I'm an avid reader of ELLE Canada, and they're the one publication whose email list I stay subscribed to. Not only do they have fun and insightful articles, but their horoscopes are always on point.
This past year has brought along many new opportunities, and in turn I have gotten to know myself a lot better. For example, working in my university's Student Affairs office has helped me to develop my leadership skills and find personal value in my work. With exams and deadlines creeping around the corner, we often become unexcited about school. Now that I'm getting more involved, I can say that the 12-hour days are truly worth it.
If you find yourself with some free time over the next few days, pull up these questions and see how they make you feel. I am feeling motivated to work harder, be nicer, and go that extra step to help those around me.
By: Gary Lewandowski, Ph.D., professor at Monmouth University in New Jersey, and Brent Mattingly, Ph.D., assistant professor at Ursinus College in Pennsylvania. Source Link: ellecanada.com
PART 1 – Your Essentials. Who are you today?
1. List five adjectives or traits that describe you.
2. List five roles that you fulfill.
3. List five of your skills and abilities.
4. List five of your possessions that provide insight into who you are as a person.
5. List five life experiences that have helped define who you are.
6. List five attributes that you think your family and closest friends would say describe you.
GO ONE STEP FURTHER - Actually reach out to your family and several of your closest friends and ask them to share the five traits that they think best describe you. Then compare and contrast these lists with your own. “People who know themselves well tend to have a list similar to what their friends said,” says Lewandowski. “Sometimes other people can see us more accurately than we see ourselves, and sometimes we define ourselves by how we think other people see us.”
PART 2 – Your Authenticity. What do you know about yourself for sure?
7. When you think about who you are, what aspects of your personality are most clear to you?
8. In what ways does the “you” that you present to the world match who you really are?
9. Think of three examples of when you stayed true to yourself despite societal or peer pressure. How can you continue to do this?
10. What are three of your most important personal values, and how can standing by these beliefs benefit you in the future?
11. What aspects of your personality stay the same regardless of the situation?
12. Look at the "Your Essentials" lists that you've created for questions 1 to 6. Do any of these traits conflict with who you think you are? If they do, how can you be more consistent?
THE FINDINGS - “Research shows that individuals who are authentic—who have a clear sense of who they really are—are less likely to be depressed or anxious and report a higher satisfaction with their lives,” says Mattingly.
PART 3 – Your True Self. How well do you know what you stand for?
13. What are your three best qualities?
14. If you compare yourself to others you know, what are you especially good at?
15. In what ways is your life better than the lives of other people you know?
16. List three things about yourself that make you proud.
17. Describe three of your greatest accomplishments in life. What's your next big goal?
18. What things do you struggle with? Do you know any one else who shares these struggles?
GO ONE STEP FURTHER - For the next two weeks, at the end of each day, write down three positive feelings you had that day. Some people call this keeping “smile files” or “joy jars,” and it works. “It makes people more mindful of what they are good at and what they have accomplished,” says Mattingly.
PART 4 – Your Interests. Are you ready to push yourself a bit?
19. List three things you enjoy but don't get much opportunity to do. What steps can you take to do these things more often?
20. What parts of who you are as a person have fallen by the wayside? What can you do to help bring them back?
21. In what ways have you put others' needs ahead of your own? How can you restore the balance and start focusing on your own needs more?
22. How can you make time in your schedule this weekend for at least one hobby you haven't had time for recently?
23. Spend an afternoon looking though old photo albums and reading old journals. In what ways could you benefit from becoming reacquainted with the person you were in the past?
24. Think back to the type of person you wanted to be when you graduated from high school. What positive attributes did you have that you don't think you have now? How can you rediscover these today?
GO ONE STEP FURTHER - Take a mini “me” vacation to clear your head. Book a day off from work or save a Saturday when you don’t commit to anything. “Some people might view this as selfish,” says Mattingly, “but it can be a really beneficial way to push yourself forward.”
PART 5 – Your Work Life. How can you get the most out of your job?
25. In what ways does your job help you improve as a person? How can you ensure that this will continue in the future?
26. What types of new and interesting things do you learn at your job? How have these experiences benefited you?
27. What new responsibilities that you've taken on at work do you enjoy? In what ways have these made you more effective at your job?
28. How could you make the mundane and boring part of your work more interesting and fun?
29. In the past five years, what new skills have you acquired at work? How have these been beneficial?
30. Looking ahead at the next five years, what additional areas of expertise can you develop?
THE FINDINGS - “We’re working on a research project called ‘Making a boring job better,’” says Lewandowski. “In one of our studies, we had people do data entry while listening to a TED Talk, listening to rippling water or listening to nothing. And while it’s hard to listen to a TED Talk while doing a task that requires concentration, it’s also new and interesting. The people who listened to the TED Talk enjoyed the data entry more. We did a similar test where we asked people to move objects across a room by simply lifting them or by using chopsticks—it was a way to test a new and somewhat interesting and challenging way of doing things. After this task, we had participants complete a cognitive puzzle; the people who had used chopsticks came up with more solutions to the puzzle. The takeaway from this is that whatever mundane task you face in life, be creative and find a way to make it more interesting. There is also anecdotal evidence that shows that if you do something fun before work or make an effort to have a more exciting life outside of work, you can make a boring workday better.”
PART 6 – Your Future. How can you become an improved version of you?
31. What are three new and interesting activities you could try? Which of them could you start next week?
32. What are three topics you would like to learn about? Create an action plan for deepening your understanding of at least one.
33. Challenge yourself to improve in three ways this month. What steps can you take toward accomplishing each?
34. Which three places would you like to visit in the future? What could you learn from visiting each place?
35. In what ways have you improved as a person over the past five years? How has this helped shape who you are today?
36. Think about ways in which you could grow as a person over the next five years. How will this help you reach your full potential?
GO ONE STEP FURTHER - Make an effort to explore and share your life with others—plan a road trip with a friend or sign up for some volunteer work. “While it’s good to take a quiz like this, it’s never a good idea to become too self-involved,”says Lewandowski. “Studies show that the more selfish people are, the less happy they are. But research also shows that people who are clearer about who they are experience richer relationships. And remember that becoming a better you is a continual process. Keep asking yourself these kinds of ques- tions to keep pushing yourself forward. Share the new you with your friends and family.”