And it’s not written anywhere that you need to do it at the end of the year. In addition, it is better if you do it regularly, more times in a year. You can do it on a daily basis as well.
6 Benefits of Self-Reflection
As a trainer and coach it is essential for me to do self-reflection. I reflect on my thoughts, emotions, what happens to me. It is like when you look at yourself in the mirror and observe what you see. It helps me to cope with what happens to me and reach my goals. It has so many benefits, I am sure you will find it useful too. I collected the most important benefits of self-reflection using my own experience.
Increasing Your Self-Awareness
If you schedule time regularly to understand your feelings and behaviour better, you will definitely inscrease your self-awareness. Being more aware of your feelings and actions will help you to improve your relations whether they are professional or private.
Making Goal Setting Easier
It is really hard to set goals for the future if you don’t understand your past and present. Take time to observe what is around you and yourself as well. Dig deeper. It can help you to set goals which really inspire you for the future.
Increase Your Motivation
Many people think a lot about their failures, but they don’t think on their achievements. If you schedule time regularly to think on your achievements during the day/week/month/year, it can increase your self confidence and help you through the tough times.
Process What Happened to You
There are certain moments in life when we need distraction and not to think about out problems. However problems usually don’t solve themselves. Self reflection can help you to process what happened to you.
Becoming More Mindful
Mindfulness is about living in a way that you are capable to observe what is all around you and also yourself with curiousity and without judging. It also means to be mindful at your body, thoughts and emotions. During self reflection when you acknowledge your thoughts and feelings, it is a mindfulness practise.
Make Decisions Easier
Understanding what truely matters to you will enable you to make decision easier. It will be just enough to think on what is important to you and prioritize that.
How to Do Self-Reflection?
Self-Reflection is about yourself, so it is important to find the way which helps you the most. I collected a couple of ideas for you about how to do self-reflection.
You can follow what many people do, do a year evaluation at the end of each year. I suggest to you to think about at least 3 questions about your previous year:
- What were the outstanding moments of the year for you?
- How did you overcome your challenges?
- What did you learn last year?
If you do this reflection year by year, it will be really interesting to see your progress during the years. Make sure to check what you wrote previously.
Areas of Your Life
Learning and continous development is really important for me, and I do believe it is the key of being succesful. This is why I implemented a question about learning in the method above. On the other hand, we are all different. What really matters to us can be different. So why not to reflect on the things that really matter to you? Here’s how to do it.
- Collect the most important areas of your life. For example family, friends, work, studies, hobbies etc.
- Rate each of the areas from 1 to 10 expressing how satisfied you are with them. (10 is the most satisfied). You can prepare a graph as well to visualize it.
- Go though the areas one by one and think why did you choose that specific number.
- If you want to continue this exercise with goalsetting, decide what do you want to change in the future. How could you improve your numbers?
Repeat this exercise as many times as you want. I really suggest to you to do regular self-reflection exercises more times in a year, for example in every 3 months. This way you will always get a reminder of your goals.
Year Compass is a very popular booklet which can help you to close your previous year and also to plan the next one. It is my personal favourite because it can help you to organize your thoughts about all aspects of your life. The questions give you flexibility as well, you can interpret the the way you want.
Journal / Diary
I think writing a journal is the most obvious way of doing self-reflection. Sometimes the most obvious solutions are the best. So grab a paper and pen, or open an app and start writing. Check out my article about writing a diary for more ideas.
It can be difficult to do self-reflection alone. Reflecting on the feedbacks of others is also an important part of self-reflection. So do not be afraid to ask for help if needed. You can ask a good friend or also a professional such as a coach or mentor to guide you through self-reflection.
Do not forget that the best thing about self reflection is that it is completely about yourself. Sometimes it is easy, sometimes it is difficult, but it worth to go through it. You can combine the methods mentioned above. For example I fill out each year the Year Compass booklet, I periodically write a journal and I also turned to a coach to help my development in the beginning of the year. If you have any questions about the topic, feel free to contact me. Or follow my site on Facebook for more updates.
**Cover Photo: Johannes Plenio (Pexels) **