Self-Reflection – A Tool For Improvement and A Good Attitude
Self reflection is a very useful tool that is not only important for maintenance of a positive attitude but also for plotting your future course and learning from the past mistakes.
The use of self reflection has been a tool that I have used for many years after I had heard about it. I initially learned of self-reflection while in my early 20’s while searching for my personal path. I have always been an avid fan of many of the self-help, motivational authors and speakers such as Tony Robbins, Brian Tracy, Zig Ziglar, Les Brown, and the list goes on. Brian Tracy has been one of the authors that I have used as a mentor that goes into great depth as to the uses of and benefits of self-reflection.
I personally feel that if one does not reflect back on their day they are missing out on one of the most effective self improvement tools that exist. The process is very simple and essentially can be used in a number of different ways.
One method is merely the sitting in a quiet environment and walking through your entire days activities and asking what you did in each situation that was done well as well as what could have been done better. I find this to be very important to do this every day at the end of the day while memories are still fresh in our mind.
Another method consists of asking a number of predetermined questions (Daum, 2014). Some of these questions are listed below in summary format from the article by Kevin Daum in Inc. Magazine:
1) Am I living up to my core values?
2) Am I living up to my expectations of others?
3) Am I meeting my full capacity, living up to my full talents?
4) Am I engaging in worthy activities?
5) Am I on the path to my preferred future?
I also ask my own questions that center around if I could have planned this task more effectively as well as if I communicated the plans and expectations to my team at work for work related tasks and activities.
I think there are many benefits to using self-reflection in terms of meeting long term goals by assuring that you are in fact working on the sub-tasks and activities that will get you there. I have found that it is easy to get side tracked with the day to day fires and activities both at home and at work and this can cause us to not be working towards our goals.
Another benefit I have personally found for use of self-reflection is that it helps me maintain a more positive attitude than if I were not using it. I reflect on things going on in my life at home, my family and what I can do to be able to be be a better Father, Husband and person. I also find that when we know we are making progress towards our goals I am in a much better mood. Self-reflection allows me to know that I am still working towards them. I keep a journal in which I record (irregularly though only at this point in time) and look back on my previous goals and determine if I achieved them or if I need to keep them on my radar still. Just the other day I was reviewing an older journal entry from 2003 and I found that I had accomplished 4 of the 6 major goals that I had set for myself at that time. I still continue to use goal setting, my journal, and self-reflection to this day. As I mentioned it definitely does help to keep my attitude up. In my career in quality assurance I deal with a lot of negative events such as customer complaints, plant quality issues, and supplier issues. This can take its toll on your mental attitude if you do not take proactive steps such as self-reflection.
There are many tools and techniques that can be learned and used to help one achieve their goals and objectives as ell as keeping a positive attitude. Many people use meditation (myself included), or yoga. Of the different techniques that I have learned of and applied over the past 2o plus years I have found self-reflection to be the best for me. As a matter of fact, The Merriam-Webster online dictionary lists the simple definition of self-reflection as follows:
“Careful thought about your own behavior and beliefs” (www.merrium-webster.com/dictionary/self-reflection ) .
My favorite self-help author Brian Tracy also talks much about the topic of the use of self-reflection in his book titled “The 21 Success Secrets of Self Made Millionaires” which has been a major career and life influence for me.
Furthermore, self-reflection has been part of religion as well as the Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) 12 step program where the use of a personal and moral inventory is taken. A great article in Psychology Today by Allen R. McConnell, titled “Reflection Critical for Self Improvement” in his September 18, 2010.
As you can see this tool has been around and is referenced in many areas including the field of psychology, religion and self-improvement. It has personally been a life changer for me.