If you want to make any real significant change in your life, it’s necessary to know what is directing your focus and shaping your perspectives. Building this awareness takes mindful and conscientious effort. Here are a few steps that will help you in becoming more self-aware.

Recognize What Affects You Negatively

Is it the weather? A noisy environment? Some unwanted news? How many of the things that are upsetting you are not within your control? Can you pinpoint the moment the negative feelings start to creep up? Can you identify the instant you start reacting without taking the time to think or consciously choose your reaction? Focus on learning to observe and be aware of yourself and your perceptions in the present moment.

Change What Doesn’t Serve You

Once you’ve gotten a handle on observing and becoming more aware of yourself, it’s time to learn how to change any counterproductive reactions. When you notice the negative energy beginning to appear, make a conscious effort to stop, breathe, and relax. Do whatever it takes to mentally brush the negative emotions away and let them go.

Own Your Reaction

Concentrate on your choice of response to the current moment. Consider the best possible conclusion and respond in a way that will bring you closer to that end. Remember you are the one deciding on how you react to any given situation.

If you are working on anger, for example, be aware of your ability to choose to lower your voice, to choose your words carefully, to choose how to deal with your anger by verbally addressing your concern in order to work toward a favorable outcome.

Evaluate Your Expectations

When you walk into any situation with high expectations, you may be setting yourself up for disappointment.  Learning to “accept” rather than “expect” can prevent you from being frustrated by people or situations outside of your control. Learn how to move forward with a positive and more effective response, such as showing your teenager how to sort the laundry instead of scolding them for turning all the white clothes a new shade of pink.

Eliminating your expectations frees you from the negative and unhelpful feelings of disappointment or frustration and allows you to address the situation through positive exchange.

Very few situations in life justify downright hysteria, so why allow yourself to fly out of control? Instead, just let the moment happen. Keep your cool. By not overreacting you’re honing into your ability to calm yourself and put things into proper perspective. This is a superpower.

Be Mindful of Your Behavior

Remaining consistently focused on being self-aware grants you the option to change your outlook, to recalibrate your mindset, and to shift gears. One shift that can have a great impact on your life experience is moving from a negative space into a positive one. A small but significant step in that direction is to simply STOP COMPLAINING. We tend to complain verbally and mentally, and this paves the way for negative energies to take over our day.

Commit yourself to eliminate all complaints – verbal and mental. Stop yourself mid-sentence if you have to. If it’s a mental complaint, push it away and refuse to give it any consideration. If the moment isn’t what you want it to be, acknowledge that, accept it, let it pass, and move on.

Turn Negativity into Positivity

By exchanging our negative mumblings for positive reflections and affirmations, we can have more joyful and fulfilling experiences. You need to push the boundaries in your mindset by replacing those mental and verbal complaints with positive thinking and actions. Catching these negative rantings requires a constant level of self-awareness. And making the swap from negative to positive will take lots of effort at first, but overtime, it will become easier.

So, exchange “I don’t want to get out of bed,” for, “How can I serve others today?” or “Another day, another opportunity.” If you feel a verbal complaint trying to make its way onto your tongue, give a positive utterance instead. Instead of complaining to your child about their messy room, try telling them you know they like to keep the floor straightened and you’ll help if they’re ready to pick up. Stretch yourself to find the good in the situation or in the person’s intentions.

Find the Lessons and Benefits from Your Experiences

One of the greatest snatchers of our joy are past experiences that have caused us pain and that we continue to drag along behind us like a ball and chain. Now, while we can’t ever change the past, we can reframe the way we see it. And while no one likes to go through suffering and pain, it does have a purpose in our life.

All so often, it is the pain points in our lives that have shaped us and made us who we are today. These experiences highlight our weaknesses and areas where we should grow and improve. They offer us lessons that can make us much better individuals that we could have ever been without them.

Think about a painful moment in your life and write down at least one way that experience was good or beneficial for you or in the shaping of your life. You could also list the lessons that you have learned from that experience.

Get to Know What You Really Want

Everyone has dreams and visions of what they want their life to look like, and these visions vary from person to person.  Most people just write their dreams off as an unattainable fantasy, but it doesn’t have to be that way.  In fact, once you narrow down what exactly it is that you really want, the more likely you are to achieve it because you’ve defined it.

List some of the things you want but don’t have, some of the things you’d like to do, but never have. Go through the list, and ask yourself, “Why do I want this?” Keep asking “why?” until you have reached the core desire or motivation for wanting that thing. That is what you really want. Once you know what you want, write it down.

Writing out your vision is a powerful step because until now, it’s only lived in your mind.  Once you put it on paper, you’ve taken the first step to turn your vision into a reality.  Try it out now.

The Benefits of Being Self-Aware

Obtaining self-awareness will prepare you to effectively and positively deal with the potentially upsetting or challenging aspects of life allowing you to focus on what brings you true happiness because that is the end goal after all.

Knowing yourself inside and out can be the greatest gift ever.  Understanding yourself allows you to create a clear path of where you want your life to go and how to get there based on your strengths.