We’re all looking for a better life. Ever since the first cave man put on his best animal skin, picked up his club, and set out to make something of himself, humans have been asking themselves the same question. Who do I want to be? We don’t just think, we think about how we think., and this self-awareness is what distinguishes us from the other animals. It has allowed us to create the world we see around us, and do amazing, inspiring things. It has brought us great knowledge about the world, and about ourselves, but as we stand here in the twenty-first century looking at ourselves in the mirror, the question remains just as important. Who do we want to be? And for many of us, it’s a very tricky one to answer. Where do we even start? We’re not all born with burning ambition and our eyes set on the prize. Many of us feel like we’re just getting by, or flitting aimlessly through life, taking the opportunities presented to us, or not, with no grand plan in mind. So how do we cultivate direction in life? Read on to find out…

Self-Awareness

If we are going to change our lives for the better and find more happiness, we won’t get very far if we don’t first of all understand who we are, and have a good idea of who we want to be. In fact, self-awareness is so important to the process of self-improvement that when we were working out our 7 Pillars of Happiness for Mindshine, it came in at number one.

7 pillars of happiness

Self awareness has been proved in numerous psychology studies to encourage personal development, helping us improve in all sorts of ways. When we practice self-awareness we can make better decisions, become more proactive, more accepting of ourselves and others, more self-confident, creative, productive, better at our jobs… the list goes on and on. So if we’re trying to work out who we want to be, the first step is to start developing knowledge of self.

Step 1 - Find yourself on the page - Journaling

Journaling

Writing down your thoughts is one of the best ways to get at the truth within. There’s nothing quite like sitting with a pen and a blank page to make you take a good hard look at yourself. It’s a slow process, and it requires consistent effort, but the rewards are definitely worth it. We recommend making it a nice part of your morning ritual (rituals actually work by the way, don’t believe us, read it here)  Buy yourself a nice notebook and pen and sit down with a cup of tea to start the day the same way, every day, by filling three pages with writing about your life. It doesn’t matter what you write. The idea is simply to put pen to paper and see what happens. Write about your hopes and dreams, your fears and problems. Just write. And when you run out of things to write, which you undoubtedly will, keep writing. Write about what you have to do that day. Write about how you can’t think of anything to write about. It doesn’t matter. Just keep writing until you’ve filled up three pages. You’ll be surprised what starts to come out of your pen. It might even start to give you clues as to what you really want from life.

Step 2 - Find the Flow

Meditation masters have known for millennia that the path to happiness is to be found by paying close attention to the now. We are at our happiest when we can be truly present. Think of some of the times in your life when you felt most alive. Moments of flow, where time disappeared, and you were ensconced in the moment. What were you doing? Who were you with? See if you can make a list. Can you see any patterns? These moments are the times when you are most yourself. When you are living the most authentic version of your life. By creating more moments like these, and by making choices which allow you to be this version of yourself, you are bringing more joy into your life. Find the moments of flow, and go with them. That’s who you want to be.

Step 3 - Look at your role models

Another powerful tool in finding out who you want to be is to look at your role models. Make a list of people who you admire. They don’t have to be famous. They could be your friends, or people at work, or from your community. You just have to admire them. When you’ve got a list written down, see if you can work out what they have in common. How would you like to be more like them? What qualities do they possess which you’d like more of in your life? This will help you no end with the next step.

Step 4 - Discover Your Core Values

When you’ve had a good think about what you want, when you are truly yourself, and who you’d like to be more similar to, it’s time to narrow down your core values. Below is a list which you can use as a starting point. Have a browse, and try and narrow yourself a list of 4 or 5 values which resonate the most with you. 

list of values

These are your core values. Use them as your guiding principle life, a kind of North Star for where you should be going. Aligning your life choices with your core values, and moving in the direction of who you really want to be will allow you to achieve something remarkable,  a life of purpose, and that has been scientifically proven to be a massive step down the road to a happier life. 

You can find more articles about self-belief, positivity, self-awareness or mindfulness in our Magazine.

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Download the Mindshine app (iOS or Android) for more mindfulness and happiness exercises that help you find out what you believe and who you are.