By now, you’ve heard about the benefits of reflection and why you should be intentionally working some type of reflection into your daily practice.  Here are a few of my favorites.

  • Reflection provides crystal clarity around the type of work, relationships, and daily practices that bring us joy and those that don’t.  It makes us aware (sometimes uncomfortably aware!) of what feels authentic and feeds our souls, as opposed to that which drains us and is not meant for us.
  • Reflection helps us identify the specific behaviors and environments that lead to success so we can intentionally build them into our daily practice. While there are some universal best practices, each of us has our own set of habits and behaviors that move us closer to…or further from…our goals. Reflection shines a bright light on them so we can take action.
  • Reflection keeps us on track toward reaching our goals in a world where distractions and “shiny objects” tempt us to veer off course. Our days and weeks are filled with demands and distractions from carpools to client calls, and it’s easy to find ourselves in a reactive state that resembles a game of whack-a-mole more than intentional strategy.  Developing a consistent reflection process forces you to slow down at regular intervals and evaluate whether the incoming requests and opportunities align with the direction you’re heading.
  • And reflection reminds you of the small blessings you might otherwise breeze right past without noticing. Reflecting on the large and small blessings is the fastest way I know to pull yourself out of a funk and clear the path for good things ahead!

No doubt about it, we can all benefit from reflection, BUT…

I know what you’re thinking.  Yeah, that sounds great, but I’ve tried to journal in the past and I never stick with it!

I hear you.  I’ve been there, and I’ve got you covered.  I too have a stack of notebooks with a handful of entries that were written further and further apart before trailing off altogether.  It’s frustrating!  No worries though, I’ve got you covered.  This week’s post will help you build a consistent reflection practice, even if journaling is not your thing.

1. Read

Read a book about a topic that’s especially relevant to you right now and compare the author’s suggestions to your current business or personal practices.  What can you incorporate that would make your life more efficient, profitable, or content?  What does the author say that you disagree with and why?  Whether you implement the author’s ideas or not, by considering them and comparing them to your situation, you are reflecting!  This brings you into greater alignment with what is meant for you.

2.  Go for a walk

Nature is a proven stress reliever and nothing unblocks your thought process and opens creative channels quite like fresh air.  A recent study by the University of Michigan even found that spending time in nature improves your short term memory by up to 20%.  Improved memory means more accurate reflections of what is helping and hurting you at work and at home.   Let’s not forget that being outdoors helps you sleep better, provides a natural source for Vitamin D, and increases your overall sense of well-being.    The reflection that takes place during these walks may be subconscious, but believe me, it’s happening!  If you spend all day indoors, consider scheduling a walk into your lunch break or give your mind and body an after-work reward with some fresh air!

3.  Try a brain dump

Reflection doesn’t have to be pretty. In fact, messy reflection is often the most helpful.  Any mom who’s laid awake at night with a thousand thoughts tearing around like a mental tornado can vouch for the value of a good brain dump.  Grab a notepad and a pencil and write down all the things you have on your mind.  That’s it.  Just write them down as they come to you – no news doe complete sentences or grammatical correctness.  Just get it all down on paper!

Once you’ve captured all the random things swirling around up there, you can organize them into useful categories.  A “Things that need to be done today” list is often a good place to start.  Then look at things that you’ve been putting off.  Make a list of the things that are bothering you.  Toss in questions you’ve been pondering. (Should I buy a Peloton bike?  Where should we go for our next vacation?  Will we be able to travel for spring break?) The act of writing things down makes them less overwhelming and helps you regain your sense of control as you let go of what isn’t important and make plans to address what is.

4.  Talk to Others on the Same Journey

Learning happens when we convert thoughts and ideas into language, whether written or spoken.  So, if journaling isn’t your thing, but you want to capture the important lessons gathered from reflection, talk them out!  Whether it’s a group of entrepreneur moms looking to grow their businesses through online marketing, boutique owners finding creative ways to adapt to social distancing, or middle school parents trying to navigate the emotional landmines of a tricky parenting chapter, having a group of people to talk things out with often leads to new insights and strategies that will work for you.  Set a regular coffee date and get together in-person or virtually to do your reflecting with a group of women who have your back.

5.  Join an Online Reflection Group

If you’re already at your computer and want to incorporate the social reflection mentioned above, why not join an online group dedicated to building reflection into their daily practices?  These groups post a daily reflection question to help you develop the practice of slowing down and looking back on what’s working and what isn’t.  Our new group Reflection for Non-Journalers is a great place to start!  Each day, we’ll share a brief insight or post a question to spark discussion and jump-start the reflection process.  Share as much, or as little, as you’re comfortable sharing and encourage others as they build reflection into their daily practice along with you.

You don’t have to be a journaling pro to reap the benefits of a regular reflection process.  You just have to find the type of practice that works for you.  As we enter this new year, let’s do this together.  I can’t wait to support you as you grow in 2021!