The beginning of anything is a great time to reflect on what’s come before and what lies ahead and for most, this is especially true in the beginning of the year. The trap inherent in reflecting at the new year is that it can easily transport you to past or future circumstances that pull your mind and body out of the moment it’s in.
So how do you reflect on the past OR imagine the future while keeping your feet firmly planted in the NOW?
Yup, that’s it – just notice.
To NOTICE means to observe or pay attention to something. There’s nothing else going on…like commentary, judgement, ideation, explaining or justifying. You literally just observe and notice what stands out the most as you reflect.
To make the most of any personal reflection, you first need to know that noticing has layers. By this I mean that the first step to noticing is to notice yourself in relationship to the topic you’re reflecting on. It is very likely when you reflect in general that you react. It’s an unconscious thing and we all do it.
For instance, when I reflect on my son being at school, sometimes I miss him (boom – unconscious emotional reaction) and my chest aches a bit (boom uncontrolled physical sensation) and depending on when I’m going to see him again, I may even feel sad. On a different day, when I reflect on my son being at school, I may notice that I’m smiling because I hope he’s having fun. I imagine him smiling and I feel happy.
The moral of the story is, it takes more than one reflection to find the legit take away from what you notice. It can be easy to do the 4 step exercise below one time, assign meaning, feel like you’ve got it and press on. Instead, avoid this temptation to feel like you know after just looking once. Making the most of reflection takes multiple attempts and it takes experimenting a little to see what stands out the most each time to stop and notice.
So, try these 4 steps and then walk away and come back to it within 24 hours. You don’t need to take more than 5 to 10 minutes max to do them so if a voice in your head just said, you don’t have time for this exercise, I’m calling hooey on that. I’ll bet you can find 5 minutes – you just need to choose to find 5 minutes to make it happen – says the single momprenuer who knows more than anyone how to say “I don’t have time for that…” 😉
Repeat this exercise until your own response or reaction to your topic and direction is consistent or becomes less intense. When your reaction is less and/or if it stays the same, but you are more aware of it – THEN you are ready to reflect on the topic.
Otherwise, you’ll be trying to look at the topic in the midst of your reaction which I can speak from experience – creates a VERY different outcome!
JUST FOR YOU!
As you face the New Year and all the traditional ideas and what you should or shouldn’t be doing now, follow these four easy steps to give just noticing a try.
1) Pick a topic – What do you want to observe, know more about or pay attention to?
2) Pick a direction – Reflect to the past, look at the present or Imagine your topic the future
3) Breathe and notice – take three breaths where you exhale longer than you inhale. Imagine your topic in the time frame you chose and notice what happens TO YOU or IN YOU as you reflect on your subject and time.
4) Write down what you notice happens TO you or IN you in response to looking at your chosen topic. Aka. what is your response/reaction to the topic itself.
Happy Reflecting and Welcome to 2020!
Coach Jen and the Move Strong Method®