The Importance of Reflection


While it may be the first thing that comes to mind when you say “reflection”, I don’t mean anything to do with mirrors. When you are adopting a new habit or attempting to start a new lifestyle, it is easy to think that you have to take the blinkered approach, avoiding all distractions and temptations. Some people may continue on a plan, even if it’s not working, because that’s what they initially set out to do!



However, the best plan of approach is to reflect on your progress and the steps you’ve taken to get to where you are. What is working for you? What’s not working? What can you improve on and what can you change? Research has shown that youth athletes that are more adept at self-reflection are more likely to progress to the senior/elite level of their chosen sport. Their skill, size and athleticism may be the same as their peers but their ability to understand their own progress gave them the edge.


If you are keeping a record of your SMARTER goals, remember that they should be Adjustable and Recorded, especially the small goals you are setting for yourself each week. Remember that every step forward that you take towards your big goal is a little victory.  The trick is: don’t try and change everything all at once. Make small, repeatable shifts in behaviour, do these early and often in your steps towards your goal and you will soon see that the small consistencies add up to a lot.



If your goal is to change your weight, there will be weeks where the pounds or kilos do not shift, or maybe they go in the opposite direction that you wanted them to go. This doesn’t mean that you have failed, and we can all get bogged down in the idea that we have, it just requires some reflection. What worked for you this week? What did you manage to achieve, where did you enjoy yourself? What didn’t work for you, and what can be changed? Maybe the recipes you tried weren’t filling enough or you didn’t like how they tasted, maybe the exercise sessions were too tough or too easy. Maybe your sleep was off. These things can happen that can mean your progress is not linear, but you won’t know that unless you reflect on the week gone by and then readjust (if necessary) for the week ahead.


Another important role of reflection is that sometimes it takes us stepping back and looking at the bigger picture to appreciate how far we have actually come. Just because you didn’t manage to achieve exactly what you set out to do over the last week, doesn’t mean you haven’t come a long way since you started.   


So remember, make small and consistent changes. Reflect on what worked, what didn’t and what can be changed. Readjust if needed. Above all, appreciate that all the changes you make towards your goal are positive!



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