Late 2006 I went through a hard breakup, little did I know it was a blessing in disguise. Spending most days alone, feeling depressed, sad and all the other feelings that come with breakups, I started reading self-development books such as “The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari” and “7 Habits of Highly Effective People”. My favourite TV shows were replaced with films and documentaries like “What the Bleep Do We Know” and “Waking Life”. Random, right? I wanted to be distracted and reading “How to Heal a Broken Heart in 30 Days” wasn’t going to cut it.
Over months, I adopted a new habit: Journaling.
Setting time alone to write down my thoughts made me feel better, understand myself more and cleared my mind. Once I got over the breakup and life went on as it always does, I continued to set aside my “alone time” to think and reflect. It became a daily morning habit, at a coffee shop before going to the office.
Journaling is still with me today, and I must say it is one of the best rituals I have adopted in my life. I became a better man because of it. A year ago, I took self-reflection to the next level – Meditating. I’ll leave that for another post! : )
For me, self-reflection is a way to look back at my day and learn something from it. It could be as simple as appreciating what I currently have and be grateful for it or learning from a challenge I faced.
Self-reflection means having the ability look within myself to get a clear snapshot of my thoughts, beliefs, emotions, motivations and personality in general. It is important because once I am able to figure these things out; I can make the changes needed for a better life.
Questions I’m frequently asked:
1. How do you find the time for journaling?
After seeing the benefits, I decided to make time for it. The best time for me is at sunrise, and I like to spend between 1 – 2 hours per day. You could start small, setting aside 15 minutes from your day. Make it work around your schedule.
2. What do you write about?
Anything and everything. I have no rules, I just let my thoughts flow and then I observe them with no judgment. I also recap the main events of my previous day hoping to learn something from them. I plan the days main events/to do lists, and once in a while I think of my future goals and vision.
Of course, it is totally up to you what to write about. I came across this useful link today where it lists examples of questions to ask yourself while reflecting. http://bit.ly/1ftTD0j
3. Why in a coffee shop? Why not at home?
I love the coffee shop ambience and the quiet early morning crowd. Also, to avoid sleeping in as it might be tempting to go back to sleep if I’m at home.
You can choose your own space and time. Some might find it too noisy to be in public places. Look for the space and time that you are most comfortable with.
I would love to hear about your journaling and reflection techniques. Please do share!