BUILD IT. PROTECT IT. PRESERVE IT.
DON’T DOOM YOURSELF TO REPEAT HISTORY
TAKE SOME TIME TO SELF-REFLECT
When many people think of Groundhog Day, their minds inevitably go to the Bill Murray movie, where his character relives the same day over and over again for a majority of the movie. While this probably isn’t something that’s happened to you literally, I think most of us, during some phase of our lives, have felt like every day was the same — like we were living in a loop we couldn’t escape. I know I’ve been there. Getting out of a rut isn’t easy — but it is possible. Whenever the days start to blur together and I don’t feel like I’m moving forward, looking back is what actually snaps me out of it. Chances are, it’s not the first time I’ve been in that rut, and I can find out how I got out the last time if I spend some time intentionally reflecting on it. Self-reflection is an important part of any successful person’s life. A careful analysis of our beliefs and actions can reveal a lot about ourselves and ultimately point us in the direction we want to go. As for how effective self-reflection has been proven to be, one study found that employees who spent just 15 minutes at the end of the day in self-reflection performed 23% better than those who didn’t spend any time in self-reflection.
I’ve gotten into the habit of journaling every morning and night. In the morning, I keep a gratitude journal, so I can remember everything I have to be thankful for, even in times when it doesn’t feel like things are going my way. In the evening, I reflect on the lessons I learned that day. Between these two journal entries, I can get a pretty good idea of what was going through my head on a given day. Revisiting the entries I made right around the time I got out of a rut usually helps me find the key to getting out of the next one. Regular self-reflection will always give you more tools to take on life’s challenges. On the flip side, neglecting self-reflection will always leave you with fewer tools to work with than you need. If all you have in your toolbox is a hammer, you’re going to want to treat everything like a nail. You can’t force a certain solution to work for your problem. Self-reflection helps you find more tools. On Feb. 4, I will turn 34. It feels like just yesterday I was 25. The years go by fast, and pausing for self-reflection is the only way to make sure they don’t all blur together — and we don’t make the same mistakes over and over. Most people are familiar with some variation of the quote by philosopher George Santayana: “Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it.” While this quote is often used in the larger context of human history, it’s true in our own lives as well.
If you feel like your days are repeating themselves, take an opportunity to self- reflect. You’ll find yourself on a trajectory forward again soon enough.
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