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Wednesday, December 13, 2023

The Power of Year End Reflection

Every year, I like to close the year by reflecting on my past year. I find it to deepen the learning I’ve made, plus it makes me more appreciative of the power of a year.

By definition, self-reflection involves deliberate thinking about your own behavior and beliefs. When you engage in this deliberate kind of thinking, you will develop awareness of your mental and emotional states and awareness of your actions. Developing this awareness is the basis for personal growth.

We learn by experiences and mistakes. But, unless we question ourselves about what our experiences mean and think actively about them, research has shown that we won’t make any changes. Self-reflection enables you to move from just experiencing, into understanding.


·        Encourages a level of self-awareness and consciousness about practice

·        Enables you to identify areas for improvement and also areas where you are strong

·        Allows you to recognize what works and what doesn’t with students

·        Enables you to think deeply about students reactions to your teaching

The Process of Self-Reflection

This is a simple guide to the process of self-reflection:

  • STOP: Take a step back from life or a particular situation.
  • LOOK: Identify and get perspective on what you notice and see.
  • LISTEN: Listen to your inner guide, the innate wisdom that bubbles up when you give it time and space to emerge.
  • ACT: Identify the steps you need to take moving forward to adjust, change or improve.


Five Habits that Enhance Self-Reflection and Personal Growth

  • Be honest with yourself. You don’t do yourself any favors if you aren’t 100% honest with yourself about how things are going and how you are behaving.
  • Notice behavior patterns. We are all creatures of habit. Some of these habits are helpful and others are not. It’s good to be aware of your habits so you can actively weaken the ones you don’t want and strengthen the ones you do want.
  • Be able to articulate your core values. If you don’t know what’s important to you, how can you ever grow and manifest your best self? Take time to consider what’s most important to you so that you can better evaluate whether or not you're living those values.
  • Be forgiving. Change is hard and old habits are hard to break. Be gentle with yourself when you don’t get it right. It’s okay. We’re all human. We all make mistakes.
  • Keep track of your self-reflection. Start a journal where you record your observations and monitor your personal growth. This will help you when looking back at your year to remind yourself of where you’ve been and where you want to go.

Top Five Questions for Self-Reflection

  1. What are my values?
  2. In what ways do my words and actions reflect or fail to reflect my values?
  3. What are areas in which I’m doing well and what are areas in which I could improve?
  4. How am I caring for myself so that I am mentally and physically at my best?
  5. What have I learned about myself today (this week, this month, this year)?

If you can engage in self-reflection, you will develop insights about yourself and put yourself in a great position for personal growth.

Reflecting on what’s going on in your life can simply serve as a reminder of what you do on a daily basis. Most of our days end up blending into one another, so regular reflection can be an opportunity to show you that the days are different. On the other hand, it can encourage you to think about how you can add more joy and fun into your daily life.

Powering through periods of intense stress to get everything done may seem like the path of least resistance. However, if you can spare the time, the respite from stress can increase long-term productivity, help you maintain your priorities, and ultimately strengthen your team.

Lastly, self-reflection can positively influence other soft leadership skills such as feedback, positivity, creativity, motivation, and communication. With consistent practice, self-reflection will become an essential component of your daily routine. Looking inward at how you lead and actively sharpening your soft skills will elevate your team’s performance, leading to more significant areas of self-improvement.


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