We often lie to ourselves about the progress we are making on important goals. Why do we do this? Because this is how the brain works. It is a natural human trait to act more out of self-preservation than out of rationality. We have a tendency to tell ourselves tales that justify what we’re doing or failing to do. Unfortunately, the tendency is to allow our stories to masquerade as facts. We seek information that reinforces our view and filter out or ignore information that contradicts our view.
For example, if you want to lose weight, you might claim that you’re eating healthy. But in reality your eating habits haven’t changed very much. You make one modification and blow it up to make it a bigger deal than it really is. Unfortunately, it’s usually not enough to get you to your goal. You make soft excuses that make yourself feel better about having a goal that you haven’t made much real progress towards. Sound familiar? Well, if not true for you, it is true for many people!
So, why do these little lies matter?
They matter because they are preventing you from being self-aware. When you use feel-good statements to track your progress in life, you end up lying to yourself about what you’re actually doing. If you are seeking to be a top performer, a peak performer, this behavior will cause you to fall short of what you are trying to achieve. You must have self-awareness before you can achieve self-improvement.
There are a number of tools that you can use to gain “reality” awareness to help you measure, adjust, and gain progress toward your self-improvement goals. One very effective tool that has been used by people for centuries is a journal. A journal can be a great tool for writing down what you plan to do, what you did, and upon review, how you might modify your behavior to achieve your desired course of action.
Another great tool is annual reflection and review. Many people who use this tool will take anywhere from one to five days, sometimes more, to review notes, journals, planners and other mechanisms that they used to plan and track progress. An annual review often encompasses a mental summary of your core values and personal mission statement. You can also do a personal review on shorter time periods; daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly.
Probaby the most impactful area that you can practice self-awareness in is how you spend your time. If you are like most people in the Western World, you probably spend a fair amount of time on-line. Gaining a deeper understanding of your behavior on-line will increase your behavioral awareness, effectiveness, and productivity.
One tool that I recommend is called RescueTime. It will completely track your online activities and generate a report that you can review. It runs in the background so it won’t interfere with anything you are doing. However, get ready to be surprised when you view your activity report. You are sure to become aware of many things that you didn’t know; time wasters; and it will allow you to make necessary adjustments.
Getting an accountability partner is another great way to increase your self-awareness. We all have blind spots in our thinking patterns and behaviors. Sharing your goals and ambitions with another person can help to keep you on track. Asking for regular constructive feedback cuts through any self-deceit you might have. Make sure that you ask people who you respect and will tell you what you need to hear, not what you want to hear.
Self-awareness is one of the fundamental pieces of behavior change and is one of the pillars of personal growth. It is very hard to change anything in your life is you aren’t measuring what you are doing. Trying to build better habits without self-awareness is like firing arrows while you are blindfolded. You can’t expect to hit the bullseye if you’re not sure where the target is located.
Use one of the strategies above to get started today and increase your self-awarness!
"Create Unstoppable Success!"
Dr. Richard B. Greene, DBA, SSBB, CMPE
Speaker, Author, IronMan Mind Business Coach
© Copyright 2017 Amplifier, LLC.
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Dr. Richard B. Greene is an International Speaker, Best-Selling Author, and Executive Business Coach who helps business executives get to the next level in business, their careers, and their personal lives. Through his IronMan Mind acceleration program, he offers one-on-one coaching, group coaching, live seminars and do-it-yourself development products to significantly increase levels of personal and business success. He’s been featured on radio shows and various new sites including KVCG Radio, The Miami-Herald, The Denver Post, Wall Street Select, Financial News Today, Fox, and ABC. Go online now to get free access to his acclaimed book, The 10 Commandments of Peak Performance.