5 questions to help you get to know yourself

Kathryn Wheeler
By Kathryn Wheeler,
updated on Jan 19, 2021

5 questions to help you get to know yourself

Ever feel disconnected from your true self? Use these five prompts to evaluate your needs, desires, and the things that drive you – so that you can take the next step with confidence

Throughout our lives, we inevitably go through periods of feeling a bit lost, with a weaker sense of who we are and what we want. This might be following an important transition in our lives – for example, following the birth of a child, or the start of a new career – and it can begin to unsettle our relationships with ourselves and others.

“Getting to know yourself is not easy, but definitely a journey full of benefits that are well worth exploring,” says Ayesha Giselle, a life and accountability coach. “Your self-awareness will allow you to understand your abilities, strengths, weaknesses, your likes and dislikes, your boundaries, triggers, and values – and it will help you to show up more confidently and authentically, supporting you to become a person you like, love, and enjoy.”

As a new year begins, to help you start a dialogue with yourself to evaluate your wants, needs, and values, we’ve collected together five key questions to ask, so that you can get to know yourself better.

1. If I had to describe myself in one word, what would it be?

Kind, ambitious, funny, confident, generous, adventurous, intuitive? It may seem like a big challenge to sum yourself up in just one word, but getting there will help you discover a key quality that you’re able to identify in yourself.

If you find the challenge difficult, whether that’s because you can think of too many things, or you find it hard to decide the one, reflect on why that might be.

You might struggle with your focus, or maybe you haven’t stopped to think about your characteristics like this before. Whatever you might conclude, acknowledge the process and evaluate what it can teach you.

2. Where do I want to be in one week, one month, and year’s time?

A goal of any sort, whether big or small, can help to set our focus. And we don’t have to tackle it all at once. By this time next week, is there something that you would like to achieve? Perhaps it’s to spend an evening dedicated to self-care, or to finish reading your book.

In a month, you might want to have learned a new skill, or spent some time with someone special to you. And then in a year, maybe you want to be somewhere else in your career, or have finally got round to that big experience you’ve been dreaming of.

Our goals are personal to us, and so often they exist only in the abstract. Take some time out to jot down what you want to achieve, and then take a look over what you have come up with, to see what it can tell you about what you need to prioritise, and what might be preventing you from moving towards these goals.

man looking in mirror

3. What is my happiest memory?

To look forwards, it can help to look back. Think back to a time when you were really happy. It might be from your childhood, or even last month! What was it about this memory that makes it so happy?

Would that same thing make you feel just as happy today – would you still respond in the same way? This question can both show us how our needs evolve over time, and remind us of our core values, likes, and dislikes.

"To look forwards, sometimes it can help to look back"

4. What am I like when I’m alone?

Whether it’s in the workplace or at social gatherings, we all have to adapt the way that we present ourselves throughout the day. It’s a natural thing to do, and it’s part of understanding social situations and getting on with other people.

But at the end of the day, when you’re on your own, what are you like? What’s your focus, or your default mood? What activities do you find yourself drawn to? What music do you listen to, or films do you watch? Reflect on this question and, if you find it hard to answer, perhaps try to schedule in some alone time, so you can concentrate on tuning-in.

5. What really matters to me?

What things make your heart sing, or your blood boil?

You might be very passionate about a particular cause – if so, take some time to think about what it is about that cause that matters so much to you. It may be your job, or your friends, or your family. It could be a hobby, or volunteer work. Or it might even be the dream that you’re still set on chasing.

When we understand what’s driving us forward, it’s easier to take the next step with confidence.

Need to talk to someone? Find a coach online or in your local area.

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