In a conversation with a friend recently, a question cropped up.
“We all have some self-improvement goals like being calm or being more organized, or not telling white lies or being disciplined about personal commitments, etc. But we keep slipping every so often on these goals. How do we course correct and come back on track when we slip up?”
The answer to this question is in a ritual I follow every night before I hit the bed.
I spend 10 minutes sitting on the edge of my bed and I Introspect - reviewing in my mind what I did throughout the entire day from the time I woke up to that present moment.
A typical process of Introspection that I do in my mind reads like this.
● Woke up at 7.40 am. I should have woken up by 7 am.
● Brushed my teeth and went to the garden.
● Did my morning activities.. weight training routines for 15 minutes, did 50 curl-ups, plank for 1 min. I did a 10 sec more than yesterday.
● After that did my daily bullet journaling and plan for the day
● I touched my phone only after that..Smile-Congratulations. I did not touch my phone for a full 45 min after I woke up.
● Enjoyed the cup of hot coffee (I could have told Kavita thank you..but missed it !!)
● Did my morning walk for an hour
● Freshened up after the walk and got into my first client call was with XYZ..key takeaways were……(what were they???) I rack my mind trying to remember..
● My next two calls went on till 2.15 pm, in the first call with my colleague. I was upset about ABC…and I lost my cool. I should have been calmer…
● Lunch- I had to have it fast as I had to join another call …What did I have ???
● Dinner- A nice pasta. I enjoyed it …But I could not resist having the Ice Cream along with the kids.
You need to develop an awareness of what you are doing throughout the day in order to know when you slip up. Only when you know when you slip up can you course correct.
Unfortunately, you cannot develop awareness just like that.
You can develop Awareness only when you sit down and introspect and reflect on how you have lived our day.
This process of auditing your day every night through introspection has three powerful benefits.
Doing this process every night, you will realize on your own what you are doing well, where you are slipping, and what you want to improve upon. You will get a sense of how conscious and aware you were of your actions, thoughts, feelings during the different times of the day?
In the introspection process, you will realize the many times you slipped during the day. The time you did not wake up at the scheduled time, the meeting you missed because you lost track of time, the white lie you told someone to duck a meeting you felt was of no value, or the loaded ice cream you could not resist.
Because you become aware through the previous night’s introspection process where you slipped, you look out for those areas the next day, and you remind yourself not to slip up. You become more deliberate in all your actions.
As the anger wells up inside you, the introspection of the previous night will activate a voice in your head reminding you to not lose your cool.
You will find yourself becoming more aware of what you are doing automatically
If someone else tells you that you did something wrong or slipped up, you will want to justify, defend, or argue. But when your own voice reminds you that you failed yourself, there is no argument because there is no ego involved.
“How many days will I keep letting myself down? I can’t continue like this. I WILL wake up by 6 am”
When there is no ego involved, your desire and motivation to course correct and improve yourself will be intrinsic.
The process of Introspection is simple. Just commit ten minutes of your time just before you sleep every night.
Don’t lie down and do this. You will very likely drift into your sleep without completing the process.
Instead, sit in a comfortable posture and Introspect.
Do this with discipline every day. Slowly but surely, you will find that the number of areas where you are slipping up will keep coming down progressively. You will become more aware of what you are doing throughout the day.
Sitting in Introspection just before you sleep also helps you disconnect from the affairs of the day and close any open, niggling thoughts that may be floating around in your head. Therefore, you will find the quality of your sleep improving significantly.
I have developed a habit of introspecting every night before I sleep. It has helped me improve the quality of my awareness and helps me live my life more consciously.