Archive for January, 2014

Reflection

January 3rd, 2014
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The new calendar year, like birthdays, is a common time for us to remember to take a pause from all our doing to reflect. This often takes the form of “New Year’s Resolutions.” These are goals which some strive towards and others take as unbreakable promises; and which typically involve some self-improvement.

As I wish a Successful, Productive, and Happy New Year to all, I’ll offer my own take on reflection. The following is a self-check-up, which I outlined for myself a couple years ago:

Relationships

Do I see my family enough?

Do I have a fair amount of friends?

Are any of them doing badly? Am I letting any of them down?

Do I spend the right amount of time alone/socializing?

Politics/Community

What am I trying to accomplish right now to better my community?

Am I focused on the right issue?

Am I putting in enough/too much time?

Work

Do I like what I’m doing?

Is it worth my time?

Am I working too much?

Health

Am I exercising enough?

Am I eating well?

Do I have any problems I have not been attending to?

Am I sleeping enough?

Do I use my mind to solve difficult problems frequently enough?

Do I think about new ideas?

Recreation

Am I having enough/too much fun?

Is there anything I love that I’m forgetting to do?

Overall

Is there anything unimportant on which I spend a lot of my time?

The exact questions of this check-up can certainly be adjusted for different people, depending on what they value or find important. If you are privy to a theory of health that I don’t know about, wherein exercise is not an important component, then obviously you should leave out that question. But I believe that a lot of these questions would apply to a great many people, and that the structure of considering different areas of one’s life, and then asking a few questions about each, is quite helpful.

At one time in my life, a certain question will have an easy and instant answer, while another question provokes a lengthy reflection. At another time, this may reverse. Regardless, I find it useful to go down the full list of questions, and at least briefly check in on each area.

As for timing, I try to remember to do this about twice a year (or when facing a critical moment in my life) without the aid of New Year’s or my Birthday; but in reality both those events often serve as needed reminders.

Within these questions, you may observe some of the framework of my thinking on life: that habits have a very strong hold on us; that conscious thought can be applied to tinker with our habits, and produce significant results; and that much of decision-making is a matter of prioritizing, and choosing what is most important to us. If any of these ideas seem exceedingly strange or erroneous to you, you may not be interested in my check-up; but if you are curious, I highly suggest you give it a try!