I want to have reflection time.

I want to have reflection time. How am I going to do that?

I’ve been intending a while bunch, lately, to “take some time and reflect,” referring to a whole host of topics I’d like to reflect on, from romance to school to my blog to my habits to my goals (individually and as a whole) to setting up a system to easily track failures and improve on them. I have done brief goal reflections, but otherwise that’s pretty much it.

Ultimately I’d like to reflect on a very regular basis. If I could find a way to do it, twice daily would be optimal. It wouldn’t have to be for long. The morning could just consist of looking at my agenda for the day, planning the main things I want to accomplish, and reading an inspirational quotation or something. The night would consist of (ideally) an assessment of my day, reviewing how it met, exceeded, and fell short of my expectations, and then noting if there are any patterns of failure that I notice. Then, I’ll figure out what’s causing the failure and come up with potential ways to address it.

In a multilayered cake of irony, it was the lack of reflection that was causing itself. My not reflecting led me to not address my failure to reflect. (rinse, repeat). I have recognized for over a week (I distinctly recall wanting to reflect last sunday) that I wanted to do something about this, but haven’t done anything because it’s never felt like the right time to do anything about it. The idea with the reflections is that they’d give me regular chances to tune into those thoughts that have been hopping around anxiously on my back-burner, before they get burnt.

One fortunate thing is that this particular revelation comes to me at a moment when I have got myself into a reasonably regular (and early) sleep-waking situation. This is not habitual, but merely a necessity given 9am exams every other day. Even still, I think I’m going to start this with an MEA (term courtesy of Nir Eyal, though ZenHabits has written about the principle extensively as well). MEA = Minimum Enjoyable Action, and is basically the smallest form of the habit possible. It must be so small that: a) you can’t fail & b) you can’t complain.

For my reflection habit, that will be writing a sentence, morning & night.

I can’t possibly get up late enough that I don’t have time to write a sentence, and I can’t possibly be so tired that I can’t write a sentence. Long term, I’d potentially like to have a form I fill out with fields expressing certain things about my day, but I’ll get there eventually. This is a start.

If that doesn’t work, I’ll scale back the MEA to “pick up a pencil”. That I can definitely do every day.


(While selecting a category for this post, it occurs to me that despite years of reading ZenHabits, I still had not really been focusing my personal development around habits. That changes today.)

A portrait of Malcolm Ocean

I'm Malcolm Ocean.

I'm trying to figure out how humans work so I can help make humanity work. More about me.

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