January 9, 2024

The Power of Reflection

Lisa-Marie Sikand, founder of Soulitude 7, a multi-disciplinary coaching and mentoring consultancy, explains how looking back can be a powerful tool for propelling ourselves forward.

“Having worked at a law firm for 16 years, in 2019, I burnt out badly and part of my recovery meant taking time and space to really reflect. It’s a very powerful learning tool; it helps build self-awareness and a better understanding of yourself. In the moment, things are usually highly emotive but when we reflect, we can analyse how we respond and from there we can become more choiceful about how to move forward.”

Reflection and Gratitude

“When we reflect, we improve self-awareness which helps us recognise what changes are needed to get us closer to where we want to be. It also develops the power of gratitude which is proven to help people manage their mental health and mood. Look for three things, every single day, to be thankful for; from the air we breathe, to hearing your favourite song or remembering a moment of joy. Especially in winter, many struggle with shorter days plus the festivities can be triggering for some. It’s stressful, there’s pressure and it’s inescapable. Which is when reflective practice can help move us forward more intentionally. Be kind to yourself and choose who you want to show up as over the next few months and in 2024. Be reasonable with yourself and show yourself respect because you are your single biggest investment, the longest relationship you will ever have! Self-care is self-respect. It’s anything but selfish. Stress test areas of your life, look at them from under, over, sideways, look at them in the round, sometimes ‘the story’ becomes bigger than what it ever was. Learn to relinquish the things that are no longer serving you, which all comes through reflection, awareness and choosing. Easier said than done but be aware that we give our thoughts power.”

Reflection 365

“Going into the New Year, there’s always this idea of a big reset and if resolutions work for you, then great! For some, having structure and accountability is not a bad thing but if it becomes too strict, critical or judgemental, then it’s no longer serving you. Reframe resolutions so you succeed. For example, if you want to be more healthful, have five veg’ a day instead of banning all sweet treats. This way the focus isn’t on taking away but putting in. Do it 4-5 times a week, so there’s flexibility built around it, too. This allows options and makes goals achievable. Making restrictive resolutions are always going to be harder to stick to. Another suggestion is to habit stack; stick something new onto an old habit. Adding to a routine helps you not forget. For example, add 5-10 sit-ups or squats after brushing your teeth. And remember, you don’t need January to change things. ‘New Year, New Me’ can get very clichéd, but you can take steps towards the future you want, any time of the year.”

Reflection and Action

“We have around 80,000 thoughts a day! Up to 90% are repetitive and negative. So, we’re working from a deficit. Once you understand your mind better and develop an awareness, you can begin to interrogate your thoughts, to see where you’re blocking yourself. I created the ‘Get Out of Your Own Way’ programme to help people identify and take responsibility because – often unintentionally and subconsciously – we get in our way, all the time. We work on assumptions and beliefs that are long held and tightly held that tend to come from our childhood, culture and lived experiences and sometimes these beliefs take on a life of their own. We get stuck in these belief systems, but if they’re not serving us, we can work towards dropping them. Reflection is a brilliant tool to pattern spot, so you can see these behaviours. It does take real honesty and courage to do this kind of self-exploration however, it will empower you to take your power back and unlock the action required to positively move yourself forward.”

Year End Reflection

Lisa-Marie says, “Reflection helps you consider what has happened and to move forward. Gift yourself time to answer the following questions honestly.”

What stands out from my year?
What really mattered to me?
Where have I developed the most?
How have I changed over the last year? 
What am I most proud of? 
Where did I struggle?
What have I overcome?
How well did I look after myself this year?
Who and what am I most grateful for?
Who and what may I be taking for granted?
What brought me the most joy?
What made me feel the most valued?
Where and when did I challenge myself?
Where have I shown myself compassion?
What challenges do I still need to overcome? 
How do I want the year to end?
What is my one word summary of 2023 and why?
What do I need to do differently to be the person I want to become? 
What have I learned for a better future? 

FOR MORE INFO soulitude7.co.uk @soul.itude7

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