A few years ago, I discovered reflective writing, and since then, my personal and professional development has skyrocketed. Reflective writing involves analyzing a life event, thinking about how it has affected you, how it made you feel, and how you could change how you handle it if something similar happens in the future. It is similar to traditional journaling in that it requires descriptive writing; however, that is a small part of the process – the key is in the analysis and applying it to future events.
Reflective writing is a powerful tool in the learning process – it helps you learn much more in a shorter amount of time. I’ll never forget the moment I realized how much I had grown by using the reflective writing process. I had recently written a reflective writing piece on a misunderstanding with a friend. I had also gone back through my journals and identified several other situations that it had occurred in the past. That’s another amazing thing about reflective writing, you can re-examine a situation that occurred 10 years ago, with new eyes and add it to your learning. Anyway, with this fresh in my mind, I found myself in yet another similar conversation with this individual. While she was talking, I felt the familiar defensiveness rise – the old reaction to feeling that she was trying to be difficult yet again and I stopped myself, switched to a perspective of realizing she was coming from a place of fear, and changed how I spoke to her, which led to a win-win outcome for the conversation. If I hadn’t engaged in intentional reflective writing, I’d probably still be locking the proverbial horns with her today.
What if you added the strategy to your toolbox today, who would you be next year with massive intentional learning and growth? Just think of the goals you could accomplish! If you already engage in reflective writing how can you make it even better?
Reflective writing doesn’t have to take up a lot of time each day, and not every day will deliver a deep life lesson. I allot 15 minutes a day and set a reminder for each evening on my phone. Some days I only spend a few minutes, others a lot longer.
What kind of system do you have or are you going to have to focus more effectively on your growth?