Self-discovery exercises and activities are really helpful if you seek ways to get to know yourself and identify what you want to do with your life!
Plus, it’s FUN!
Not going to lie, I’m a big fan of personality tests, and some activities and exercises to know yourself. Trust me with this, I’ve done this so many times!
Read next: Starting a Journey into Self-discovery
It’s a fact that identifying who you are when you don’t know what to do with your life is the fundamental step. However, you can always discover yourself even when you don’t feel lost because it’s more of a journey you must begin.
Today, I will share the BEST (also my favorite!) and easy self-discovery exercises to jump-start that journey!
These are the top 3 self-discovery exercises we’ll discuss:
- Self-discovery Journal Prompts
- Finding your Ikigai
- The Wellness Wheel
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Personally, these three exercises helped me begin my self-discovery journey. Even though I’ve done these exercises many times, I still go back and do it whenever I feel stuck or lost, and it still works for me. I’m sure you’ll also love these!
Make sure to bookmark this article so you can come back here anytime!
Read until the end of this article, so you’ll have all the guidelines and instructions you need before downloading all the FREE Printable Worksheets of these exercises!
Before we dive into the self-discovery exercises, I want to let you know that I am not a personal development guru or spiritual teacher. All the information that I will share is based on my own experience of starting my self-discovery journey and my personal understanding. I would really suggest for you to do your own research.
Now, let’s begin by identifying what is self-discovery and why it’s so important.
What is self-discovery?
Self-discovery refers to determining how we feel, our priorities, and even our spiritual issues.
Our inner self is the part of us who knows exactly who we are and what we want in life.
As we grow older, we encounter and learn many different things. We tend to neglect our inner self because of what others want for us, whether it’s society, family, or friends.
Self-discovery is not just knowing your favorite food, color, and things like that.
It is the process of reconnecting to our inner self to get back from who we really are and what we want.
Why is self-discovery super-important?
To help you understand this quickly, I’ll put it in an example…
Imagine you’re in a mall without an apparent reason why you are there. You just walk endlessly, hoping that you’ll reach the exit.
You’re seeing different people going to stores and restaurants. They go to the places they want. They know where to go.
You’re stuck there thinking there must be a place where you should go like other people do. You realized you shouldn’t just walk to see the exit.
So, you ask other people in the mall where you can go, and of course, they’ll tell you where you should be.
You see, if you don’t know what you want, you also don’t know where you will go, so other people will decide for you.
Everyone else’s opinions will be you, and what they want will be what you should do if you don’t know who you are and what you want.
If you think you’re in this case, discovering yourself is a crucial step you must take.
3 Easy Self-discovery Exercises to Start your Journey
Now that we’ve got a handful of information about self-discovery and why you need it, let’s take action!
Here are the top 3 exercises that you would love to start wherever you’re reading this. Pick one to do for now, and then do the rest whenever you’re ready!
1. Journaling Prompts for Self-discovery
The first self-discovery exercise we’ll talk about is journaling.
Journaling is the most comfortable and convenient self-discovery tool that you can use to start your journey right away!
You can grab a notebook or a paper near you right now. Google “self-discovery prompts” and then, boom! You already have the tools to get started.
But guess what? Not all people think of journaling as their self-discovery tool.
Journaling is one of the most effective ways to know, discover, and be aware of yourself… if done right.
Okay. You might say, “wait… What? As far as I know, there is no right or wrong way to journal.”
Well, let me explain…
According to Dr. Tasha Eurich, author of the book called Insight, introspection (the examination or observation of one’s own mental and emotional processes) through journaling has this “trap” that can suck the awareness right out of the experience.
Dr. Tasha’s team found that people who keep journals have no more internal (or external) self-awareness than those who don’t.
Now you might ask, if journaling is not helping people to be self-aware, then why on earth would I still recommend journaling for self-discovery?
Simply because journaling can absolutely change your life and help you begin your self-discovery journey if, again, you’ll do it right.
I would highly recommend that you read that book if you want to go more in-depth about self-awareness.
Dr. Tasha’s research did not suggest for you to stop journaling. Her research advise to do journaling right, or you might fall into these pitfalls:
- Over-analyzing positive events in journal entries.
- Journaling only to release emotions and not to explore.
- Writing about negative events every day, which result in self-centeredness or the “cycle of self-pity.”
You must be intentional if you want to know yourself through journaling, do it in the right way, and avoid these pitfalls.
10 Self-discovery Journal Prompts
Those details above might be so daunting if you are just starting. Also, I promised you that these self-discovery exercises would be super easy and fun.
So, to help you start small. Here’s the ten self-discovery journal prompts that you can use without feeling overwhelmed:
- What are my strengths?
- What am I good at?
- What are my weaknesses?
- What is a huge challenge that I faced in my life? How did I overcome it?
- What are the feelings and emotions I felt in that challenge? Why?
- How do I see myself? What are my traits, characteristics, and attitude?
- How do others compliment me?
- In what way am I unconsciously pissing off others? What bad traits do they tell me I have? Is it true? Why or why not?
- What are the things I always enjoy doing and excited about?
- What do others tell me I am good at, and what do others tell me I’m bad at?
The key is honesty. You’ll never know yourself better if you’ll always lie to yourself or follow what others say about you.
Really dig deep into yourself. Take your time. Work with these journal prompts one at a time, so you will have all the moments you need to reflect fully.
This self-discovery exercise aims to help you search for who you are through what others think about you and what you think you are.
You’ll filter the criticisms you get from other people and how you see yourself so you can determine what is real and not. You’ll also start noticing how you act towards the challenges you faced. It’s a great practice to start!
2. Finding your Ikigai
The next self-discovery exercise that I would suggest for you to do is the Ikigai.
I found this exercise really interesting and amusing to learn since I read the book Ikigai written by Albert Liebermann and Hector Garcia. I think you’ll also enjoy reading that book!
Ikigai is a Japanese concept that means “a reason for being.”
The concept of this Ikigai exercise is to determine your source of value that makes your life worth living.
Finding your Ikigai is the process of cultivating your inner self while fulfilling your life roles.
What is Ikigai and what is NOT Ikigai?
They clarified that Ikigai is not a Venn Diagram.
The real Ikigai is not focusing on making money. Ikigai can be the daily routine that you enjoy and not necessarily about what you are good at.
It is not about what the world needs you because Ikigai only lies in the realm of roles you fulfill, such as your community, friendships, and family.
Ikigai is focusing on finding purpose rather than doing the things you love.
Finding your Ikigai exercise is not mainly for self-discovery, but this will help you connect with yourself to find your purpose.
Four kinds of awareness or happiness to experience the Ikigai:
There are kinds of happiness that you’ll have to meet in order to feel you’ll find your Ikigai and these are:
- Life satisfaction
- Harmony and Connection
- Purpose and gratitude
- Creativity and transformational experiences
First, you’ll determine your sources, values, and presence, and hopefulness. When all of these intersect, we’ll experience a particular kind of awareness/happiness.
For instance, if my source and values intersect, I could experience Life Satisfaction.
In the worksheet that I created, which is inspired by Nick Kemp’s Ikigai framework, you’ll simply write down your Values, Presence & Hopefulness, and Ikigai Sources (Work, Hobbies, and Interest, and Roles & Relationships) that will help you experience the four kinds of awareness or happiness.
You can also draw this framework in your journal or on a piece of paper.
You’ll meet self-actualization if you developed all of those, but that will take time.
Again, dig deeper and take your time while filling out this Ikigai framework. Do it at your own phase, and don’t rush. This is a process, remember. Self-discovery and finding your Ikigai is a process.
3. The Wellness Wheel
The last self-discovery exercise we’ll discuss is called Wellness Wheel.
Wellness Wheel will help you be aware of where you are in each area of your life at this point and live a life with balance.
Being conscious at which point you are in your life will help you discover and improve yourself. This exercise is perfect for mapping out your journey and seeing your growth.
The Eight Core Areas of Life
We have eight core areas that we must improve and continuously focus on. These are:
- Spiritual – Your overall understanding and exploration of your beliefs, values, and ethics.
- Personal Growth – Some ways or activities that involve improving yourself, your intellectual wellness, self-reflections, and achieving your goals.
- Relationships – Support and guidance you receive from other people. The overall health of your relationships, whether it’s family, friendships, or significant other.
- Fun & Recreational – Involves the activities that you do for fun, creativity, or your hobbies.
- Physical & Mental Health – Involves your overall health or how you manage and focus on improving your physical and mental health.
- Financial – Involves managing your money and budgeting.
- Career – Your satisfaction with your work or the path you take for your dream career.
- Physical Environment – Taking care of your environment or surroundings. Such as keeping your home clean and safe.
How to use the Wellness Wheel?
To do this self-discovery exercise, you will measure each of the core areas of your life according to your own observation in your life.
You don’t actually need to rate all of the eight core areas of life if you think it’s not resonating to you. You can always just pick any areas you think you should focus on.
So, on a scale of 1-10, 10 being highest, where are you in each of your life areas?
You can draw a circle in your journal or create a scorecard to do this.
If you use the printable worksheet that I provided, all you have to do is trace the line in which level you’re in, like the example below.
Once you quantify each area you picked, set a goal to sustain or improve more those you rated 7 or above.
How can you improve the areas you rated 6 or below?
While doing this exercise, keep in mind that this is for you. So, again, be honest with yourself.
Don’t feel discouraged if you scored some areas below 7. It’s absolutely okay! That means you can improve, and it’s great that you’ll be aware of it as soon as possible.
You can do this self-discovery exercise monthly or weekly once you set goals for improvement so you can track your progress!
Reading and learning all of these is not enough to discover yourself. Now, the action you need to do is to pick one self-discovery exercise to start with.
I want to share mine to help you decide!
The exercise that I started with long ago is the Ikigai Framework. Up to this day, I’m continuously updating it just because I feel like what drives me each day, my values, and source are changing or expanding over time. If you’ll also feel like that, it’s normal, and it’s okay!
The prompts that I shared are from my own experience and how I check into myself. Those are my “go-to” self-discovery journal prompts that I use to help me analyze myself whenever I want to or I have to.
And then, I do the Wellness Wheel every end of the month to be aware of my progress in each area of my life!
I hope that will help you decide where to begin.
Before you go, I wanted to remind you that self-discovery is an ongoing journey. Don’t stop knowing yourself! Keep looking, keep learning, and always follow your curiosity.
You can download the compiled PDF file of the three printable self-discovery worksheets (journal prompts, ikigai framework, and the wellness wheel) by clicking the button below! Get it all now for FREE and enjoy!
Jocelyn is a coffee lover who believes that a bad day with coffee is better than a good day without it. You can find her obsessing over stationery, hanging out with her cat, or singing her favorite Taylor Swift songs.