How many mistakes or failures have you experienced over the course of your life? Imagine how your life would be if you never made a particular mistake more than once. Most of us repeat the same mistakes over and over. Mistakes have value: you can learn from them.
Similarly, successes can be repeated. Yet, it’s common to see someone that’s been successful change course and sabotage himself. If you can repeat your successes and avoid repeating the same mistakes, everything becomes easier. Life is also a lot more fun and rewarding.
The answer is reflective thinking.
Evaluate your successes and failures each day:
1. At the end of each day, determine the positives and negatives. Perhaps your boss yelled at you and you had a great workout. Consider the entire day and focus on the positive and the negative. The idea is to eliminate the negative outcomes and increase the likelihood of the positive outcomes occurring again.
2. Determine the cause of each outcome. Why did your boss yell at you? Is it something you could control? If she yelled because her husband left her, that’s out of your control. However, let’s suppose she yelled because your report was two days late, and you’ve been showing up to work 15 minutes late.
You also determine that had a great workout because you slept more than usual the night before and had a snack two hours before your workout.
3. Take advantage of your new knowledge. How can you avoid getting in trouble with your boss in the future? Get your work done on time and show up on time.
If you want to continue having great workouts, get to bed at a reasonable time, take a snack to work, and make the time to eat it.
4. Create a plan to use the new knowledge. You could purchase a book on beating procrastination and resolve to get all your work done on time. You could improve your work habits and learn how to avoid wasting time. You could set your alarm earlier and streamline your morning routine to arrive on time each day.
5. Visualize success. Imagine yourself behaving in the new manner. Imagine the positive benefits you’ll receive.
6. Remind yourself of the consequences if you don’t follow through. What would happen if you continued to be tardy to work and your assignments were completed late? Your employment status would be in jeopardy. That’s a serious consequence for most of us. Poor workouts could mean that you never lose those last 15 pounds.
Feel the pain of failing to change.
7. Monitor your thoughts and feelings. If you’re resistant to changing, changing will be much more difficult. Let go of your negative thoughts and feelings. It’s natural to resist change, but you can do it.
8. Monitor your results. Are you completing your work on time? Are you arriving on time? How are your workouts?
New habits are challenging to form. It may take time until your new strategies become automatic.
Continue honing your process until your results are acceptable. Small adjustments will be necessary along the way.
After a few months, you might find that you’ve licked most of your everyday mistakes. You might be better served by sitting down once a week and reviewing the week as a whole. Consider all the different areas of your life: relationships, finances, work, health, and so on. Use reflective thinking to enhance your life. Get value from your victories and defeats.