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How to Use Self-Reflection for Personal Development

Updated on July 2, 2012
"It is necessary for a man to go away by himself, to sit on a rock and ask, 'Who am I, where have I been, and where am I going?" ~ Carl Sandburg

Many of my most difficult personal development breakthroughs came from self-reflection. It's a perfect way to analyze personal problems. Sometimes those problems are not even conscious to you. Then you only have a feeling that something is wrong. This is when self-reflection really strives, since you can use it perfectly to make unconscious things conscious. This alone can be a breakthrough in itself.

The goal of a self-reflection is to find a REAL solution to a personal issue and then implement this solution into your life.

Self-Reflection Guidance

The most important thing in the beginning is to do self-reflection in writing. The best way would be to use a personal journal for it, or your diary if you have one. Alternatively take out a piece of paper or open your favorite text program on your computer and start with ...

1. Get into State

Go to an environment where you won't get interrupted or distracted, you want to have 100% of your full attention available. Clear your mind of current events, take a deep and calm breath and then continue with ...

2. Ask the Right Question

Begin with writing down the burning question that describes your personal problem in the best possible way. You do this to answer this question by yourself. The answer will hold the solution for you, which you will find during this process.

There are basically 2 great kinds of questions:

WHY Questions

Why questions ask for the reason. They are best if you are still unsure what the real issue is. Then you would ask a question like: "Why am I feeling so down?" The answer could be something like "Because I don't have enough energy."

HOW Questions

You will always need a How-Question, since it will guide you to do something for your solution. So to stay with our example above, you would use the follow-up questions "How can I get more energy?" Answers for that could be "I start exercising, like running." or "I change my sleeping habits" etc.

3. Keep writing until you have your solution

The best answer will probably only come after some other answers that you write down first. So it is like an iterative process where you make progress slowly. It is important that you stay and reflect until you are 100% satisfied with your answer. That means you know it is the total truth.

This process can be very emotional. Sometimes new unconscious issues come up while you're asking deep questions. Know that it is always good to make the unconscious conscious, even if it hurts a litte. So stay with it and analyze your situation until you are really satisfied.

4. Commit to Act

The last step of your self-reflection is to really make the decision to implement your solution. Commit yourself to it. Make a plan and set yourself a personal goal that you will implement your solution. Integrate your to-do steps into your daily schedule and start something today!


You can repeat this process of self-reflection for every nagging problem you have. It is an important technique for personal development.

You can read many more insightful articles on my personal site Personal Development that Transforms.

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    • profile image

      Happinessteacher 4 years ago

      A useful hub. Thanks.

    • Emanate Presence profile image

      Gary R. Smith 5 years ago from the Head to the Heart

      Hi Myrko, found you through the Questions feature. I enjoy your writing - both the words and the energy behind them. This hub is well thought through and provides some good tips to start. I have a feeling we will see each other around!

    • Myrko Thum profile image

      Myrko Thum 5 years ago from Berlin, Germany

      Thanks Lisa, followed you.

    • lisasuniquevoice profile image

      Lisa Brown 5 years ago from Michigan


      Your writing is invigorating. You have made a good decision to share your thoughts with the world.

      Thanks for the inspiration,


    • Myrko Thum profile image

      Myrko Thum 5 years ago from Berlin, Germany

      Thanks Jlava73!

    • Jlava73 profile image

      Jennifer Vasconcelos 5 years ago from Cyberspace and My Own World

      Great Advice, Useful Hub! Voting up and sharing!