The first step to growth is self-awareness. In order to change habits, perspectives, responses, you have to recognize them.
For example, a learned behavior from my childhood was letting overwhelming situations result in an explosion of emotion. Sometimes that emotion would be directed at folks that were with me at the time. I recognized this as a behavior that I wanted to change, since it was bringing unnecessary energy into my own life and unfair to the people I loved who were sometimes on the receiving end. I had already addressed the root of this reaction in therapy; I had just not been able to commit to changing.
I brought this up in a coaching session as an area to address. For myself personally, I noticed it can be really difficult to reframe my negative perspectives and thought patterns if I’m not held accountable. I quickly and easily slip back into my habitual actions even if I want to change them. Coaching provides that accountability and provides a safe space to explore what the client is actually interested in trying to change their habit or mindset. I’m not here to give advice – you as the client should feel fully empowered to try things and find what works for you or what is most aligned with who you are.
I realized that when I’m feeling overwhelmed, I tend to touch my chest. I was able to start to associate that with a reminder to take a deep breath to regulate my emotions and think more clearly through the overwhelming situation in front of me.
Having a coach can help with self awareness. Coaches may call attention to behaviors or perspectives that we may not notice ourselves so that the coaching can focus on making changes. And if we are already self-aware of things we want and need to change, coaches will provide the space for us to start to reframe.
If you are struggling with recognizing your own growth areas, my favorite place to start implementing increased self-awareness is by starting a gratitude practice. Not only does this require objectively looking at yourself and your life to find aspects to be grateful for, but it ultimately can result in recognizing negative thought patterns. Some of us might really struggle finding things to be grateful for, which will shed light on existing negative thought patterns. Once we start recognizing those thought patterns, we can begin finding ways to change them. Meditation or just spending a short amount of time each day totally alone without distractions also helps with increased self-awareness.
So let’s start! What are 3 things you are grateful for today? How easy or difficult was it to come up with 3 things? What made it easy or difficult? How would it feel to name 3 things every day? What would stop you from doing that consistently?
Take some time to journal and reflect on these several questions, and reach out if you want to share your responses!