A few years ago I sat down with the intention of writing a self-analysis. It took me far longer than I care to admit and by the time I’d finished, it was barely longer than a tweet. I realised I hardly knew myself and had to do something about it.
I started by trying to decide what my purpose was. What did I want from life and what goals should I be setting? Did I want comfort, money, freedom, growth, knowledge?
What I realised I wanted at that time in my life was self-awareness.
An overarching self-awareness was the first step towards real change. How could I manage my actions or improve my life if I didn’t truly know who I was or what I wanted from life?
You can’t make the most of who you are until you are aware of who you are.
This process consisted of me spending a couple of weeks expanding on my failed attempt at a self-analysis. I would write down anything and everything I could think of that would help identify my goals, traits and more. I knew I had to be completely honest with myself if I wanted to get the most out of this. Ultimately this process allowed me to learn a lot more about myself which allowed me to set some realistic goals and then start working towards them.
With solid, defined goals in mind that I knew I really wanted and could actually achieve, I then set out to make the changes that were needed to achieve them. I now became very conscious of every choice I made because I had something to work towards. I made sure that each decision I made moved me closer to my goals.
Becoming aware of the actions that lead you from and to your desired destination can make or break your success.
What I did to become more conscious of my choices was to track as much of my life as I could.
I would write down exactly what I was eating each day to ensure I could keep to a healthy diet. I was tracking all my spending to ensure I was getting closer to my financial goals. I would write down thoughts and ideas to be able to reflect on them later. I recorded processes and systems at work and during my study. My entire life was jotted down somewhere.
This is where a low-level self-awareness became key.
Low-level self-awareness is a kind of moment to moment awareness of what you’re doing.
Have you ever been working or studying and then without even thinking about it you find yourself checking your phone and before you know it a few minutes have passed? It’s almost as if you’re on autopilot. Being able to be aware of your mind slipping like that is an example of the low-level self-awareness I’m talking about.
Having a competent understanding of this level of awareness and the ability to pick up on when you’re not doing something that is bringing you closer to your goals takes time and practice. I managed to develop it through tracking what I was doing and keeping incremental goals that would develop with me, sometimes these were moment to moment goals themselves.
The combination of these two types of self-awareness that I developed through tracking and setting realistic goals was key to much of my self-development over the last few years. They helped me go from someone with a vague idea of what I wanted success to be and a feeling of not being where I wanted to be in life to someone who can legitimately say that they’re in a pretty great place. And it all started with knowing exactly who I am and what I want from life. It started with self-awareness.
Location: Peterborough, UK