Monica Marie Jones
Observe and Reflect
During my days as a youth development consultant, we used a method called Observation Reflection to support professionals who work with young people in improving the quality of their practice. It would begin with that professional identifying an area where they wanted to grow, then an observer would take objective notes while watching them lead an activity with their students. Afterward they would sit down together, and the observer would ask the practitioner what they felt were their strengths and opportunities for growth. This was a powerful and effective strategy because it allowed the practitioner to take ownership of their own journey toward improvement instead of being dependent on what someone else thought they did well or could have done differently. Lately I’ve been applying this method to my life. In slowing down and observing my habits and patterns I’ve learned that I am more likely to engage in behaviors I want to reduce or eliminate when I’m tired, bored, or a combination of both. This awareness has given me the opportunity to pause and ask myself important questions in these moments like, “Do you really want to do this thing you said you didn’t want to do, or are you only doing it because you are tired?” From there, just like with the Choose Your Own Adventure Series of books that I loved as a child, I get to decide which direction I want to take to get to my desired outcomes. Here are some strategies to support you as you observe your daily activities and reflect on where you want to take action toward your wellbeing. Identify Your Intention. Begin by creating a set of standards, best practices, or boundaries you want to set to guide how you treat yourself and how you want to show up in your work and life. I have set a personal standard that I call Loving Consumption. The best practices that support this standard include consuming content, food, and drink that nourishes my body and soul. The boundary that I’ve set to protect this standard is inspired by the Oscar Wilde quote,
“Everything in moderation, including moderation.”
I use this as a guide to make sure that I am giving myself grace and releasing my old tendency of setting rigid rules and harsh punishments for myself. From the list that you've created, identify one area where you want to grow or change. This informed my intention to reduce mindless eating and drinking to numb my feelings. What are your personal standards, best practices, and boundaries that will inform your practice of self-love? Observe Your Obstacles. Once you’ve identified your intention for an area where you want to grow, select an activity or timeframe where you will be more present with and aware of your actions, habits, or patterns. I decided to observe a particularly long and busy day that I had last week. From this observation I learned that I am more likely to engage in mindless eating and drinking when I am tired because I’ve overbooked myself or stretched myself beyond my mental and physical capacity. When you pause to observe your behaviors and reflect on the factors that contribute to your challenges, what themes or patterns do you notice? Customize Your Conversation. Now it’s time to have a conversation with yourself. I find that writing this out helps me to communicate my discoveries more clearly. After observing your actions and identifying the obstacles to standards, best practices, and boundaries you’ve set for yourself, begin on a positive note by stating your strengths. What do you want to celebrate or acknowledge yourself for? Next, look at the areas where there are opportunities for growth, and start with one where you want to take action toward improvement. My first action step is to identify and write out things in my schedule that I can eliminate or begin saying ‘no’ to so that I won’t reach those points of overextending myself physically and mentally. My second action step is to write a list of alternative activities that will help me to unwind from a taxing day in a healthy way. These include things like sipping relaxing herbal teas, or simply going to sleep. What conversation is it time for you to have with yourself? This week I challenge you to take some time to observe your actions and reflect on your strengths and opportunities for growth. Use what you discover to inform the steps you will take toward your personal development or healing journey. Manifestation Affirmations I am creating my own personal set of standards, best practices, and boundaries for how I will take care of myself and show up in my personal and professional life. I am observing patterns in my behaviors and using them as information to support my growth. I am having important conversations with myself to celebrate and acknowledge my accomplishments and take action in the places where I want to improve.
Master Your Mindset to Manifest a Life You Love. Most Sincerely, Monica Marie Jones Your Soul Journey Guide