We all desire to change and make progress, but lack direction when we don’t know why. Here’s how you can cultivate self-awareness, and always keep moving forward.
Self-awareness is the process of understanding one’s own beliefs, thoughts, motivations, and actions. It is the practice of consciously recognizing and reflecting on what you think, how you feel, what you believe, and how you behave at any specific moment in time.
So why is self-awareness important?
As humans, we are imperfect and it is impossible for us to be satisfied with everything in our lives. We desire to learn, change, grow, and improve in order to elevate our lives in different ways. We strive to adopt new practices that bring us joy and inspiration.
Self-awareness can guide and assist us in this process because it is the foundation of change. Understanding the effects of our beliefs, thoughts, motivations, interpretations, and actions allow us to get a better understanding of ourselves and our lives. This attention and focus give us knowledge that empowers us to shape and determine our world.
For example, let’s say you have a dream job in mind and have a positive outlook about obtaining this dream job. You picture your dream job and every day, you imagine it manifesting in our lives.
What happens? You believe that you can get that dream job, which gives you hope, determination, and confidence. This will help direct your choices and actions that get you closer to achieving it, eventually allowing you to actually have that dream job.
Do you see how that worked? You didn’t do it because your thoughts somehow magically manifested themselves into your life.
Rather, your thoughts and beliefs helped shape and impact all of the little action steps that landed you your dream job.
Now, let’s look at it from another perspective – when you are thinking negatively. You have a picture of your dream job, and every day you envision how it is not a possibility for you. What happens?
You start to lose hope, determination, and confidence. This eventually leads you to stop trying, believing it is not possible. And so, your dream job never materializes because you didn’t take the necessary actions to get you there. What a bummer.
So how do you prevent this from happening? It starts by having the self-awareness to see where your thoughts and emotions are taking you. It allows you to take control of them and to then make the changes you want to make. After all, how do you change what you don’t know?
With patience, time, and practice, you can learn to become more self-aware. Here are a few practices that you can start incorporating into your life today.
1. RECOGNIZE YOUR EMOTIONS.
Recognizing your emotions helps you understand why you are having them and, in turn, how to regulate them. When you feel a certain emotion, ask yourself:
- Where is this feeling coming from?
- What happened?
- How did it make me feel emotionally, physically, or mentally?
- How does this feeling make me feel like reacting?
- What did I do or say following this emotion?
- How will this affect me and others later?
2. PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR SELF-TALK.
Self- talk is the dialogue you have with yourself on a daily basis. The key to this is to simply start listening to what you say to yourself. Self-talk is forever occurring, even when you’re not paying attention to what it is saying. There are many forms of self-talk: from self-limiting self-talk and jumping to conclusions to habits of speech and having others’ thoughts becoming your own.
Paying attention to these will help you understand the dialogue you have with yourself and the toll it takes on your emotions. It allows you to change it from negative self-talk to a more positive dialogue that can transform your physical, mental, and emotional health.
3. PRACTICE SELF-EVALUATION.
Gain more insight by analyzing yourself, without judgment. Recognize and become aware of your weaknesses, strengths, habits, practices, relationships, goals, plans, values, and priorities that help guide you in the right direction.
Reflection allows you to notice patterns and understand your inner state. After adopting the first practice of recognizing, you can then start to reflect on what was recognized.
One way to reflect is through journaling. Writing can help you process your thoughts, and create more headspace as you put your thoughts onto paper. Other ways in which you can practice reflection are by simply being still, and finding a quiet space where you can be alone with your thoughts. Meditation, yoga, and long walks are also wonderful options. Find a reflection practice that works best for you, and encourages you to keep practicing. By creating that space for yourself, you are making time to reconnect with yourself.
5. PRACTICE MINDFULNESS
The practice of paying attention to the present moment being experienced, intentionally and without judgment, is called mindfulness. It is the practice of being where you are, and observing what’s going on inside and around us. Mindfulness can be done anytime, anywhere, and in a variety of ways. It may come in the form of noticing your footsteps you take, to savoring each bite of your meal, to an intentionally guided meditation session.
Adapted from the original post.
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Jamie Magdic, RDN is a Registered Dietitian who works both locally in Colorado and virtually all over the US, specializing in eating disorders, disordered eating, body image healing, and exercise addiction. Jamie has a passion to help everyone find full recovery. and is working with others on a very exciting project for those who are on the path to recovery. To make sure you don’t miss new announcements, make sure to subscribe to Jamie’s page at https://www.yourhappyhealthy.com/subscribe.