Ever heard of self-actualisation? It’s the ability to reach your potential. Whether you reach your potential can have an important bearing on your mental wellbeing. If you never reach the potential that you and others know is possible, then you can feel like a piece of the puzzle is missing. In other words, you may feel inadequate or incomplete.
So how can you achieve self-actualisation and the benefits that come with it? Self-reflection, setting SMART objectives, asking for help and doing something you enjoy are four helpful tips to do so. This blog will give you a clear run-down of each one.
It’s all too common for people to say, “I don’t have time to think”. Life seems to get busier as the years go by. Is it possible that we now have more ways of occupying ourselves? Think about it. There’s technology, social media, working 60 hours a week, as well as attending to home and family duties. The list is endless. This can make it difficult to ‘switch off’.
It’s important that you consider taking time out for yourself (AKA ‘me time’) to self-reflect. This will enable you to better understand and evaluate what is happening in your life. It can pose questions like: “Am I happy with who I am”, “Who do people see me as”, and “What direction and purpose does my life have”. These questions can really put things into perspective and hopefully guide you towards a better, happier version of yourself.
Let’s delve deeper into the above three questions. These questions can help you become more aware of ‘who’ you are. This is important for one main reason. Knowing who you are provides you with a template for how you behave and treat others. These values are what gives us purpose and direction. For example, if you value helping others, then you may make it your mission to assist and guide others in your line of work and personal life.
Self-reflection also acts as a great way to learn from your mistakes, or improve on your weaknesses. By reflecting on these areas, you can identify where the problem lies and how you can do things better next time. However, it’s still important to focus on what you have done well. Focusing on these strengths will help you continue these good habits consistently.
There are many ways you can carry out self-reflection. These include:
- Keeping a journal: Keep a record of your daily activities, thoughts and feelings. This may be suited for those that can better express themselves on paper.
- Voice record your recounts: Keeping a record this way could be more beneficial for those who prefer communicating orally.
- Put down the phone: Instead of looking at your phone when commuting home from work, mentally reflect on your day.
Journal reflections are one way of achieving self-actualisation.
It’s important to set aside a similar time each day for this self-reflection. This way, it becomes a part of your daily schedule. Remember, this time of self-reflection doesn’t need to be long. Even 10 minutes a day can help you achieve self-actualisation and improve your mental wellbeing.
Write SMART objectives
Setting objectives for yourself can provide you with a clearer direction and purpose in your working and personal life.
SMART objectives are particularly useful. SMART means to set goals that are specific, measurable, actionable, realistic and time-bound.
An example of a SMART goal for work would be, “I will sell five property listings by the end of December”. A personal objective may be, “By the end of the month, I will have dropped the kids off at school at least five times”.
Whilst these two SMART objective examples sound very different, they all possess the same key elements. They are specific, which means they clearly outline what you want to achieve. They can be measured easily, which in the examples is done by specifying a target number (e.g five). Finally, they are realistic in terms of overcoming the challenge and time boundaries.
Setting these objectives for your work and personal life will ensure you are motivated and purposeful when performing tasks. These five methods for better planning will help you achieve this.
Another way of explaining SMART objectives is visualising the goal as the big picture. Sometimes we can lose sight of why we are doing something. Having objectives reminds us of the ‘why’ and ‘how’ we can achieve self-actualisation.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help and advice
This goes hand-in-hand with self-reflection. As mentioned earlier, self-reflection can help you identify where your problems, challenges or issues lie. However, coming up with a solution by yourself can be difficult at times. Sometimes we require the words and wisdom of others. Their experiences and knowledge can be of great help to you.
This is why you should never be afraid or reluctant to ask for help and advice. Being afraid to ask a colleague, friend, or associate can result from your belief that some questions are ‘stupid’. But remember, there are no stupid questions. We are not encyclopedias. What may seem common knowledge to one person is not necessarily the case for someone else. We all hold different levels of knowledge and experience so it’s important to feed off other people’s encyclopedias.
Being reluctant to ask for advice or help could also be a pride factor. Some people may think that their knowledge, lived experiences and capabilities can solve anything and everything. Maybe for some this is true. However, more often than not, this is not the case.
By removing these self-biases, you will be more open to reach out to others for advice or help. We all have something unique to teach others. It’s important we remember this when considering to ask or answer a question. You will find that the benefit of asking will most always provide you with a different perspective of looking at things. This is important in your pursuit of self-actualisation.
Do something you enjoy
Have you ever thought, “I wish I could do something that I enjoy”? You might think this applies to everyone. But in reality, this could be a sign that something needs to change. We can often get caught up in a monotonous routine of work. If we aren’t enjoying what we’re doing day-in-day-out, then this can put a dampener on our personal life.
So what can you do about it? There are a variety of things you can do to break this trend. Upskilling can bring back your engagement and enjoyment for the job. Employers can do this by providing you with learning opportunities tailored for your skill set. Doing so can equip you with the skills to handle a more diverse range of tasks.
If you aren’t looking to change things up at work, then you can try making adjustments in your personal life. For example, taking up a new hobby or spending more time with family and friends. All these options aim to do one thing — make life more enjoyable.
There’s no right or wrong way of going about finding something that brings joy and happiness to your life. Everyone will find something different that gives them this satisfaction. Once you find this, everything else in your life will hopefully become more satisfying (or tolerable)!
Feeling more inspired now to go out and achieve self-actualisation? It’s important that you prioritise your development and growth as a person. This may be done by taking time out every day for self-reflection, or visualising the bigger picture by setting SMART objectives.
Don’t be afraid to ask others for advice to clarify your uncertainties. Finally, do something that excites you. These simple but effective tips can help you reach the potential you have always known to be possible.
Part two of your complete guide to what is mental wellbeing, will take you through being productive with your time.