How often do you set aside time to really think about yourself?
If you’re like most of us, rarely.
Self-reflection is the process of looking at yourself, your life and your experiences.
It’s been shown to strengthen your emotional intelligence, help you act with more integrity, and boost your self-confidence. 
Even if you’ve never deliberately practiced self-reflection, you probably have at least some experience with it.
Here are some examples of self-reflection that you’re probably familiar with:
- New Year’s Day. Most of us spend some time reflecting on each year as it comes to an end, and making resolutions to improve ourselves in the future.
- Birthdays. Many of us use our birthday as a time to reflect on our lives so far, and think about what we still want to achieve.
- Job applications. Applying for jobs forces us to lay out all of our skills and experiences in a clear and linear way, which can be an eye-opening experience.
But do we have to wait for the new year’s day or birthdays to review ourselves? If we really want to improve ourselves, why can’t we have such self-reflection every month, or every week, or even every day?
Are you ready to start improving yourself with a deliberate self-reflection practice?
Just follow the simple tips below.
Questions to ask during self-reflection
To do self reflection effectively, the best way is to ask yourself questions.
What are my strength and weaknesses?
Identifying where your strengths and weaknesses lie helps you solve problems and make good decisions.
For example, if you know that you’re great at organisation, you might volunteer to help put on an event at work and get on your boss’s good side.
If you don’t work well under pressure, you’ll know not to take a job as head chef at a busy restaurant.
However, remember that your strengths and weaknesses aren’t set in stone. Want to change something about yourself?
Put together a plan, set measurable goals, and take it one small step at a time. There aren’t many problems you can’t solve this way.
What have been my greatest achievements?
Identifying your biggest achievements shows you where your values lie. Are you most proud of something to do with work, family, or education? Do you want to focus future efforts in the same area, or shift to something new?
What have been my biggest failures?
Failures can be a wonderful learning experience. Gently acknowledge a time something went wrong, and ask yourself why? Low self-confidence? Lack of planning? Fear?
Now consider what you could do differently to ensure you don’t make the same mistake twice.
What skills do I have?
Making a big list of your skills is a great way to see how you’re doing. Are your skills where you want them to be? If not, commit to learning something new, taking a course, or trying out a new activity.
Are your skills equally balanced. Divide them into categories, including:
Are the lists equally balanced, or are you lacking skills in certain areas of your life?
What problems do I have right now?
Self-reflection deals with good and bad. Ask yourself what the biggest source on unhappiness is in your life right now.
It could be:
- Your job
- Your partner
- Your living environment
- Your finances
Once you’ve identified the biggest problem, you can start looking for ways to solve it.
How could I improve my life?
Writing a short passage describing your ideal day is a great way to generate ideas for this question. Focus on all the small details, like your home, what you’re eating, your hobbies, your routine, etc.
Then compare your ideal day to an day in your current life, and think about how you can bring the two closer together.
Common challenges during self-reflection
You might encounter some of the following problems when practicing self-reflection:
- You forget to do it.
- You’re not sure what to reflect on.
- You’re afraid to be honest with yourself.
- You feel embarrassed.
How to stay committed to self-reflection
To ensure you stay committed to self-reflection, try the following techniques:
- Add a weekly or monthly ‘reflection date’ to your calendar.
- Write a few sentences about why you want to keep up with self-reflection. Read it when you start to lose interest.
- Be kind to yourself. Self-reflection isn’t about being too hard on yourself, it’s about helping you to be the best you can be.
- Keep self-reflection private. It’s hard to be honest if you’re worried about the opinions of others. Don’t feel you need to share your practice.
Ready to stop moving through life on autopilot? Start your self-reflection practice today.
Featured photo credit: The Crunchies! via flickr.com
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