5 Ways You Can Practise Self-Reflection to Uncover Your Best Self in 2022
It is easy to point out the faults in others, but without a mirror, you are often unable to accurately gauge your own strengths and weaknesses.
For some, they may be unaware of how their last-minute nature affects the rest of the team. For others, it may be excessive self-blame and taking on too much responsibility. Either end of the extreme is not healthy, and it is important to have a good balance between acknowledging what you have done well and thinking about how you can do better.
Amidst the hustle and bustle of life, you may be on autopilot and not stop to reflect on yourself. However, self-reflection is important in identifying your shortcomings and competencies. Here are five ways you can practice self-reflection to uncover your best self in the new year!
Albert Einstein, Marie Curie and Leonardo da Vinci are some famous people who keep journals. Benefits of journaling include achieving goals, tracking progress and growth, and even reducing stress and anxiety (Kaiser Permanente, n.d.). Writing is not only a private space for you to express your thoughts, it also allows you to pause, recognise, organise and assess your thoughts.
It is best to find a space without distractions so that you can focus on your thoughts. Some recommend journaling at least once a day (Positive Psychology, 2021), but it is best to start with a more comfortable and sustainable pace for yourself. If you feel unsure of what to journal, you could consider using the following prompts (Shine, 2021):
- What’s a goal you want to accomplish and why?
- What does your situational best look like today?
- How do you shift your mindset if it isn’t working for you?
- What can you do today that you didn’t think you could do a year ago?
- How can you celebrate yourself today?
2. Practising Mindfulness
Self-reflection is not just about ruminating over what went wrong, but being objective and taking concrete steps towards being a better version of yourself. Mindfulness refers to being fully present and aware of your surroundings in the present moment without judgement. A Harvard study found that mindfulness had an array of benefits for both physical and mental health, including irritable bowel syndrome, anxiety and depression. Besides reducing stress, mindfulness helps you to be aware of your thoughts and emotions and think clearer (The Harvard Gazette, 2018). This allows you to think before you act on impulse.
One way to practise mindfulness is meditation. Meditation is not just about sitting cross-legged on the floor and chanting, “Om.” You can meditate by listening to online podcasts on YouTube or even Spotify. In mindfulness meditation, you learn to pay attention to your breath, allowing you to anchor yourself to the present moment (Mindful, n.d.), and to be grateful for your breath which gives you life. It is recommended to set aside time every day to focus on your breathing. Besides meditation, you can also practise mindfulness by journaling, doing yoga, or even taking a walk in the park.
3. Recording Your Conversations
Some may cringe at the thought of listening to your own conversations. However, this method is helpful for you to reflect on how you act in social situations. Listening to your recordings may help you to discover if you have said something insensitive, and to think about how you can phrase things better. It is also important to be objective and acknowledge what you have done right because it is unhealthy to obsessively criticise yourself.
Additionally, recording your conversations with others can also help you to observe how others act in social situations, and whether there are things that you can learn from them. It is important to ask for others’ consent before recording the conversation. While hindsight is 20/20, remember to put into practise what you have learned from your reflections and think before you speak!
4. Reading Self-Help Books
Reading self-help books is another great way to improve self-awareness. By gleaning the perspective of others and applying their principles to your daily life, you might be able to make a positive change in your life. An all-time favourite is “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck” by Mark Manson, which aims to reduce the emphasis on positivity and focus on adjusting your perspectives based on your goals. Another popular book is “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen R. Covey, which explains how building positive habits can help to change your lives for the better.
For those looking to improve their people skills, try “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie, where you can learn how to get people to like you, understand your way of thinking, and encourage change in others (Business Insider, 2021).
5. Taking Psychometric Tests
Psychometric tests can also help you to identify your strengths and downfalls. One test is the Enneagram test which describes 9 different types of personalities. There are also ‘wings’ which represent related personality styles that could help you to develop new sides of yourselves. Another popular test is Myers and Briggs 16 personality types, or the MBTI. This describes people in four key dimensions – Introversion vs. Extraversion, Sensing vs. Intuition, Thinking vs. Feeling, and Judging vs. Perceiving (Truity, n.d.).
You may or may not believe that the entire population can be classified solely into 9 or 16 personality types, but these test results can give you a good starting point to reflect upon and find ways to improve yourself. It is fine to disagree with certain aspects of the ‘prescribed’ results – you know yourself best!
Like a Venus flytrap, you also have triggers that you may not be aware of until you snap (LinkedIn, 2020). Self-reflection is a great way for you to understand these triggers, regulate your emotions and increase your self-awareness. While these exercises can help you to broaden your perspectives on your own, remember to seek feedback from others as well!
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