As we wrap up 2020, I believe it is prudent that we take the time to fully introspect and reflect on the year. There may have been many difficult experiences as well as those moments that brought joy to your heart. There may have been moments where time was terribly wasted and those moments when we seized all the opportunities to grow as much as possible. Whatever 2020, may have presented to each of us, I was to suggest that we make it our priority before the year ends, to look at the plans made, look at the highs and lows and recalibrate in preparation for the New Year. Failing to do so, we will run the risk of walking the same pathway as we did in 2020, and this may undoubtedly lead us to have many regrets.
12 Ways to Practice Self-Reflection
1. Identify the Important Questions
Think of some questions that you want to ask yourself routinely (daily, weekly, monthly) to use as an assessment for your self-reflection. Example: What habits did I achieve this week? What could I better improve on? How did I feel overall today?
You don’t have to be perfect with this; as a matter of fact, if you are new to it, it will be uncomfortable at first. But just sit in silence for as long as you can and see how your mind wanders. What are you thinking about? Take note of that and try to focus on your breathing at the same time. Take deep breaths and remain calm.
Writing in a journal like a diary is a great way to get your thoughts and feelings out. It is also a great tool to look back on to see any patterns in your habits and thoughts. Label your entries and add the dates; it will be easier to look at the patterns over a period of time.
4. Do a Writing Exercise
Does your mind feel jumbled with thoughts and decisions? Simply set a timer for 5-10 minutes and write everything that comes to mind. Notice any patterns? What thoughts are important and which are fleeting? Writing exercises are great to get your thoughts out on paper (or computer) to organize them better. For this pick a topic and let the thoughts pour out. For example, work, school. Friendships…
5. Take a Walk in Nature
Being out in nature is shown to improve mood. Get some fresh air and clear your head.
6. Talk to Yourself Out Loud
You may have heard it is ok to speak to yourself just don’t answer yourself (smile), but truth be told, sometimes hearing yourself talk out loud can be a great way to have realizations. Having a conversation with yourself allows you to get your thoughts out and self-reflect.
7. Perform Breathing Exercises
From simple to complex, breathing exercises allow you to steady your heart rate and calm down. This brings your mind to a calmer place to think more clearly.
You don’t have to read self-improvement books alone. Some of my best self-actualizations have come from reading the bible. Reading keeps your mind alert and it fosters openness. Reading is an excellent form of meditation.
9. Analyze a Past Event
Pick an event that you have certain feelings about. Take a few moments to analyze that particular event. Why do you feel the way you do about that event? What did you do well in this particular event? What could you improve upon in the future?
10. Assess What You Are Grateful For
Taking the time at the end of the day to think about what you are grateful for can improve your mood and way of thinking. Try to think of just three things that you are grateful for at the end of each day.
11. Track Your Feelings
Grab a journal or an app and track your feelings each day. Do you notice any trends in your moods? Often seeing why you react to certain stigma brings a sense of peace a realization for why you do what you do.
12. Perform a Self-Check Up
You don’t have to visit the doctor’s office for this one! Simply sit down with yourself and assess different areas of your life. For instance, career, Love-Life, Education, Hobbies, Family, Fitness, etc.
Spending time reflecting enhances your sense of self which will significantly help you like better relationships and improved decision-making in your everyday life.