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I don’t know about you, but 2018 was a whirlwind of a year for me! It was full of exciting events, like my younger son’s high school graduation, my daughter’s first year of high school and marching band, and several concerts that my husband and I attended. Professionally, I participated in a leadership program with extension colleagues from Ohio and 11 other states. I presented at two national conferences and a few here in Ohio as well. I attended numerous trainings in order to stay up-to-date on the latest information to better help meet the needs of the state. Finally, I taught numerous classes including parenting, fall prevention, food safety, mental health, nutrition, substance use prevention, and activity/exercise. All in all, it was an busy and exciting year.

Each year I am required to enter information and data about the programs, presentations, classes, etc. that I have instructed or presented during that year. Being the procrastinator that I am, I usually wait until December OR January to start entering this required (by January 15th) information in to our tracking system. While every year I tell myself I am going to enter the data on a more regular basis, somehow December rolls around and I find the stack of papers and files still waiting for me. Putting this dreaded task off (yes, I dread entering data) until the end of the year or the beginning of the next year adds stress to my workload, but it also allows me to reflect back over the past year and to remember and think about those programs and classes that I might have forgotten. photography

The leadership program that I participated in for about 10 months, incorporated reflection in to every session. This was not something I was accustomed to doing regularly, so it was a little awkward for me at first. I quickly realized the benefits of both individual and group reflection. Reflection is a very important component for success and growth, which is why the majority of us were participating in the program to begin with. In order to grow in our leadership abilities and competencies we had to be more self-aware and reflection certainly helps you become more aware.

Reflection serves many purposes and can be used for a variety of reasons including:

  1. Help create confidence.
  2. Make you responsible for yourself.
  3. Encourage innovation.
  4. Encourage engagement.
  5. Create an environment centered around learning.
  6. Increased self-awareness and character development.
  7. Increased diversity and relationships.
  8. Dialogue.
  9. Tools for growth.

So, if you atransformationre not accustomed to reflecting, start small. Perhaps set aside 5-15 minutes each day on your calendar to think about and reflect upon your day. Some people prefer to jot down some thoughts, others prefer to discuss their thoughts with someone. Think of some important questions that will help you process your day or to gain new insight, like, “What am I proud of?” or “If I lived today over again, what would I have done differently?”

As you practice reflection, you will gain more self-awareness. This can lead to more personal and professional satisfaction and success. Give yourself a break if reflection does not come easily. Keep looking for ways to incorporate reflection in to your personal and professional life to help keep you engaged and happy. I would love to hear what have reflected on in 2018 or what you will be reflecting on in 2019.

Writer: Misty Harmon, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Perry County, harmon.416@osu.edu.

Reviewer: Lisa Barlage , Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension,  Ross County, barlage.7@osu.edu.

Photo:

https://pixabay.com/en/feet-footwear-man-outdoors-person-1845598/

https://pixabay.com/en/photography-balls-mirroring-586888/

https://pixabay.com/en/transformation-awareness-awakening-2937517/

Sources:

Harmon, M. (2018). Hi-Ho, Hi-Ho, It’s Off to School They Go. Live Smart Ohio Retrieved from: https://livesmartohio.osu.edu/uncategorized/harmon-416osu-edu/hi-ho-hi-ho-its-off-to-school-they-go/

Porter, J. (March 2017).  Why You Should Make Time for Self-Reflection (Even If You Hate Doing It). Harvard Business Review. Retrieved at: https://hbr.org/2017/03/why-you-should-make-time-for-self-reflection-even-if-you-hate-doing-it

Eisenbach, B. (Feb. 2016). Student Reflection: A Tool for Growth and Development, Weekly Reflections Guide Teaching and Learning. Association for Middle Level Education. Retrieved from: https://www.amle.org/BrowsebyTopic/WhatsNew/WNDet/TabId/270/ArtMID/888/ArticleID/586/Student-Reflection-A-Tool-for-Growth-and-Development.aspx

Walsh, D. (Dec. 2016). How Self-Reflection Can Make You a Better Leader. Kellogg Insight. Retrieved from: https://insight.kellogg.northwestern.edu/article/how-self-reflection-can-make-you-a-better-leader

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