As discussed in Monday’s post, self-reflection is extremely important for the success of a personal wellness journey. It allows you to be honest with yourself and finding a way to achieve your goals. Today, we’ll focus more on
If you want to take anything away from today’s post, the key is to be honest with yourself and figure out who you are. What you want in life will follow as will most things.
Self-Reflection & Personal Wellness
Any goals that you set for yourself need to go through a level of introspection. Are these goals reasonable? Can I actually achieve them? What do I need to motivate myself? Will my chronic illness affect any changes I want to make in my life?
Let’s speak to the elephant in the room. Self-reflection does take us down a negative path, but it is necessary. We will confront negative thoughts and feelings about ourselves, and this will make us feel uncomfortable. When I decided to take better care of myself, I recognized in a moment of self-reflection that I would have to address the lifelong negative thoughts and emotions I dealt with daily.
To best address these aspects, I experienced several days of feeling emotionally uncomfortable until I settled on a healthful solution to deal with my thoughts and emotions. During this period, I may remove myself from specific social scenarios that would perpetuate what I wanted to fix or place mental boundaries to protect myself until I was ready.
Once I arrived at a solution after this self-reflection exercise, I always felt better about myself and my personal goals. My motivation shoots up and I act in a way that I am proud of myself. In the process of self-reflection, I get one step closer to my wellness goals and I learn more about who I really am.
The temporary moments of discomfort that comes from self-reflection are worth the life lesson you get learn about yourself.
Be Honest with Yourself
When setting goals, always be honest with yourself.
If you want to quit smoking, is your time-frame reasonable? You may be someone who needs to slowly cut back on your daily habit versus going cold turkey.
The only way to know that is to take the time to reflect and be honest with yourself. Have you found success in cold turkey? Or did you do better when you cut back one cigarette at a time?
No matter what your goal, self-reflection will give you the opportunity to understand yourself and how you differ from others. Because no two people are alike, your personal expectations must match that. You cannot expect your wellness goals to be complete in the same amount of time as a friend. You may be faster or you may be slower.
Looking towards your past behaviors, actions, and thoughts can clue you into what your wellness journey will look like. If you failed many times in the past, so this thought is discouraging, do not despair: look instead at those attempts as learning opportunitites. What didn’t work each time? What did?
This is the key takeaway each time you self-reflect: who are you and what are your personal needs? If you are honest in your reflection you will find more success in your life goals.
But Who Are You?
There is a temptation to reflect on who you want to be or your idealized self, but not be realistic about who you are now. This is where we run into problems with succeeding in our improvement journey.
I know I am rarely honest with myself when I have to track calories for weight loss. I cut corners and say I ate less than what I actually did and I might inflate my exercise times. Then I wonder why I haven’t lost weight. It’s because I wasn’t honest with myself or my goals.
I was focusing more on my idealized self, not my current self wanting to lose weight. I thought I was doing better than I was and used it as an opportunity to justify cheating on my regimen.
It’s key to be brutely honest with who you are right now. That may be a person with a weakness for cigarettes when stressed, needing the occasional sugar rush to boost energy, or quick to confront people when your anxiety levels are up. Deep down, you probably already know this about yourself, but were too afraid to reflect on it.
The discomfort you feel as you work through your personal honesty is
Those First Steps
The first steps are hard, but here are some places to get started (with or without a chronic illness):
- Take a step back and look at your life as though you were a stranger (not even a friend). You want to have that “out of body experience” reflecting on your life. Who do you see?
- Compare who you think you are versus the person you see when looking at yourself objectively. Where do you match and where do you differ? In that gap between the “two” people might contain a clue on becoming your ideal self.
- What are some of the first thoughts you have about yourself? Are they positive or negative? What do you want your first thoughts to be?
- Figure out how to make your idealized self match your actual self. If you have a chronic illness, be realistic about your idealized self. You waste precious emotional resources if you focus on a person you can never become due to your chronic illness. How close to your idealized personal goals can you get if you pushed your limits?
This is only the beginning
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