Awareness is key to being more effective with less stress.

When we don’t know what we don’t know, we operate with less information. While it is true that we always act with some level of incomplete knowledge, the more aware we are of ourselves and of others, the more data we have to draw from to make intelligent and intentional choices.

When we raise our self-awareness, we are empowered with more clarity to move beyond the challenges and distractions to create lasting changes that quicken our journey to success, whatever that may mean individually. We make choices based on what we value harnessing our energy and focus in more productive ways.

With more self-awareness, we increase our awareness of others, their strengths, gaps, dreams, challenges and belief systems enabling us to work with others more effectively and to build stronger relationships and teams.

Here are some practical ways to increase your self-awareness:

 Schedule a daily reflection.

iStock_000047801356_Medium-1260x840Take fifteen minutes to reflect on your goals and values. Commit to this daily reflection to shift your perspective forward, create more clarity and unleash an energizing vitality.

Begin with a brief practice to relax any resistance you may have to this reflective time. A minute of silent meditation, some deep cleansing breaths, some stretching movement or listening to soothing music. Anything that works to calm and focus your attention. As you observe yourself, try to accept any anxiety or distraction that is occurring within or around you, without engaging or magnifying it.

When you are ready, write down what you want more of in your life and why it has meaning for you. Sometimes you may only have unanswered questions. Write those down as well. By doing so, you allow space for the answer to be realized. If you don’t like writing, create a digital journal by dictating your thoughts into your phone or record yourself speaking aloud and listen to it on playback.

Notice your habits.

Habits are the foundation of our life and work. More than just behaviors, they are patterned ways of thinking and speaking that greatly influence our experience. As you get clear on what you want and why, celebrate productive habits that support these goals and values. At the same time, try to accept any counterproductive habits your uncover. In time, you can experiment with ways to reshape these undesirable habits to better support you.

Ask for support.

Consider working with a coach to schedule regular time to reflect, to create strategies and to be accountable for developing your best solutions for moving forward.

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