In our busy lives, taking time to sit down and reflect on the past week, month, or year may seem like a luxury. Well, it is. But it’s a luxury that is more than worth your time because the return is powerful. Plus, the positive benefits have been verified time and time again in psychological research. Here are just 4 of those benefits…

Reason #1

Reflection is essential for learning. If you want to improve and be a better coach next year, I encourage you to take time and really think about last year: the accomplishments, the setbacks, the happy moments, and the challenges. Reflection is one of the best tools for self-improvement, so if you want to learn and grow as a coach you need to pause and reflect.

Self-reflection makes you both happier, and a better learner

Reason #2

Reflection makes you happier. There have been multiple scientific studies that found positive outcomes when people take the time to engage in self-reflection. I think the best outcome is that reflection can actually make you happier. The founder of Positive Psychology, Martin Seligman recommends that you write down three positive thoughts at the end of the day, (or three good things that happened and why). His research shows writing down these positive thoughts will noticeably improve feelings of happiness and other positive emotions. [1]

Reason #3

Reflection saves you time next year. Research also shows that when people use reflection journals to think about what they have learned, this self-reflection enhances productivity. It makes you more efficient because you are more involved in the process of learning and gain a deeper understanding of your new skills. That way you can recognize things you want to remove from your schedule and task list, find the things that didn’t help your team, and focus your time on only the things that worked for you.

Reason #4

Reflection makes you a better planner and more organized. Look back on your experiences from the season. Think about the decisions you made and the actions you took, and why you made those choices.

This process is shown to improve metacognition, which is just a fancy word for thinking about your own thinking. When you are better able to understand and manipulate your own thoughts, you will see improvements in skills like organization, planning, and evaluation.[2] Simply put, that means reflection makes you both happier and a better learner, and when you are a better learner, you will see more positive change and personal growth. Who doesn’t want that?!

Do you want to be a better coach?

So if the research doesn’t convince you, here’s the bottom line: Taking the time to think about your season is a free exercise that will give you more return on your time than just about any other learning tool out there. So set aside some time, pull up a blank document or your favorite journal, and think about your season.

If you want some guidance, I have come up with 20 questions that I believe will help you think deeply about you and your team. Feel free to use the questions that feel relevant to you and come up with others if you’d like. I hope you enjoy the experience!

reflection questions
Click the picture to download the questions and get started today!

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1] Boud, D., Keogh, R. and Walker, D. 1985. Reflection: Turning experience into learning, London: Kogan Page.

[2] O’Rourke, R. 1998. The learning journal: From chaos to coherence. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 23(4): 403–413

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