Me on a swing in Bali over the ocean.

The Importance of Self-Reflection

In 8th grade, my teacher had the students write letters to ourselves. After we wrote the letter, we put it in a sealed self-addressed envelope and gave it to our teacher. After we graduated high school, she mailed the letters to us. It was so interesting to see what I wrote about, the hardships I went through, my goals at the time, and what was going on in my life. It was my first introduction to writing letters to myself and self-reflection. Senior year in high school, my other teacher did the same exact thing. She had us write a letter to ourselves and was supposed to mail it to us when we graduated college. Unfortunately, the teacher either didn’t mail the letter or the letter was lost. I am so sad I was never able to read what I wrote to myself when I was 17 years old.

Following that, I took upon myself to write my own letters to myself so I can cherish it forever. After graduating college, I wrote a letter to myself to reflect on my 4 years in college and the goals I have for the future. After every job interview, I write down all the questions that were asked, how I answered them, what was good, and what I need to improve on. When I turned down a life-changing job, I typed an 8 page letter to myself about why I turned down the job, what I’ve learned through the process, and reaffirming my thought process through it all. In my head, I did that so if I ever second guessed my decision, I would be able to read that letter to myself and remind myself why I did what I did. Occasionally, I’ll even write letters of the lessons I’ve learned throughout the years, things I’ve gone through, stories to tell, and so on. I hope to one day pass down these letters of the lessons I’ve learned and the things I’ve gone through to my own children when they’re going through similar things.

The journey into self-love and self-acceptance must begin with self-examination… until you take the journey of self-reflection, it is almost impossible to grow or learn in life.

Iyanla Vanzant

Self-reflection is so important.

I truly think self-reflection is so important for everyone to do. It creates self-awareness, and makes you really understand your weaknesses, strengths, likes, dislikes, and needs. When you’re able to take a step back and reflect on everything, you’re able to reevaluate your life. It helps you grow as a person and improve or change things that aren’t suiting you anymore. Not only does it create change, but it also creates happiness and gratefulness. If you go on with your life not reflecting on anything, you don’t take time to appreciate the good things in your life. Reflecting also broadens your perspective. You become more open minded when you’re able to look back and see things as a whole picture. One of the main things I love about self-reflection is learning about myself and growing as a person. Once you’re able to truly understand yourself, you’re able to work on yourself and love yourself even more.

One of my favorite parts about solo traveling is that I have a lot of time by myself to self-reflect. Of course I can do this back at home, but it’s so easy to get caught up in the “busy lifestyle”. At home I don’t make time to reflect- I make excuses, or I fill my empty alone time with watching television or going on social media. I’ve been really trying to force myself to STOP, breathe, and reflect while I’m at home. It’s hard to though. That’s why I fell in love with my 5-Year Journal.

Q&A a Day: 5-Year Journal

I have had many diaries throughout my life that I’ve started and never finished. Who remembers the ones with the locks in elementary school?! I’ve always loved writing in my diary and later reading it. I find it funny to read what I was going through, my troubles and concerns at the time, who I liked, and the happy moments during my years. I’ve always failed to keep up with my diary because it takes a long time to reflect and write things out. And let’s be honest… life always gets so busy that we don’t make time to journal.

In 2014, I finally stumbled upon the Q&A a Day: 5-Year Journal. Every day there’s a different question. You answer the question for that day every year for 5 years. Some questions are silly like “what was the last song you listened to” and some are thought-provoking like “what makes ‘you’ you?” Every year it gets more interesting. You get to compare your answers over the years and see what’s changed or what’s stayed the same. Some of the questions are fun where you get to go down memory lane. The journal is not all self-reflection, but merely a reflection about life and what’s going on with your current life.

5-year journal question examples
This is what the 5-Year Journal looks like and an example of some of the questions.

It was eye-opening for me to answer some of the questions. On October 28, my question of the day was “____ is completely ridiculous.” For 3 years in a row, my answer was about work and how unhappy I was. When I wrote down my answer for the 3rd year, I read my previous answers which made me take a step back. Why was I allowing myself to stay stagnant and unhappy for 3 years in a row? Why was I complaining about the same exact thing? Why did I allow myself to give in to being so upset? It really made me stop and think about where I was in life and where I wanted to be. If it’s something I can fix, then I needed to fix it. If it’s something I couldn’t fix, then I needed to fix my attitude about it. The journal was really eye-opening to see right in front of me how much I haven’t changed/improved, or how drastically I have.

This Q&A a Day: 5-Year Journal was the perfect journal for me because it only took a few minutes to do and it was a great life-reflection. It was the easiest way I could keep up with a journal. When I go on vacation, I write down the questions in my phone so I don’t have to carry the journal around with me. When I return home, I transfer the answers over to the journal. When I travel full time, I take my journal with me and fill it out on the road. It’s a great journal to have especially if you’re busy. Make sure when answering the question to be as detailed as you can. It makes it more fun/easier to reflect over the years.

5-year journal front cover of the book

I started my first journal in 2014 and recently finished my 5 years!!! So exciting!! I loved the journal so much that I decided to buy a second one so I can continue the same exact questions and reflect over a 10 years span. As you can see, I wore out my first journal on the left. The binding fell off and the journal has a lot of scratches and rips. It’s something I’ll forever cherish though and I’m SO glad I have it to reflect over my years.

If you want to start your self- and life-reflection journal, you can buy it online by clicking this link or click on the picture below. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!!

Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. This means that some of the links are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through the link/picture and make a purchase.

We do not learn from experience… we learn from reflecting on experience.

John Dewey

Do you already have the journal? Let me know what you think of it! Why do you value self-reflection? Comment below! I’d love to hear your thoughts and comments.

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1 Comment

  1. I just ordered one for myself, and one for my dad! I can’t wait to start. I used to write in journals starting when I was in grade school, but it’s hard to keep up with it! I’m interested to see how this different type of journal style will work for me 🙂 beautiful post Kimmy!!

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