Personal Development Exercises 2. Reflection

Life is busy. In the western world we tend to think we’re not being productive unless we’re actually doing something. And that’s fine in the general scheme of things, if that ‘doing’ is part of us getting to where we want to be, underpins our values, meets our needs and those of people close to us etc, and is simply not just filling up space, or us trying to look as busy and important as the next person.

To develop, learn and grow we need to take time to pause and reflect. Sometimes we need to stop doing for a bit. With the London Olympics so recently in the news I am reminded of all those young athletes who will be setting themselves 4 year goals now; they will be planning their next 4 years to make every second count.

If you have a big dream to achieve you need that degree of dedication. But even if your aims are more modest you’ll still probably achieve more if you have some kind of plan and we’ll be thinking about that later in the series. And I think your plan should have  some ‘do nothing’ time in it….


So here’s today’s personal development exercise. You’ll need about an hour, and a quiet space in which to sit and think where you won’t be interrupted (that may be your biggest challenge!).

If it’s comfortable, sit or lie down and close your eyes and take yourself back 4 years. If that was a particularly painful time for you choose another period.

Try to remember what was going on for you then, it’ll may help even to look at some old photos before you do this exercise.

  • What were your thoughts, ideas and aspirations?
  • Who were the most significant people in your life?
  • How much influence did they have over your decisions?
  • What was really important to you work wise then?
  • What did you think you’d be doing now?

Try to be kind to yourself. We women especially can have a tendency to downplay what we’ve achieved and berate ourselves for not doing more. All these exercises are designed to be helpful; not to induce feelings of inadequacy.

Think about what you have learned and achieved during this time. How much did you plan and how much did you react to life events? Would you make different decisions with hindsight or not?

Don’t do anything with this today, simply let it mull around in your head; we’ll return to it in the last exercise in this personal development series. If you want to, jot it down in a notebook and you could keep a record of all your responses to these exercises. Writing can be really helpful in helping you clarify issues.

Women who regularly pay attention to their personal development feel more in control and have more understanding of what they want from life. Here’s a link to number one in this series of personal development exercises for women. If you want to be sure of getting each post straight to your in box, simply pop your email address in the subscribe box top right!

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Photo Credit: Claudia Meyer


Posted on August 14th, 2012 by

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