If you have landed on this article, chances are you’re doing serious work on yourself and would like to become more self-aware.
Why do people need self-awareness activities?
Because it’s nearly impossible to progress in most areas of your life without becoming more self-aware.
For most individuals, self-awareness doesn’t come naturally.
Self-awareness takes practice and hard work, and that’s where self-awareness activities and self-awareness worksheets come into play.
Are you ready to take the journey to greater self-awareness?
- What Is Self-Awareness?
- What Are The Benefits of Developing Self-Awareness?
- 26 Self-Awareness Activities to Know Yourself Better
What Is Self-Awareness?
When a person is self-aware, they can understand and identify their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.
When you clearly understand who you are, what motivates you, and how you respond to your own feelings and thoughts, you can live the purposeful life that all human beings desire.
Emotional intelligence is at the heart of a person’s self-awareness.
Inevitably, emotions get in the way of our goals and the things we try to accomplish daily. When you add emotions to brain biases, your productivity and effectiveness are negatively impacted.
A huge part of being self-aware is focusing on how your emotions, thoughts, and actions align with the internal standards you have set for yourself.
If you’re self-aware, you can also judge how other people may see you more accurately.
What Are The Benefits of Developing Self-Awareness?
Believe it or not, only about 10-15% of contemporary leaders are self-aware. Because many people were raised to avoid showing emotions, we tend to suppress negative emotions or ignore them.
The results of suppressing emotions are well-known, and these suppressed emotions lead to stress, anxiety, depression, and even disease.
As we have already mentioned, one of the best arguments for becoming more self-aware is that you can make sure that your actions align with the personal standards to which you hold yourself.
However, there are many other benefits to developing self-awareness.
- When we’re self-aware, we can influence our outcomes.
- Self-aware people are better at making decisions.
- When we’re self-aware, we have more confidence.
- With self-awareness, we can more effectively regulate our emotions.
- Self-awareness can free us from biases and assumptions.
- People who have high self-awareness communicate more clearly and intentionally.
- Self-awareness allows us to understand issues from several different perspectives.
- Self-aware individuals can build stronger relationships.
- When we are self-aware, we aren’t as impacted by stress and anxiety.
- When you practice mindfulness and become more self-aware, you can more easily practice greater self-control.
- Self-awareness leads to overall greater happiness in all areas of life.
26 Self-Awareness Activities to Know Yourself Better
How self-aware are you? Before we get into the list of self-awareness activities, consider taking the self-awareness test from the iNLP Center, then dive into these self-awareness activities.
Self-Awareness Test Ideas
To learn what your strengths are, you can take a host of various assessments that educators and researchers have tested.
1. Strength-Finding Tests
Knowing your strengths can help determine whether you’re fulfilling your potential.
Equally important, if you discover that you’re working outside of your strengths, you can consider making life or career changes that are more aligned with the things at which you excel and enjoy.
Here are some excellent strength-finding assessments.
- Values in Action Strengths Inventory: This test measures your dominant strengths with 24 strengths across six broad categories.
- Entrepreneur Scan: This site is loaded with several assessment tools and tests that will help you identify your strengths.
- Wingfinder: Red Bull offers a personality assessment that shows what you’re naturally inclined to excel at.
- High 5 Test: The High 5 test assesses your strengths in four areas: drive, creativity, connections, and thinking.
- Truity Career Personality Profiler: This test is based on the Big Five and Holland Code theories.
2. Eulerian Destiny Discovery
When you fill out your Eulerian Destiny circles, you will find that your self-reflection and critical thinking are provoked. The Eulerian Destiny circles look at four primary areas of a person’s life.
- What do people say about you? (both informal and formal feedback)
- What did you grow up around? (childhood environment, childhood values, and parents)
- For the past five to ten years, what have you been doing? (constants in your life such as hobbies and jobs)
- What one thing can you talk about effortlessly and easily for hours? (Think of conversations when time has flown by without you realizing it.)
The key is to write down the answers to these questions and see where they all meet up.
It can take some serious thought and time, but doing this exercise will help you to refine your life’s purpose and raise your self-awareness.
3. Psychometric Tests
Personality tests are fun, and we can learn a lot about ourselves when we take psychometric tests.
Here are some valuable tests you can take to understand yourself better.
- Personality Perfect: This test is similar to the Myers-Briggs assessment (more below).
- DISC Assessment (Crystal): This assessment determines where you are in four areas: dominance, influence, steadiness, and compliance.
- Human Metrics: Find out which famous people share your personality type.
- Berkeley Emotional Intelligence: Look at 20 pictures and determine the emotion each person is feeling based on their facial expression.
- Empathy Quotient: Quickly assess how empathetic you are.
4. Freedom Diagram
A freedom diagram examines three things: fun, talent, and demand.
- The talent part refers to what you’re good at doing.
- The fun component addresses those things you would do even if you weren’t being paid.
- Demand is what others need or are willing to pay for.
5. Myers-Briggs Type Indicator
The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) was one of the early personality tests. The mother and daughter team of Katharine Briggs and Isabel Briggs Myers developed the instrument based on the theories of psychologist Carl Jung.
Jung believed that there are 16 distinct personality types, and the MBTI will help you identify which type you most identify with.
You can take the Myer’s Briggs Type Indicator questionnaire at 16 Personalities.
Self-Awareness Thought Process and Daily Habits Exercises
Doing daily exercises that reinforce positive habits can help your self-awareness to grow.
11. Perform a Daily Reflection
A reflection isn’t just about elaborate activities that we do every day. Your daily reflection can include simple things such as your moods, emotions, reading notes, quotes, and meaningful conversations and thoughts you have.
One thing you can do as you perform your daily reflection is to use an emotions chart. You can also include these things in your daily reflection.
- Habit tracking (exercise, self-care, tasks, etc…)
- Things that went well
- Things that didn’t go well
- How your actions contribute to the productivity of the day
- The overall positivity of the day
12. Ask Some “What” Questions
“What” questions can help you understand when you’re falling into a blaming mindset.
If your emotions overpower you, it’s easy to slip into a mindset that sounds a lot like “woe is me.” Why questions (see below) can sometimes drive this mindset.
One thing you can do is to ask yourself “what” questions instead. For example: “What is causing me to be unhappy?” “What can I do to change my attitude?”
13. Ask Yourself the “Three Whys”
We recommend asking yourself three “whys” daily when considering a decision or experiencing an emotion.
To do this, simply ask yourself “why?” three times. If you stick with asking the “three whys,” you’ll probably be surprised at how well you can grow your self-awareness.
Here is an example:
- I’m going to take a morning walk. “Why do I want to take a walk?”
- I want to take a walk because it relaxes me. “Why do I need to relax?”
- I need to relax because I feel a lot of stress from work. “Why do I feel stressed at work?”
Asking the “whys” will help you get to the root cause or profound truth related to the problem.
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14. Follow the ABCs Model
Recording your ABCs is an excellent way to understand how you experience negative events. Doing this can allow you to reflect on big events in your life and discover what you believe about what went down.
The ABCs go like this:
- A: The ACTIVATING event that triggered your inner dialogue
- B: The BELIEF you formed in your mind after the event occurred
- C: The CONSEQUENCES and how your belief made you feel
Recording your ABCs will help you understand how you respond to stress. Which automatic thoughts do you have when you’re angry or upset? When you identify your automatic thoughts, you can change them into positive things.
Self-Awareness Physical Exercise Activities
There are several physical things you can do to increase your self-awareness.
15. Check-In with Your Body
One thing a therapist will ask you when you’re experiencing stress, anger, or other strong emotions is, “How does that make you feel physically?”
This is a good time to check in with your body. Note how your breathing changes when you’re feeling strong emotions, whether positive or negative. This is also something you can record in your journal.
Another thing you can do is to practice and explore grounding techniques. If you feel anxious about the future, using a grounding technique can help you to stay present.
16. Walk Every Morning
Besides being a healthy habit for your physical health, taking a morning walk will get your mind working.
There’s something about changing your environment that gets the mind working in new ways when you’re outside of your regular routine.
You don’t have to take a long walk. Ten minutes is enough to reap both the physical and mental benefits of walking.
17. Practice the Art of Zhan Zhuang
Zhan Zhuang is a simple tai chi standing practice that can increase your energy and mental clarity. To practice Zhan Zhuang, keep your body mostly upright and as still as possible.
As you’re standing, make a note of how your body stabilizes itself. Doing this can make you more aware of your physical self and help you regain control of your posture, health, and muscle stability.
18. Start a Meditation Practice
One of the best physical activities you can do to raise your self-awareness is to practice breathwork and conscious breathing. Nothing is better or more effective than meditation to help with this.
To meditate, you can use an app such as Headspace, or you can find free meditation videos on YouTube. Either guided or self-guided meditations will give you the same benefits.
Self-Awareness Activities to Do with Help from Others
Friends, family members, and colleagues can help you grow your self-awareness.
19. Ask Trusted People for Constructive Feedback
The best way to get constructive feedback from the people you know is to simply ask them.
Be sure you make it clear that you’re looking for constructive feedback. Consider recording their responses or making notes in a notebook or journal.
20. Find An Accountability Partner
If you struggle to keep your commitments to yourself, find an accountability partner to help you. The two of you can help keep each other on track.
The last thing a productive person needs is someone who encourages them to be mediocre. You need to work closely with someone who is as committed to self-growth as you are.
21. Talk with Your friends About Your Self-Awareness Journey
Speaking things aloud brings them into existence in a way that is more powerful than just keeping them inside your own head.
Let your trusted people know that you’re working on your self-awareness.
Self-Awareness Exercises (Writing)
If you want to learn more about yourself, the fastest path to self-awareness may be via pen and paper.
22. Write in a Journal
When you write about your life and your inner world, you can more accurately wrap your mind around what’s going on with yourself.
Journaling can help you realize your emotions, triggers, and priorities. Ultimately, journaling will help strengthen your emotional intelligence.
Moreover, it is an excellent tool for improving your mood, strengthening your memory, and decreasing the stress levels in your life.
Are you stuck trying to figure out what to write in your journal? Here are some ideas. You can choose any one of these or mix them up and do different ones depending on what inspires you.
- Take the Proust Questionnaire. This self-exploration tool can help you get clarity on your thought processes and serve to uncover your life outlook.
- Journal every morning as a tool to plan your day and set the tone for the day.
- Journal at night to recap your day, note your accomplishments, and plan the following day.
- Practice morning pages. In The Artist’s Way by author Julia Cameron, morning pages are used to write three pages of stream-of-consciousness every morning when you wake up.
- Write notes about the reading you’re doing.
- Copy inspiring quotes that you’ve read throughout the day.
23. Write a Regrets Letter to A Younger Version of Yourself
Most of us have regrets, and while our regrets usually just pass through our minds when we’re ruminating, it can be helpful to make a note of them.
Writing down your regrets can be a cathartic exercise because you’re essentially writing a letter of apology to your younger self. Everyone has let opportunities pass by, and we have all abandoned some of the dreams we had for ourselves.
This letter should be a letter of acceptance to your younger self. You can also advise to your child self or young adult self.
24. Tell Your Story From The Third-Person Perspective
If you were writing your autobiography in the first person, it would sound vastly different than the same story written in the third person.
Here are some things to consider as self-awareness examples for your journal.
- Life highlights
- Major conflicts
- Big decisions
- Things and events that have shaped you or changed you
- Significant life events
Does the idea of writing your autobiography seem overwhelming? Start small. For example, outline your autobiography to get you started. Then all you have to do is fill in the blanks of your outline.
25. Draft a Life Vision Mission Statement or Personal Manifesto
You may not realize that you already have a personal manifesto, but most people do, even if they’re unaware of it.
Here is the question: Is your manifesto or mission statement directing you, or are you directing your own manifesto?
A personal mission statement is an excellent self-reflection activity.
- What words do you want to live by?
- What core values serve to drive your life?
- What do you wish to have accomplished at the end of your life?
Note that a mission statement or manifesto will likely change throughout your life as you encounter new life experiences.
Another thing you can do to help clarify your mission statement is to spend an hour creating a bucket list. Once you have your bucket list in place, you will have a good idea of what your mission needs to be.
26. Compose Your Funeral Eulogy or Obituary
This may seem morbid, but writing your obituary or eulogy can be remarkably insightful. There are two types of self-awareness:
- Internal self-awareness
- External self-awareness
External self-awareness is about how others see you. Other people tend to see us in a better light than we see ourselves.
Most of us are over-critical of ourselves and hold ourselves to standards higher than that to which we hold the people in our lives.
Alternatively, we may not see ourselves accurately in some areas of our lives. Writing an obituary or eulogy for ourselves from a close friend’s point of view can help identify how we would like to be known.
Final Thoughts on Self-Awareness Exercises
Self-awareness is work, but it’s work that will help you become the best version of yourself. A bonus is that with increased self-awareness, you can access joy and happiness that will enhance every single area of your life.