This starts off pretty basic, but I may be calling you out near the end.
How well do you know yourself? And I don't mean things like your favorite color is purple, you hate reading, love drawing, and your dream vacation is to go to Italy.
I mean the deeper things like why you're the quiet one at parties, where you hope to be in 5 years, or what your core values are.
Understanding yourself takes time, effort, and a lot of self-introspection. There will be things you find that you really like about yourself, things that you don't totally understand, things you hate, and things that surprise you.
Want to know a way to get to know that person you're stuck with for life (aka yourself)?
Keeping a journal.
WAIT...stay with me here because I know you're probably like "I already tried that. Not for me." Or "I'm not good at writing" or "I don't have time." Or maybe you're thinking "yes I do that and I love it!" (Props to you, dude!)
Keep in mind journaling doesn't have to be writing. You can record your voice and talk it out or you can type it out in a word document or on a website like Evernote. If it doesn't come to you easily there are tons of journal prompts out there to get your wheels turning. It doesn't have to be super well written and it doesn't have to be long. Set a timer for 5 minutes and go. If the timer goes off and you found that you hit a flow keep going.
There are several ways you can use journaling and I highly recommend trying them all:
Plan out your day- First thing in the morning figure out what your top 3 most important tasks for the day are, schedule at least one self-care item for yourself (meditation, bubble bath, favorite snack, etc.), and time block your day.
List what you're grateful for- This is great to do in the morning to get yourself in a positive mindset.
Write out your goals- Keep them at the forefront of your mind and create a plan for achieving them. Over the years you can look back and see how much you've accomplished! (Or hold yourself in check if you've been slacking.)
Keep record of really great experiences-It's awesome to be able to read back over the things that really lit you up especially as the years go by and little details start to fade.
Ranting- Sometimes you just need to get things out when you are angry, depressed, anxious, or hurt-let it out!
Work through tough stuff- Processing difficulties in life by writing them down can be really cathartic. It can also be helpful in the future for when you're reading back over them to see that you could handle it and will do so again when needed.
In my own life journaling over the long-term has been greatly beneficial in my personal growth. I've done it off and on for years and have learned so much about myself in the process. The one you see pictured I started writing in when I was about 18 and finished it at 29. The changes that I went through over those 10 plus years have been huge! I have a different mindset entirely. I behave differently and I think differently.
It's kind of crazy because when I read back over what I wrote I realized that for the longest time I was stuck. And I kept myself in that stuck place. All I did was think and wonder about whether or not I was making the right choices and if I was on the right path. I would overthink myself into a state of inaction and feel sorry for myself. I knew that I was stuck and figured that it was my lot in life to struggle and just...basically exist.
I know I'm not the only one to have experienced this. The feeling that things just are the way they are and there's nothing that can be done about it.
Here's an important point I want to make:
It doesn't matter where you come from, what upbringing you had, what you currently know or don't know, whether or not your family is successful, or how many failures you've had up to this point, etc. etc. etc.
You are not meant to struggle. You are not meant to just exist. You are not meant to accept anything less than what you are dreaming for yourself.
Tough love statement here (I said at the beginning I may be calling you out later on!):
If you feel like you're stuck and you're simply existing it's because you are choosing that for yourself.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying it will be easy to get out of whatever situation you are in. You will likely need some help whether it's to gain knowledge, get advice, or simply for encouragement or support. And that's okay. It won't happen overnight and, yes, it will be harder to change for some than for others. It takes work. It takes giving some things up that you don't want to. No more binging Netflix, sleeping 10 hours, partying every weekend, or eating whatever you feel like. It takes having higher expectations for yourself. It means going to bed at a decent time and getting up when the alarm goes off, being mindful about the food you eat, taking an hour to move your body, and spending time working towards a personal goal even if that means not watching as much TV or losing some sleep. It means not letting excuses or distractions rule your life.
It takes a complete shift in mindset.
You have to rise up to a higher level.
But in order to rise up to a higher level you must know yourself. You need to know your weaknesses, your strengths, the goals you have, the kind of person you are right now, the kind of person you want to be, the type of people you want to surround yourself with, and the things you want to accomplish in your life. These things will help lead you to become the successful and fulfilled individual that you want to be.
So, again I ask, who are you? Take the time to learn about yourself. Journaling is a great way to do that because, basically, it's a book about yourself. When you read back over it will you see growth and success or will you see excuses and being stuck?
If you'd like to give it a try here are some prompt suggestions for you:
-What would I do if the opinions of those around me didn't matter?
-What do I truly enjoy doing and why?
-What is a genuinely happy moment from my past that I'll never forget?
-What experience has had a large impact on me?
-If money weren't an issue for me I would...
"To know thyself is the beginning of wisdom"-Socrates