Your brain is wired to remember the positive in the long-term. In the short-term it’s looking for the negative to help you stay alive. It’s why when you look back on high school or college you remember the good times. You remember that kiss you had by your locker. You remember that joy ride with your friends on a fun Friday night in college. You remember that amazing concert with your best friend. When you rate your day, you stop to pause and solidify these memories. That’s why your evening routine is so important for your mental and physical health.
Older adults report they’re not angry or upset when younger people report that all the time. It’s not because negative things don’t happen to older adults, it’s that they’re not dwelling on them. Charles says. (1)
We tend to dwell on the positive things as we get older because it’s where we like to put our focus. Just think of a positive memory versus a negative one. What happens to your energy levels? A negative memory will spiral your energy down, while a positive one will uplift you.
This is the power of using our mind well. We can be the captain of our thoughts with a little practice.
Older people gravitated toward positive thinking because of how they want to feel. If you have a systematic way of changing how you viewed life you can tap into the power of your mind at an earlier age. You are more likely to reach your desired goals.
I talk about doing your life’s work to a lot of my clients. It’s not about finding the perfect job. Just ask any billionaire. There are just as many headaches with success as there are positives. It’s how they view these opportunities that determines their happiness.
It’s why routines are so important. When we have healthy routines we are happier, more productive and more resilient. If you are anything like me you want all three of these things. That’s why I teach all my clients about the importance of having a reflection process in place. Each person is at a different stage in how they reflect and learn to improve their career.
The research proves that when you make time to reflect on a situation you build confidence which helps you process the situation and learn from it, so you can achieve your desired goal. (2)
You might just be starting out in our career and don’t really make time for reflection. That’s ok. I didn’t either. Although, I wish I would have started earlier because it would have helped me.
Power of Reflection
You might have a reflection routine that helps you, but isn’t as helpful as you would like.
You may have an amazing morning, midday, and evening routine that helps you process your thoughts and emotions and helps you grow by at least 1% a day. That’s awesome. You can stop reading. For those of you that want an end of day routine to help you grow your career then keep reading.
Reflecting on your day is important because it helps you process your thoughts and emotions. How you do it matters. Just like anything. You can practice learning another language, but if you don’t do it every single day just for just 5 minutes, you lose the compounding interest of a good routine.
Try starting real easy at first. I suggest to clients that they start with a simple Rate Your Day Routine. You can learn get the printable, so you can print it out and write down your answers. I suggest that you do this for the first seven days. It’s the most crucial part of any habit. If you can create a good foundation you are more likely to succeed. You can deepen your neural synapsis, so they can more easily fire together. The psychologist Donald Hebb likes to say, “Cells that fire together, wire together”.
You build the habits to be successful by ingraining them into your daily routines. Think of the people who are best at what they do. It’s because they have deep learning through practice that has created deep neural connections. They can make connections that other people can’t see because they can access deep knowledge.
When you make time to go through the Rate Your Day Routine (Get the mini-guide to learn how to apply this routine to your life) you are focusing on the good things and how to improve them. This is such a simple and age old concept that so many smart people aren’t using. We can change how productive we are by making time at the end of our day for smart reflection. You don’t want to let go of the plane’s control wheel and hope for the best. You want to be the captain of your plane so you can fly it to your destination with a big smile.
- Aging and Emotional Memory: The Forgettable Nature of Negative Images for Older Adults,” Susan Turk Charles, Ph.D., University of California, Irvine; Mara Mather, Ph.D., University of California, Santa Cruz; and Laura L. Carstensen, Ph.D., Stanford University; Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, Vol. 132. No. 2.
- Learning by Thinking: How Reflection Aids Performance. Giada Di Stefano, Gary Pisano and Bradley R Staats. Published Online: 30 Nov 2017 https://doi.org/10.5465/ambpp.2015.12709abstract