Self-Awareness – Improvement Starts From Within

From the moment you wake up, to the moment your head hits your pillow, millions of thoughts go through your mind. Unfortunately, a lot of these thoughts tend to be negative and destructive, impacting how we live our everyday lives. Do you find yourself ruminating on what you could have done better? How you reacted and why you felt a certain way? Do you gravitate towards blaming things on other people and finding outside reasons as to why certain situations happened? It can be something as simple as having an awkward encounter with an old friend at the grocery store… or not being promoted at your job. But, at the end of the day, it all comes down to you.

These are questions that run through everyone’s mind, and it is easy to get caught up in negative thoughts. It isn’t until you recognize your own thought patterns and tendency towards negativity that you can take steps towards putting a stop to overthinking your every move. Improving self-awareness is the first step. It is something we can all work on every day, which can make a big impact on our own success and happiness in life. I have caught myself many times overthinking, looking for external sources to blame, but once I worked steadily at increasing my self-awareness, that is when I was able to begin to take note of my own destructive thought patterns. In turn, I took steps to consciously alter my thought patterns and saw positive shifts start to happen. What’s the secret to improving self-awareness? It starts with putting the work in to observe and understand thought patterns. These are a few ideas you can implement in your life to make small improvements each day that really add up.

Take Time to Examine Your Thoughts and Emotions

Introspection is the process of examining your own thoughts and emotions. By looking inward, we can start to better understand ourselves in terms of how we think and react. We may spend a lot of time stressing and questioning past or future scenarios, but it isn’t until we look deeper from a non-judgement perspective that we learn to slow down and live in the moment. When you find your mind spinning out of control, take a deep breath and try and pinpoint the why. If you had a fight with your partner over who does the dishes more often, why was that a topic? Was it that you were both tired and stressed out? Was there a comment your partner made that made you angry? Did you react negatively simply because you were in a bad mood? Once you examine the event and find the reason, then ask yourself how you could have dealt with things differently. Make a mental note of what you could have done better, so that next time, you recognize what is happening sooner and can react differently.

Ask Yourself Deep Questions

When you dive deep and find the root, core, and causes of your own mental and emotional processes, you can challenge your thoughts in reflection. If, when you reflect on things that happen in your day, you find that they tend to be negative, ask yourself why that is.  Is there anything you could have changed to end your day on a more positive note? It’s important to note the positive things that happened in your day and what attributed to them. Examining how you felt, reacted, and benefited from situations can encourage and manifest more positive moments in your life. It may be as simple as the reason why you were early for work, or the pure joy of completing your laundry. Dig deep to find out why you want things to happen a certain way. Is it that you need your boss to compliment your work because you don’t tend to get a lot of praise at home? Is it that you really enjoy your morning walk with the dog because it’s the only thirty minutes you get to yourself? Everyone encounters challenges in their lives, big and small, but there are always better ways to approach the mountains that you are faced with or have created in your mind. Being able to shut your brain off when you’re overthinking and being able to act appropriately to improve your situation are small but mighty skills in life. An even more valuable skill is being able to recognize what you truly need every day so you can make time for that and find ways to fulfill your needs.

Make time for yourself

Now that you have taken the time to reflect on your self-awareness, you might find that you have a better understanding of your own values, personality, passions, feelings, strengths, and weaknesses. This self-awareness is an important tool to help you understand why you make certain decisions and why you are the person you are today. Don’t expect things to completely change at the drop of a hat though, cognitive shifts take time and persistent work. Check-in with yourself here and there throughout your day and your week. It will make you a better decision-maker which in turn leads to an increase in confidence. It also will lead to better outcomes not letting your demons or insecurities get in the way of achieving your goals. You could wake up every day moaning and groaning about how much you hate your job, or how you feel stuck in life but, what if you decided to examine why you hate your job or feel stuck instead. Spend your energy discovering what it is exactly you don’t like and then make a plan to fix those things. Along the way remind yourself that you are in charge of your mental and emotional state throughout your day-to-day life. You are in control of your own emotions and reactions.

Keep A Journal

Close your eyes and envision the best version of yourself. Think about what steps you must take to get there. Most of those steps all come down to your own perception of how you view yourself. It’s okay to be discouraged at first if your first attempt to instill change didn’t work as well as you wanted it to. Remember that none of us are perfect. You will have good days and bad days. Days when you feel like you’ve conquered a mountain and days when you feel you can’t take another step. Life is an adventure. If the hero in the story always got what he or she wanted without having to work for it, it wouldn’t be that interesting to read. Speaking of reading, when you keep a journal of your day, highlighting what the good, the bad, and the indifferent moments were, you can re-read those highlights and reflect on them. It’s this reflection that increases your self-awareness and helps you keep track of your goals, accomplishments, and areas you need to work on. It’s also a great resource to show you just how far you have come and what progress you have made. If you’re having a bad day, take a deep breath, and reflect back on your notes. And, don’t be so hard on yourself. We all have to ride the wave eventually. It is learning to surf those waves where the fun lies.

Becoming the best version of yourself isn’t easy but, it’s a well worth investment of your energy. Daily reflection, meditation, journaling, are all healthy habits to fit into your day which will help improve your life mentally, physically, and emotionally. Which will you make time for?

“The most important conversations you’ll ever have are the ones you’ll have with yourself.” — David Goggins”