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“Compare yourself to who you were yesterday, not to who someone else is today” – Jordan Peterson
Modern day society has provided us with many comforts and luxuries. We can order food from our phones and have it delivered to our doors, we have the ability to access information about whatever we want instantly, social media has connected billions of people, and the list goes on and on. As the world continues to become busier, it is important for us to take the time to slow down. It’s easy to become wrapped up in the rat race or be consumed by what you see on social media or the TV. Taking the time to invest in your self is time well spent and it will not only help to improve your life but your families and friends lives as well. The next few paragraphs will discuss this idea.
Because we are becoming increasingly busy it is easy to lose track of who we are. We all have responsibilities: families, friends, jobs, social engagements etc. During the whirlwind, we can find ourselves just going through the motions or focusing on our next vacation or event months down the road. This certainly can lead us to “wasting” so much time on auto pilot. As a result, we can lose track of who we are and what we want from our lives.
Self-reflection is an incredible tool which allows us to slow down the world around us. It allows us to truly assess ourselves, where we’re at, and what we want in the future. Truly knowing yourself is important and takes time, it is a marathon not a sprint. We all have strengths and weaknesses (opportunities) but committing yourself to being a little better every day is extremely powerful. Becoming a better “you” positively impacts everyone in your life exponentially.
Self-reflection on everything positive in your life allows for us to keep everything in perspective. It is so easy to lose sight of all that we have been blessed with. In the meantime, ask yourself these questions. Do you have a roof over your head? Are you healthy? Do you have a loving family, friends, or spouse? Take the time to think about all that you have and all that you are thankful for.
Stoics often talk about putting each day up for review. Meaning before you go to bed at night are you proud of what you did or accomplished that day? If not, what would you have done differently? Take the time to think about that day as if to grade it. It is important to only think about that day not weeks before or days to come in the future. During this reflection our goals or ambitions will become clear again. It is important to write these thoughts down as its easy to lose sight of them in the chaos that can be life.
Nobody’s perfect, however, and its crucial to understand that. The point is not to beat yourself up but to better yourself. Understand that we all make mistakes and tend to learn best from those experiences. Made a bad decision or a poor choice recently? Were you lazy today? Don’t like where you’re at in your life (professionally or personally)? Think about what decisions you have made in the past that got you there, what you have learned from it, and what you can do tomorrow to be better. Incremental and habitual changes will help drive you forward.
Who do you want to be? What do you want out of life? Is there anything you want to change? What challenges can you place on yourself now to help you become a better you in the future? All of these questions will help lead you to your goals and is why goal setting becomes so important. One method for goal setting is having a long-term goal but breaking it down into several different milestones. Often, we look to far down the road and it can be overwhelming. Try to set and achieve a goal each month that relates to your finish line. You will find that you will achieve much more if you reduce your scope and focus on one goal at a time. Start by laying one brick each day and soon you will have a house!
Writing these goals down allows you to take on more accountability for them. They are no longer just an idea in your head but a concrete statement. Keep these in your phone or notebook and revisit them often. Take notes on where you are at and how you’re feeling, this will help you see your progress/results and drive consistency. Consistency breeds discipline, Discipline = results.
To summarize, the point of self-reflection is to keep us moving forward and avoid becoming stagnant. There is no finish line. Self-improvement and self-reflection is a lifelong journey. Be happy and enjoy the person you are today, at this moment in time, but always strive to be better. Enjoy the ride – The goal at the end is to be the best person you can be!