“Begin early with meditation and prayer for spiritual energy; starting the day by connecting with your higher purpose aligns your thoughts and actions with a larger story.” – Gary Keller, The ONE Thing
Gary Keller is without a doubt a very productive man. He got that way by reflecting on what it was that held him back from getting more done and making the best use of his time. Over the years and many hours spent on self-reflection, he crafted what is now called “The Highly Productive Person’s Daily Energy Plan”.
The plan puts a lot of emphasis on how a person starts their day. The first item on that list is meditation and prayer. By starting your day with a short period of meditation you do several things:
- Calm the mind
- Align your thoughts and actions for the day
- Focus attention on critical personal and professional issues
There are many types of meditation, one of which is reflective meditation. The University of Minnesota refers to it as a reflective practice that helps us become aware of our state of being. This self reflection allows you to see things as they actually are, which provides clarity for making the next step toward your ONE Thing.
Allen R. McConnell, Ph.D., the James and Beth Lewis Professor of Psychology at Miami University, noted the importance of self reflection several years ago stating that it is also a necessary part of attaining goals, self-improvement and positive change. In order for change to occur there must first be awareness – a state of being that can come through self-reflection.
When it comes to reaching goals, a lack of self-awareness is a huge barrier. It’s a critical part of the three steps needed to obtain our goals:
- Gauge what is needed now to reach our goals
- Track progress
- Monitor our current habits
Without reflection on our current behavior and habits the chances of reaching a goal are slim. That’s a big reason why many highly productive people start their day with meditation and/or prayer.
Incorporating Self-Reflection into Your Meditation Time
Self-reflection can be a hard pill to swallow, but in the end all you’re really doing is acknowledging where you stand. Get in the right state of mind to reach your goals each and every day with reflective meditation.
Time Block Meditation – Allot 10 to20 minutes each morning for self-reflective meditation. Put it on your schedule everyday so that it becomes a healthy habit.
Find Your Meditative State – Counter to popular belief, you don’t have to be sitting still to meditate and reflect. Yoga, Tai Chi and walking are all highly conducive, meditative activities.
Contemplate All Areas of Life – Mental, physical and spiritual reflection can be a part of your daily meditation. They are all interconnected and can be aligned through self reflection.
Be Brutally Honest – Psychological research has shown that when people face the discrepancies between their goal and their actual behavior it drums up bad feelings. However, this “pain” spurs people into action and motivates them to get in gear. Instead of avoiding the hard truth, face it so you can move past it in a positive way.
Focus on ONE Thing During Each Meditation Session – There’s a fine line between negative feelings that get us motivated to change and those that leave us feel overwhelmed. Thinking about every little thing or making an unattainable goal can actually discourage you and make you shut down. To avoid this, during each meditation session focus on just ONE Thing that is smaller in scale.
Envision Yourself Making The Positive Change – Now that you are aware of your behavior you can decide what needs to be done that day. What actions you are going to take to move closer to your goal? Envision yourself taking these actions and successfully completing them.
Through your morning meditations you’ll gain a better understanding of where you are so you know where you need to go and what it will take to get there. You can find the rest of the “The Highly Productive Person’s Daily Energy Plan” in Chapter 17 of The ONE Thing.