New Year, New You: A Guide To Self-Reflecting
One of the most common sayings during New Year’s celebrations is, “New Year, New Me!” But what does this colloquial term really mean? For most, it is a tongue and cheek comment relating to their habits whether that be eating, sleeping, or exercising. But for some, it can truly be a source of inspiration for starting the year off on a good foot, and putting important self-care and self-reflection at the top of your priority list.
If you are interested in diving deeper and discovering more about yourself than you may have in the past, keep reading! In this blog post we will be sharing some self-reflection activities, questions, and journaling prompts that will encourage you to explore different aspects of your emotions and self, and move forward positively in 2023.
One of the first steps in a self-reflection journey is often relative to becoming more self-aware. Attempting to understand yourself seems like a very overwhelming task, and this is because there are many aspects that make up your whole self and each should be examined fully in order to gain a full picture. A great way to get started with this self-awareness exploration is to utilize a circle chart!
Your circle chart can include as many circles as you feel are needed. The middle circle should contain simply your name, and the surrounding circles will be filled with specific categories relative to your identity! Here are some examples of categories you may want to include:
● Gender identity
● Cultural background
● Talents or skills
● Personality traits
● Socioeconomic status
● Spiritual and/or religious beliefs
● And More!
Each category should be expanded on as you consider these parts of yourself. Once you have filled out as many circles as you feel necessary, you can begin reflecting on them. Here are some questions you may want to consider:
When have you felt proud to be associated with one of the identifiers you chose?
When has it been painful to be associated with one of the identifiers you chose?
What identifiers do you have in common with people from your community and/or culture? What areas are often different?
What values are associated with the identifiers you chose? Do these values feel true to you? Why or why not?
Expanding on these questions and categories will help you feel connected to yourself, your thoughts and feelings, and connected to others from the same community as you! These connections are what form our self-confidence and therefore reinforce our sense of identity.
Identifying And Understanding Your Mind
Our mind is constantly sending our body clues as to what we’re feeling and what reaction it’s looking for. For example, did you know that yawning is actually a signal from our brain to our body that we are thirsty? It does not necessarily mean we’re tired, although we feel tired, our body might be signalling to us that we actually need water instead of sleep!
In order to identify and understand our emotions, feelings, and thoughts better, it’s important to make connections between body clues, emotions, thoughts, and then what our controlled or desired reaction should be.
This is a great journaling exercise that can be completed in the notes on your phone! All you have to do is…
Step 1) Create a Table
You can do this in the notes on your phone, or by using a word document application such as Microsoft Word or Google Docs.
Step 2) Pay Attention to Physical Movements, Emotions, Thoughts, and Reactions
These ‘body clues’ are simply physical movements that can be anything from posture and movements (foot tapping, finger fidgeting, nail-biting, etc.) to sensations like an uneasy stomach, cramping, heavy eyes/feeling tired, or increased heart rates.
Following this, notice what emotions accompany the body clues. When your foot is tapping are you feeling agitated, comfortable, interested, frustrated, etc.?
Then, try and notice what is on your mind when said body clues and emotions are present. What internal dialogue is happening? What are you saying to yourself?
Finally, identify what your reaction is. How does your body, mind, and emotions respond to the moment? Does it result in a changed behaviour? Does it result in a shift in your mood? Does it result in indulging in a distraction like doodling or checking your phone? Try and identify what behaviours result from the clues, emotions, and thoughts.
Step 3) Fill in Your Chart
Once you are comfortably able to identify body clues, emotions, thoughts, and reactions, it is time to write them down as you notice them! See below for an example of a completed row:
Step 4) Reflect
Once you have completed step 3, try and make a habit of reflecting on your completed rows. You can ask yourself things like:
- What was going on around me when these body clues, emotions, thoughts, and reactions occurred?
- Was this an ideal reaction, or do I wish I had done something differently? Why?
- What could I have done differently? Why?
- What would I have done the same? Why?
These questions can be answered in your mind, or on paper through journaling or writing in a diary!
Starting your self-reflection journey can feel like a daunting task, and while it is no small feat, it is nothing to fear. Learning more about yourself and who you are is one of our greatest opportunities, and there are many different ways to get started. If you want to learn more about yourself with the help of a trained professional, or if you simply want to dive deeper into what you’ve already learned, our associates at The Wise Self Psychotherapy Clinic are here for you. Visit our virtual practice today to book your free 15-minute consultation and let the road to a “new year, new you” begin!