Self reflection is an integral part of the learning process. We analyze our experiences, understandings, and responses through introspection, fostering a deeper comprehension level. In an educational context, promoting an environment that encourages reflection can significantly impact learning outcomes, providing learners with an authentic and insightful experience.

Have you ever mindlessly reached for your phone, scrolled through social media, or grabbed that same old snack from the pantry? These are habits, the silent, subconscious routines that dictate a significant part of our lives. A Duke University study suggests that more than 40% of our daily actions aren’t actual decisions but habits. But what if you could harness the power of these habits, intentionally shaping them to propel your personal and professional growth?

Imagine the possibilities if you could reformulate your daily routines, eventually guiding your life toward your envisioned goals. Would you give it a try? This is your chance, and it might just change your life. This article will serve as your guide to understanding, introspection, and mastering the art of self-check-in to help make decisions about the future.

Set a Monthly Time Aside For a Self Check In

If your life is spinning out of control, it’s a sign for a monthly self-check-in that is as simple as spending 30 minutes alone and jotting down what’s going well in your life. This exercise can help you discover something positive about yourself or remind you of an accomplishment that could be overlooked during the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Self-check-ins help identify areas where improvements may be necessary. For example, you might realize that your job is no longer fulfilling or that you’ve been neglecting your physical health. These realizations allow for proactive actions towards achieving your goals and finding fulfillment in life.

After reflecting on the areas of improvement identified during your self-check-in, create a list of goals and prioritize them. The prioritization process is essential as it allows you to determine what objectives are most important to you and what steps must be taken to achieve them. This list will also remind you of your goals, keeping you focused on the big picture.

The #1-in-60 Rule – Why a Small Amount of Time Will Make a Big Difference

You can make a big difference in your life with just a small amount of time each day. James Clear, the author of Atomic Habits, has an interesting formula that we’re going to call the #1-in-60 Rule, which is based on science and research:

  • If you spend 1 hour per week on self-improvement, you will have doubled your productivity.
  • If you spend 1 hour per month on self-improvement, it will transform your life over 5 years.

Setting aside time for a monthly self-check-in doesn’t take much at all! And, even though most people are busy or feel like they don’t have enough time for self-development (or maybe not even sure what that means), making improvement plans is very easy once you start doing it consistently every day, week, or month. The key is to be consistent, even if it’s just a small amount of time each day.

Real-time Course Corrections and Adjustments

As you work towards achieving your goals, it’s important to continuously evaluate and adjust them accordingly. Sometimes, our priorities change, or circumstances beyond our control affect our ability to achieve certain goals. By regularly checking in with yourself and reflecting on your progress, you can make necessary changes and keep yourself on track toward success.

Identifying what you’re doing exceptionally well is a vital step to correcting and adjusting your course. This is a great way to build confidence, which will help you make the right decisions down the line.

Confidence is necessary because it can be difficult to admit when something isn’t working out as planned, but this step allows you to stay on track without giving up hope or feeling like a failure. Real-time course corrections and adjustments along the way are not easy and are often not fun. But they are necessary for long-term success, so give yourself credit for taking time out of your busy monthly schedule to self-check in!


Related Post: Do You Know Your Strengths?


Dedicating the Necessary Energy and Resources

Remember that you can’t do everything, so you must be selective about where you invest your time and energy. What’s the difference between ‘wants’ and ‘needs’?

Your needs keep you strong and healthy, while wants are just things that are nice if extra time and energy are available. If you have never made this distinction before, you must do so now, or else there will be no way for us to help build your confidence.

Focus on What’s Urgent But Not Important

The idea of what is urgent but not important may sound counterintuitive. However, this is a helpful way to differentiate between things worth your time for a monthly self-check-in and those that aren’t.

For example, imagine you have been working at the same job for 10 years and have never had a raise or promotion. Then, one day, you receive an email from your boss telling you that he wants to discuss yearly performance reviews with everyone in the department before making any decisions about pay raises for next year.

In this situation, there are two possible ways of thinking about this meeting: 

  • I need to focus on getting a raise because it’s urgent (my boss wants me there tomorrow). This isn’t very useful, though, because even if I get my raise, there’s no guarantee that my job will still be around when the next round of layoffs comes around—so focusing on getting a raise might be shortsighted and stressful!
  • My job security is more important than whether or not I get a raise or promotion right now; therefore, I will mentally and emotionally prepare myself so that if I get passed up for a pay raise, they may not fire me.”

Ask This Question to Cut Through the Noise

Asking this question cuts through the noise and helps you focus on what matters: ‘Is this important?” What am I spending time doing each day that doesn’t matter? How many hours a week do you spend watching TV or playing video games when there are more fulfilling things to do with your time? Ask yourself whether what you are doing is an urgent priority but not important in terms of long-term impact on your life.

The reality is that most things we think are urgent aren’t actually necessary, and many things we believe are important aren’t urgent at all by comparison.

For example, if you want to lose weight, then exercising for 30 minutes twice a week may be enough if it’s done consistently over time (and let’s face it: walking for 30 minutes twice a week isn’t going to kill anyone).

If someone has been sedentary for years and wants to get into great shape in 4 weeks, they need an hour-long workout every day. That kind of intensity isn’t sustainable in the long term, so even though the second scenario might seem more “urgent,” I would argue that getting into great shape would be less effective than losing a few pounds slowly!

Techniques for Effective Self-Check-In

You can adopt several practical techniques to conduct a self-check-in daily. When practiced regularly, these techniques can greatly enhance self-check-in, fostering personal and professional growth.

  • Mindful Breathing is a common yet powerful tool that helps regain focus and calms the mind, thus making it easier to analyze thoughts and feelings.
  • Journaling is a personal inventory of emotions and ideas, allowing you to track your mindset over time and notice patterns.
  • Setting Aside Quiet Time each day can consciously help you focus on thoughts, emotions, and aspirations without any distractions. Simple Self-Questioning, such as asking oneself – “What am I feeling?”, “Why am I feeling this way?” and “What can I do about it?” can lead to insightful revelations.
  • Mindful Meditation also plays a critical role in self-check-in. Its regular practice can help achieve a higher level of self-awareness and balance.

Systems and Habits Aligned with Long-Term Goals

A system is an organized way of doing something. A habit is a routine you repeat daily or regularly, like brushing your teeth or going to the gym. The difference between a system and a habit is that systems are more about the big picture (like how you organize your life), while habits are more specific routines.

If you want to exercise more, one way would be to create a daily workout routine with specific exercises and times for each. But another way could be simply making sure your workout clothes are ready at the door, so it’s easy for when you’re ready! The second option is just as effective at helping people meet their exercise goals but might not appeal as much since it doesn’t seem like an “official” choice yet. Instead, it feels more organic because there’s no need for organization beforehand (in fact, there might even be less!).

This isn’t a negative commentary on either approach, though – both can work well depending on what works best for each person.

Habits for Making New Habits Stick

I’ve started making a habit of monthly self-check-ins, which has been helpful. The best part is that you can use these same principles to make new habits stick in your life.

  • Start small: The idea behind this is that if you try to change too much at once, it will be overwhelming, and you’ll give up. Take just ONE thing and make that your monthly focus (like having a morning routine). Add another thing each month until you eventually have an entire system!
  • Set a trigger: A trigger signals us to do something (like putting our keys by the door). Suppose we want to create a new habit. We need an external or internal cue (something outside ourselves), such as an alarm or feeling hungry/tired/angry, etc., that prompts us into action, so we don’t have control over when those feelings arise. However, we have control over how often these triggers happen daily, which will help build consistency in our lives.
  • Make it easy: If something takes too much effort or time, chances are good that people won’t sustain doing whatever it was because there are always easier ways available! Make sure that whatever habit you’re trying out isn’t overly difficult; otherwise, there’s no point in doing anything!”

Self-check-ins are one of the most important things you can do regularly to help you build momentum and confidence in your professional and personal life. Don’t wait until the end of each year to start thinking about what went well or where you need to improve. Build systems and habits that move you toward your long-term goals. Start now!

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