Reflective practice is difficult. Not necessarily in its nature - I've been the kind of person who analyses what went well and what failed all my life. Even taking lessons forwards tends to "just happen".
However, being brutally honest with oneself, announcing: "this was my failure and I need to not do it again" can be incredibly difficult to endure. To do it on a regular basis with the specific intention of truly improving is equally hard.
To give you a "real world" example: I am not the most physically fit person. I'm very healthy, I am not too overweight (unless you ask a fashion designer! Although to be honest, my doctor has hinted that if I chose to lose weight that wouldn't be a bad thing) but I'm not all that fit. This year I've been more active than at any other point in the last decade: I've taken up running, I go hiking semi-regularly, and I have been to the gym 38 times this year (yes, I'm counting). I know that my fitness this year has improved, but to aid my analogy it's been at a basic level similar to my personal default reflection. I've been doing activity and there has been some improvement in my physical fitness.
On Wednesday evening I attended a "Kettle-bell and core" class. In 45 minutes I had more of a workout then one of my 3-hour sessions pootling around the gym. It HURT. I didn't want to do any more about ten minutes in. I had problems physically doing the activities about 25 minutes in (why did he want me to do push ups? Why *quietly sobbing in the corner*). And I lost the energy to complain about 5 minutes before we finished. It hurt. It was unpleasant, it was difficult, it forced me to confront things I didn't like to admit. But I did it.
Afterwards, bits of me shook for a while and I was in desperate need of calories, but once I had rested and eaten I was fine. I'm going back next week and I know I will perform better and continue to improve. I may even demand more of myself from my gym sessions after a while.
Doing this blog; admitting what is wrong and publically stating I need to improve isn't pleasant or comfortable. But it is working. And if each week I learn one new thing and take it away with me: it's totally worth it.
I've also recently noticed that the personal "automatic" reflections I mentioned in the first paragraph are becoming less negative and more objective and that to me seems ideal.