Reflecting on personal development
In order to understand where you are and where you’re going, you have to reflect, analyze, and understand your past.
Reflecting on your personal development journey can help you to assess how far you’ve progressed and how much further you have to go before you accomplish your next goal.
Working to better yourself is the true meaning of personal development. The more attention you give yourself, the more you’ll understand who you truly are.
What is the purpose of reflecting on personal development?
If you don’t fully understand where you’re coming from, you won’t understand what direction you need to take in order to move forward.
Yes, setting goals and working towards them already gives you a solid direction but what happens when you’re checking off those boxes without understanding how much work you’ve actually put in and the progress you’ve made?
This is where reflection comes into play. When you look back on the things you’ve done and truly appreciate how far you’ve come, you will begin to understand that you have indeed made a lot of progress. That calls for a celebration.
Reflecting on your goals and dreams, your life experiences, and what your personal development journey has taught you will give you the extra kick and confidence you need to keep going strong.
Why is it important to reflect on personal development?
I honestly feel like I’ve lived a lot of different lives during this specific cycle. From student to traveler to artist to writer, I’ve explored different avenues of my creativity in this life.
My cousin once told me that if I was to do nothing else for the rest of my life, it would be okay. I never expected her to say anything like that because I always thought that I wasn’t doing enough. But, she was right. I accepted her point of view more when I sat and reflected on all the things I’ve accomplished in this life.
Looking back on the things you’ve done that have brought you to this point is vital. By analyzing how you handled past situations and thinking of better and more efficient strategies you could have utilized to get through it, you’re already setting yourself up for a successful future.
If a similar situation ever shows up again, you’re already equipped with the knowledge to effectively handle it.
Analyzing the past, helps you to create a better future.
If there was a situation in your past that you responded to in anger, reflecting on it and asking yourself specific questions will help you to analyze and understand your actions.
Questions like the ones below will help you to dig deeper to find the root of the problem that triggered your reaction.
- Why did that particular word or phrase anger me?
- Why did I allow that situation to break my character?
- What could I have done differently?
When you understand how you react, and why you reacted, you’ll gain the power to stop reacting.
“Self-reflection becomes self-torment when learning doesn’t occur.” ― Jeffrey G. Duarte
How do you reflect on personal growth?
If you’ve been keeping track of the goals you’ve accomplished this far, you’re already halfway there. Manually logging your progression serves as a valuable resource when you’re ready to reflect.
We tend to value things that are tangible, so simply writing things down automatically tells our brain that we’re accomplishing or working towards a goal.
Set aside time for reflection
Writing everything down that you want to analyze and reflect on will help you to go more in-depth and really pull apart a specific situation.
Set aside a specific time every month or every three months (you can do weekly if you choose) to go over things you’ve accomplished (or haven’t), situations you’ve been in, and how you’ve handled yourself emotionally.
Emotions are a secret language that tells you what specific opportunities to pursue and which ones to ignore.
If it doesn’t feel right, don’t do it.
If you truly want to learn what makes you tick, you have to analyze every emotional response you’ve had in the past. Emotions do NOT make you weak. Instead, they give you insight into every situation.
How to reflect on life experiences
During your designated reflection time, use the questions below to dive deep and get the most beneficial understanding of a situation.
You need to do this in order to keep progressing in a direction that comes naturally to you.
“People who have had little self-reflection live life in a huge reality blind-spot.” ― Bryant McGill
When answering the questions, it’s imperative that you are 100% honest with yourself. Don’t paint yourself to be the hero or the ultimate victim. If you couldn’t do something don’t make excuses as to why it didn’t get done. Instead, write all the specific reasons it didn’t get accomplished.
Reflecting on personal development and growth questions
- What happened? (Give details)
- What was I thinking and feeling?
- What were a few good and bad things about the situation?
- What did I think about the situation before I started writing?
- What do I understand about the situation now?
- What could I have done better?
- What are some things that could have been avoided completely?
- If something similar occurs again, how would I approach the situation?
Once you’ve analyzed your situation and learned its hidden lessons, take the time to celebrate your newfound knowledge. It represents your mental elevation and ability to now act instead of react.
“Look outside and you will see yourself. Look inside and you will find yourself.” ― Drew Gerald