Welcome to the first installment of my new column. The idea is to reflect back on the past week; what was learned, what could be done better, and what went well.
Certainly this past week has brought a lot of excitement in my life. Kicking off the 90 day Challenge Facebook group has been a highlight of this year. Seeing people commit themselves to achieving what matters most in their lives gives me more motivation to take hold of what I want in my life. (If you’d like to join the challenge just click here and ask to join the group).
So what’s important about looking back at the past? Certainly we don’t want to be living in the past; filling our days with longing or worse regret. But we do need to examine our past, through self reflection, to steer the course of our future.
There’s an old saying “those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it.” And I’m not just talking about the past on a world level. It’s easy to have hindsight when looking at history; we see the mistakes humanity has made over and over and wonder why. But I’m talking about having a hard look at our life to see the same mistakes we’ve been making over and over.
I don’t know anyone that would consciously make the choice to repeat mistakes, but it happens every day. I know that it’s happened in my life more times than I’d like to admit. So why do we continue to make those same mistakes?
One reason is we become creatures of habit willing to stay in the same situation because it’s what we know. The other part is more difficult to see because it dwells inside us. There is another saying “be careful what you wish for because you just might get it.”
The reason for this is twofold: first we might be chasing something that we want instead of going after what we need. Wants and needs can be one in the same but often times they are vastly different. In the capitalist society we are bombarded by wants on a daily basis, and if you’re like me you’ve achieved some of those wants and still felt no satisfaction.
I’ll get to the second part of this problem in a moment, but I want to help you sort out the idea of wants, needs, and what is truly important in your life.
Right now I want you to perform a self reflection exercise. Grab a sheet of paper and set a timer for 5 minutes. During these 5 minutes I want you to write down every dream, goal, and desire you’ve had in your lifetime. Understand this is only for you so be 100% honest. Don’t stop writing until the 5 minute timer goes off. Write both goals you’ve achieved and ones you failed at.
Set your timer now and complete the task.
Now that the 5 minutes is up you should have a fairly extensive list. Now look at the list line by line and write to the side the motivation behind the goal. Was it done out of fear, to impress someone else, because your social standing required it, or was it something you truly desired for yourself.
This is why self reflection is so important. Often times we allow ourselves to make choices not based on what we need, but based on what others want from us. And the problem with going after what someone else wants is that even when you get it; it’s not going to bring satisfaction, contentment, and the feeling of purpose.
We need to understand ourselves and make sure that the goals we are setting out to achieve are truly our desires and self reflection can help us do that. When we can accept the truth of our self, that inner truth which calls out to us and inspires us to change, then we can begin to set the goals that will bring us to our true life’s purpose. We can finally find contentment and satisfaction in our own life.
The weekend is upon us, and I hope you will get some time to relax and contemplate what’s important in your life. Have an amazing weekend and let’s get prepped to make next week are best one ever!