A new year is approaching, and that means many of us are thinking of next year’s goals. Some of us are also coming up with a word of the year to define next year’s goals.
We are motivated to get going on their goals because they think a new year means starting from a clean slate. We are enthusiastic, thinking THIS WILL BE THE YEAR I CHANGE (insert habit(s) here).
However, from experience, I have learned that it takes more than just motivation to change. It takes introspection AND action.
Without introspection, people cannot know what patterns or trends has kept them from achieving those goals. Therefore, someone who does not take time to reflect back will continue their habits and behaviors because they never allowed themselves to look back and see what the CORE problem is.
WHY IS INTROSPECTION HARD?
Unfortunately, I have seen some people who feel they CANNOT be introspective. I believe it is because:
- They have had trauma or hurt in their lives so they have learned a defense mechanism of numbing or avoiding
- They have not had a safe space or supportive person to be introspective
- Some people believe looking at the past will not change anything, so they do not see it as a priority
WHY YOU SHOULD BE INTROSPECTIVE
I think lack of introspection is one of the most detrimental things someone can do. I truly believe, unless someone looks at their past, someone can never TRULY change.
If someone does not know WHY they have certain behaviors, actions, or thoughts, any change someone makes will only be temporary.
If someone were to avoid looking at themselves and their past, they are not aware of the patterns, trends, and behaviors that they should be changing about themselves. It becomes difficult for that person to take accountability or responsibility for their actions and behaviors because they do not see themselves as responsible for what happens in life. This means change usually does not stick because they think external things have impacted why they were not able to accomplish whatever habit or goal someone had.
Unfortunately, if they try to change, they are only following what other people are doing, people who have shown their success, rather than taking time to evaluate and analyze their own thoughts, actions, and behaviors. If they had not taken time to really understand themselves, the change will not last because the novelty of something new wears off.
PEOPLE WHO SAY THEY HAVE A HARD TIME BEING INTROSPECTIVE
I understand some people may say, Jackie, I cannot look into my past because it is too painful. But, I have to say, if this is the case, someone must find a good therapist or someone to help them have a safe space to unravel the past, and heal from it, so you can move on.
Only after you heal, can you begin to rebuild again.
Once that happens, then goal setting and accomplishments is quicker and easier. As a life coach, I ask the questions of what is really going on to make sure someone is able to stick to their goals during our time together.
Introspection does not necessarily mean you have to go as far back as your childhood(although our patterns, behaviors, and thoughts all have to do with our childhood). It could mean starting as slowly as just reflecting on what worked, what didn’t work, and what can be improved upon.
JOURNALING: THE BEST WAY TO BE INTRSOPECTIVE
Journaling is the best way to be introspective because it provides a safe space to process your thoughts, feelings, and brainstorm different ways to improve for the better.
Although there are many ways to journal, the most effective type I have found is the one where
- I think about my patterns, my thoughts, and my behaviors. It helps me look at why I feel a certain way, what it does for me, and if it is true. If it is not true, then I also analyze why I had the thought in the first place. (It usually stems from how I was brought up, my automatic thoughts about myself, and my confidence level).
- Set goals and track progress
Some people are introspective by simply thinking. While I think it can help, I do not think it can help someone as fast as journaling can, nor can it make lasting change because people are not tracking their progress, so they revert back to their old habits.
The reason is because, without a written document of tracking progress, it is just an idea, without a measurable plan.
Journaling provides a written document that shows the past. It shows trends so you are able to really pay attention and not avoid or lie about what goes on in your head, or what you have a tendency to do/write about.
For example, one day, I looked at my journals from the early years and even through college. I noticed I talked a lot about boys and problems with boys. When I made that realization, I understood that a lot of my feelings about myself were about my relationships with boys.
From there, I had to figure out why were boys so important to me? Also, why could I not find a decent guy?
I realized this:
- The only guys who gave me attention were the players.
- I felt that if I was able to change a player to a decent guy I was lovable and was worthy.
- I changed to accommodate the guys I was with.
- I didn’t feel good about myself because I didn’t feel comfortable in showing my true self.
- My lack of confidence stemmed from childhood.
- What I needed to change: I should be more comfortable with my own hobbies and who I truly was as a person.
- AND so much more
So as you see, by looking back at my journals, and reflecting I was able to learn a lot about myself. From these realizations, I was able to work on them.
The results were:
- I knew what kind of life and family I wanted
- I felt more confidence and found my voice
- I found friends who respected my introversion and hobbies
- I found even more hobbies I enjoyed (penpalling)
- I learned what kind of husband I was looking for
- I found a husband who had the qualities I was looking for
CONCLUSION- WHY INTROSPECTION HELPS WITH YOUR GOALS
Through journaling, you will be able to process and analyze things. You will be able to get to the core issue of what works and what doesn’t, and WHY something is a problem.
From there, you can write down goals, things you want to improve on, and track your progress. Then, your goals will be much more likely to be accomplished!
If you are ready to work on your goals, and realize you need an accountability partner, let me be your life coach. Book a free call here so we can talk about your goals and I can let you know how we can work together!