How to End WellDec 18, 2023
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"It's not how you start that's important, but how well you finish!" Jim Rohn
Have you ever felt like you had a bad day, or maybe a really bad week, or that the month was just a disaster but when you went back and reflected on the day, week month, or year it wasn’t as bad as you remembered. It was just a bad moment, maybe just a bad day, or maybe it was just a bad week. If we are not careful, the bad moments can overshadow all of the good memories.
Have you heard of the fable of two woodcutters who are competing to see who could cut down a tree more quickly?
In the story, one woodcutter continues to chop at the tree without taking a break, while the other woodcutter pauses periodically to sharpen his ax. The woodcutter who sharpens his ax ends up being more efficient and eventually surpasses the one who tirelessly continues without a break. The moral of the fable is that it is important to take the time to sharpen one's skills, rest, and rejuvenate, as it leads to greater effectiveness and productivity in the long run.
Experts in various fields, including psychology, personal development, and leadership, often emphasize the importance of reflecting, remembering, and evaluating for personal growth and goal achievement. Here are some insights from some experts in different fields::
Psychologists highlight the therapeutic benefits of reflection. According to Dr. Dan Siegel, a clinical professor of psychiatry, reflection promotes mental well-being by fostering self-awareness and emotional regulation.
2. Leadership Coaches:
Leadership coaches often stress the significance of reflective practices for leaders. Leadership expert John C. Maxwell encourages leaders to take time for introspection to understand their strengths and weaknesses better.
In education, experts advocate for reflective teaching practices. Dr. Donald Schon, an influential educational theorist, introduced the concept of "reflection-in-action" and "reflection-on-action," emphasizing the continuous process of learning through reflection.
4. Goal-setting Experts:
Goal-setting experts emphasize the importance of evaluating progress. Tony Robbins, a renowned life coach, encourages individuals to regularly assess their goals, adjust strategies if needed, and celebrate achievements to stay motivated.
5. Mindfulness Practitioners:
Mindfulness experts, such as Jon Kabat-Zinn, emphasize the role of mindful reflection. Mindfulness encourages being present in the moment, allowing individuals to better understand their thoughts and emotions.
Even the Bible contains numerous verses that speak to the importance of remembering, reflecting, and evaluating. Here are some scriptures and thoughts on why this is important.
Deuteronomy 8:2 (NIV):
"Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands."
Thought: Reflecting on God's past faithfulness helps build trust and gratitude.
Psalm 77:11 (NIV):
"I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago."
Thought: Recalling God's miracles strengthens faith and provides hope in challenging times.
Psalm 119:59 (NIV):
"I have considered my ways and have turned my steps to your statutes."
Thought: Reflection leads to alignment with God's ways and principles.
Lamentations 3:40 (NIV):
"Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the Lord."
Thought: Honest self-reflection can lead to repentance and a return to God.
2 Corinthians 13:5 (NIV):
"Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?"
Thought: Regular self-evaluation ensures a genuine and growing faith.
Proverbs 4:26-27 (NIV):
"Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways. Do not turn to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil."
Thought: Evaluating one's path helps in staying steadfast and avoiding harmful choices.
These scriptures highlight the biblical principles of remembering God's faithfulness, reflecting on one's ways in the light of God's Word, and evaluating one's actions to align with God's will.
So how can we “sharpen our ax” so we can have greater effectiveness and productivity in the long run and foster a deeper connection with God, our loved ones, and friends?
Here are some questions I ask myself at the end of something, it can be the end of a day, a week, a month, a year, or the end of a project, a job, or even a relationship. The more we take time to evaluate, we will move forward with wisdom and insight.
Let me use the example of reflecting on the end of a year. I will use my photos, calendar, and journal to look back on my month, and ask myself these questions:
What went well?
What didn’t go well?
What would I do differently?
What made me laugh?
What made me come alive?
What drained me?
What did I learn? (You win some and you learn some)
Then I evaluate:
Who do I need to forgive?
Who do I need to reach out to?
What do I want to do more of?
What do I want to do less of?
If you do this at the end of your week and month, when you go back through the year you will already have a summary of the month written up.
Click here to listen to the teaching I did on this habit I would encourage you to create.
Questions for Reflection or discussion in a small group
- How can reflecting, remembering, and evaluating become a game changer in different areas of our lives, as mentioned in the episode?
- What are some practical ways to reflect on the end of a day, week, month, and year, as suggested by Martha Fry?
- How can the practice of reflecting and remembering help us move forward with vision and purpose?
- What role does gratitude and praise play in the process of reflecting and evaluating the past?
- How do Martha's coaching experiences in weight loss relate to the concept of reflection, remembering, and evaluating in other areas of life?
- In what ways can the reflection, remembering, and evaluating process be applied to spiritual, emotional, and intellectual aspects of our lives?
- What are the benefits of setting realistic goals and visions for the future, and how does writing them down facilitate the process?
- How can the practice of forgiveness and healing be integrated into the reflection and evaluation process, especially in relation to emotional well-being?
- Why is it important to consistently evaluate and adjust in areas such as spiritual growth, emotional health, and intellectual development?
- What are some practical steps individuals can take to start the reflection, remembering, and evaluating process in their own lives based on the insights shared in the episode?
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