I’m not talking about daydreaming about past events. That’s not that great for you as we tend to dwell on negative things that happened in our past.
What I’m talking about is purposeful, specific reflection.
How often do you take the time to sit down and look at specific mistakes you’ve made in the past and think through what you could do differently in the future?
It’s hard to do. Instead we usually just try to hide our mistakes from ourselves. We assume we’ll learn from them somehow but we don’t really want to think about it.
Reflection isn’t something you should only do after making big mistakes either. You’ll be amazing what you’ll learn about yourself when you stop to reflect regularly.
I’ve recently experience the true power of reflection and it has helped me to become a much more level-headed teammate, boyfriend, family member, friend and professional. It’s given me perspective that I’ve always lacked.
Here are a few ways you can build reflection into your daily life:
1. Write our your thoughts and feelings
One simple way to do this is once a week (I usually do Sundays), grab a pen and paper and write one thing that you’re doing well and one thing you can do better. That’s it.
Start there and if you decide to write more you can dig into what you learned, what your goals are…you can write a whole journal.
Most people who try to write journals fail at keeping up with it because they think they have to write about EVERYTHING in their life every time they open it up to write. Then they give up after one try because there’s rarely a good time to write that much.
So start simple and get into the habit of reflecting at least once a week.
Or try it daily, but keep it small!
Maybe when you wake up, you can just write down what you did well the day before and what you’ll do better today.
By getting specific about the things you’re doing well and the things you can do better, you can keep yourself on the right track.
2. Talk to yourself
I know, talking to yourself gets a bad rap. But just do it when no one’s looking so you don’t get taken to the crazy house.
It will feel cheesy, yes, but again by saying it, you’re taking it out of your head and using your other senses to make it into a tangible thing you can address.
Sometimes when I feel stressed I’ll say out loud “I feel stressed because I didn’t wake up early enough today and I’m overwhelmed by the amount of work I have to do”. It feels a lot better once you get that out.
Maybe every morning you wake up and instead of writing out your reflections, you just say what mistakes you made the day before and what you’ll do better.
Want to get really creepy? Talk to yourself in the mirror. It works 😉
3. Take walks
Walks are amazing but our lazy asses don’t show them enough respect!
We now know that your brain can’t fully focus on the same task for more than 90-120 minutes so every couple hours get up and walk. That will allow you to reflect on the tasks that you have in front of you and if you’re like me you’ll start coming up with new perspectives every time you take a walk.
4. Get into nature
Go for a hike! There’s nothing that frees up your mind and brings you perspective quite like nature.
Nature always reminds me of the bigger picture. It reminds me that I’m a speck on this giant rock moving at incredible speeds through something called space. It reminds me that we’re all just animals part of a much larger system.
Suddenly, all of the petty problems of the day seem pretty silly, and a lot of your “mistakes” you realize aren’t really a big deal at all.
5. Find someone to reflect with
I’m incredibly fortunate to have a cofounder that I can be really honest with in Nadia. We talk very openly about how we feel about the past and present whenever we feel it’s needed.
Sometimes being able to reflect with someone else will bring you perspectives you never would have come to on your own.
I’m also very fortunate to have my girlfriend Alison who is always there to talk with and who helps me reflect. She’s a very grounded individual and always brings me back to earth when I’m really overwhelmed.
If you don’t have someone you can open up to, who can help you reflect, that’s okay. You might actually have someone that would be open to it, but you’ve just never tried talking with them on such a personal level.
It can be uncomfortable at first but once you open yourself up to someone, you reach a whole new level of trust. And now you both have someone to reflect with.
6. Use your hands and body
Activities that require using your hands but not so much your brain will provide you with some amazing reflection time.
Washing your hair it’s one great one to do, as you are focus on the movement of your hands and the feeling of the water and it’s temperature will help your body loose and relax, it will make you improve a lot, and having your hair clean and smelling delicious feels awesome and makes you feel more positive and healthy, you can use one of 15 Best Shampoos For Bright Beautiful Blonde Hair.
Other activities that I love to do for their reflective properties are washing dishes, folding laundry, cooking, running, cleaning the apartment and drawing.
What do you do to reflect?