Self Reflection: Coming Back For More

January has always been rough for me. Coming down from all of the activities and pressures from the holidays makes me feel emotionally spent. Except for the part of me that is always motivated (for a little bit of time) by the new year and the promises of shiny new goals. Eventually, those shiny new goals start to lose their luster for me, as the day in and day out monotony becomes reality. So, I established a new goal to help me come back for more conversations with friends and family.

One of my current goals is to stay connected to friends by texting one each day. As an introvert, this is sometimes hard to remember to do and even more difficult to feel authentic some days. This does not mean I do not care for my friends, it means that sometimes I can get too much into my preference for being in my own bubble. I forget that relationships need to be tended. I have found that I usually do have something to say to someone if I dig deep enough.

Creating this daily habit has been a benefit to my relationships with my friends. It does get tiring, though. Always remembering to do something and consciously think about connecting with others is tiring. Whether it’s an action step to a bigger goal, drinking enough water every day, or taking your vitamins, doing the same things day in and day out can get old quickly. Especially if the habit you are building is hard for you to tackle and is taking longer to make into a routine than you thought it would.

So how do we hang? What keeps us coming back for more? Answer: you can’t buy it and its different for everyone. The key is making sure you feel fulfilled by what you are doing. For me, the monotony becomes rote and I end up forgetting why I started it in the first place, losing all of the passion I had at the beginning. The way to fulfillment is through reflection. How we know what we are doing is helping or hindering us is by taking the time to reflect. It could be daily, weekly, monthly.

But, whatever you choose, carving out time to reflect is a powerful tool for keeping on track and achieving goals.

Of course, reflection can be used in lots of ways; gratitude, spiritual study, and/or acceptance to name a few. I have used the same planner for a handful of years now. It is called the Passion Planner (not an ad) and it has weekly, monthly, and semi-annual reflection components built in. They are all different, but the result is the same. Consisting of me, sitting down for a few minutes to be honest with myself about how things are going. Items that happened this week or month, how I feel, people I saw, places I went, and goal progress. It is in the reflections we find the fulfillment and staying power to continue our daily actions.

It takes a strong person to reflect honestly and about the stuff that matters. We can tell people about how our day went without giving anything away. But then, is that telling someone about how your day really went? We answer, “great or good”, without even thinking about it because if we did, we may feel something and not be able to hide it. Don’t hide it! Rule of thumb when answering about your day, say how it was and then follow it up with a reason why. Take the few minutes to tell the story about a great customer you helped or new business relationship you feel is going to be rewarding.

As Brené Brown says, “You can’t get to courage without walking through vulnerability”. The person you are speaking with will feel more connected to you and you to them. It is the same when self-reflecting. You have to be willing to share the deep parts of your heart and mind with yourself. If something isn’t working for you, change it.

So, in the end, I decided that yes, I want to have a solid relationship with my friends and so, I need to continue to work on staying connected to them. Allow them to know me, and most of all, allow me to know me. I feel it has helped me lately and I would encourage you to do the same, even if it is something as small as a dietary change you made lately or a workout related goal. Reflect on it!

Happy reflecting, all.

Want more on vulnerability and courage? Brené Brown has a TED Talk about it and you can view it here!

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