Between now and early January most of us will take time to reflect on ourselves and our lives; how we are doing, what we are not doing, what is going well and what could go better or some variation of this theme.

As you do this reflection, it is important to be constructive, understanding and real. For many years in my personal reflection, I would have either been too hard on myself and then balanced that by being too easy on myself missing the point and most of the learning. The gold of understanding is somewhere in between.

Most of us start the year or any project we do full of enthusiasm. If the result does not match the objective, many of us get disappointed easily. To expect everything you do to work perfectly first time or even after a few attempts is simply unrealistic. Failure (First Attempt in Learning) is almost always part of every journey to success. Failure teaches us and then we do things better often expanding our original vision of success as we learn and grow.

Now back to disappointment. Disappointment often leads us to look for something or someone to blame which again is unhelpful. When things do not work, there can be many factors.  When they do work also, there are also many factors. It is important to look at them in a balanced way so you can really understand, learn the lessons and do better. If we are down on anyone, or looking for someone or something to blame, we are not neutral and miss the learning and the growth opportunity to do better.

If we want the best out of ourselves we should give the best to ourselves. This means bringing your best mind-set to whatever you do including your self-reflection – and perhaps most importantly to your self-reflection.

You are the only person that is with you 24-7 throughout your life. If you can improve yourself through self-reflection and learn the lessons that are in front of you every day, you will benefit 100 percent from the results. This is a great investment of time. Looking at yourself with honesty, compassion and encouragement will make that happen.

So many of us expect ourselves to change behavior without changing our underlying mind-set and attitude. This is very difficult. Relying on discipline alone to get things done doesn’t normally sustain. Beating yourself up for your failures does not inspire lasting positive change.

If you want to do new things consistently such as exercise, choose something you love doing or focus on the amazing feeling you get after it to significantly increase your chances of success. You may have to explore several things to find what you love. Doing something because it is a good thing to do is not normally enough to keep it up for a life-time or even a long-time.

If you keep doing what you’ve always done, you will get the same results you have always gotten. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. By this reckoning, I have been crazy much of my life – and I am not the only one! Many of us go through our lives thinking the same thing or something very similar while expecting a different result. It is not possible.

If you really want to be at your best and bring positive change to your life, it is important you bring the best of yourself to every situation. We all have a best self and we have a range of other selves too! Whatever you are doing today and from now on, check yourself before you open your mouth or act. Are you bringing your best self? If you are, keep going. If you are not, dig a little deeper and find him or her. You and everyone around you will be all the better for it.