Socrates, Albert Schweitzer, Ben Franklin and other great thinkers believed that self-reflection was necessary to lead a productive and fulfilled life. In a world where moving quickly and being the best have become top priorities, self-reflection is a great method to recharge the mind and body.
Though you can do these activities anywhere, a quiet place with little interruption will be the most effective.
Much of our time is spent complaining about the things we don’t like. Take this time to think about all the things you do appreciate. Get out a piece of paper and write “My Life” at the top of it.
Think about the positive things you have in your health, relationships and workplace, and write a bulleted list on the paper. Every time you feel a negative thought creep in, attempt to trump it with a greater positive thought.
Continue listing items until you can’t think of any more. Try this activity every day for a week.
Setting and Achieving Goals
Write a list of things you would like to achieve in the near and the far-off future. The goals can be as simple as “I want to lose a pound” or as complex as “I want to change the way that I connect with people.”
If you can’t think of any, write down a few goals that you’d like to have. Since few people are leading their ideal lives, this shouldn’t be too hard. Now, for each goal, write three actionable steps that could help you get closer to reaching each goal.
Read the goals and the actionable steps out loud. Make an effort to re-write and re-read these goals every day for a month.
Talking to the Future You
Picture the future version of you sitting down to lunch with the present you. You can close your eyes if this helps. This future you has already accomplished many of the great things that you expect from yourself.
Ask him or her how he got there and the directions that he took. This will help you in several ways. You can reassure yourself that your goals are possible. You can also gain some insight into how you might become the person that you want to be.
As in many meditations, you may need to coax yourself into your imagination. This could involve relaxing for a few minutes before trying to picture your future self, or picturing a long-elevator ride or staircase deep into your mind.
The Rampage of Appreciation
This is an exercise in which you think about all the things you like about yourself. Find a mirror or compact and begin looking at yourself. Tell your reflection all the things that you like outwardly or inwardly about you.
This can be as simple as saying “I like your hair” or as complex as saying “I appreciate your generosity on the weekends.” This exercise can help to weather the barrage of negative things we are exposed to all day long. Do this activity as often as you like.
Start this activity by free writing for about half an hour. You can concentrate on a particular project you’re working on or a part of your life if you’d like. Write down ideas that can make your life better.
If you can’t think of anything, just write whatever comes to mind. By doing this in a quiet, interruption-free place, you may be able to come up with new ideas for your life.