How was your first week of the year? For many of us, it's just another day in a job that we hate and a world that seems completely out of control. And yet, I still believe we can make small changes every day to turn things around. That change starts with self-reflection: taking time each month (or even week) to think about what's going well and what isn't, so you can better understand how to make things better for yourself. If you want some help getting started, here are some questions to aid reflection:
What are you proud of from last year?
What are you proud of from last year?
Why are you proud of it? (It's important to make sure that your actions were not just about being good at work, or doing something for someone else. A in-depth reflection of actions that made a difference in your whole life for you and others.)
How does this make you feel about yourself and your life in general?
What was the biggest mistake you made last year? If this question makes you feel a little nervous, don't worry. You're not alone. We all make mistakes—even people who seem to have it all together. The important thing is how we react when things go wrong: Are we able to learn from our mistakes and move on? Or do we beat ourselves up over them? And if so, does this self-criticism actually help us get better at something or just make us feel bad about ourselves? Reflect on what actions you did to overcome it and what things you could change if that incident repeats or how you could avoid it.
What lesson did you learn the hard way?
What was the lesson?
How did you learn it?
What did you learn from it?
What is the most important lesson you learned in the past year?
What goals do you still have (and how will you accomplish them this year)? When you think of a goal, what does it look like? A lot of people want to make the big changes in their lives, but then they stop at “I want to get healthier” or “I want to be happier.” Those are vague and unspecific objectives—it's like saying “I want my life to be better!” which is near impossible because your life will always have imperfections.
A goal should be specific: what do you want? What are you going after? A goal should also be measurable: how will you know when it's been reached? A goal should be realistic: can someone with no training run a marathon in under 2 hours? A goal should also have an end date (if applicable): when do you need this finished by? Finally, the SMART acronym helps keep your goals on track by being specific about whether it's measurable or not; whether there's an achievable deadline for completion; whether it relates directly back into your life as a whole; if it fits well within another larger project/goal; and finally providing some context behind why this particular step is important for achieving success across multiple areas of interest (and thus worth pursuing).
What surprised you last year?
Something I did not expect to happen: I did not expect to have the opportunity to study abroad in Madrid, Spain.
Something I did not expect to learn: I learned a lot about myself and my capabilities through this experience.
Something I did not expect to fee
l: I felt more comfortable with myself and confident in my abilities as an individual when doing things for myself instead of relying on others for help or guidance.
Something I did not expect to see: The diversity that exists in people’s languages, cultures, customs, etc.
What did you stop doing that made a big difference? Think about what positive things did you stop doing and how can you reincorporate them to your life.
If your life were a novel, what would be the title of this chapter and why? If your life were a novel, what would be the title of this year’s chapter according to what you want to accomplish. What does it mean to you? How does it relate to your life?
Describe yourself to yourself in the third person. How does this change what you think about yourself and why? To do this, you’ll need to create a character. You can name them anything you want and give them any appearance you want—as long as they are clearly a version of yourself. Once your character is complete, describe him o
r her in the third person by writing a short paragraph about him or her. The next step is to imagine yourself from this new perspective, from the outside in. What does your life look like? How does he or she feel about herself? How does other people treat him/her? What are his/her strengths and weaknesses? What drives him/her forward every day?
Self-reflection can help guide your purpose. Self-reflection can help you identify your purpose and goals. When we take time to reflect on our day, we are able to get in touch with what is most important to us. This can help guide the way that we spend our time and energy. When we reflect on where we are at in life, it helps us identify our strengths and weaknesses so that we can work on improving them. If a person is struggling with their finances, they may feel overwhelmed and lose motivation because of this. By reflecting on the financial situation and identifying areas for improvement (such as budgeting), they may feel more confident about taking steps towards achieving their goals.
Self-reflection can help guide your purpose. You may not be able to change much in your life, but you can always be better. If you’re struggling with self-reflection, start today by reflecting on what you did last year and where that led you today. This will help you find answers for the future!