Time to Change the Settings of your Life?
Updated: Jan 8, 2021
Are you disappointed in the way you react to certain situations?
Do you feel frustrated when you repeat mistakes?
Are there patterns in your life you'd really like to change?
This blog series, Your Next Move, will help you reflect, reassess, reinvent, and recommit to intentionally adjusting the "settings" of your life so that, three to six months from now, you can look back with a sense of pride, accomplishment, and satisfaction about the choices you are making.
Changing on the outside starts by looking at what's going on inside. What we think gives shape to what we do. So let's start by diving into Self-Reflection. (Don't stop reading because I just mentioned reflection.)
My guess: you have an opinion about reflection activities.
Maybe you're thinking you've tried reflection and it didn't help -" been there done that" kind of thing.
Or that reflection doesn't fit your personality. Who wants to just sit and think. BORING!
I'd like to offer some new thoughts on what self-reflection is, why it matters, and how to do it productively.
What is Self-Reflection?
Self-reflection is intentionally paying attention to thoughts and feelings about our life choices and circumstances.
Why Self-Reflection helps us?
Make better decisions
o When we make the time to reflect, we’ll identify success and/or pitfall patterns. We'll discover what's beneath our choices to understand what's really driving them.
o Most of us have more problems to solve than time to solve them. Reflection helps us clarify the most important problems to solve.
Orient our lives around what really matters
o With all that’s going on in our lives it’s easy to lose sight of what really matters to us. Things like relationships, faith, career, mission, personal development, etc... Intentional, consistent reflection helps us articulate what really matters to us and why. When we are clearer about what really matters we can narrow which interests and passions to pursue.
Increase our happiness
o Reflection is a great way to adjust our perspective. Oftentimes we find that things aren’t as bad as we thought, we have more to be thankful for than we thought, or there are other solutions to try - all of which increase our happiness.
o Reflection helps us to shift our focus to others. When we reflect, we not only see deeper into ourselves, but we also see more clearly how we come across to others - to see the reflection our lives makes. When we reflect productively we’ll learn to know, like, and be ourselves, so we can forget about ourselves and focus on others.
o Change is hard. I’m sure, like me, you’ve attempted life changes, only to find yourself giving up before you even get halfway. This time, work smarter by reflecting in a way that will help you discover what drives you.
o I think reflection is one of the places where dreams are born. When we take the time to look at our life, evaluate our thoughts and feelings, we start to dream again. We get clearer about what we hope for. That is fuel for life!
8 Ways to Get the Most Out of Your Reflection Time
Be Positive. No life or person is perfect. Extend yourself the grace to know you are going to make mistakes, hurt others, and make poor choices. Look for the things you learned about yourself and your life, then focus on the opportunities in your next set of choices.
Be Inquisitive – Start by identifying the questions that will help you learn about yourself. For example:
Short term: What did I accomplish today/this week? Why was I successful? How am I feeling? What challenged me? How am I getting better at….? What would help me be more successful?
Long term: What matters most in my life? In what ways am I focusing on the most important things? What choices am I making and how are they helping me?
Be Specific. Narrow your list of questions to one or two questions that will help you get the insights you are looking for. Frame them so you get actionable insights. Instead of asking “Was I effective today?” Ask, in what ways did I do my work effectively?” OR “When did I think before acting, and how did that help me?” “When did I follow through with my plan and what difference did it make?” Then ask them daily or weekly.
Be Honest. About your failures, shortcomings, character flaws, and mistakes. And honest about your successes and the reasons behind them.
Be Responsible. It’s easy to play the victim card or the blame game regarding areas of your life you are unsatisfied with. We’ve all blamed people, circumstances, or other external influences for the status of our lives. The reality is, it’s your life. Only you can live it. You likely have more control than you think.
Be Tactile. There’s something that happens when we put pen or pencil to paper. Remember, starting is the hardest part. Set aside your concerns about proper grammar, sentence structure, or order of content and let the thoughts flow.
When you write down your reflections, you’ll be able to go back and review them to see how your thoughts are evolving, to identify where you are getting stuck, or see if there are repeating themes.
Be Disciplined. We get the most out of reflection when we do it regularly. Daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly. Book time on your calendar like any other appointment.
Be Selective. Choose to do your reflection activities on a neutral to good day/time, not on a really difficult day or on an especially wonderful day. Choose a special place. A place where you won’t be interrupted and where you feel comfortable.
It’s been said that we overestimate what we can do in a day and underestimate what we can do in a life.
Reflection is a great way to balance out our estimating and live the life we intend. It helps us look at our choices, habits, or actions and change our wiring, ultimately adjusting the settings of our lives to ones that help us find fulfillment and meaning.
Which “Be” statement was most helpful to you? Put it in the comments!
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Ready to take some steps towards something new? Try my free mini course: 5 Simple Strategies to Step Forward