Self Discovery | How To Find Yourself In This New Year

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New year, new you. Who will you become in 2021? Here's to second chances, second winds, and the first step on the journey to self-discovery.

In the season of resolutions and newfound determination, bring the spotlight back to yourself. Self-care isn't selfish. We all deserve to find happiness and fulfillment.

And it all begins with self-discovery.

RELATED: 7 Ways to Practice Self-Love For People Over 50

A Quick Guide on Self Discovery


1. Picture Perfect

unrecognizable man sitting on sandy beach and enjoying sea views | self discovery techniques

From the moment we're born, we pick up habits and learn behavior from people around us. Your teachers tell you how to behave the moment you step into school. Your managers tell you how to fit in the moment you join the workforce.

We adjust our character depending on who we surround ourselves with. Many of us define ourselves by the company we keep. When do you get to decide who you are?

Ask yourself:

  • Who do I want to be?
  • What do I picture my ideal self as?

You can also look to your company to help you define yourself. What do other people say about you? Figuring out the role you maintain in other peoples' lives may help you see yourself in a different light. Or it may also reaffirm to yourself who you truly are.

Bear in mind that we each play a different role in other peoples' lives. But in all aspects of life, make sure you are the ideal person – a compassionate manager, an attentive father, or a generous friend.

To help you define who you are or who you want to be, ask yourself who you are to others. Or you can also hold a mirror to yourself. Look back to who you were in different situations, then evaluate who you have been.


2. Look Back for Self Discovery

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Hold a mirror to yourself and take responsibility for the person reflected.

Rather than looking to people around you to define yourself, you can also internalize the choices and decisions you've made in your life. Look within yourself and establish a starting point.

Rehash memories that you would consider as your defining moments. Whether it's a crowning achievement or a low point in your life, internalize how that influences who you are.

Ask yourself:

  • What are the highlights in my life?
  • Do I have any regrets?
  • Would I make the same decisions I made in the past?

By evaluating the decisions you made, you'll find your values and principles being revealed one by one. You'll learn what you value, what makes you tick, and how you make decisions. All our decisions are meant to direct us to our end goal – what that is you may have to discover along the way.

3. Change What Doesn’t Reflect Who You Truly Are

adult alone blur close up | how to find yourself

As you discover who you truly are, leave some room to improve who you want to be in the future.

Ditch bad habits you picked up from toxic people in your life if it doesn't reveal your true intentions or it's not the kind of person you want to be. Allow yourself to let go of old acquaintances that you feel have a poor influence on you – leave them behind along with 2020.

If you want to be come a more patient person, see each stressful moment as an opportunity to become a more patient and compassionate person.

Long queue at the coffee shop? Evaluate if waiting just a few more moments is worth your ire or your thoughts. After all, the person behind the counter may be having a more difficult time than you are. Instead, strike up a conversation with someone in the line to pass the time. When your turn comes, offer a generous smile. By the time you get your coffee, you'll have earned a new friend, made someone's day, and practiced patience.

4. Evaluate What Matters

man beach holiday woman | how to find yourself

Pinpoint key values that form part of who you are – your guiding principles and the core of your character. These may be your integrity or intelligence, or habits that you believe help inch you closer to your goals.

A man that values his integrity will come up with righteous and fair decisions most of the time. A man that values intelligence will continuously satisfy his thirst for knowledge – a life-long learner.

On the contrary, a man that identifies himself as a runner will make any sidewalk or small patch of land his own track field wherever you put him in the world. His schedule and lifestyle, no matter his profession, will revolve around the fact that he is a runner.

The values and principles you hold dear to you affect the way you see the world and how you react to different situations. Understanding this about yourself may help you build your character, honing the principles that are crucial to your persona. You may even find that you may be lacking in some aspects.

5. Reignite Your Passion

adult alone blur close up | how to find yourself

Return to your old hobbies and the things you were once passionate about. These may have been old passions or projects that had to take a backseat to your responsibilities.

Dip your paint brush in some paint and connect it with your canvas. The first few strokes may seem sloppy and chaotic, but give yourself time to let muscle memory kick in. Dust off your woodworking tools and relive the sense of accomplishment of crafting a sturdy homemade chair.

If you're having trouble enjoying former passions, ask a friend to attend a class with you. Bringing along fun company will ease the pressure to excel and may remind you why you loved it in the first place.

Do not pressure yourself to excel as you once did immediately. It's also entirely possible not to carry the same passion as you once did. And if it does happen, it's about time to try something new.

Take an online class to improve your skills and to learn some new ones.

Self-discovery is about discovering who you are now and appreciating how far you've come.

6. Dip Your Toes in New Waters

photo of man standing on rock | road to self discovery

Try out a new hobby if your old ones aren't as stimulating.

Take up running or a new sport at your local center. You may even get ideas or inspiration from your friends. What matters is that you get out there and find a new hobby or interest.

It may be something as exhilarating as sky diving or as calm as reading a book. Brew your own beer or a fresh cup of coffee – the choice is yours.

New experience may help unearth new skills, talents, or new traits you never knew your possessed.

7. Where Do Your Strengths Lie?

person on a bridge near a lake | discovery of oneself

Now that you've tried both old and new things, consulted with your past, and have identified your values, it's time to identify your strengths and potential opportunities.

Perhaps on your trek towards self-discovery, you found strengths you never knew you had. You may have found it while exploring new hobbies or you may have discovered it from a friend who defines you by this strength.

Whatever your newfound strength may be, continue to hone this in 2021. You may also master this in 2022.

As you enhance your skills, you may develop some more new ones, helping your confidence to soar. Confidence that will be a helpful and constant companion as you continue to improve yourself.

8. Pursue Life-Long Learning

photo of man holding a book | self-discovery techniques

The only constant thing is change.

Continue building current skills, improving on them, and applying them in your daily life. Once you've mastered a new skill or have enjoyed it fully, pick up a new hobby.

Learn a new language and gain a better appreciation for different cultures as well as adopt a new perspective. Master a life skill that will help you grow independence and may even help you become a more steadfast provider or partner. Take up a new sport because it's fun and may even help you become healthier.

Take advantage of the new digital world and take up classes online. In whatever field you choose, pick up a new skill.

Continue this road of self-discovery and take advantage of the momentum to keep improving and becoming a better person both for yourself and others.

9. Scribble and Document

man using ballpoint pen | self-discovery process

Whether it's one sentence or one page, jot down everything you felt in a day.

Having a journal to go back to will remind you what things truly impact your life and will remind you what truly brings joy to your life.

When trying out new experiences, bring a video camera with you. Document your reaction, detailing everything you felt, and retain that memory forever.

Journaling will help you look introspectively and will force you to sort out any emotions you may be feeling. You may even uncover notions you never knew you had. From there, you can work on them.

This is also a good way to document your journey to self-discovery. In moments of doubt or when you find your self in a slump, look back to your documentation and realize how far you've come. View your progress by how many steps and experiences you've had, not by the mastery of a skill.

10. Find Your Purpose

man wearing gray blazer | embrace self discovery

Your end goal will help define who you are and will guide your decisions every step of the way.

Want to retire and enjoy family life in your 60s? Create a pathway that will lead to retirement. Learn to be more thrifty and begin investing.

Don't force yourself to establish a specific end goal. Find a goal for yourself in five years or 10 years. It's another way to establish a starting point on your journey to self-discovery.

If you find yourself in a slump, look to your end goal to give you a sense of purpose and motivation.

11. Practice Mindfulness

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Practicing mindfulness every now and then will help you better connect with yourself.

Practice yoga or meditate in a quiet corner in your home. Be honest with yourself and allow yourself a chance to process your emotions privately. It's a chance you give to yourself to listen your own thoughts.

If mindfulness isn't helping, you may want to reach out to a therapist instead.

The end of a new year is an opportunity to leave behind our old selves in hopes for a better identity in 2021.

These tips will help you kick start the long and arduous trek. Whether you begin now or on January 1, just take the first step.

Starting day one early? Share your journey to self discovery with us in the comments section below!


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