Self awareness is the most important skill I can teach you.
When I say “self awareness” I’m referring to the habit of paying attention to your thoughts and feelings, actions, and results.
Self awareness is the ability to see yourself—the good, the bad, and the ugly. It’s also knowing your strengths AND weaknesses.
When you have self awareness, you discover how you’re the creator of your entire life experience. This means if you want to completely change your life, you have the power to do it.
But this only comes from true self awareness.
As the saying goes, “it’s hard to read the label from inside the bottle.”
This means that it’s incredibly difficult, and usually slower, to become fully self aware.
In Grow You, my virtual life coaching program for moms and moms-to-be, I coach you “from outside the bottle” which is much easier. As a trained Life Coach, I’m an expert at watching what’s happening in my client’s brains, which is how I can really show you what’s going on in your life more easily than you’ll be able to.
That said, you absolutely can do things to increase your own self awareness.
When you do, you’ll likely find your relationships get better, your mood improves, your decision-making is clearer, you have better coping mechanisms, and you reduce the day-to-day overwhelm that so many women constantly experience.
- Related: Self Identity (podcast)
How To Increase Self Awareness
To get started increasing your self awareness, follow my best tips below.
Tip 1: Write down your thoughts and feelings.
Starting a practice of writing down your specific thoughts and feeling is the most important thing you can do for your own self awareness.
Without this, I don’t know how you ever know what you’re thinking!
All that’s required is that you write down exactly what you’re thinking about any topic. Note your feelings as well.
Then study what you wrote down. Get curious about it.
This is the work we do in life coaching—a daily practice of specifically coaching yourself (in Grow You we have a full course on how to do this).
- How To Stop Self Sabotaging Thoughts (blog post)
- Believing New Thoughts (podcast)
- 7 Tools To Manage Anxiety (free course)
Tip 2: Separate out your circumstances from your thoughts.
Notice what are your circumstances and what are your thoughts.
Circumstances are the facts of the world.
I’m married to Steve. I’m pregnant with a baby boy. I live in Charleston, SC.
Thoughts are my opinion about the facts.
I love Steve. I can’t wait to have a baby. It’s hot in the summer in Charleston.
Even if everyone agrees with me that it’s hot in Charleston in the summer, that is still an opinion, so it’s a thought, not a fact.
When you start to practice separating out circumstances from facts you’ll see how much control you have over your mind.
You can think anything you want at any time, and this is total freedom.
- How To Be More Zen (blog post)
- What Successful People Think With Jody Moore (podcast)
- How To Live An Intentional Life (free training)
Tip 3: Watch the actions you take (and don’t take).
Improving your self awareness starts with watching.
Watching your thoughts, feelings, and actions.
Starting with your actions can sometimes be easy because we can literally see what we do.
So, simply start to notice your actions. What are you doing? What aren’t you doing? When? Why?
For example, if you have the TV on in the background when you’re playing with the kids, this is something to get curious about. Why? Why not a podcast? Why not turn it off?
The key is to watch without judgment. It’s not that TV is bad. But you want to be curious about it. The goal is to always act from your highest self, so you’re growing and evolving exactly how you want to be.
- How To Stop Being Judgmental (blog post)
- Being Judgmental (podcast)
- Weekly Inspirational Email (free weekly email)
Tip 4: Pay attention to the words you speak.
Building self awareness can be as simple as noticing what you say.
An important part of your actions is the words you speak. Notice them.
Do you say “sorry” 100 times per day?
Do you talk twice as much as you listen?
Do you say “like” and “um” after every sentence?
Do you speak up? Are you quieter?
Again, this is just a place for you to be curious about your behaviors—not a place to judge yourself.
But what you may find is that you don’t like how you talk. I encourage you not to judge yourself but to be compassionate and understanding with yourself.
- Mindfulness Meditation For Pregnancy (blog post)
- Mental Chatter (podcast)
- 75 Journal Prompts For Moms (freebie)
Tip 5: Notice any time you do something your Future Self wouldn’t do.
A great way to identify blind spots in your self awareness is to ask yourself if what you’re doing is something your Future Self would do.
Your Future Self is yours to create. In fact, you get to decide who you want to be like in the future.
When you think about your Future Self, where is there a gap with where you are now?
Start to notice what you do every day and then ask yourself if it’s what your Future Self would do.
- Related: Visualizing Your Future Self (podcast)
Tip 6: Identify emotional triggers.
Notice what you have a strong emotional response to—what your emotional triggers are.
Negative emotions are normal (without negative emotion, we wouldn’t know what positive emotion is—the contrast is required).
But a disproportionate response to negative emotion is something you should be really interested in. It’s about you and what you’re making a circumstance mean. Typically there’s a story from your past and also an unhealed wound that needs to be resolved.
You can also increase your emotional intelligence by paying attention to your emotional triggers with openness and love.
- How To Calm Anxiety During Pregnancy (blog post)
- Rest On Purpose (podcast)
- Confidence Training (free couse)
Self Awareness Activities
Below is a list of specific activities you can start practicing today that will increase your self awareness.
Activity 1: Write a Future Self Letter.
This is a letter from your future self to your current self. Get advice, seek wisdom, and then find out what your future self has to say to you. More on that here.
Activity 2: Write a letter to your Past Self.
Write a letter of forgiveness and love to your Past Self. If you’re hard on your past, this is particularly powerful. In fact, one of the greatest measures of growth is how you tell the story of your past. More on that here.
Activity 3: Start a daily journaling practice.
Journaling every day about what you’re thinking and feeling is one of the best and easiest ways to start increasing your self awareness. I also recommend guided journaling. So download my 75 Journal Prompts For Moms and Moms-To Be here.
Activity 4: Walk quietly in nature.
Go on a walk alone, outside, and pay attention only to the white noise, in nature. This is also a great way to get grounded and connected with yourself.
Activity 5: Practice 10 minutes of silence.
Set your phone timer for 10 minutes, find a quiet place, and then sit down in silence for 10 minutes. Breathe in and out deeply. Let your thoughts pass by. This is my favorite mindfulness practice that is really life changing if you do it daily and consistently.
If you’re interested in taking your mindfulness and personal development work deeper, check out Grow You, my virtual life coaching program for moms and moms-to-be where we take our lives from “fine” to extraordinary.
A Final Note!
While many people love to gain self-awareness through personality tests (myself included), like Myers Briggs (I’m an ENTJ), you can gain more self-awareness through a daily self-coaching practice.
This is because you have agency to change. You’re not fixed. In fact, you’re likely a lot different than you were 10 years ago.
The beauty in self-coaching and mindfulness is that instead of leaving this transformation to chance, you get to create it.