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I have said it before and I will say it again, the first step to self-improvement is self-reflection. How can we improve ourselves if we don’t truly know ourselves or what areas we actually need to improve?
Being self-aware is extremely beneficial and allows you to have a deeper understanding of your emotions, actions, and why you do what you do. You learn about your strengths and weaknesses, and in learning those, you can strive to change as needed.
There are so many simple ways to begin to incorporate self-reflection into your life. You can use prompt questions in a journal, or use monthly reflection questions every month that you go through and answer. You can simply get in the habit of asking yourself “Why?” more often (i.e. Why did I react that way? why didn’t I like that situation? what did I love about that person? etc.). Or another great way to learn more about yourself is by taking personality tests such as the Myers Briggs test or the Enneagram test.
So maybe I will do another post with some great ways to incorporate self-reflection into your life, but today, I wanted to create a post that gives you a self-reflection starting point! So, I put together 10 great questions to ask yourself to get to know yourself a little better.
For these questions to have a real impact, you need to answer them with complete honesty. Let go of how you think they “should” be answered and answer them with as much truth as possible. You are answering them just for yourself, no one else is going to see them or judge your answers. And, if you feel you are judging yourself, well just remember you are answering these questions so that you can improve and be a better version of yourself! These questions are providing you a starting point to making changes in your life as needed! By participating in the process of self-reflection, you are taking that first step towards self-improvement, and you should be proud of that!
1 | What Makes You Happy
What in life makes you the happiest? What activities, people, and places bring you the most joy? What can instantly brighten your day?
These are questions we may not put any real thought into on a day-to-day basis. I am sure you have a general idea of what makes you happy, but when you really sit down and think deeply about it, what can you come up with? It can be the simple little things in life such as a great cup of coffee in the morning, or that first warm spring day after a long winter.
The thing with happiness is we often see it as a destination. We constantly think, oh I will be happier when I have XYZ or when I accomplish this or that. But, what do you have in your life currently that brings you happiness?
Now, once you have a list of what makes you happy, I want you to ask yourself another question – Do you have enough of those things in your life? The things that bring you the most joy, are you getting enough of them or do they often get pushed aside in your busy life to make time for less joyful activities?
Maybe self-care or time for yourself brings you happiness but finding that time to spend on yourself is difficult. So, how can you change that? How would your life shift if you find the time weekly to squeeze in something that brought you more joy rather than more stress?
Related Reading: 9 Daily Habits That Will Make You Happier
2 | What Makes You Unhappy?
Now that you have a list of things that make you happy, lets explore what makes you unhappy in life. What causes you stress? What are your pet peeves? What people in your life bring you negativity? What about your job? Your lifestyle? Think long and hard about every aspect of your life.
Now, once you compile your list, again I want you to reflect and ask yourself – why are these things a part of my life? Are they necessary (maybe your job), or is it something you can change? Do you have the control to remove it from your life? Or is it something out of your control? If you can change it, what is stopping you? If it is something out of your control, what CAN you change to make it better?
3 | What Do You Value in Life?
This is also a question that we all assume we know the answer to, but probably haven’t truly considered. Sure, it is easy to say I value myself first (your health, free time, self-care), my family second (time with your partner or children, being a role model), and my career third (growing your knowledge, advancing your career). But, when you take a good hard look at it, do your values align with your day-to-day priorities? Do you sacrifice time with your family by staying late at work or working from home on the weekend? Do you sacrifice time for yourself to ensure everyone else around you are happy first? Do you sacrifice your health because you have no time to eat healthy and exercise?
So often when people are asked what they value in life they will say their health, yet when you look at their lifestyle, their eating well and exercising will end up near the bottom of their day-to-day priority list. That is why this is a great question to reflect on. It draws your attention to what you believe your values are in life and makes you really look at whether those values line up with how you are living your life.
Once you compile a list of what you would like your values in life to be, ask yourself how you can ensure your lifestyle allows you to prioritize those values. What changes do you need to make? What areas need more focus? How can you better manage your time to help you prioritize those values?
4 | What Holds You Back in Life?
What prevents you from living life fully or being 100% yourself? Are you scared to fail? Are you scared to let others down by making certain choices? Are you scared to put yourself out there only to be rejected? Are you afraid of going against society’s expectations or what is considered the norm?
I have come to realize (through lots of self-reflection) that I am typically a people pleaser, I hate being embarrassed, and I hate the idea of failure. These things use to stop me from trying new things or going after the things that I wanted in life. I have since (mostly) overcome these hurdles, and have been much happier because of it.
If you reflect on the questions above and feel you too struggle with self-doubt or fear of failure, I encourage you to participate in my free 6 day mini-course!
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5 | What Areas of Life do You Thrive in?
Okay, so I want you to dig a little deeper than what your strengths are. Where do you really thrive? Are you great at communication and connecting with people? Are you great under pressure? Do you thrive at going with the flow? Or are you a great planner and Thrive in a routine and structured lifestyle? Do you do better as a leader, or do you thrive more when given direction?
Think hard about what environment you perform best in. Then dig a little deeper and ask yourself why. If you Thrive in a work environment where you are given tasks and follow direction, is that because you are indecisive and not as confident making decisions on your own? Or is it because you are unorganized and Thrive better when things are laid out for you? Maybe you need the accountability to be productive? Really dive deep and ask yourself questions about WHY you Thrive in certain situations vs. others!
6 | What Areas of Life do You Struggle With?
Now, let’s do the opposite! Where do you struggle? I personally struggle in large crowds with lots of stimulation and noise. I get overwhelmed easily and having to socialize too much exhausts me. I also struggle with too much routine and I get bored too quickly doing the same thing day-to-day.
Follow the same process as question 5. Pinpoint your areas of struggle and then question and reflect the reasons WHY. Then, go one step further and ask yourself if there are anyways you can change this or make these areas of struggle easier for yourself?
Related Reading: 8 Simple Tips for Improving Your Self Confidence
7 | What is Your Personality Type?
You can learn so much about yourself through discovering more about your personality type. There are so many great free personality tests out their that can provide you with great in-depth insight into your personality and why you do or act the way you do.
I have a few favorites that I recommend trying to find out more about yourself.
- You Just Get Me – Time frame: 5-10 minutes – In this test you simply click the “Guess Myself Now” box in the right hand corner and fill out a 40 part questionnaire. Once you submit the test you receive a personality bubble chart and a breakdown of each bubble. Mine was dead on, and I did not disagree with anything I was given.
- What is Your Myers-Briggs Personality Type? Time Frame: about 12 minutes. The Myers-Briggs in the mother of all personality tests and is by far the most accurate. The link I have posted is not the true Myers-Briggs test but rather a starting point to help you discover your “type”. It is a great free option for determining your Myers-Briggs type. If you want to take the full Myers-Briggs Assessment it will cost you about $50.00 and you can find more information HERE. I recommend investing in the full assessment at some point in your life, but for now the free option is a great tool.
- The Four Tendencies Test – I am a big Gretchin Rubin fan (her books and her podcast), so I had to take her Four Tendencies Test. Basically the test will place you into 1 of 4 categories which will give you an overview of how you tackle certain aspects of life. For example, how you may form habits, what motivates you, etc.
- The Enneagram Test – the linked test takes about 10 minutes, but there are also other more intensive Enneagram tests out there. If you google them you can find a few different options that are free to take. I liked this one because it was quick and gave a good overview of my “type”.
8 | What Motivates You?
This is a great thing to know about yourself but again it is something we don’t often think about or consider about ourselves. I was asked this in an interview once, and that was when I realized that I didn’t really know how I was motivated. So, what exactly motivates you? Everyone is different, some are motivated by competition, some by accountability, some by results, etc.
It took me a long time to figure out what motivated me. I grew up in a family that was very competitive and into sports. I was a bit of a black sheep because I was not competitive AT ALL and really not into sports. I realized as I got older and got to know myself a bit better, that I was driven by 3 things. I like to have accountability, I like to complete things, so I am driven by achieving the end result, and I also am much more likely to do something if I actually enjoy it or see the purpose behind it.
So, dig deep with this one. If you have nothing holding you accountable for a task, are you less likely to complete it? Do you enjoy competing with others, does that motivate you to work harder? Do you find joy in completing a task and seeing the end result, or is it just another check off of your to-do list?
9 | What Are Your 3 Favorite Personality Traits in Yourself and Why? What Personality Traits Do You Admire in Others and Why?
These questions are pretty straight forward, but I think they are good questions to reflect on. What are your 3 favorite personality traits about YOU, and what personality traits do you admire in others?
Do they align? Do your top 3 match with what you admire? Are they different? If they are different, are the traits you admire in others traits that you wish you had yourself? Why don’t you? How can you bring those traits out in yourself more?
10 | In 5 Years, What Type of Person Would You Like to Be?
What in your life do you hope changes between now and 5 years from now? What would you like to be different? Who do you want to be? What do you hope to accomplish in that time?
Now, what are you doing to make those changes happen? How are you going to ensure you become who you want to be in 5 years time? What do you need to start doing today to help you make the changes you want to see in 5 years? What smaller goals can you create to help you achieve your larger goals.
Also consider what habits you currently have that are preventing you from becoming the person you want to be. What obstacles stand in your way of accomplishing your 5 year vision? How can you overcome them?
So, those are the questions I recommend starting with if you are starting yourself reflection journey! Grab a journal, a piece of paper, or simply use your phone or computer, and work through the questions one by one. I bet you will be surprised with what you find, and how much you learn about yourself in the process!