It’s the only direction we allow ourselves to look. With our eyes focused on the future, we must keep moving toward our goals and away from our old selves. We are told to let go of the past and just keep moving forward. “The past holds you back!”, they say. “The only thing you can change is the future.”
But is it possible to create the best future without ever looking back?
While you’re often told to look at your past failures and learn from them, there’s another–more immediate–way to analyze the past and create a better future.
Have ever taken a step back and considered your life?
For better or for worse, you thought, “How did I get here?”
If you had taken a moment every day to consider what you were doing and where you were headed, you would have known the answer.
When you reflect daily, you can take action to ensure that every day is better than the one before.
Think about it:
You do the same things every day with only a slight variation. You wake up at the same time, you go to work on the same route, you do the same things and talk to the same people. You’re moving forward, yet it somehow seems that you’re living the same day on repeat.
With those daily actions, you’re like a miner digging out gold. If your hits aren’t calculated, you’ll dig for years without ever finding treasure.
What your life looks like years from now will be the results of your hits today. Most people never think about where their actions are leading them, so they are never truly in control of their futures.
Daily self-reflection is like writing a life report at the end of every day. You analyze what you did that day, where you spent your time, and how it made you feel. Finally, you determine whether or not that day brought you closer to your goals.
Reflecting takes about 15 minutes–a trivial price to pay considering all the benefits you get in return.
Daily Reflection Saves You Time
Daily reflection prevents you from wasting your time day after day, until one day, you look back and think, “What have I been doing with my life?”
We usually only realize we’ve been wasting our time when we look at the calendar and see that the week/month/year is practically over, and we still haven’t made any noteworthy progress.
Taking the time to think about your day helps you realize your lack of advancement now while you still have time to rectify the situation.
Consider what you did yesterday. Where did you waste your time?
Are you en route to doing the same thing today?
Daily Reflection Prevents Bad Habits
Have you ever tried breaking a bad habit?
You exert conscious effort and a lot of willpower to banish the habit from your life. Breaking bad habits can takes months, sometimes years, and you feel like you let yourself down every time you relapse before you are finally free. More than once, you wish you could turn back time and prevent your younger self from starting the bad habit in the first place.
While time traveling is still science fiction, nothing is stopping you from catching bad habits before they take root in your life.
By reflecting, you create a barrier between one day and the next. You can halt the undesirable actions of today from showing up tomorrow.
Daily Reflection Calls Out Your Procrastination
We all have a few things that we plan on doing, but never get to.
You want to start getting in shape, for instance, but it’s always pushed out of your schedule by other things.
If you take note of your daily efforts, you’ll notice that you’ve procrastinated your workout every day for the past week. Then, you can determine how to avoid procrastinating the next day.
Reflecting on your day can be as easy as keeping a journal in which you write a review of your day, including what you did, what wins you had, and how can you improve tomorrow.
Writing down your reflection will create a log of everything you’ve done each day. When you want to look back at why you are where you are, you can look at your journal to see what actions have contributed to your success.
You can also self-reflect by using tracking tools, like habit trackers and time trackers. Then, by reviewing the insights from your trackers, you can see what areas of your life you’re succeeding in and where you need to improve.
What you do each and every day has an impact on your future. In fact, it’s those actions that shape your future. If you’re not spending each day crafting the future of your dreams, you’ll forever wait for the someday that never comes.
Take a moment at the end of the day to make sure you’re headed in the right direction. Only then will you have the power to shape what comes next to your liking.
GET THE BOOK BY
Erin shows overscheduled, overwhelmed women how to do less so that they can achieve more. Traditional productivity books–written by men–barely touch the tangle of cultural pressures that women feel when facing down a to-do list. How to Get Sh*t Done will teach you how to zero in on the three areas of your life where you want to excel, and then it will show you how to off-load, outsource, or just stop giving a damn about the rest.