In Practice

Putting social psychology to work for you

6 Questions to Reflect and Review

Feel like you need to do a self-review? Use these questions to kickstart it.

As some of you know, I'm originally from New Zealand but I moved to the United States about a year ago. I'm currently back in New Zealand briefly and checking in with some of my old clients. These are clients I haven't seen in the past year so it's time for them to do a review of where they're at. I sent each client a one-pager with some brief questions to kickstart their process of reflecting and reviewing. I thought I'd share the questions here, so any of you who want to can try them out. Here they are.

Q1: Does your burnout prevention plan need any updates?

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/in-practice/201403/preventing-burnout-simple-tips

Q2: Are you avoiding anything currently? e.g., a difficult conversation, sorting out a financial issue.

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By avoiding whatever it is you’re avoiding, what thoughts and feelings are you trying to avoid? For example, you’re avoiding a difficult conversation because you’re trying to avoid the someone being mad and you, and your anticipated feelings of guilt if that happens. 

Q3: Are any of the following thinking biases causing issues for you currently?

- Making negative predictions—expecting your actions will have negative consequences and holding back from acting because of this.

- Personalizing (taking things personally that might not be personal), or mindreading (guessing what other people think).

- All or nothing thinking—e.g., thinking you need to clean up your whole garage but feeling too overwhelmed to do this, but not seeing the option of just doing a little bit rather than the whole task. 

- Unrelenting standards—having excessively high standards for yourself.

- Sweating the small stuff—worrying about something out of proportion to how important the issue really is.

Q4. If applicable, write one example of how you are currently falling into each of the thinking traps above.

Q5: Are there any problems you currently need to solve? Please try defining the problem in a sentence or two. Once you’ve done that, please spend 5 minutes writing down what you think are your best 3-6 possible options for dealing with the problem.

Q6: What are you doing well in your life right now? 

Try scheduling 45 mins with yourself to answer these questions. It's best to do this as a written exercise. Think of it as a therapy or coaching session sans therapist/coach. If you find it a valuable process, pop on your calendar a plan to do the exercise again in 3 months. 

If you liked this article, try this one on 50 Common Cognitive Distortions.

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Alice's Twitter @DrAliceBoyes 

Alice Boyes, Ph.D. translates principles from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and social psychology into tips people can use in their everyday lives.

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