On a scale of 1 to 10, how self-aware are you?
How well do you understand your own thoughts, emotions and core values? Can you recognize how these factors influence your success?
If you answered 10, good for you! Sharp self-awareness skills can not only help you recognize where you are in life, but also where you want to go and how to get there.
But if you answered on the lower scale of things, you’ve come to the right place. Today, we’re breaking down what self-awareness is and why it’s so important.
We’ve also got 50 (yes, fifty!) self-awareness activities that can help you, your kids, your students and your peers become more self-aware.
Let’s get started!
What is Self-Awareness and Why is it Important?
Self-awareness is the ability to understand your thoughts, emotions and core values, as well as realize how these elements impact your behavior. It requires emotional intelligence, and it’s about objectively evaluating yourself and aligning your actions with your internal standards.
To be self-aware is to be able to realistically assess your strengths and weaknesses while maintaining a positive mindset. It’s the ability to judge where you are in life, determine where you would like to be and set goals to achieve your vision.
Self-aware people recognize their skills and the skills they’re lacking while maintaining their confidence, drive and desire to grow. They keep an open mind about who they are and where they’re going. The more self-aware they become, the more they connect with their unique identity.
To become self-aware, you must be able to:
- See yourself honestly, flaws and all
- Identify and control your emotions
- Realize your strengths and weaknesses
- Take strides toward growth
Self-awareness is majorly important, both in life and in business. It can influence how you interact with others and how you set personal goals. But like all important things, no one ever said it was easy.
If you want to become more self-aware, take a look at these self-reflection activities.
Self-Awareness Activities for Entrepreneurship
If you’re currently sitting back and thinking, “Man, I don’t even know where I’m at in life!” — self-awareness activities can help.
Self-awareness activities are simple forms of self-improvement. They’re a method to better your behavior, harness your emotions and learn how to apply your core values in life and business.
To understand (and improve!) where you are in life, you first need to acknowledge all of the factors that surround you. Are you happy with your current behavior? Are negative thoughts holding you back from your goals?
As you focus on your current behavior and emotions, weigh them against your internal standards and core values. Are they reflective of where you want to be in life?
Recognize patterns in how you think, feel and behave to help form a roadmap from where you are now to where you want to be in the future. The more self-aware you are, the easier it will be to picture your life path.
There are dozens of activities you can do right now to build self-confidence in your self-awareness and map your next move. Take a look at some of our favorites!
Activities to Find Your Purpose
What are your life skills? How does what you do in your free time support your life goals? If you don’t have answers to these questions, it can be hard to act intentionally.
But to act intentionally, you must figure out who you are and what you want. These self-awareness activities will help you dig deep, so you can discover your purpose and take the first steps to a better you.
1. 7 Levels Deep
One of Dean’s favorite self-awareness exercises, 7 Levels Deep is a prompt to get you closer to your ultimate why.
Start with one question, like what you want out of life or what’s the next goal you want to accomplish. Then, challenge whatever answer comes next with another question.
For example, let’s say you ask yourself what you want in life. If your answer is money, ask yourself why you want money. What would money solve? Keep digging until you can find your why—the core value that’s driving you forward and the thing that matters most to you, whether you realize it or not.
2. Intentional Journaling
Have you ever had a conversation with a friend just to step back and think, “Wow, I’ve never said that out loud before…” So many times in life, we find ourselves revealing secrets we didn’t even know existed simply by talking through them.
When you’re working to become more self-aware, intentional journaling can have that exact same effect, but on pen and paper. Your journal is your chance to be honest with yourself and have a heart-to-heart with your subconscious.
Journaling can reveal the blind spots in your skillset or places where your emotional intelligence has been lacking. It points out areas where you’ve been holding yourself back.
3. Time vs. Importance
You, Dean, Tony Robbins—everybody has the same 24 hours in a day. It’s up to you to decide how you use them and whether or not your choices align with your core values.
For this self-awareness activity, rank 5 to 10 of the most important things in your life, including your career, family and relationships. Use a scale of 1–5, with 1 being the most important.
Now, think about how much time you dedicate to each of these things. If you’re spending the bulk of your time on your least important items, it might be best to make some adjustments.
4. Me or Them
This activity is simple, but it’s designed to make you think. Ask yourself who you treat better: yourself or others. Be honest. There is no right or wrong answer here, just self-reflection.
In a perfect world, you would treat yourself with the same patience and kindness you use with others. However, you shouldn’t treat yourself so much better that your friends and family begin to feel slighted.
Self-Awareness Activities to Find Your Path
Self-awareness is all about gaining the self-confidence to determine where you are in life, where you want to be and what you need to get there. But self-awareness exercises alone can’t open a magical stream of consciousness that spells out these details for you.
Instead, you’re going to need to do some soul searching yourself.
Avoid taking the easy way out, such as taking a personality test like the Myers-Briggs questionnaire. While personality type quizzes may help you identify your strong suits, they’re largely unreliable and usually a major waste of your time.
If you’re on a mission to find your path, your time is better suited with these eye-opening self-awareness activities.
5. Dial into Your True Calling
Before you doze off to sleep, what’s the last thing you think about? We’re not talking about unpaid bills or strategy calls. We’re talking about your hopes and dreams.
What’s your true calling? The thing you wake up each morning wishing you could do? Maybe it’s setting up an art studio or sharing your knowledge with others.
Whatever makes your heart beat fast and your palm sweat, start outlining a plan on how to get there.
6. Turn Off Auto-Pilot
People who aren’t self-aware tend to run on auto-pilot, and they respond with knee-jerk reactions. In comparison, those who are self-aware pause to assess situations objectively, without letting emotions or biases cloud their judgment.
This self-awareness activity will help you turn off auto-pilot and start thinking independently. The next time a situation triggers fear, anger or sadness, pause and take a deep breath. If you need space, take a quick walk.
Give yourself time to re-assess and plan your next move, instead of acting off of instinct.
7. Practice Saying “No” 5 Times a Day
When you say yes to everything, you really commit to nothing. The ability to say no, both to yourself and to others, is one of the most underrated tools for connecting with your true life path.
Think of it this way: When you say yes to every task or responsibility someone else asks of you, you leave no time for your personal goals. While you might think you’re being an asset to other people, you leave nothing for yourself. After all, you can’t pour from an empty cup.
On the flip side, when you say yes to all of your personal temptations—from junk food to procrastinating on social media—you stunt your own growth.
Make it a goal to say “no” to 5 different temptations each day, whether that be over-extending yourself for someone else or spending your own time scrolling mindlessly on Facebook. Practice this type of self-regulation to help you stay on your own path.
8. Question Your Absolutes
We all have certain default beliefs about ourselves and the world around us. For instance, if you’re strong in math, you might be absolutely certain that your career must involve math to highlight your skills.
Realistically, there may be a ton of other things you can do better—or enjoy doing more! It’s healthy to argue against yourself from time to time and question what you think are absolutes. You might find there are other avenues you haven’t explored yet.
9. Build a Positive Feedback Loop
In the quest to find your true path, the non-stop commentary in your head can be brutal. Those negative thoughts can send you spiraling down an unproductive and discouraging road.
Think about how you respond to your failures and successes. Do you beat yourself up after a mishap? And pass off your success as dumb luck? Always being so tough on yourself can build a negative feedback loop that will never allow you to be truly happy.
Be sure to celebrate your wins and always look for the silver lining in failure. Every loss is a lesson. And more than anything, remember to balance your tough love with some self-compassion—you deserve it
10. WWFMD? (What Would Future Me Do?)
Picture yourself 50 years from now, giving advice to someone your own age. What 3 pieces of advice would future-you give them about life? How would future-you guide them to be more self-aware or discover their purpose in business?
While you might not know as much now as future-you will in another 50 years, trusting your gut is almost always the best advice.
Self-Awareness Activities for Adults
Just because you’re an adult doesn’t mean you’re “too old” to build self-awareness skills. You’re never too old to be self-aware!
Self-awareness exercises can help you learn more about yourself, your emotions and your values, as well as how those factors impact your success. Start working in at least one of these activities each week.
Exercises to Improve Communication & Reaction
Communication is at the heart of everything you do. From your internal dialogue to the conversations you have with others, you need to be self-aware to communicate effectively and get where you want in life.
Take a look at these self-awareness activities to help better your communication and learn how to control your reactions, like anger or frustration.
11. Eye Contact
Eye contact is a self-awareness hack to help you stay in the moment and build your self-confidence. The next time you’re speaking with someone, look directly into their eyes, and try to not be first to look away. By all means, please blink and smile—you’re still a human being! But, maintaining eye contact in conversation shows attentiveness and assertiveness.
12. Body Language Awareness
Sometimes it’s not what you say, it’s how you say it. Body language plays a massive role in how other people perceive you, and as such, it’s a significant component of self-awareness.
Pay attention to your own body language to identify how you deal with stress or anxiety, such as touching your forehead or wringing your hands. Likewise, watch others as they talk and engage to recognize other physical cues you might be missing.
13. 90-Day Sprint
The 90-day sprint is a self-awareness exercise that Dean suggests to help those struggling in their romantic relationships. In the exercise, you treat the next 90 days of your relationship the exact same way you did the first 90 days. It should be the same in how you communicate, how you treat each other and how you show your feelings to one another.
Think back to how you were with each other in the very beginning—at the honeymoon stage. Try it for 90 days to see how it can improve your relationship and your communication.
14. The 3 Whys
A slightly less-robust take on 7 Levels Deep, the 3 Whys prompts you to ask why 3 times when something irritates you or makes you happy. Acknowledge the emotion, then lean into it.
Why are you feeling this way?
How can you feel like this more or less often?
How does this emotion impact your communication skills?
15. Triggers Worksheet
The Triggers worksheet helps you identify the culprits behind anger, depression and anxiety in life and business. Then, you’re asked to reflect on those triggers by asking 3 major questions:
- Why does this trigger you?
- What is your reaction to this trigger?
- What do you need to stay in control when you are confronted with this trigger?
You can find the Triggers worksheet here.
16. Grounding Techniques
Grounding techniques are exactly what they sound like—exercises to help bring you back to Earth when emotions get the best of you. One of the most simple grounding techniques is to shift your focus on your 5 senses. Turn your attention to whatever is physically happening around you—like smells or sounds—instead of being trapped within your thoughts.
Sit still in a chair or on the ground and focus on the things around you. Feel what you’re sitting on—is it hard or soft? What can you hear? Are the noises quiet or loud? What can you smell? Focus on these elements to calm yourself down in the heat of the moment.
Activities to Trigger a Change
Change can happen at any time in your adult life, whether you’re changing careers or finding new hobbies. If you’re looking to make a change in your life, but don’t know where to start, the answer might be within.
Consider these self-awareness activities to trigger a change.
17. Feedback Analysis
Sometimes we make the same mistakes over and over again simply because we haven’t given ourselves a chance to learn from them. Feedback analysis is a method to strengthen your self-awareness, and it can help you avoid situations with repeatedly negative outcomes.
To conduct your own feedback analysis, write down the expected outcome every time you make a major decision or change. Then, return to your prediction 6 to 9 months down the line and compare your results to your expectations.
18. Setting Life Goals Worksheet
Deciding on life goals can help you become more self-aware. Putting goals to paper will help you get an idea of what you need to achieve your goals, whether that be life changes or further education.
Once you identify your goal, ask yourself:
- What do I need to know to achieve this life goal?
- What kinds of qualities do I have that can help me?
- What kind of challenges do I anticipate?
- Do I have a sound support system?
- Why do I want to achieve this goal?
- How will achieving this goal add to my sense of purpose or happiness?
The answers to these questions can help inform your next steps.
19. Start a New Hobby
Hopping straight from setting goals to finding a hobby might sound counterintuitive, but hear us out: Sometimes you need to do things just for fun, not because they’re advancing you closer to your goals. Finding a hobby—like painting, jogging or gardening—can fill your spare time with activities you actually want to do. And doing things you love will bring you closer to your true purpose.
20. Describe Yourself in 3 Words
Sometimes all you need to make a big change is a push in the right direction. Describe yourself in just 3 words to highlight what you think are your most important attributes. Chances are, those are the skills you should lean into when making your next move.
21. Record Your ABC’s
No, not the ABC’s you learned in elementary school. In this case, your ABC’s are:
- The Adverse Event, which triggers an internal conversation
- The Beliefs you form after the event
- The Consequences of what your beliefs make you do
This activity allows you to grow from negative experiences by reflecting on how that moment shaped your beliefs and how those beliefs impacted your actions.
22. Eulerian Destiny Circles
Eulerian Destiny Circles may sound mystical, but they’re really just a simple way to build a framework for your future. To complete this activity, draw 4 overlapping circles and write one question in each circle:
- What did you grow up around?
- What do strangers say about you?
- What have you done for the past 5 to 10 years?
- What can you talk about endlessly and effortlessly for hours?
Write out your answers and see where the significant ones meet. This process may take awhile, but this exercise in self-reflection can reveal your true purpose in life.
23. The Freedom Diagram
The Freedom Diagram or TFD is an acronym for 3 components: talent, fun and demand. For this exercise, you’ll ask yourself 3 main questions.
- Talent: Where do you naturally shine?
- Fun: What do you enjoy doing?
- Demand: What can you make money doing?
Where your answers overlap is where your biggest chances of success in business lie—and that’s the ticket to securing true freedom.
24. Drucker’s 5 Questions
As you get closer to figuring out your ideal path, get a bit more granular with Drucker’s 5 Questions. Management guru Peter Drucker always positioned his consulting advice based on these questions:
- What is your mission?
- Who is your customer?
- What does your customer value?
- What results do you seek?
- What is your plan?
Decide on the answers to these 5 questions, and you have a roadmap for what you need to do in business—based on what works best for your unique skills.
25. Write Your Most Important Tasks (MITs) Nightly
This simple tip for self-awareness can take the shape of a plain to-do list. Each night, write out the 3 most important tasks (MITs) you have in store for the next day. In the morning, this list can help keep you focused.
In a few week’s time, return to your MITs to judge whether or not you’re actually completing them. If not, you may need to address your priorities.
Self-Awareness Activities for Students
Students can be some of the most malleable people—they’re already looking to learn and grow! But beyond what they can learn in a technology-based mastermind course, students need to be taught soft skills, like emotional intelligence, critical thinking and positive inner dialogues.
If you’re a classroom educator or virtual knowledge broker, check out these self-awareness activities for students.
Emotional Learning Exercises
Emotion can spark movement. But while positive emotions can lead to amazing life changes, negative emotions may do more harm than good. It’s important for students to learn that they can have emotions in business—but their emotions need to fuel productive activities that drive them further down their life path.
These emotional learning exercises can help your students hone their self-awareness skills and become better communicators, collaborators and creators.
26. Sparks: Peer-to-Peer Interview Worksheet
The Sparks: Peer-to-Peer Interview Worksheet is a 6-question prompt that explores students’ interests, passions and talents.
- What is one of your sparks (passions, interests, talents)?
- How did you discover that this is one of your sparks?
- How do you feel when you are doing your spark?
- Think of somebody who is really into their spark/passion. Describe what you see.
- Do you have a spark champion (a person who helps you explore and develop your self-awareness skills)? If yes, describe how this person helps you.
- Do you set goals and make plans to get better at your spark/talent? If yes, give me an example.
You can download the worksheet template here.
27. Discuss the Thoughts-Feelings-Actions Circle
In life and in business, how your students respond to their thoughts and feelings can impact both their productivity and overall success. The Thoughts-Feelings-Actions Circle describes to students how thoughts can lead to feelings and how feelings can lead to actions, which can lead back to thoughts.
Reinforce the importance of maintaining a positive mindset, because actions taken with negative thoughts can derail success.
You can find a Thoughts-Feelings-Actions worksheet template here.
28. Keep an Emotions Journal
Emotions—like anger, sadness and joy—can spark some serious life changes in your students. After you discuss how thoughts and feelings can impact actions, make time for a daily emotion assessment.
What are students feeling right now? What’s making them frustrated?
This opportunity to explore their emotions allows students to funnel feelings like pent-up anger or bottled-up excitement into productive life changes.
29. Establish and Work Toward Goals
Accomplishing self-awareness goals gives students milestones to celebrate, strengthening their belief in themselves. Ask students to set a realistic goal and write out the steps they can take to meet their objectives. As the curriculum progresses, you can even consider making overarching goals for those taking your course to strive for improved self-awareness.
30. Self-Compliment List
Help your students identify their strengths by establishing a self-compliment list. What do students like most about themselves? What are their top skills? Working to identify these things reinforces a positive sense of self-esteem, helping to build confidence and set students on a path to success.
Activities to Build a Personal Manifesto
A personal manifesto captures your students’ aspirations, attitudes and values neatly into one file. Whether it’s a journal entry or video diary, have your students create a reviewable, documented personal manifesto, and be sure that it includes their core values. Then, encourage them to refer back to it when life gets murky, to help them stay true to who they are.
These self-awareness activities for students can help.
31. Passion Show and Tell
A spin on a classic show and tell performance, open the floor to your students to discuss something they’re passionate about in a passion show and tell. This can be a hobby, a new skill or a tangible object. Whatever it is, have the student describe why they care so deeply about it and how it will help them grow in the future.
32. Weekly Goals and Dreams Conversation
There’s no way to tell if a student’s actions are in-line with their internal standards if they’re not touching base with themselves regularly. Instruct your students to have a weekly 1:1 with themselves where they review their short- or long-term goals and dreams. During this meeting, they should detail what they’re doing to make those dreams come true.
33. Career Research Assignments
If you’re teaching a mastermind course, chances are, your students already know the type of career they’d like to dive into. However, that doesn’t mean they’re prepared for the hurdles that may stand in their way. Have your students research everything about their chosen career, including pain points and common hiccups, to better prepare them for the future.
34. Social Identity Wheel
The Social Identity Wheel is an exercise that motivates students to identify various social identities—such as race, gender or ability—and how those identities influence the way others see them. This activity can help students understand how others perceive them, and how their actions and emotions can influence this perception.
Find the Social Identity Wheel worksheet here.
35. Personal Advice
Lastly, ask students to give their past and future selves a bit of advice. What do they know now that they would’ve loved to know 5 years ago? What do they want to be sure not to forget 5 years from now? The answers to these questions can help shape how students approach problem-solving and goal-setting.
Self-Awareness Group Activities
Becoming more self-aware doesn’t mean you have to embark on this journey alone. Self-exploration can be completed in a group, where you can feel motivated to keep digging deeper into your true self. Consider these self-reflection activities you can do with friends, colleagues or students.
36. The Funeral Test
How do you want people to speak about you at your funeral? You might be in no rush to find out any time soon, but you can figure out how people would remember you with the funeral test.
Go around in a circle, and allow your peers to say a few words about the type of person you are and what they would remember you for. Then, do the same for yourself, as if you were giving your own eulogy.
Though this might feel morbid at first, this activity can shine a light on your positive attributes and reveal any accomplishments you haven’t gotten to yet but definitely want to complete pre-funeral.
37. Constructive Criticism Sessions
Constructive criticism is exactly what it sounds like—tough love that can help you improve. Gather your group and have each individual select something that they’ve been working towards and want feedback on. Or, they can say something they have been thinking of but haven’t started yet.
Then, go around in a circle, each giving constructive feedback. Remember that whatever you say should be productive and actionable.
38. Accountability Teams
We all need a good kick in the caboose every now and then. Set up accountability teams who hold you to your self-awareness goals. Check-in bi-weekly to discuss how each person is progressing and share tools to help everyone reach their self-reflection objectives.
39. Compare Adjectives
Looking for a more light-hearted way to gain insight into yourself? Have your peers write out a list of adjectives that they think describes them best, like loyal, humble, hard-working or funny. Once each person has a personal list, create a list of adjectives for everyone else in the group. One by one, take turns comparing your personal lists with the lists others wrote about you.
This self-awareness activity is very helpful. It can not only show you how others perceive you, but it can also teach you how self-aware you are compared to others’ opinions of you.
40. Honesty Hour
The people who know you the best likely refrain from telling you the whole truth because they fear hurting your feelings. Once you feel ready for truly honest feedback, create a safe space for friends and family to be fully upfront with you. To kick things off, designate 5 minutes to remain totally silent while your friends or loved ones think out loud with total honesty.
Self-Awareness Exercises for Kids
Self-awareness is an important skill for everyone—especially children! However, self-awareness may not be something your child’s educator has on their lesson plan. That’s why we suggest supplementing with activities of your own. Consider using these exercises to help your little ones become self-aware people, in tune with their critical thinking skills and decision-making processes.
Emotional Intelligence Activities
A term first coined by author and science journalist Daniel Goleman, emotional intelligence is the ability to understand emotions—how emotions can impact thoughts and how to control emotions. Self-awareness activities for kids can help enhance their emotional intelligence, so they can learn to navigate their feelings, connect with others and maintain high self-esteem.
41. Same vs. Different Activity
Children should learn early on that it’s okay to be different—and that having differences is what makes the world a great place. To do that, they need to have the self-awareness to recognize when things are different in the first place. At home, you can help children recognize similarities and differences in the things around them.
Choose a toy, like a stuffed animal or toy car, and place it on a table. Then, fill a bag with other toys that are a variety of colors and textures. Have your children take turns pulling toys out of the bag and deciding if it’s the same or different from the toy on the table. Remember to reiterate that just because the toys look or feel different, they can still like them equally.
42. Emotion Vocabulary List
Kids have just as many emotions as adults do. The difference is, they just can’t communicate their emotions as well. This self-awareness activity can change that.
Work with your child, sibling, niece or nephew to expand their emotional vocabulary. Instead of “happy” or “sad,” teach them words that can specifically describe how they’re feeling:
Building this emotion vocabulary list can help children share what they’re feeling to prevent frustration, tantrums or lashing out at others.
43. Self-Responsibility Activity
Have you ever seen a 5-year-old who lost their favorite toy? It’s not pretty.
Instances like these are great opportunities to build both emotional intelligence and self-awareness through self-responsibility activities. Young kids often leave their toys around the house in areas where they can get trampled, destroyed or accidentally tossed. Obviously, those outcomes make them very sad.
Teach your child that they’re responsible for their possessions in a fun, interactive way. It not only shows them responsibility but also that they can have a say over their own emotions.
44. Bug and Wish Exercise
Children can have a hard time expressing what’s bothering them. The Bug and Wish exercise is a super simple way to help them communicate. It provides kids a deeper understanding of their own feelings, and it helps the other person understand what they might have done wrong.
Teach your kids to say:
It bugs me when _____(what the other person did)_____.
I wish you would _____(the action they would like the other person to take)_____.
45. How to Use “I” Statements
A massive part of emotional intelligence is understanding how you’re feeling and what caused you to feel that way. Help children find words for their emotions and work through what caused those emotions by teaching them to use this statement:
I feel _____(emotion)_____ when _____(the cause of the feeling)_____.
For example, “I feel sad when we don’t read together before bed.” By communicating the cause of the feeling, your child will have a better understanding of what they can do to feel better.
Exercises to Expand Self-Reflection
To build self-awareness, children must be able to self-reflect. Take a look at these simple exercises you can do at home to help your child better understand how they fit into the world around them.
46. Wants and Needs Worksheet
Does your child need a new toy or want a new toy? Wanting nice things is a great drive to pass along to your kids, but you have to teach them the difference between wants and needs.
Draft a worksheet using a simple T-chart template. Title one side with “Wants” and put “Needs” on the other. Then, with your child, go through various wants—like a new toy or party dress—and needs—like food and clothing.
47. Self-Awareness Picture Books
Every parent, guardian or teacher needs a little help from books sometimes. Check out interactive self-awareness picture books for kids, like I Am Enough by Grace Byers or The Bad Seed by Jory John.
48. What Would ___ Do?
When kids face a problem, they typically look to us to fix it—and 9 times out of 10, we do. Instead of diving in to save the day right away, try to encourage your child to work it out themselves.
A great way to do this is to use your child’s favorite TV character or superhero. Try asking, “What would Batman do in this situation?”
49. Chore Charts
Incorporate a chore chart at home that includes simple jobs, like picking up dirty clothes, putting away toys or making the bed. As your child completes these tasks, give them specific verbal encouragement to let them know they did well—like, “I love how you made your bed today! Awesome job!” Over time, your child will learn that helping out can make others happy, and it can make them feel good about themselves, too.
50. What’s Stumping You?
When your child doesn’t know how to do something, ask them what’s stumping them or where the hard part is. By having them break down the situation, kids can process why they can’t come to a solution. Then, they can ask for specific guidance to solve the problem independently.
Which Self-Awareness Activity Will You Try?
Self-awareness is a major factor in understanding where you are in life, where you want to be and how to get there. Learning to be self-aware isn’t easy, but with practice, you can become more in-tune with your emotions and values—and learn how to reach greater success.
Which of these activities will you try out first?