Happy New Year! I pray 2018 is starting off wonderful for everyone. I know that if you are reading this you are an ambitious goal setter, which means that you are more than likely working on how to make 2018 amazing. There are tons of things we can do to make sure that we are successful in the new year, but I believe the one thing that is essential to our success is self-reflection. How can we grow into the person we want to be if we never reflect on who we currently are? So, for me the key to growth and self-improvement is self-reflection.
Here are three ways that we can reflect and get clear on what we want, value and need to do in order to accomplish our goals.
What are your strengths? What are your weaknesses? Am I happy with where I am in life right now? What’s going right? What’s going wrong? What do I want my life to look like? Once we focus on our strengths and what’s going right, we can put our energy into doing more of those things that make us feel good. If this year you spent tons of time connecting with family and friends and that was a bright spot on your year, figure out how to do more of that in the New Year. Also, once we are honest about how we want our lives to look, we can set and chase goals that align with that vision. And once we realize the things that need to improve in order to live the life we want, we can start to develop a plan to change those things. It all boils down to us being honest with ourselves. It about us looking ourselves examining places where we are weak and things we may be ashamed of. However, once we are honest with ourselves, we can begin to do the work.
EXAMINE HABITS AND ROUTINES
They say your success can be found in your habits and routines. What do your habits and routines say about you? How do you spend your time? Is how you spend your time aligned with the person you want to become. You see, Serena wants to be the best tennis player, so she’s either at the gym or the court putting in the time to become the best. Her habits and routines reflect her goals. Think of your goals, and also think of people who have already succeeded in reaching those same goals. What type of habits or routines do you think they have? Listen to podcast or read interviews about successful people and what they did throughout their journey to make their dreams a reality. Changing habits and routines is NOT easy, but it is often necessary in order to grow or progress to the next level. Success is not found in random big breaks, but in those small habits and routines where we grow and nurture our goals and plans. So, once again, be honest with yourself. Examine your behaviors. What would the person you want to be in the future be doing right now? Show up as your future self.
DEFINE YOUR VALUES
What’s important to you? Is it family, spirituality, community, health, etc. What do you care about? And are your values reflected in how you live your life? For example, if you say you value your health, but haven’t been to the gym in months, start to examine why your values and actions are not aligned and think about how you can change that. Are your values battling each other? I want to be accessible, but I love my alone time. I need to get more sleep, but I love staying up late to watch TV. These are examples of how our values can conflict. Once we are aware of how our actions aren’t aligned with certain values we want to have, we can once again begin to think about how we can make changes to honor those values. OR we can just keep it 100 with ourselves and say that RIGHT now at this point in my life, this is what is important. Values can change and that’s ok. Just don’t hold yourself to old values that don’t match your current life and values. If you are a working mom now who used to value a globetrotting career, it is easy to beat yourself up because the globetrotting career doesn’t align with your values as a mom. Beating ourselves up, not accounting for life changes, and romanticizing the past do nothing for our growth. Some people say you can determine what a person values by looking at how they spend their money and their time. So, if you are unclear on your values your bank account and calendar may be a great place to look.
I think it’s always good to take time for self-reflection. When we are aware of who we are and who we would like to be, we can start changing the things that bother us and do more of the good stuff that makes us happy. How can we grow if we aren’t aware of what is holding us back? We can say honestly what we don’t like and boldly say I’m going to make changes once we are clear on what those things are. Self-improvement is not easy, but we can make it easier on ourselves by getting clear on what we want, identifying our habits and defining our values.
Here are a few journal questions to jumpstart clarity and focus on self-improvement.
Remember! You got this, and God’s got you!