“The ultimate value of life depends upon awareness and the power of contemplation rather than upon mere survival. “Aristotle.
As it was the end of March last week and the end of the first quarter of 2019, I took some time out to reflect. I reviewed the progress I’ve made since the start of the year towards the various goals that I set for 2019.
I never used to find it easy to take time out to reflect as I felt that I should be doing something and to be honest I didn’t really appreciate the value of regular reflection. As a result, I didn’t always make the progress on goals that I could have done. By not reflecting I didn’t change my approach to things or change my course soon enough.
In addition to the reflection on goals progress I’ve mentioned, I also set aside at least 10 minutes each day to meditate. I record any thoughts, feelings or insights in my journal immediately afterwards. This regular practice helps to increase my inner calm and keeps me grounded. I have found it to be an excellent way to increase my self-awareness, reduce the clutter in my mind and tune into my true feelings.
Regular reflection/contemplation is a healthy habit that has proved to be extremely beneficial to me. It has helped to contribute to more efficient use of my time and increased goal achievement. It’s a healthy habit that I wholeheartedly recommend you adopt if you are serious about being the best you can be.
Each year many people set some resolutions for the New Year. These may include changes that they want to make to their life, goals they want to achieve, some unhealthy behaviours that they want to change or some healthy new behaviours they want to create.
Sadly, many fail to honour and maintain the resolutions beyond the end of January. A reason for this may be that they don’t dedicate sufficient time to allow good new habits to develop and form or to reflect on their progress.
When you embark on a journey of personal change or look to accomplish a personal goal, there are some characteristics and qualities required in order to ensure success and achievement.
These include effective planning, as well as a strong belief that it’s possible to accomplish your goal and be successful. A determined approach, self-discipline to manage distractions and in order to use your time effectively. Perseverance is required to help you overcome any difficulty, obstacles or opposition and ensure that you keep taking action.
Change takes energy and therefore it’s important that you give yourself the best possible chance of success by being energised and in good shape mentally and physically.
Essentially, in order to successfully implement personal change and turn your goals into reality you need to develop and use good habits. We truly are creatures of habit as research suggests that 90% of what we do each day is habit. Every day from the time you get up to the time that you retire to bed; there are hundreds of things that you do the same. This will include the way you shower, dress, eat breakfast, brush your teeth, drive to work etc.
The positive aspect of habits is that they free up your mind while your body is on automatic pilot. For example, you are able to plan your day whilst you are in the shower or driving to work. The negative aspect of habits is that they get locked into our sub-conscious mind and create self-defeating patterns that can inhibit our growth, limit our performance and prevent us from fulfilling our potential.
Changing and creating habits takes time. As a result of comments made by Dr Maxwell Maltz in his book Psycho-Cybernetics published in 1960, it’s been believed that it takes a minimum of 21 days to change a habit. However, research by University College London in 2010 stated that it may take as much as 66 days for a new habit to fully form. They suggest that the duration of habit formation is likely to differ depending on who you are and what you are trying to do.
Habits can hinder rather than help us and limit our results in life. These include overcommitting our time and spreading ourselves too thin, an inability to say no to unreasonable demands, not effectively managing distractions and interruptions, procrastinating and not following through on plans.
It’s worth bearing in mind that your established habits are producing your current level of results. It was Einstein who said the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. If you want a different set of results, you have to adopt a different approach.
If at any time you’d like to create improved results, better relationships or greater happiness, it’s important that you create good healthy habits that help you to maximise your opportunities and fulfil your potential. A good place to start is to set more time aside for personal reflection.
This week, why not pause for a few moments and reflect on the following questions:
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