By Shari Steinbach, MS RDN, RDBA Contributing Editor
Self-reflection involves setting aside time to give serious thought to your goals, performance and overall state of mind. Studies show that self-reflection, in the form of meditation or otherwise, is a powerful method to reduce stress and enable individuals to make better business decisions. Retail Dietitians, who are often overwhelmed with projects, events, deadlines and emails, may find it a challenge to schedule time for self-reflection, however, taking a break to look inward can actually help you move your career upward. Here are some simple steps you can follow to help you reflect and advance self-development:
- Schedule Time – Self-reflection time needs to be put on your calendar if it’s truly going to happen on a regular basis. Pick a specific day and time of the week and make it a priority. Start with at least 10 to 20 minutes and extend the sessions as you fine tune your self-reflection skills. Make sure to find a secluded location to minimize interruptions.
- Identify Important Questions – The goal of this time out is to become more self-aware of your strengths and weaknesses so you can maximize your potential. Prepare questions in advance and be prepared to document your answers. Possible questions include:
- Am I being a person that others can respect?
- Am I using my skills fully?
- Am I performing work to my best ability?
- Am I providing quality time to my co-workers, family and friends?
- Am I engaging in valuable activities?
- Am I stressed out about things I can’t control?
- Am I on the path to my preferred future?
- Create an Action Plan – The answers to these questions can help you create action points, and self-development plans that address the shortfalls you identified. Perhaps you need to seek out a book or webinar to advance a certain skill, or speak to your manager about training and development. Make yourself accountable for these actions by writing them down and assigning a deadline. Reflect on your progress each week during your self-reflection time.
- Celebrate Successes - Do not forget to celebrate the successes as you reflect on your week. You may discover that advancing the skill of self-reflection provides a positive influence on other soft management skills such as optimism, creativity and communication. Pondering on the positive outcomes will boost your self-confidence and motivate you to keep going. Simply setting aside this time to reflect is a major success and with regular practice, self-reflection can become a critical component of your weekly routine.