Leadership Retreats Resources

The Importance of Reflection

January 10, 2017
Cody Braun

Note: This blog was originally published in 2017 and updated in 2021.

The year is over. Christmas has come and gone and we are starting fresh with 2021. Now is the perfect time to reflect on the past. What do you want to start, stop, and continue doing as it relates to your personal and professional lives?

To help you in your self-examination, I’d like to take a look at a simple exercise that has been around since the 1970s. This easy feedback tool (credited to Professor Philip Daniels of Brigham Young University) is effective because the questions are quick, action focused, specific and direct, easy to answer, and encouraging.


What should I/we/you start doing?

Things we are not doing, but their employment may help us be better.

Make a list of things that are not being done, but should be done. This may include things like eating, sleeping, and exercise regiments or recording where you spend your time and money. Then determine actions you can take to get better results, even if it is trial and error. (You may consider the use of an app or organizational tool.)

What should I/we/you stop doing?

Things we are currently doing and don’t want to do.

Make a list ideas of areas that are not working or certain actions that aren’t helping. These are things that impede or are not practical (such as systems and processes that frustrate, are outdated, or impede progress.) You should stop doing anything that is not delivering desired results or that is overwhelmingly disliked. (This includes bad habits.)


What should I/we/you continue doing?

Things we are currently doing and want to still do.

Make a list that acknowledges things that are currently working well. This list should contain things you want to continue, as well as those things still in a trial period. Also on this list are those things you wish to continue, but adjust to be more productive.


Start by answering these questions for yourself; make lists for the different areas of your life. Be as specific as possible in naming actions and behaviors. Next, ask for feedback from a variety of people in your family or work team.

These questions may even spark a great team discussion at work and generate a fresh start to a new year. What can your team start, stop, and continue doing?

After you have finalized your lists, make a plan. A 30-day plan seems to help get things rolling. Get your family or team involved. Put your plan on your calendar and keep each other accountable. Don’t stop after 30 days; keep it going, adjusting as you go. This is your plan and plans should be fluid. The important thing is that you thought about it and are actively pursuing excellence based on your reflection.

Upon completing this reflection exercise, you can start setting goals for 2021. One way to consider doing it is through story-goal writing. It’s an innovative way to plan for change that will last. You can learn more and download a free eBook on Story-Goal Writing here.


Stay the course. We wish you the best in this new year!

Originally authored by Ricky Escobar; Updated by Cody Braun