I realised recently that something kept holding me back in life. My mind seemed to be focused solely on the negative; I felt as though I was constantly trying to get somewhere and never quite getting there, and in doing this I never felt truly happy. I’m sure you know the feeling. So why do we allow ourselves to do this? Does it not make our lives feel unfulfilled? Yes it does. But can we change this feeling within ourselves with the help of reflection? Yes we can!
Our brain sometimes needs a little help to retrain our thoughts for the better. For example when I look back on my recent life my short term memory tells me that during the week I go to work and every weekend I go to the same local pub and see the same people and that’s just my life. I didn’t see a lot of substance to it all, because I wasn’t looking in the right places! That is until I found my three reasons for reflection below, and became a much happier person.
So Why Is Reflection So Important?
1. It Provides Gratitude
There’s a lot of talk about this at the moment, and I couldn’t agree more that it’s a great idea to help us realign our focus. Too often we concentrate on something that’s going wrong, and have you ever noticed when one thing goes wrong, a bunch of other bad things follow? That’s because we’re allowing our brain to fully focus on the negative. I recently downloaded an app which helped quickly and easily shift my focus to the positive aspects of my life.
This app allows me to write 1-3 things a day that I’m grateful for. I contemplate what I’ve seen or done that day that I am most grateful for almost every night before bed. It helps me to reflect on what I’ve achieved that day, what I already have that previously I didn’t appreciate enough, and makes me smile when I realise how lucky I am to have these things in my life.Suddenly my attitude has shifted in a positive direction. By reflecting back on your best life moments more often, you’ll find a more grateful and positive attitude in life.
2. It Provides Fulfilment
A few months ago I read a blog that encouraged me to take a look back at the past year of my life. When I first thought about doing this and tried to remember what I’d done over the entire course of a year, certain things popped straight into my mind…. a holiday to Portugal, a foot operation and gaining my lovely new niece 🙂 but then I thought to myself, what about the rest of the year? Although holidays, operations and new family members were all wonderful and very different experiences in their own right, surely they didn’t take up all 365 days! So I made a reflection list.
I looked through my social media and started to jot down every life event, big or small, that I’d taken part in, endured, enjoyed and generally formed part of my life last year. Once I’d finished writing, I was amazed!! I’d written down not 3, but 39 experiences! Most of which I’d obviously forgotten along the way (I don’t have the best memory…). There were some very happy and very sad moments, but now I just felt grateful to remember them all. Can you imagine lying on your death bed, looking back on your life and thinking, I just don’t remember?
Creating this list inspired me so much that at some point I’d love to commemorate these memories in a beautiful way, because they were important to me, and I wouldn’t want to forget anymore!! So I plan to make a collage or some artwork to forever remember them by. Imagine if we did this for every year of our lives! It would be a great way to reflect back, appreciate the wonderful memories and find a feeling of contentment.
3. It Provides Change
We often look back at our past and wonder how we could have handled it better or sometimes completely avoided the bad situations in the first place. Hindsight’s a wonderful thing. Instead of looking back on things you can’t change, why not focus on what you can change? Practising reflection in each area of our life can bring about reactions that can create change.
Take a look back like I did and create your list for the last year. Did you find any achievements that it’s taken you some time to finally stop procrastinating over and start? Have you been procrastinating over something recently, something you thought you would never do? Last year I finally organised my foot operation (bunion surgery, yes at the ripe old age of 28!), it’s something I’d thought about doing for literally years. This year I’ve finally started blogging. I love writing and it’s been something I’ve wanted to do for months. After looking back at some of last year’s life events, I realised I shouldn’t waste my time waiting and holding myself back. I needed a creative outlet for my thoughts in order to release them. And this is me now, doing it!
I found three great ways that helped me to change; I created a mind map, I set goals and I told someone what I planned to achieve. Each of these three things kept me focused and pushed me to change.
So the lesson is this; don’t waste your life procrastinating!! Look at everything you achieved last year, decide if there was anything missing and what new things you would like to achieve this year, and go for it!