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Three simple self-reflection tools to try

December 19, 2019

Photo of Bridget Murphy

Bridget Murphy is a Melbourne-based Holistic Health Coach, meditation teacher and owner of The Truest You. She works with women to help them prevent and recover from burnout by living a more mindful life whereby they prioritise themselves and what’s most important to them. Bridget loves simplifying the complicated for her clients and helps them to find a starting point so they can bridge the gap from where they are to where they’d like to be. She’s realistic and loves weaving change into her clients’ days without adding more stress and overwhelm. Get Bridget’s list of true or false questions to see if you’re thriving, burning or burnt out (PLUS a guide on what to do next) here.



If you’re like me, you’re very reflective and like having new ways to organise your thoughts about the past, present and future. If not, the three self-reflection tools that I’m about to share will help you. You can come back to them as often as you like and always add to them, notice patterns, set intentions based on what comes up and celebrate your progress.

Let’s get started by chatting about why self-reflection is so important. 

There are many reasons why but to give it to you in a nutshell, it helps us to build self-awareness and understand what we’re doing and why we’re doing it. When this happens, we start to live more mindfully because we make more conscious decisions.

These decisions align with who we are and what’s most important to us and lead us closer to the life we want to create for ourselves. 

So when is it best to reflect?

I say as often as you can. The more you do it, the more you’ll be able to look at things as an observer, sort of like having a birds-eye-view without having to fully stop to notice. If this is new to you or you feel like you’re living life on auto-pilot at the moment, try to make reflecting a daily practice, even if it’s for a minute or two to begin with.

The three tools I’ve chosen to share with you are some of my favourites to use personally and when working with my clients. Sometimes I write my responses down and other times I pick and choose bits from each and reflect on them.

You can write things down, think of some key words or just pause and reflect in your mind. Whatever works best for you- there’s no right or wrong. I’ve explained all of these as though you’re writing your responses as it can help to process things but know that you don’t have to!



Divide a piece of paper into three columns. Name one column ‘Rose’, one ‘Bud’ and the other ‘Thorn’.

In the ROSE column you can reflect on:

What’s working well in your life right now?

What are you finding fulfilling?

Who and what is energising you?

What’s bringing out the best in you? 

What are you most proud of? 

What’s something that you’ve worked towards that’s now a reality?

In the BUD column you can reflect on:

What opportunities are being presented to you?

What ideas are you yet to explore?

What are you looking forward to?

What have you been wanting to do for a long time but have let fear hold you back?

What would you love to do in the coming week/month/year?

In the THORN column you can reflect on:

What isn’t working well for you right now?

It might be something that’s challenging you, an obstacle that’s standing in your way, something that’s causing you the most stress or something that seems to be out of your control. 

Who and what is draining you?

What thoughts and beliefs are holding you back?

In what areas of your life are you doubting yourself?


Divide a piece of paper into three columns. One for ‘start’, one for ‘stop’ and one for ‘keep’. 

In the START column you can reflect on:

What can you welcome in and make time and space for?

What would you like to start prioritising?

What habits would you like to form?

What’s one thing that you know would make a big difference to your days?

Where can you slow down a little and be more mindful in your life?

What’s something that you could do just for fun?


In the STOP column you can reflect on:

What’s been dragging you down?

What could you let go of?

What’s one habit that you know isn’t serving you?

What thoughts are holding you back?

What are you spending lots of energy on but not finding fulfilling?

What are you doing just because you feel you ‘should’ be?



What’s working well?

What boundaries do you have in place that protect your time and energy?

Who and what can you keep making time for?

What makes you feel at ease?

What’s keeping you in alignment with your values and priorities?

What habits are helping you be the best version of yourself?



Divide a piece of paper into two columns. One for ‘working’ and one for ‘not working’. 

Start by listing every single thing that comes to mind that is working well in your life right now. The small things, big things and everything in-between. If you get stuck, take some time and come back to it, adding different things as you go. 

Now, list everything that’s not working well in your life. As humans, we often find saying things that aren’t working easier! Try not to judge yourself and just be really open and honest. 

To bring this all together, choose one thing that isn’t working well and commit to making a small change! 

Now it’s over to you to choose one of these self-reflection tools to get started with.