As you move into 2020, it’s likely that you will look back on the previous year and consider what you experienced, gained, lost, undertook, and achieved.
You may look at this fondly or with some desire to have done more in life, work, relationships or with hobbies, your bucket list or anything else important to you. It’s entirely normal and can be motivating for the year ahead. What’s important is that you have taken the time to “reflect”. Most people won’t register this as “reflection” as is not necessarily undertaken on a highly conscious level - but what would happen if you were more conscious about what you have achieved and what you hope to achieve in 2020?
I’ve spent many years actively reflecting - in my head, on my phone’s Notes, in blog posts and in my daily journal/diary. It’s a tough topic to bring up generally as people are generally uncomfortable about reflecting until it’s in a life or work coaching or wellness context. However, reflecting can reduce stress and motivate you into action.
A typical reaction to spending time reflecting is that there is no time to write about the day. This barrier pops up over and over again before my client even considers whether there is time! As such, in my experience, not reflecting is more about a deeper block to dealing with things - even the good things.
This, of course, may be controversial but it’s spoken from experience. Once the conversation opens (usually in a coaching context) about what it can mean to reflect on the day, how writing down three good things from the day can be uplifting etc, I see the attitude change. One client, for example, who thought writing was a sign of weakness gave it a go and then could not be without his journal every single day. Another, through reflecting consistently, changed unhelpful habits to gain greater wellbeing and energy. Another powerfully moved on from giving up on work to re-establish themselves and open new doors.
There is power in reflection. If time is your first stumbling block, I ask you “is one minute a day too much?”
How can I start journalling? You can begin your reflection by simply allowing yourself one minute at the end of each day to write down three bullet points of what you felt went well and any lessons learned. All you need is a basic notebook and pen. This is about focussing on the positive at this early stage.
I typically am asked, “what can I write about?” My answer is “anything,” but the question demonstrates how hard some of you do find this notwithstanding its overall benefits. It is essential to approach journalling/reflecting with an open mindset. Imagine if you are creating a bucket list of "20 things to do before I'm 50."Are you going to be closed or open minded about what you are wanting to explore? The majority of you will want to try new things. This is the same with reflection -
have an open mind;
do not be hard on yourself;
if you cannot think of three things, go for just one.
This is about allowing yourself to actively recall the good of the day and embed it into your whole being so that it leaves a lasting impression.
Now imagine this: in January, if you write down three things a day that made you feel good or that went well (such as I arrived at work 10 minutes early and had time to deal with 5 emails uninterrupted; I had a healthy lunch and chose water instead of juice; I have my wife/husband a hug when I reached home and her felt good), by the end of January, you will have recorded 93 positive things in just one month. Over the year, this is over 1,000 positive memories for your mental wellbeing bank.
Can you imagine that?
Three x daily reflections over one year = 1,095 positive memories.
(1,096 for a leap year)
Why is this so important? The human mind, in twisted fashion, recalls more negative events/emotions than positive ones. It is reported that for every negative experience (and its respective emotions), you need 3-5 positive experiences to counter it. However, humans tend to recall the negative feelings 9even when they don't want to) and, as such emotions are so heavy, it feels like an effort to think or create any positives. Humans may also tend to take the easier path of not thinking rather than address what will, in effect, serve them better (ie, reflection of three simple things that went well in the day).
By creating a habit of writing down your positive experiences of each day, you are opening up the opportunity for your consciousness to absorb more of this. More and more reflections can keep your mindset balanced as you learn to see how all is not bad, stressful, painful etc. You can read more abut the benefits at https://intermountainhealthcare.org/blogs/topics/live-well/2018/07/5-powerful-health-benefits-of-journaling/
Getting started may not be easy as you will be working towards a new habit. Habits take at least 21 consistent days to embed (possibly longer in real terms) and, in the beginning, this may feel impossible. Remind yourself of when you have achieved a goal or new habit. I'm certain you've done this. Engage your self-discipline for the greater good - your wellbeing and happiness. If you do find this difficult, coaching can quickly help you to improve focus and stick to new habits. For more information about coaching, contact me with your query at https://www.anitagohilthorp.com/contact
As your happiness, reality and wellbeing improve, the more likely things around you are likely to too.
I’m on a mission to help over 1000 people in 2020 to enhance their wellbeing. It starts with a small step. Please do share and share again. Your comments or feedback are also welcome so that, together, we make a difference.
Want to know more about me or how coaching can help you thrive? Enjoy 50% off 3 coaching sessions when booked before 31st January 2020 (terms apply). Want to talk first?No problem. Just contact me here https://www.anitagohilthorp.com/contact
The Boring Stuff: All views are of the author only and based on experience. Any tips, guidance or information given is not medical advice. If you are feeling vulnerable, anxious or depressed, you are recommended to seek the advice of a medical practitioner.