How to start a daily self-reflection routine (and why you should)
Reflecting on yourself and the decisions that you have made in your life is a useful habit. Yet when is the last time that you did daily self-reflection or self-reflection in general?
If you believe in New Year’s resolutions, you may reflect on yourself at the end of every year. Why should you limit yourself to just one month? Daily self-reflection is important and can be extremely beneficial to anyone and everyone.
Below, we’ll talk about what self-reflection is and why you should consider it. Once you understand the importance of self-reflection, you’ll find it’s easy to do it for yourself.
What is Self-Reflection?
Self-reflection is about taking a step back to look at your life and the decisions that you have made. The Cambridge Dictionary defines self-reflection as “the activity of thinking about your own feelings and behavior, and the reasons that may lie behind them.”
Self-reflection is, in some ways, very similar to meditation. However, it’s more about thinking through why you do the things that you do instead of working to clear your mind of stress.
This process can happen in a multitude of ways. For instance, self-reflection can be practiced by keeping a personal journal that you write in every night. Or, self-reflection can simply take place in your mind while you are doing any activity, such as running.
Now that you know what it is, let’s explore the importance of self-reflection.
The Importance of Self-Reflection
Self-reflection is more important than people may realize. It is a great way to connect with yourself on a deeper level and to understand why you behave the way that you do. Even more so, when you self reflect, it helps you to have a more positive mindset and outlook on life.
For instance, self-reflection can help you develop a growth mindset. It can help you see what went wrong and what you can do next time to improve. Self-reflection is a great way to learn from your mistakes.
As you can already see, self-reflection is very important for overall growth, but here are five specific reasons for why you should incorporate self-reflection into your daily routine.
Five Reasons to Self-Reflect
Below are five reasons why you should consider making time for daily self-reflection.
1. Live with More Intention
Self-reflection helps you to live with more intention. By asking yourself questions about what you really want in life, you can begin to create a plan that pursues these wants more intentionally.
Through self-reflection, you will be able to understand how to achieve these wants in the best way possible. You can make action plans, and explore why you want to achieve these goals in the first place.
This process can also help you to realize that you don’t have as much joy or fun in your life as you should. Thus, you can then work to set aside time for things that make you happy.
Overall, purposeful self-reflection will help you live the life you want, intentionally.
An important effect of self reflection is the level of self-awareness it encourages. When you take the time every day for at least a few minutes of reflection, you are forced to look at the actions you have taken. This shows that you are capable of seeing yourself and your behaviors, and not just focusing on what other people did to you.
Self-reflection helps you know where you are right now and where you want to go. Being aware of these things, and the way you react and respond to events will guide you to make decisions that will be beneficial to your future.
Thus, self-reflection increases your self-awareness. Theselfawarenessgy.com discusses how self-awareness requires a constant state of reflection, exploration. On top of this, it requires you to be open to new perspectives and ideas that can help you see things from another angle.
Self-reflection can also encourage self-acceptance. You begin to learn more about yourself by reflecting on how and why you make the choices you make. This can take the shape of positive self-reflective comments. If you do write something negative, it’s a great idea to follow it up with something good.
It’s natural for humans to have days where they compare themselves to each other and feel bad about themselves. Self-reflection is a great way to remind yourself of the great qualities and characteristics that you possess.
You can make a list of your qualities or you could reflect on why you feel bad when you see other people with certain qualities you feel you lack. In the end, self-reflection leads to self-acceptance because it gives you the time to examine yourself and appreciate your unique characteristics.
4. Make Sense of Daily Events
One of the most basic reasons to begin self-reflection in your daily routine is that it can assist you in making sense of daily events.
Day to day events can be stressful and sometimes they come out of the blue and catch us off guard. Daily events can be hard to wrap your mind around in some cases.
For example, you may be having an amazing day at work when suddenly your boss brings you into a meeting and tells you that you are being let go unexpectedly. This sudden event can throw anyone into a downward spiral. Or perhaps, you are working on paying your bills and budgeting when you realize that you don’t have as much money as you thought. And with that, up go your stress levels.
This is where self-reflection can be extremely helpful. Taking a few minutes to think about or write down what happened and process it. This can guide you in your next steps and also help you to respond to — rather than react to — the situation.
Reacting to a situation can lead to an even worse situation. Taking the time to self-reflect and then responding accordingly can lead to a better outcome and help you move through a stressful period with grace.
5. Track Changes, Challenges and Breakthroughs
Finally, self-reflection can aid in tracking changes, challenges that you face and breakthroughs in your life. Daily self-reflection lets you look back on where you have come from and helps you map out where you want to go in the future.
Even more, writing down a few thoughts each day will give you perspective. You may see that weeks, months, or years later, the things that you were so worried about didn’t have a long-term impact on your life.
Five Tips on How to Perform Self Reflection
After hearing all of these potential reasons for practicing daily self-reflection, you may be encouraged to begin some self-reflection of your own.
Before you begin, make sure to consider some of these tips. They can help you avoid becoming overwhelmed and hopefully continue your self-reflection for a long time.
1. Ask Questions
Ask the hard questions that you would normally avoid or simply ask yourself a few basic questions to check in with yourself. These questions could include:
- Am I spending my time wisely?
- Am I spending my time with people that are building me up and encouraging me to be the best version of myself?
- What worries me the most about the future?
- What do I want out of life?
- What can I work on that will make me a better person for myself and for others?
These are just a few possible questions. Of course, you can come up with others or look up more self-reflection questions online.
You should really, genuinely think about these questions and answer them thoughtfully. Doing so may help you learn a few new things about yourself.
2. Schedule Time
If you know that you will have a lot of events and tasks to get to regularly, try sitting down and finding time to schedule self-reflection every day. Scheduling a specific time will get you into a habit of daily self-reflection. Soon, it’ll turn into a habit that feels unnatural to skip.
3. Start Small
Don’t overdo it the first few times. Self-reflection can take as long as a minute or an hour, but when you are first starting, you don’t have to self reflect or mediate for more than what feels appropriate. If you can only really do a minute, then do a minute.
In the case of self-reflection, starting small and working up is the way to go. Plus, you can learn a good amount about yourself in a minute used wisely.
4. Do the Reflection Thoroughly
Just like we mentioned in our first tip, make sure to do your reflection thoroughly. Don’t rush the reflection because you just want to get it done.
Take the time to answer those questions, feel what you are feeling, and examine the events you experienced and the behaviors you exhibited during the day.
5. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help
Sometimes, you simply need help. That’s okay!
If you need help working through a situation or the emotions you are feeling, ask a friend, a family member or a trained professional to help you work through it. There is absolutely no shame in asking for help.
Now It’s Your Turn to Reflect
Understanding the reasons for doing self-reflection, the importance of self-reflection, and a few tips for following through with it is just the beginning. Now, it’s your turn to take the time to look back and reflect on your actions and life.
What are you waiting for? Just a few minutes a day, could open up a whole new world to you and potentially help you learn things about yourself that you have never known.