There are three core practices of awareness: meditation, integration, and reflection.
Reflection develops perspective and accountability. It is studying yourself, to learn deeply about your motivations, emotional triggers, thought patterns, and biases.
There are three main ways to do this:
- Deep conversations
Journaling prompts you to reflect on your day, your behaviors, and your choices. It increases self-awareness and accountability. You are teaching your brain to be more aware during the day, since it will have to answer your journaling questions every night.
For the purposes of Mindful Self-Discipline, your journaling practice is simply taking a couple of minutes to answer these three questions every night:
- How have I taken a step toward my aspiration today? (Gratitude)
- How have I taken a step away from my aspiration today? (Awareness)
- What can I do better tomorrow? (Intention)
Tracking involves regularly taking note of your habits, routines, and goal-promoting activities, using a habits tracker, wall calendar, spreadsheet, or habits journal. It can involve rating yourself, from one to ten, on qualities or behaviors you are trying to develop. For example, if you want to develop more confidence, you could rate yourself every day from one to ten on how much you have practiced confidence that day. Finally, it includes the practice of attributing either a +1 or a -1 to your decisions during the day—a concept described in PAW Step Two.
Tracking gives you clarity about your patterns, and it enhances your commitment and self-awareness. It is an essential piece of Mindful Self-Discipline.
Deep conversations is a method that is harder to implement, because it doesn’t depend only on you. It involves having a wise and compassionate friend, a coach, or a therapist—someone who knows how to “hold space”, ask the right questions, and be a mirror for you. These conversations often go to much deeper places than journaling and tracking, because other people can more easily see our biases—and our blind spots. We often need that type of support.
Action Steps: Start a daily journal for self-reflection, and track your habits and the steps you are taking toward your goals. Try to find a way to have deep conversations with someone who can help you see your biases and enhance your perspective.