Are you 100% sure that you know everything about yourself?
To practice self-directed learning is to learn more about yourself. That happens when you have the liberty to choose the activities you want to experience. Whatever choice you make is a learning experience, after all!
And this is where self-awareness comes in! The concept of self-awareness was first tackled in a book called A Theory of Objective Self-Awareness by Duval and Wicklund, which teaches readers that focusing on our inner selves drives us to focus our attention on ourselves, which eventually drives us to focus on other people.
With self-awareness comes the desire to grow as a person. Being self-aware is absolutely essential when it comes to taking charge of your life, creating the life that you want, and getting a hold of your future. Where you choose to exert all your energy determines where you want to go in life.
For instance, are you aware of the factors about yourself that keep you from doing your homework? Do you get easily distracted by daily tasks? Are there certain times of the day where you’re more productive? Are you more aware of your own strengths and weaknesses? How well do you think on your feet? Do you think too much and assume the worst? Do your negative thoughts weigh you down and keep you from performing well?
We take these questions for granted, but asking and reflecting can make a difference on the way you live. Knowing your likes, dislikes, strengths, and weaknesses can make a change. It is only by becoming more aware of yourself that you gradually start living life and making an impact, not just for yourself but for others.
So how can you increase this self-awareness over time? These tips can help you strengthen and develop this essential trait:
Write in a journal.
There’s a lot of freedom when jotting down your thoughts in a journal. Be it digital or on actual paper, just write everything that pops out of your head: your thoughts, emotions, achievements, and even your failures. Let yourself process these thoughts as they come, and don’t censor yourself! Then read them once you’re done. Putting your thoughts and feelings on paper not only clears your head, but it also helps you reassess how you should tackle your daily tasks and treat the people around you.
List down your priorities and goals.
Taking note of your goals helps you keep track of where you want to go. Think of a big goal in mind. As a student, your biggest goal is to graduate on time, so how can you get this done? List down your goals and break them down into smaller, concrete goals, so that accomplishing them becomes easier. Is it your goal to get high grades this quarter? Then make it a priority to study for a number of hours each day. Is it your goal to get better in math? Commit to answering at least one mathematical exercise a day!
Before you can become more self-aware, you’ll constantly need to reflect on yourself. Find some time to take a break and reflect on yourself. Make a commitment to do this at least once a day – for at least 15 minutes, like before you go to sleep! – so you can develop this habit. That way, you can also reflect on your daily tasks and reassess the things you could do.
Keep track of your emotional triggers.
Pinpointing the things that make us react is always a challenge, but once you learn what they are, managing your emotions becomes easier. What makes you lose your temper? How do you react whenever you are stressed? By understanding the things that make you tick, you learn how to catch yourself whenever you find yourself reacting to a certain situation, and this helps you improve yourself.
Develop a more objective perspective of yourself.
Have you ever looked at yourself beyond the usual compliments that you get from the people around you? It may be easier said than done, but getting to know your true self without adding any filter is one of the most difficult things anyone can ever do.
One way to do this is to jot down your likes and your dislikes. Then list down your strengths and weaknesses. Be honest; do not embellish or exaggerate anything! You can add the accomplishments that stood out in your life and made you proud of yourself. You can even go as far as your childhood days and list down the things that made you happy during those times. What factors stayed the same? Is there a part of those factors that changed as you grew older? Why did they change?
Once you’re done, take a step back and read everything that you’ve written down. It might sound like a lot of work, but you’ll come out with a brand new outlook of life, along with a clearer perspective of yourself!
It takes a lot of practice, but once you become more self-aware, you’re on your way to becoming a better self-directed learner in no time!