Why Reflection Helps You Love Your Day
Next week is my birthday. My family jokes that July is my Birthday Month, they’re not wrong.
What does that mean? In addition to planning my actual day, I repeat various meaningful experiences, like walking to a beautiful sand bar that can only be reached at very low tide or going to PJ’s Dairy Bar for a LARGE soft serve vanilla ice cream cone with chocolate topping.
But one of the most important rituals for me is to spend some quiet time and look back over the past year and reflect on what I learned and what I want to keep, release and change.
How Reflection Leads Us Forward
One of my favorite NYTimes writers, Carl Richards, says: “Remember to stop every once in a while and look back at where you started. We often get so focused on the goal that is still way over the horizon that we forget to turn around to see how far we’ve come.” I agree.
Your past, your experience, your stories have a lot to teach you about who you are — your strengths, how you get through hard times and how you achieve great things, as well as what makes you feel joy or engagement, and what drags you down.
When you look at the past, you can understand where you struggled and why, what you’d like to release or have less of in your life, and what gave you the most joy, so you can add THAT into your everyday life.
You don’t have to wait until your birthday to look back and reflect. In fact you can do so anytime you’re facing change or transitions, when you feel off kilter or not engaged in your daily life. I try to do this every quarter or 90–120 days.
But how do you do this? What if you can’t remember all of the events of the past year (or 90 days)? You could flip through your pictures, skim through your journal or gratitude lists if you do those, even take a look back at your calendar to remind you about what happened.
Often just the trigger of an image or a note brings back a detailed memory. And this practice of noticing helps you notice more of the good in your life going forward.
Then take some time to think about these questions:
- What were the highs and lows of the last year/90 days?
- What did you accomplish or feel proud of?
- What are you grateful for?
- What personal connections were important?
- What were moments of great joy, wonder, or contentment?
- What did you struggle with?
- How did you overcome challenges or get through hard times?
- What strengths or tactics did you use?
- What aspects of the past year/90 days do you want to bring forward? What do you want to release?
Don’t be too quick to decide. Perhaps what gave you joy has changed. Take a moment to feel how your body feels as you read each piece of your list.
And while you may look away from hard times, maybe you found you have more grit or perseverance than you thought. Maybe you know which friend you can turn to or how to tap into your own compassion better.
Notice what the joys and challenges of the past year have to offer you.
Looking back and reflecting is an important tool in understanding yourself and designing your life and how you want to feel each day. In The Everyday Experience, you get 5 simple but powerful exercises to help you reflect and dream to create a roadmap to a life you love every day. Check it out and start designing your life today: https://wellfleetcircle.com/the-everyday-experience/mini-course/
- Use journaling as a tool to unlock wisdom from your life
- Experience more gratitude, awe, and wonder through reflection
- Discover your own resilience and create a roadmap for future challenges
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Hi, I’m Melanie!
I’m a Journaling and Joy Coach and I believe your story is the key to the life you want.
I guide my clients through intentional processes to find the answers waiting for you in your stories, bringing compassion, deep listening — and fun — to the process.
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