Reflecting on your day is something most of us feel too busy to do.
Yet, without it, we’re left continuing to feel overwhelmed and unable to live intentionally.
Reflecting on your day is more than just saying “today was good” or “today was bad” — it’s about increasing your awareness of what you were thinking, feeling, and doing (everything you have control over), so you can decide deliberately if that’s how you want to keep showing up in the world.
When you reflect on your day, it brings awareness to your thoughts, feelings, actions, and results. I.e.: it has a really positive effect on your mindset, and it helps you understand underlying emotions you may not even be aware of.
This practice can help you see where you’re spending your time and energy and how it can be the first step in creating a routine and a more beneficial habit rather than just aimlessly going about your day.
Ultimately, the purpose of reflecting on your day enables you to be more intentional and live more purposefully, from your highest self.
- Related: Mental Chatter (podcast)
How To Reflect On Your Day
Let’s take a look at how you can get the most out of your day by reflecting on it…
1. Create A Plan
First, you need to create a plan to actually do the reflecting.
I’ve learned that deciding to start reflecting (or journaling or anything else) isn’t enough.
You don’t need motivation, you need a plan.
So! Get out your calendar and schedule in enough time to reflect. It can be as little as 10 minutes and as much as an hour.
When you schedule it and make it part of your routine, you’ll actually do it (which is always half the battle).
- Planning Mistakes (podcast)
- An Honest Review Of 8 Journals And Planners (blog post)
- Time Management Tools (free training)
2. Show Up Consistently
Step two is to show up consistently.
What this means is that you regularly reflect on your day—not just randomly, when you remember or aren’t busy (because that will never happen). It’s taking time every day to do this.
Daily reflection can become a habit if you do it enough in the beginning. This means, sitting down every day for 10-50 minutes and reflecting. If you do this at the same time daily, even better. Before you know it (in about a month or so), it’ll be a habit for you.
The benefit of making reflecting on your day a habits that you are constantly managing your mind and emotions and living on purpose.
- 21 Daily Habits For A Successful Life (blog post)
- Breaking Bad Habits (podcast)
- Overcoming Self Doubt (free course)
3. Do A Brain Dump
Once you’re sitting down ready to reflect on your day, start with doing a brain dump.
This means you write down everything on your mind about your day. Get it all out.
Think about your brain like a room you need to declutter: you start by taking everything out of the room and putting it into another room; then you decide what to add back, item by item.
The same is true for your brain. Write down what you’re thinking and feeling about the day, as well as what you did during the day (or didn’t do).
That’s it. Just the act of getting what’s in your head down on paper is enough to create awareness around what you’re thinking, feeling, acting, and creating in your life. It’s magic.
- Related: How To Live An Intentional Life (free course)
4. Separate Out The Facts From Your Thoughts
The fourth step is to step back and reflect on your brain dump.
The way you do this is to separate out the facts from your thoughts.
FACT: this is my sister in law.
THOUGHT: sister in law is negative.
Write out all your facts on one side and all your thoughts on the other side.
Separating out facts from thoughts shows you what you’re thinking.
All your thoughts are optional.
When you see all your thoughts as optional, you can see they’re choices and these choices lead to your results in your life.
Changing your thoughts and choosing them on purpose is hard work, but it’s 100% worth the effort. Every single time!
- What Are Fixed And Growth Mindsets (blog post)
- Mindset Hacks (podcast)
- Scarcity Versus Abundance Mindset (free training)
5. Identify The Top Three Emotions You Experience Most
After you separate out your thoughts and facts to see what you’re thinking, the next and final step is to see what your thoughts are causing you to feel.
Your thoughts create your feelings.
Most people don’t know this.
So if you’re feeling negative emotions, it’s because of something you’re thinking. Nothing outside of you can jump into your body and cause you to feel a certain way.
When you truly get that emotions are created by your thinking, you can start to deliberately and choose exactly how you want to feel.
Think about your emotions. What do you feel most often?
If you’re in a lot of negative emotion that isn’t serving you (overwhelm, self pity, urgency), take a look at what you’re thinking and choose to think differently.
You can feel more joy, peace, happiness, and love whenever you want. These emotions are always available to you.
Your thoughts and feelings will always be what create your experience of the world, so spending time “watching” them (i.e.: bringing awareness to them) is worthwhile more than anything else you ever do.
- How To Process Emotions And Feel Better (blog post)
- Processing Negative Emotions (podcast)
- Conquering Anxiety (free training)
Daily Reflection Questions
Part of the reflective process includes thinking about what to write down in your daily reflection.
Because I know from so many of my clients that this can be a challenge, I love to suggest using the “Questions Tool” which allows your brain to answer questions you ask it and then put them into a journal format. I did an entire post on it you can find here.
Here is a list of questions you can ask yourself at the end of the day to do your daily reflection…
1. What are the top three emotions I experienced most today?
This question is important to ask yourself so you can see patterns in your emotions. Are you typically feeling positive emotions on a daily basis or negative ones?
2. What was I thinking about today?
This question is important to ask yourself daily as we often overlook what we thought about all day. Did you find you were focused on what you were supposed to be doing throughout the day or find that you are easily distracted by other things?
3. What did I produce today?
Great examples of this would be: Work project, clean home, etc.
4. What went right today?
It’s important to give thought and reflect on things that went well throughout the day. If you are someone who naturally focuses on what went wrong each day, this is a great question to get your mind thinking new thoughts.
5. What am I grateful for today?
Celebrate and reflect upon all wins. For example, “today I am grateful I was able to spend quality time with my children”.
The key is to ask thought provoking questions and not questions that leave you stuck (like, “why do bad things happen to me?”).
When you put your mind to work by asking good questions it will go to work finding even better answers.
- Related: Grow You (virtual life coaching program)
A Final Note!
Taking time to reflect on your day seems like a luxury if you’re a busy type-A woman or mom.
But here’s the thing: it’s AMAZING we get to be as busy as we are.
We just now need to put the right systems in place so we can think with a clear mind and clear heart.
Taking time to reflect is a step in the right direction.