A weekly reflection exercise

Improve your self-awareness by asking yourself these questions every week.

As growth-oriented, driven, and open-minded humans (which I’m assuming we all are, as we’re reading a newsletter on growth and performance), one of the most important skills we have is self-awareness.

Lately, everyone has been talking about self-awareness.

There’s a whole host of good reads on the topic, including: Ego is the Enemy, Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, StrengthsFinders 2.0, Barking Up the Wrong Tree, The Daily Stoic (I’d recommend checking these out).

But, what does self-awareness actually mean?

  • It’s our ability to reflect on our words and actions, and to understand the impact of these on ourselves and others.

  • Our intent to be objectively curious about our history, triggers, and emotions, and to want to understand them further.

  • Our awareness of our strengths and weaknesses, and how they apply in different contexts.

  • Our ability to be empathetic and compassionate toward ourselves and others.

A great tool for improving self-awareness is journalling.

I’ve consistently spent 20 minutes journalling every week (usually on a Sunday night), for around 4 years now and it’s a ritual that helps me close off the week and prepare for the upcoming one.

It serves a few different purposes:

  • To clear my head by putting thoughts on paper.

Buddhists refer to the monkey mind as the unsettled, restless, and confused part of our brain that is easily distracted. Tim Ferriss discusses the effectiveness of journalling to calm the monkey mind:

“But, the goal is not to write per se. I am not doing it for someone else. I am simply capturing my monkey mind, its litany of complaints or insecurities on paper so that it is not caught on repeat for the rest of the day. I am simply giving it a two dimensional prison or play pen so that I can then move on with my day. And hit mute at least for a brief period of time on those things.”

– Tim Ferriss

  • To acknowledge and celebrate wins that would not have otherwise been recognized.

  • To leverage writing as a tool for rational problem solving.

  • To remind ourselves of why we should be excited about life.

  • To practice gratitude.

  • To recognize gaps and opportunities.

  • To appreciate important upcoming milestones and goals.

Here are the prompts I use:

What’s top-of-mind?

What did I accomplish this week?

What am I currently stressed about?

What am I excited for?

What am I grateful for?

What do I need to invest more time and energy in?

What are my most important priorities next week?

That’s it.

I’ll write 3-5 bullets per prompt and it’ll end up being around a page.

It’ll only take 20 minutes. Try it on the next three consecutive weeks (rule of three!) and let me know if it was helpful.

Do you have a different journalling routine? I’d love to learn about it.

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