Research has shown that since the various lock-downs were imposed many months ago, most working individuals have worked much harder and much longer hours than before. This, coupled with the choice of not taking leave, mean that most working individuals have not paused to reflect in a very long time.
We can come up with numerous reasons as to why there was and is no time to pause and reflect: perhaps you had to ensure that the business stays afloat, or you had to work from home which made it much harder, or you had to juggle multiple roles at home. No matter the reason, the reality is that 2020 is almost 75% done and you might not have reflected on where you are and where you want to be. Hopefully this blog will help you to understand the need to pause, reflect and making the necessary adjustments.
Why should you pause and reflect?
- Take a break
Contrary to belief, life is not a sprint, but a marathon. And in a marathon, there are water point, etc. Marathon athletes will tell you that these water points are crucial in completing the marathon.
When you take the time to slow down, unwind and relax, you will feel more in control, make sense of things, and recharge before taking on the world.
- Challenge your thoughts
Self-reflection offers us the opportunity to challenge our ways of thinking. As Byron Katie has put it: Don’t believe everything you think.
When you actually take the time to reflect and write these things down, it is important to ask yourself if you really believe them. You might start to realise that some of your beliefs about yourself and the world around you are not always true. With this knowledge it is much easier to plan for the future.
- Celebrate your victories
A former colleague told me that every time he ran a marathon he got to a point where he was ready to give up. What kept him going was reflecting on far he has come, as opposed to how far he still had to go. Sometimes we can get so overwhelmed with what still needs to happen, that we forget to celebrate how far we have come. Only when we pause and reflect, we take the time to celebrate our successes. Doing this will give us the strength and courage to carry on.
- Learn from your mistakes
Certain mistakes which you make during your journey may not be apparent until you look back in hindsight. Only when you take the time to pause and reflect will you understand the learning and plan how to avoid the same mistake in future.
Remember to not see your failures as a disappointment, but rather as a valuable learning opportunity. After all, none of us were born knowing it all.
- Rethink your future direction
This might well be the most important reason why you should pause and reflect.
When things get busy and crazy, it is easy for us to lose track of where we are heading and even forget the reason why we are doing what we are doing. Taking a breather will give you the chance of ensuring that you’re still on the right track.
- Live with more intention
Reflecting on what is going on in your life can simply serve as a reminder of what you do on a daily basis. Most of your days might 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.
Practical tips on how to pause and reflect
- Make it a goal to pause and reflect
Perhaps my earlier blog on setting goals can help you to set this goal: Achieving your goals.
- Add a morning pause with your morning coffee
Before you start your work day, spend 10-15 minutes pausing and reflecting on how you want to spend your day and the choices you will make that day. Perhaps it is good idea to do this over your cup of coffee in the garden.
- Reflection at the end of the day
At the end of your day, spend another 10-15 minutes pausing and reflecting on how the day went and what would make tomorrow a better day.
- Every month matters
Before you know it, a month is gone, and another, and another. Make it a habit to set aside one morning every month to pause and reflect. This will ensure that the year does not end without significant progress on some of your goals.
- Make time for nature
I appreciate that not everyone has the time and funds to spend two weeks away in nature however, you can start small. Make time to get outside into a garden. When the weather allows, go for a walk, smell the flowers and make a point of observing nature around you. There are countless scientific studies that have shown that spending time in nature is good for your health – physically, mentally, and emotionally.
“He who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead; his eyes are closed.” Albert Einstein