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How Self-Reflection Gives You a Happier and More Successful Life

How Self-Reflection Gives You a Happier and More Successful Life
From Lifehack - April 10, 2018

Many world champion athletes, business people, and spiritual teachers all cite self-reflection as an essential key to success. This is also true for everyday people who are fulfilled and happy with their lives.

So why is self-reflection so important? Im going to tell you why self-reflection matters to you and how you can do it to lead a more successful and fulfilling life.

What is self-reflection

Self-Refection is defined as meditation or serious thought about ones character, actions, and motives. Its about taking a step back and reflecting on your life, behavior and beliefs.

A few years ago, I had the pleasure of hearing triathlete Craig (Crowie) Alexander speak at a conference in Sydney, Australia. Craig is a five-time Ironman World Champion and all around inspiring human being. One of the things he emphasized was the amount of time he took for self-reflection and the impact that had on his confidence and performance.

After each race, he and his team would reflect to understand what went well and what could be improved for next time. They picked apart every tiny detail, from the shape of his helmet, to when he took a salt tablet, to his emotional state throughout the race.

In practice he did the same. The time he took to stop and reflect on all the details of his performances shaved seconds off his racing time, which was often the difference between winningor not.

Now you might be thinking, of course he did! Thats his job. But, what if after every race he just kept moving? What if he never stopped to think about what he could do differently? Seems crazy, right?

Yet thats what many of us do with the very thing thats most importantour lives.

What happen when you dont reflect

We keep moving. We push through. We dont stop to reflect. We stay in jobs that are (literally) killing us. Relationships that zap our energy. Circumstances that leave us stressed, unhappy, frustrated and tired.

We keep running on the treadmill of life thinking we dont have time to waste. So we keep moving in order to keep up. But too often, we just crash and burn. Thats because the only way to keep up with the pace of life is to STOP. To hop off the treadmill. To reflect on whats working and whats not. To identify what to keep and what needs to change.

You may have heard the saying:

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and over again but expecting different results.

Yet that is what so many of us docontinue on through life doing the same things and wondering why we arent getting a different outcome.

When a project or something doesnt go well at work, what do you do? You take a moment to step back and see what went wrong and what you could do differently next time. The same should be true with life, yet we dont often take time to reflect. Why not?

Ive heard many reasons over the years. Maybe you feel you dont have time and there is just too much else on your plate. Or maybe you dont have the energy. Youre tired and feel like its just one more thing to do. Perhaps you dont realize the significant and how it can positively transform your life. Or maybe you just feel like its too hard. Many of my clients feel they dont know where to start or what to consider.

This is often why people hire a coach or consultant. To provide time and space they arent giving themselves. To ask the right questions and give space for the answers.

The good news is, you dont need to hire anyone to reap the enormous benefits of self-reflection. All it requires is awareness, commitment and dedicating time.

The importance of self-reflection

Many people find doing self-reflection difficult or troublesome. They dont understand why they need it, and they dont see the benefits doing self-reflection. Why is self-reflection important for you? Here I will reveal the benefits of self-reflection:

Improves self-awareness

Its essential to understand yourself at a deeper level. Self-awareness and a little soul searching is critical to success in all areas of life.

Taking time for self-reflection leads to greater self-awareness which in turn leads to self-improvement. In addition, having a strong sense of self improves your confidence and level of self-esteem.

Provides perspective

Self-reflection allows you to understand and see things from a different point of view. When you take a step back from a situation, you gain a new understanding. You can see the whole picture, not just the piece of the puzzle.

Ever hear the saying, Cant see the forest for the trees? This is an expression that highlights someone who is so involved in the details of a situation that they cant see the whole picture.

This is the benefit of self-reflection. You can zoom out and see the whole forest.

Allows you to respond, not react

Ever say or do something in the moment that you wish you could take back? When you react, youre not thinking about the potential ramifications of your actions. However, when you take time to reflect on a situation, you can respond more thoughtfully and change your behavior for next time.

Early in my career, a boss made a recommendation about this very thing. He advised me to wait 24 hours before addressing something I was upset about. This forced time of self-reflection allowed me to take stock of my feelings and emotions. I was then better able to approach the situation or issue with a level head and greater perspective.

Facilitates a deeper level of learning

Improves confidence

Challenges your assumptions

How to do self-reflection (a step-by-step guide)

The process of self-reflection

1. The first is to reflect on YOU.

2. The second is to reflect on the areas of your life that are important to you.

Questions to ask yourself in self-reflection

When to self-reflect

Bonus self-reflection tips

Make self-reflection part of your life

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