Today Self-awareness is a concept that was initially theorized by Duval and Wicklund in their 1972 book entitled A Theory of Objective Self-Awareness. The book theorized that by focusing on ourselves, we could develop a deeper understanding of our strengths and weaknesses, habits, values, and motives (Surban, 2020). With this knowledge, we are empowered to make the necessary improvements and adjustments.
Ways to Boost Self-Awareness
There are various ways that self-awareness can be enhanced and this article outlines five of those methods.
Mindfulness meditation is the practice of keeping attention focused on a particular sensation (i.e., breathing, sound, physical sensation, etc.). As the mind begins to wander, one brings their focus back to the object of their attention for the desired amount of time of meditation practice. The practice of mindfulness meditation increases self-awareness by teaching you how to focus more intently.
If you can focus on your breathing or a physical sensation for some time, you can then learn to focus on your thoughts for a while. It is an awareness of one’s thoughts that can provide more in-depth insight into one’s emotions and motives, ultimately impacting behavior and choices (Wignall, 2020).
This deeper level of consciousness can provide critical information needed to change or address one’s emotions and motives, as a means of leading to more positive thoughts, and therefore more positive behavior and outcomes.
It is via review of these thoughts, feelings, and experiences that we can identify patterns and understand how our thoughts, feelings, and experiences may influence our actions and behaviors. As a result of identifying those relationships, we can make the necessary changes to improve our lives (Surban, 2020).
Ask for Feedback
It can be hard to indeed observe ourselves as ourselves. Sometimes it can be beneficial to get the input and observations of others as we attempt to gain a deeper understanding of ourselves.
Other people can see our blind spots and provide us with valuable information about ourselves that we can use to help improve our behavior. Thus, actively seeking out feedback from those close to us can be a useful tool in helping us learn more about ourselves and grow as a result (Wignall, 2020).
Self-reflection is the practice of setting aside time to think back on your life. It means being intentional about assessing and analyzing your thoughts, feelings, behaviors, actions, and choices. Consistently reflecting upon these things will get you to regularly obtain information about factors that influence your life and conduct.
Via regular reflection, you can quickly catch things that may be negative or off and, therefore, negatively influencing choices. Then you can quickly and efficiently adjust accordingly instead of allowing that negative influence to remain unchecked and wreak havoc in your life (George, 2015).
Writing down goals and then tracking progress towards those goals is a final strong strategy for boosting self-awareness. This activity works to identify patterns or habits that might be keeping you from reaching your goals or being ineffective as you work towards those goals.
For instance, one might spot a tendency to procrastinate via goal tracking by noticing a continuous pattern of meeting deadlines late. Seeing where we desire to be and how much progress we are making on that quest can help us tailor our actions to be more effective and efficient, rather than wasting time and efforts (Tjan, 2015).
Self-awareness is a critical tool in helping us grow as individuals and make progress in our lives. Without self-awareness, we can get stuck in old and negative ways of thinking and stunt our growth and prevent us from reaching our full potential. By regularly working to enhance our self-awareness, we can put ourselves on a path toward advancement that will get us closer to our goals.