Deliberate reflection isn’t something most of us do.
The Queen did. In fact, she did it for sixty-four years, following on from her father and grandfather. What’s more impressive is that she shared her reflections with the public—each and every Christmas day. Astonishingly, she never missed a year, although not broadcast, in 1969 her thoughts appeared in written form instead.
Putting aside the lessons of consistency and dedication, our attention should focus on the reflective nature of the speech.
When did you last pause and reflect? When did you last take time to look back at the recent past and assess what worked—and what didn’t? When did you last capture your thoughts by writing them down, thus journaling to bring clarity to your reflections?
The value of reflecting, especially prior to the year-end is lost on many. The clamour for resolutions holds more attention. A new year brings the promise of diet, exercise, and many other bespoke activities. But, what’s the point of a most likely failed new year resolution if you’re not seeking progress over efforts past?
Surely, it is far better to reflect first. To look back and treasure the successes, the happy times, and the moment everything felt right in your world. To learn from the agony of failure, the disappointment, and the sadness of change that is sure as night follows day.
Deliberate reflection offers us a window into our history.
Of course, you should be wary of your memories. Hindsight bias, outcome bias, and recency bias all blight our perspective of the past. Instead, keep a journal, a diary, or maybe even a photo reel to help you find the truth of days gone by. In reality, reflecting without the blur our biases bring is the only way to see the past as it was.
So, as we absorb the passing of the Queen, so I offer you the opportunity to write down your deliberate reflections on the past year. Read your journal. Draw out the lessons; the successes and the failures and use those to shape your future.
This might not seem like one weekly decision, but it is.
To reflect, you have to work from the top down. But to build something, you have to work from the ground up. In order to reflect effectively, you need a daily journal or diary. Writing in your journal, whether it be recording the day’s events or contemplating the future begins with one decision.
If you haven’t started, start today.