The word “successful” doesn’t tell us very much when it comes to the general population. This is because each person measures their success in comparison to their own personal goals. Every person’s “success” will differ, which is why self-awareness becomes the foundation for defining your own personal route to success.
Self-awareness refers to having a clear perception of who you really are – this includes understanding your own personality, as well as all matters related to you as a being. Through becoming more aware of yourself, you are able to start acting authentically and consciously, and to love yourself for who you are. Let’s get started with these ten useful exercises that you can start implementing in your life today – and start reaping the rewards of self-awareness.
10 Essential Self-Awareness Exercises to Bring Out Your Inner You
The greatest explorer on this earth never takes voyages as long as those of the man who descends to the depth of his heart.
– Julien Green
1. Start with some mindful meditation
To truly become aware of yourself, you need to find your center and connect with your mind on a deeper level. Meditation is often considered to be the best way to find this ‘center’ of your being. Scientific studies have found that meditation has dozens of important benefits for a person’s emotional and psychological well-being. Mindfulness meditation is a simple technique that people can use to place their mind in a more restful state, so that they can become more conscious of themselves, their emotions and their personality.
2. Perform a SWOT analysis
Once you have mastered meditation, it is time to move on and continue your journey towards self-awareness. You will need to start analyzing yourself, your life, your emotions and your overall well-being in your own terms. It is a very good idea to start with a SWOT analysis (for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats). A SWOT analysis is something that entrepreneurs often include in a business proposal, but the same principles can be applied towards a self-study. Start by analyzing your own strengths and weaknesses, as well as your opportunities for growth and any potential threats that may stand in the way of you achieving your goals.
3. Accept that you are a human being
Many of us tend to put a lot of pressure on ourselves. It is normal to make mistakes and life will never be completely perfect. We all suffer from some problems, and it is only by recognizing these problems that we are able to determine the most appropriate solutions.
4. Ask why… three times
This is quite an old theory that a lot of people have adopted in their own lives. It is often referred to as the “three why’s.” Originally, it was known as the “five why’s,” but after years of practicing this technique, many people have found that reducing the five to three offers better results in the end – and ensures the strategy does not take too long to conduct. The technique is quite simple – whenever a problem arises, a question needs to be asked and re-asked to thoroughly explore the question’s possibilities.
5. Take responsibility
When a certain experience in your life, such a project or venture you took on, turns out to be a failure, you should forgive yourself, as we mentioned in point four. But it’s just as important that you take responsibility at the same time. If there is something that you are accountable for, step up and man it up. Don’t blame someone else for your own failures, errors and mistakes. By taking responsibility, you will allow yourself to fully embrace the learning opportunities, and also feel better at the other end.
6. Start a journal
This is one of the most basic steps of self-awareness, yet most people often tend to dismiss the idea of carrying a journal with them and contributing to it as much as possible. Monitoring yourself, your thoughts, your successes and your failures should become an essential part of your life if you wish to become more aware of your inner self. At the end of the day, you can analyze your journal to help you become more aware of who you are and how you can improve.
7. Sacrifices are part of being successful
The journey to self-awareness and a higher grade of success includes sacrifices, and especially certain shorter-term sacrifices to ensure your longer term goals can be achieved. Thus, you should make a point of saying no to certain habits at appropriate times if they’re counter-productive to your main goals. In the end, these small sacrifices can pay off big time.
8. Breathe before you speak
The next time someone comes to you with a problem that seems aggravating or frustrating, take a deep breath, analyze the entire situation, and then speak. You will often find that the initial way you wanted to react to the problem is not the best way to deal with the situation at hand.
9. Seek third-party feedback
It is also difficult to assess your own behavior and other traits from a single perspective. Thus, it is always important to obtain feedback from an external source. Be sure to ask someone that you look up to and who is honest, as sugar-coated comments will do you absolutely no good.
10. Monitor your progress
You can try as much as you want to, but if you do not monitor the progress that you are making to becoming more aware of your inner self, then you will not make any real progress. For this reason, it is important to take some time now and then to reflect on the progress you’ve made.
Connecting with yourself will empower you to live life more fully and to grow in many areas of your life, both personal and professional. The exercises above will help you get started to becoming more aware of yourself. Try implementing them in your life today.