There are many moments when we must look back or inward before moving forward. Those moments of self-reflection can drive our path forward if we use them right.
Maybe you’re at a decision point, a crossroads, or a transition with work, family, or health. Maybe you’re simply creating new goals for the coming year.
Whatever your choices, self-reflection can help drive you in the right direction, offering clarity and affirmation in an otherwise confusing time.
What is Self-Reflection?
Self-reflection is a process whereby we pause for a moment, looking inward and reviewing all that’s happened, all we feel, and all we want from life. Sometimes we must make ourselves uncomfortable to reveal our true feelings and face what we avoid.
Are you truly happy?
Do you want to continue on this path?
If you let busyness keep you from thinking about these things, you perpetuate dissatisfaction, resentment, or even depression. To know where you stand, pause to examine yourself, and your path can be enlightening.
Benefits of Self-Reflection
Imagine you can stop the world and look at everything from the movement of your career to the development of your relationships. What would that look like?
By pausing and doing this, you benefit by seeing not only where things are and where they’re going, but you can reflect on whether or not that’s the direction for you.
Are you satisfied with this or do you want to change things?
Do you need to change your situation, or yourself, or your perspective?
One thing many people do is forget how much they’ve achieved. When you look back and think more deeply, you may realize just how far you’ve come. You may have more to celebrate than you realize.
Pausing for self-reflection allows you to see more clearly and make better decisions. You can find the path that’s right for you and start to make strides towards your goals.
How to Make a Successful Self-Reflection
There are a few ways to make a successful self-reflection. No one way is right for everyone, so consider what works best for you and your lifestyle.
Life Coach Approach
Using a life coach to help reflect on where you’ve been, where you are now, and where you’re going can be beneficial. An outside person will not have preconceived notions and can guide you through your thoughts. A coach will not tell you what to do but help you reflect on how you’re feeling and what you want to decide to do about it. Coaches ask powerful, thought-provoking questions, and they keep you accountable which helps keep you on track of your goals.
Write it Down
If you were to write down all your major events and achievements of the past year, what would that look like? Perhaps you’ve come further than you think? Perhaps there’s a pattern you hadn’t considered until you had it in writing. You never know the power of writing things down until you try.
Write down as much as you can, then walk away. Don’t come back to it for at least a full day, preferably more. Then, when you do, you’ll recognize patterns, themes, and direction. You’ll be able to decide if this is the path you want to continue or if you want to make some changes.
This more tangible method of self-reflection is helpful to those with busier minds and who get distracted easily. This allows those thoughts and moments to stay on paper and you can look at them again later.
This is a simple form of self-reflection yet it can be quite powerful. When we sit and silently think about all we’ve done and all the things going on in our lives, we can meditate on those many moments. Meditation doesn’t have to be in a particular position or space. We can think about things deeply in almost any place or time. Let your thoughts wander, and guide yourself through the past year, through your emotions, thoughts, and actions. What strikes you as good and what do you think needs change?
If you feel your thoughts going dark or you find your emotions triggered by this, stop right away and find something good to do. Look at a drawing your child made. Eat something you like. Listen to your favorite song.
Letting your mind self-reflect can be beneficial, but if your thoughts are moving in an unhealthy direction—which can happen with those who have PSTI—don’t let it continue.
Your Path Forward
Self-reflection is a great tool to start the new year off right, set new goals, or re-evaluate your current direction. We don’t know what the new year will bring but we have control over our actions and thoughts. Looking inward before moving forward can bring clarity and solid affirmation that you’re on the path to success and improvement.
How was your past year?
What goals do you have for the new year?
How can you achieve your best self?