Great sports teams review recordings of past games. They parse their performance in detail and assess ways to improve their skills and plays. This allows them to see not only what they did well, but what they didn’t, and to reflect on aspects of their performance that would be difficult to analyze during the game itself.
It can be hard to reflect on ourselves when we’re caught up in our day-to-day routines. In jobs full of deadlines, pressure, and back-to-back meetings, sometimes there's not even time to think. But processing is an important part of learning and growth. Without taking a look back, it is hard to progress with an understanding of how you want to move forward.
By making a little bit of time every day (or every week) to reflect, you can get a stronger perspective on where you stand. This will equip you to make better decisions and create more positive change in your life.
Make space to think
We are surrounded by so many distractions every day that we’ve grown accustomed to continuous outside input. Many of us now need constant stimulus in order to feel engaged. An interesting study in 2014 asked participants to sit in a room with little to no stimulation. About two thirds of the men and a quarter of the women chose to receive mild electric shocks during the fifteen-minute sessions just to stave off boredom. Fifteen minutes of video games or chatting with a friend go by quickly, but a substantial number of people can’t even sit alone with their thoughts that long.
Contrary to what we’ve taught ourselves, the human mind is not meant to always be stimulated. We all need time to be alone with our thoughts, free from distractions, in order to gain clarity and perspective on where we are right now. By giving ourselves some uninterrupted downtime, even just fifteen minutes, we are giving ourselves permission to cut through the noise and figure out what’s really important.
To start decluttering your mind, try asking yourself the following questions:
How often do I take the time to process my thoughts and emotions? For how long?
Where do I do my best thinking?
How can I create more space in my life to be alone with myself?
If you aren’t currently giving yourself time to clear your head, consider dedicating fifteen minutes to mindfulness every day, whether through meditation, journaling, or going for a walk.
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