3 simple self-reflection tools
I’m a big reflector. It’s something that I’ve built on over time but it’s also come naturally to me. I take time to sit down and reflect but also do it on the go which makes me so much more aware of what I’m doing, what is and isn’t working well, what opportunities are presenting themselves, what I’ve got to look forward to and what I can learn from experiences that have passed. When we’re more self-aware and mindful, we’re able to stay aligned with what’s most important to us (our values and priorities).
When we’re on the merry-go-round of life (or the rollercoaster!) it can be easily to fall into survival mode and miss things. When this happens it often means that we’re pushing things aside because we don’t have time for them and then get to the end of the year and reflect on the past 12 months. If you feel like you’re stuck in a cycle, going through the motions and doing things just to get them done, take some time to reflect. The more you do it, you’ll be able to look at things as an observer, sort of like having a birds-eye-view without having to fully stop to notice.
Here’s three tools that I find helpful personally and when working with clients. You can write things down, think of some key words or just pause and reflect in your mind. Whatever works best for you- there’s no right or wrong. Just notice if there’s any resistance that’s holding you back and try to stick with it, even if it’s for a few minutes to begin with. I’ve explained all of these as though you’re writing your responses as it can help to process things but know that you don’t have to!
1. ROSE, BUD, THORN
Grab a piece of paper, divide it into three columns, name one column ‘Rose’, one ‘Bud’ and the other ‘Thorn’. ⠀
Here’s a guide of what to write in each column.
What’s working well in your life right now?
What’s fulfilling for you?
Who and what energises you?
What’s bringing out the best in you?
What are you most proud of?
What’s something that you’ve worked towards that’s now a reality?
What opportunities are being presented to you?
What ideas are you yet to explore?
What are you looking forward to?
What’s something that you haven’t allowed to grow?
What have you been wanting to do for a long time but have let fear hold you back?
What would you love to do?
What isn’t working well for you right now?
It might be something that’s challenging you, an obstacle that’s standing in your way, something that’s causing you the most stress or something that seems to be out of your control.
Who and what is draining you?
What thoughts and beliefs are holding you back?
2. START, STOP, KEEP
Do the same thing for this one. Divide your page into three columns one for ‘start’, one for ‘stop’ and one for ‘keep’.
What can you welcome in and make time and space for?
What would you like to start prioritising?
What’s one thing that you know would make a big difference to your days?
Where can you slow down a little and be more mindful in your life?
What’s something that you could do just for fun?
What’s something that’s been dragging you down?
What could you let go of?
What’s one habit that you know isn’t bringing out the best of you?
What thoughts are holding you back?
What are you spending lots of energy on but not finding fulfilling?
What’s working well?
What and who can you keep making time for?
What makes you feel at ease?
What’s keeping you in alignment with your values and priorities?
3. WORKING + NOT WORKING
Divide a page into two columns one for ‘working’ and one for ‘not working’.
Naturally, as humans, we often find the ‘not working’ column easier to fill out to begin with. Do your best to notice the things that are working, they don’t have to be really big! You can add to this list or simply reflect on it anytime. It’ll help you be grateful for what’s working well and think of small changes that you can make to address what isn’t working well.
It’s said that life can be best understood backwards, so keep reflecting as often as you can!
I’d love to know what reflection tool you find most helpful and any insights that come up for you! Share them with me in the comments below or feel free to reach out via email.