Reflection and Gratitude: Benefits of taking time to think about successes

By Matt Firestone | Nov 15, 2022
Illustration of a man's reflection reaching out to pat him on the shoulder. Header image by Shutterstock / Eamesbot.
In the hustle and bustle of everyday life, it can be hard to find time for reflection and gratitude. 




In the hustle and bustle of everyday life, it can be hard to find time for reflection and gratitude. I’ve been part of a mastermind group for almost three years with a primary focus to support each other’s growth as business leaders and as individuals. We also celebrate everyone’s wins and accomplishments. It is easy to keep your nose to the grindstone and forget to look up and see the fruits of your labors. Sometimes we need others’ help to remind us that we have a lot to be thankful for and that we have accomplished more than we realize.


As the year comes to a close, what better time to reflect on all you have accomplished? Through reflection, we can take a step back and see how our hard work and dedication has paid off. If you have never taken the time to truly reflect on what you have accomplished, it is an amazing experience.

For those who are wired to be achievers, each accomplishment is just another step in the journey. Taking the time to pause and look in the metaphoric rearview mirror, you will see that the path to success is a windy road with bumps, potholes and obstacles. Remembering how we have overcome these twists and turns can make our successes even sweeter.

Reflection isn’t about dwelling in the past. It reminds us where we started and what our successes were as a result of the journey. While we can learn from mistakes or shortcomings from the past, we must focus on celebrating our accomplishments when self-reflecting. To some, this may sound like a waste of time in our already busy lives. But it has been shown in numerous studies that practicing self-reflection and gratitude improves all-around health.

Reflection’s benefits

When we reflect on the journey to our success, we become more emotionally aware and mindful of ourselves and our environment. We see what we can achieve on our own and practice being thankful for those who support and encourage us along the way. In my own experience going through this process, I have been reminded of many things that I overlooked or forgot that I accomplished and am grateful for.

In a time where there seems to be more negativity in the world than positivity, a quick pause and reflection may be all we need to see the future through a more positive lens. This isn’t something to do in the car on the way to or from work or when trying to multitask. Find a quiet place or shut your office door, silence your phone and take out the headphones. Then close your eyes and take a few moments to reflect on the last week, month or even year. Ask yourself these questions:

  • What am I most proud of in the past week, month or year?
  • What is my most significant accomplishment in the past week, month or year?
  • How am I a better person, boss, spouse, etc., than I was at the beginning of this week, month or year?
  • What or who am I grateful for that has supported or encouraged me along my journey?

You may want to keep a journal or jot down notes as you answer these questions.

This exercise may feel awkward at first. Maybe start by answering one or two of the questions. As you feel more comfortable, take a few more moments and think beyond your significant accomplishments. What are some of the little wins you overlooked that are worth celebrating? The first time I went through this process was during one of our mastermind sessions. While I felt that I had not accomplished much over the past year other than keeping my business running, I was quickly reminded of the challenges I had brought to the group. These reminders allowed me to see that there were many wins along the way. I actually accomplished much more than I had given myself credit for.

The step after contemplation is communication. It may feel that we are alone in the heavy lifting of reaching success. However, we do it without help in very few cases. Who is someone whose support or encouragement lightened your load or pushed you over that last barrier to success? Take a few moments to send a note or pick up the phone and let this person know that you are grateful for their support and encouragement. You will be amazed at how this will make you both feel. We can all use a little more positivity in our lives.

Header image by Shutterstock / Eamesbot.

About The Author

FIRESTONE, a former contractor, is the owner of Firestone Consulting Group. He can be reached at [email protected].

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