End of day reflection questions
I’m a huge proponent of routines, especially in the morning and at night. I love taking time at the beginning of my day to set myself up for success, and at the end of the day to help myself settle down and get a good night’s sleep.
Today, we’re getting a little more specific. I’ve already written about how to make your own nighttime routine (and why you should), but now we're diving into something specific that you can do at night that will help you improve your life.
Now, what is this simple little secret to success? Reflection.
No, it’s not the most interesting thing ever, and it definitely isn’t something that you’ll always look forward to, but I think that you’ll start to realize how POWERFUL the change is when you really start to implement it as a part of your nighttime routine (again, if you don’t already have a nighttime routine, check out this post).
I know what you’re thinking: “Why would I take the extra time out of my day to do this?” That’s a good question that we should probably ask about just about everything we do -- I’ll tell you why: because there are powerful benefits that come from taking time at the end of your day to reflect.
Here are two reasons why reflecting is so important:
#1 - You realize what you did wrong.
It’s hard to face our mistakes.
Whatever it is that you did that you feel you did wrong, you can help yourself to change that and become better. When you’re reflecting, you learn what you did wrong and then you can take the necessary steps to avoid making the same mistake in the future.
I try to get in bed by 9:30. However, sometimes I get busy or sidetracked - something happens that makes me not do it. If I can recognize that “something” during my reflection so that I can stop it from holding me back in the future, this will help me going forward. (By the way, here's an entire post on getting to bed on time.)
This is just one of many, many examples I could give to show you how much of an impact reflecting can have.
#2 - You know what you did right.
It's important to learn from our mistakes, but it's also important to learn from our successes. When we realize what goes into doing something good, we can plan better so that we will implement those things in the future.
Lemme give you an example. If I had a TON of stuff to do one day and I got it all done PLUS more, I would reflect at the end of the day to see what habits and decisions went into that success. Maybe I got more sleep the night before, maybe I made a to-do list, maybe I wasn’t overly perfectionistic about it (as I can certainly be…).
You get the idea, right? We look back on our day so that we can avoid repeating our mistakes and so that we can replicate our successes.
Sounds a lot like history class.
The Benefits of Reflection
10 End-Of-day reflection Questions
Anyways, now that you understand why reflecting is important, I’m going to give you twenty reflection questions that you can ask yourself at the end of the day.
You don’t have to do all of them every single day. You can pick and choose, you can modify them, and you can make up your own, too! (If you think of some good ones, let me know in the comments!)
1. What did I do for others today?
2. What do I need to let go of?
3. What can I improve tomorrow?
4. When could I have done better? Why didn’t I do my best in that situation, and how can I improve in the future?
5. Did I accomplish everything I wanted to accomplish today? Why or why not?
6. What did I do today that moved me closer to my goals?
7. What did I do today that moved me further from my goals?
8. What is one important lesson that I learned today?
9. What are the best things that happened today?
10. What could I have done today to avoid making the mistakes that I made, and what will I do in the future in order to prevent making those mistakes again?
You can write out the answers in a journal, or maybe you want to just think about them. Both of them are going to be tremendously helpful. Writing down your answers is nice because you have a record that you can look back on, and I find that it helps me organize my thoughts, but in the end it’s really up to you to figure out what works best for you.
Reflecting on your day is a simple, quick way to make HUGE improvements.
Remember, you don’t have to answer all of the questions. Tailor this to your own wants and needs.
Also, I want to note that while it’s great to think about the questions in your head, writing them down can be even better. The pen-to-paper process (or pencil-to-paper or marker or crayon or whatever you use) is going to make it stick in your head longer and will help you reinforce the idea of change and growth.
Find a journal or notebook that you can use every night, and set it beside your bed so that you’re reminded to go through this process every night before bed. It really doesn’t have to take a long time - it can be a five minute process that you go through each night.
Sometimes, the simple, easy things are the ones that get us massive results.
If you liked this post, make sure to check out my posts on how to make your own morning routine, how to make your own nighttime routine, four ways to start your day off right, and productivity hacks.