“One thing to achieve this along with five steps to overcome that and supposedly success will arrive at our front door.” We read headlines like that all the time, yet most of those claims are bogus. How many times have you tried to change a habit within 21 days only to hit the wall on day 2? Perhaps you make it all the way to day 21 and then day 22 arrives without that transformation in hand. What then?
What if I told you that there is one thing you could do that would set you apart from the pack? There are many skills needed to achieve success, but only one goes unnoticed time and time again.
Decades ago, I was an events coordinator for a large faith based organization. I watched people come weekend after weekend to conferences and retreats. Some of them would have “life changing” experiences. Within weeks, they would be back. Something happened to that amazing moment. Somehow “it” didn’t stick. What was missing?
I do genuinely believe that individuals have experiences at events. I also know for a fact that an experience doesn’t translate into a changed life without this one element.
As a yoga therapist, I spend one hour with clients weekly and as we get to the 45 minute mark, I round the corner. What does that mean? I step into what identifies the key to a transformational change. It starts with a variety of questions. “Reflect back, what stands out to you as important?” That question is obviously a call to begin to reflect. More than that, it is a moment to begin to integrate the experience.
”You cannot have a meaningful life without having self-reflection.” – Oprah Winfrey
Here are the next questions I ask:
- What was revealed to you?
- What about the experience that you had was life changing?
- How did it change you in the moment?
- What action can you take to bring that life altering experience into your evening, tonight?
- How can you bring it into your day, tomorrow?
- How can you make room for it throughout this week?
- What action are you going to take to ensure that it wasn’t a fleeting one time fluke?
Reflection and integration are the keys to incorporating experiences and making real and lasting change. Teaching my clients this one tool of integration is the game changer. Taking each of us closer from the experiences we have to the life we want to be living.
You don’t have to wait for a life altering experience to begin. Every night, set aside 5 minutes, grab a pen and notebook and reflect back on your day.
What were the highlights? When did you react versus respond? Why? What buttons were pushed? When did you do your best work? What made you happy? What was frustrating? Then, integrate the reflections. What stands out to you as important? What will help support you to do more of your best work? What will empower you to respond well versus react poorly?
”By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.” – Confucius
Take the time, reflect back upon your days and experiences, integrate the highlights and form action steps towards creating the change you want to see in your life.