How to Achieve Greater Self-Awareness for National Evaluate Your Life Day

October 18, 2021
“It’s surprising how many persons go through life without ever recognizing that their feelings toward other people are largely determined by their feelings toward themselves, and if you’re not comfortable within yourself, you can’t be comfortable with others.” —Sidney J. Harris

Did you know that each year on October 19 we celebrate National Evaluate Your Life Day?

Some might think it’s rather late in the year to be examining one’s life … given that it was almost 10 months ago that we may have created a few New Year’s resolutions—based on where we thought our life was at and where we wanted it to be …

But it’s actually a great time of year to check in with yourself.

And the idea behind National Evaluate Your Life Day is to evaluate ALL aspects of your life—by reflecting on the externals first such as your health, your home and your relationships.

And then turning that gaze inward to your interior life—those thoughts, feelings, dreams, hopes, desires and fears that you may be keeping locked away from everyone, even yourself. 

Taking some time to self-evaluate is not the same thing as being self-involved or selfish—it’s actually the opposite of those things. 

When you truly know yourself, you are aligned with your values and on the path to becoming the best version of yourself, which is a great gift you can give yourself AND everyone you interact with each day.

To make this easy for you, here are 10 questions you can ask yourself as you take a look in the mirror. 

5 Questions to Evaluate Your Externals

Before you get lost down the rabbit hole of examining your deepest and darkest, start your evaluations for National Evaluate Your Life Day by assessing the spaces you live, work, and play in. 

  1. Is my home tidy and organized? Can I find anything I need in 30 seconds or less?

  2. What do I need to do to get my home organized?

  3. Are my work spaces set up for my success? If not, what would I need to do to create order there?

  4. When was the last time I felt stress-free in ANY of my frequently used spaces?

  5. What’s the first thing I can do to bring some calm to any of the spaces I’m responsible for?

When you live or work in a cluttered space, your mind will struggle to stay focused on even the simplest, most basic task.

And when you try to relax, you’re likely to start fretting about everything you “should” be doing right now instead of resting and recharging.

So you can see how clutter keeps you always off-balance and engaged in many activities that would be unnecessary if you were only better organized.


5 Questions to Evaluate Your Internal World

Once you get clearer on your physical world, you can turn your attention to your interior world.

This shouldn’t be viewed as self-indulgent navel-gazing or a waste of time, nor does it need to consume days and weeks of your schedule. 15-20 minutes of reflection will get your process started and give you some useful data and feedback on where you are now and where you want to go … if you’re not there already.

Use these questions to get you started.

  1. Have I become the person I want to be and am I living in alignment with my values? If not, where specifically am I falling short?

  2. How am I showing up in my intimate relationships? Am I consistently present or am I checking out and hoping conflicts will resolve themselves without me having to say anything or speak my truth?

  3. On a scale of 1-10, how am I doing on achieving the current goals I have set for myself? What do I need to do to course-correct or speed up my progress?

  4. What does happiness look like for me and how can I cultivate more joy for myself and others?

  5. Do I use work, family, addictions or distractions to avoid dealing with my feelings? If so, what is the first thing I can do to walk through my feelings instead of running from them?

Taking the time to check in with yourself should not just be reserved for October 19 or National Evaluate Your Life Day.

Just as it is easier to keep your finances under control by following a budget and reconciling your statements each month instead of letting them pile up and then cramming all your bookkeeping work into one hectic weekend as income taxes come due, regular check-ins on how your life is going will pay consistent dividends and have lasting effects in improving your mental and emotional health

And really, why would you put off feeling better and gaining clarity if that’s going to get you farther down your path quicker?

While we can often be our own worst enemies by sabotaging our efforts and belittling ourselves with crap self-talk, opportunities to recalibrate are available all around us, if we only take advantage of them.

And days like National Evaluate Your Life Day exist so we can artificially interrupt unconscious patterns of behavior by bringing our attention to the present moment and taking stock of how we’re doing right now.

Setting realistic goals for ourselves is great as long as we continue to monitor our progress towards those goals—otherwise they just become one more thing we aren't doing and one more way to feel bad about ourselves.

Evaluating ourselves allows us to see clearly where we are, how we are doing and improve how we perform in our careers, how we show up in our personal relationships, and how we can make more significant strides towards our long-term goals.


The Bottom Line

Self-awareness can be easily lost in the daily grind that most of us live in. 

Taking the time out of our busy lives for self-evaluation is a healthy step towards gaining that self-awareness and reducing the compounding stress that grind often causes.

And as we grow more self-aware, we can foster greater kindness towards ourselves and those around us—both as another way of managing stress AND marking our progress towards our long term goals.

Leverage the opportunity that National Evaluate Your Life Day offers you to evaluate how the choices you make and the stuff you surround yourself with is enhancing your daily life or hindering it. 

Once you get over any feelings you may have about what you discover during your self-evaluation, you can shift your mindset to see how empowering it is to remember that YOU, and only you, have the power to adjust anything you find that doesn’t align with your values and bring you closer to your goals.

To take your self-evaluation even further, check out these classes at Unstuff University—in 90 minutes, you can gain greater insight and make significant headway in taming specific sources of stress and disorganization. From Mastering Your Digital Life to learning How to Stop Fighting with Others About Stuff, you’ll find lots of options to jump-start your decluttering efforts.

Declutter Your Life Podcast by Andrew Mellen. Available on iTunes!