I’ve been listening to the iprocrastinate podcast and they talk a little about increasing self awareness.
Then the other day I was thinking about how most of the coaches and athletes I know keep detailed workout logs.
They track each set, rep, weight, and some go so far as to record velocity, how they feel, what they ate, and so on. They review these logs and they know exactly what works and what doesn’t.
In a way this is all self awareness.
Self awareness is knowing where we are, what we’re capable of, what we’re feeling, and so on.
When we don’t have self awareness the gap between who we are and who we think we are grows.
As this gap grows it becomes harder to prevent and solve problems. It becomes harder to be who we want to be in the future.
If you’re five lbs overweight, that’s much easier to address than if you’re 85 pounds overweight. We can address problems sooner when we are more sensitive and aware of those problems.
Losing self awareness is one of the ways we end up 85 lbs over weight.
We disconnect our immediate behaviors with our present state because we are not fully aware of our present state. In this example eating too much is causing a decline in our health. If we don’t recognize that decline we can’t stop it before it gets much worse.
On the other side, self awareness can reinforce positive behaviors. Recognizing small improvements in our performance, in the quality of our lives, or in the strategies we use makes us happier. We can understand what works, when we should continue. We’re better able to develop strategies for getting where we want to be.
This self awareness also applies to our future selves.
We often fail to anticipate how we might feel and behave in the future.
We feel anxiety over a deadline or a task that we don’t want to do, even though we know we should. So we procrastinate in order to remove that anxiety.
If we get an accurate picture of our future selves, we will see that this future version of us will have even greater stress performing under a close deadline. Our future selves will have to deal with the consequences of not meeting our goals. We can see that we will still have that anxiety, and that distraction or delay will only make it worse.
The better we understand that future self the easier it is to make good decisions today in order to make life better for our future selves.
As we better understand and attend to our current emotions, our ability to address them with positive behaviors increases, rather than simply reacting to how we feel automatically with avoidance, distraction, and so on.
What behaviors do we engage in that might decrease our self awareness? What do we do in order to distract ourselves?
What can we do to increase our self awareness?