Why Do I Do This?
Have you ever looked back at a decision you made and wondered, “Why do I keep doing this?” It can seem like there is no identifiable reason for a particular choice you keep making or particular action you keep taking, but the fact is, our choices and actions are always rooted in something.
Getting to that root, however, requires some self-awareness and introspection that many people are often either unwilling or unable to do.
The Role of Introspection
Introspection is a research technique first introduced by psychologist Wilhelm Wundt, also referred to as self-observation. This technique involved training people to objectively and carefully analyze their thoughts.
Present-day, introspection is thought of more so as a way of looking inward to examine one’s thoughts and emotions in a less structured and regimented manner. It’s about looking at internal thoughts, feelings, and memories and examining them for deeper meaning and understanding.
Introspection is valuable when it comes to assessing the decisions one makes. Taking the time to reflect on your thoughts, feelings, and memories can help you attach/find meaning within something that is seemingly minor. This can uncover personal knowledge and help make a connection between experiences and responses that helps you gain clarity about the choices you make. You can then make more informed decisions based on a clearer understanding.
The Role of Self-Awareness
Self-awareness is the process of becoming aware of aspects of self, including feelings, behaviors, and traits. Self-awareness actually utilizes reflection and introspection as a means of looking at yourself clearly and objectively. When we are more self-aware about our feelings, behaviors, and traits, we are far more equipped to understand the ‘why’ behind our actions. First, we are able to see things objectively from an outside perspective and understand how our feelings, behaviors, and traits influence what we do.
Also, we gain a greater ability to make better decisions based on this understanding. We also develop a greater measure of confidence that lets us engage with the world more boldly and with less hesitance. Other benefits include enhanced productivity, more open-mindedness and flexibility, and a better ability to engage socially.
All of these benefits of self-awareness help us gain clarity, gain confidence, engage more healthily, and make adjustments so that we can identify why we do the things we do and change those things we recognize we need to change.
Bringing it Together
When introspection and self-awareness come together, they can be powerful tools for helping us gain great insight about ourselves. We can learn more about what makes us tick, what drives us, what frustrates us, and ultimately why we do what we do. It simply requires intentionality to gather the information. Practicing introspection and self-awareness can be done via methods such as daily meditation, journaling, self-reflection, or even consulting with a therapist.
Each of these methods, along with several others can help us analyze ourselves and get feedback about ourselves that serves to help us gather key knowledge. Then with that knowledge we can make needed changes or continue to build upon strong habits and patterns as a means of moving us forward.
Thus, each of us should make a regular practice of asking ‘Why do I do this?’ as a means of introspection and reflection to gain deeper awareness that will help propel us closer towards our goals.