I am a fan of self-reflection since it is one of the things that improved my life tremendously. That is why when it comes to developing a self-reflection practice, I am happy to share more information. Self-reflection changed my life and I am happy to tell that I am now happy with what I am doing thanks to this practice.
To develop a self-reflection practice, here are the basic steps you can follow:
- Scheduling time for Self-Reflection
- Have Something to Write On
- Begin Clearing Your Mind
- Think about your Past, Present and Future
- Find Questions that Needs Answering
- Answer the Questions Honestly
- Choose the Most Important Answer
- Apply the Answer in Your Life
- Schedule another Self-Reflection Session
These are the basic steps in order for you to develop the practice of self reflection.
Remember that these are only the steps you can take to develop you practice of self reflection. If you want to make it more effective, I made a more in-depth article on how to do self-reflection more effectively. Not only does it showed how to do self reflection but I also shared some tips to make it more effective. Here is the link if you want to also read it later: How do you Reflect on Personal Development or Growth
Now, let us discuss the steps in a more detailed manner. Basically, How do we develop self-reflection?
1. Scheduling Time for Self-Reflection
The first step in doing self reflection is scheduling your time on doing one. This means that you should select a specific time and a date where you will do self-reflection. Scheduling makes sure that you won’t have any other things to do. Thus, you will be focused on just doing this exercise.
Scheduling depends on the person. There are people who prefer scheduling their self-reflection time after waking up because they feel refreshed.
There are also people who prefer doing it at night because they can analyze what happened during the day.
There are also people who do it day and night because it helps them understand things much deeper.
But the most important thing here is you are starting to develop the practice or habit of self-reflection. Thus, just schedule a single day and specific time for self reflection.
You have no excuse not to do self-reflection. This is because you can do it in 5 minutes. Deep self reflection lasts around 30 minutes.
The most extreme form of self reflection is when you do Dopamine Fasting, which I already did and shared my experience by writing an an article. Dopamine fasting takes a whole day but the amount of self-reflection you can do is extreme and deep. If you are interested in my experiences during dopamine fasting, here is my article explaining my experiences during the said period: Dopamine Fasting Experience
But as a beginner, I recommend you doing it just for 5-15 minutes either in the morning after waking up, or at night time before going to sleep.
We will start small because we are building a habit here.
2. Have Something to Write On
How many time have you told yourself that you are going to remember it, and after a few minutes you’ve already forgot? Almost all of us will experience that because our brain is not good in storing information.
Maybe an exception is if you are a genius. But I am not that gifted.
For the most of us, we need to have a system in which we can be sure that we won’t forget things.
From my experience, the best and cheapest way to do this is to have something to write on.
You can write it in anything including notebooks, a piece of paper, journal, computer, or even your phone.
Remember that the goal of self reflection is to find out things that is deep within you. It can sometimes become a series of discussion in your brain which you can remember, or it can just be a hunch where suddenly you can forget.
That is why it is important to write things down.
Do not worry because I will guide you later how to write things down.
3. Begin Clearing Your Mind
For the best or absolute focus, you have to clear your mind. In every self-reflection session, it is important to have a clear mind.
That is why a lot of people prefer doing self reflection right after waking up where your environment is still very peaceful and quiet.
It is also worth doing it while others are asleep.
But if your schedule can’t, or you just prefer doing self reflection at night, then it is perfectly fine doing it at night.
Just remember to clear up your mind. This means that you need to cut off everything for a few minutes. In my case, I turn off my phone all my other devices.
If you are writing on your phone, then it is a good idea to to just put it into airplane mode and turn on the do not disturb feature so you will not have any notification.
This is very important because we will be using all of our focus in self reflection.
4. Think about your Past, Present and Future
Now that you’ve cleared your mind, it is time to actually do self-reflection. I am so excited that you’re reached this part because from here on, we will discuss the actual practice.
The former 3 steps are the preparation because we need them in order for this to work.
Proper preparation leads to proper execution. Remember that.
Now, let us start thinking of our past especially what we felt before, what are our experiences, what are the rejections, and what made ourselves happy. Basically, everything that has a strong emotion in it, we will see in the past.
While some people believe that past and future is irrelevant, I am not one of them. I prefer thinking and reflecting on my past and planning for my future.
But if you are someone who only like the present moment, then it is completely fine to skip this step.
Now let’s start the present.
In the present, think of what you are feeling right now. There is a big chance, since you’ve cleared out your mind, that there are various things your brain is already telling you. These are mostly what you are experiencing right now.
Even if your brain is telling you about the things you did a few years back, it is still what you are feeling in the present moment. These are important and start taking bullet points because we will use those later.
What are your experiences that makes you sad? What does your brain tell you about what you are feeling right now?
Write all of them down because you do not want to forget them.
Lastly, let’s talk about the future. On the future, we are finding out what our dreams and goals are.
I repeat. What are our dreams and our goals.
We are not talking what your boss tells you or what your parents told you but what are your goals.
This is very important because most likely, there is something you want to achieve that’s why you are doing self reflection.
Write them all down and let us proceed to the next step.
5. Find Questions that Needs Answering
Now that you’ve written what you’ve experienced in the past, what you’re feeling in the present, and what you are your future dreams, it is time to start writing the questions around them.
There is a chance that what you’ve thought of in the last step are already questions.
That is good. But for some, it is not in a question format.
In the following steps, I will give my most important self reflection session as an example. I believe it will be easier to understand this way.
So basically, we are talking about making the thoughts into questions. This is very important.
In my case, it is actually: “Why am I not moving on with my life despite reading many self-help books. I am focused on making myself better but I see no result in my own life.”
Find as many questions as you can, the longer and deeper the self-reflection session, the more question you can make.
6. Answer the Questions Honestly
This is very valuable. Most of the time, our brain will not give us an honest answer. This is because we are most likely in denial.
That is our normal response when we start analyzing things and find out that something is wrong.
Our ego doesn’t want to be wrong. It is its default.
But we need to answer the questions honestly.
For example, in my question, my answer is: “I am not moving in life because I took a lot of my time and put it into reading books. How many hours each week are you actually doing the work for your dreams?”
This is where my brain started talking and defending itself telling that, “But I am reading self help books and learning a lot.”
But I know I have to be completely honest.
I know that it is because I know I am doing my best but in the wrong things.
It is good to read books. I am still reading books until now. But instead of finishing 2-3 books per week, I put it down to 1 book per week.
This makes sure that I have enough time to improve myself, but also work on my goals.
Now, I am moving. Slowly but surely, it has been amazing because that is the first time I had a sense of direction.
Thanks to self reflection.
7. Choose the Most Important Answer
There is a chance that you’ve chosen a lot of questions and answered all of them.
First of all, good job. It seems you did the self reflection for longer than 5 minutes which I’ve recommended for beginners.
But in here, we will just choose one.
Only one answer. Keep all the others because we will use them for the future.
Why choose one? Simply because we don’t have enough energy to work on multiple tasks at a time.
In the book The ONE Thing, the author Gary Keller explained this in a very detailed manner.
In order to achieve the best result we can have, we need to focus on one thing at a time.
There will be times where we have a lot of things we want to do to improve ourselves. But remember that remarkable results happen when we only focus on one thing.
That is why it is important to find the most important, and the one which will give you the most result. After achieving it, move to the next.
It will be faster, more efficient and you won’t feel very overwhelmed.
In my case, it is this website. I want to be a self-help consultant in the future so my first step is building this site. That is my One Thing for now.
I recommend his book. You should try reading it because in my opinion, it is one of the best productivity books out there. Plus, the book is not that long compared to others, here is a link so you won’t have to look for it since when I searched for “One thing” the top was not the one in the search result : The ONE Thing Book
8. Apply the Answer in Your Life
Your self-reflection is useless if you don’t apply what you’ve learned in doing it.
Now that you’ve found the one thing that is important for you, it is time to do the work.
For me, that is improving this website every day. Publishing content and making sure that they are helpful.
I am still in my journey as of this writing but I am happy with my progress.
Because of focusing on my one thing, I was able to grow this website a lot ever since.
And I’m not planning to stop anytime soon.
9. Schedule another Self-Reflection Session
The practice of self reflection does not end in one session.
It is a continuous practice whether you do it daily, weekly, monthly or quarterly.
In my case, I do it every sunday.
For some, they do 5 minute self-reflection practice every day.
To develop self reflection, we have to do it consistently. It is also a good time where you go back to your one thing and check if you are still following it.
If you’ve achieved your goals, then find another one thing.
That is how you develop self-reflection that is efficient, fast and most importantly, effective.