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A Plug For Insight

Updated: Sep 21, 2019


Do you struggle to achieve your goals? Insight may be what's missing.

As a psychotherapist & professional coach, I’m not surprising anyone when I profess that I’m a big believer in the power of insight. To me, self-reflection is one of the most important skills a human can possess. It allows us to understand our actions on a deeper level, as well as understand how our actions impact others. It’s a foundational skill in improving relationships with others, and a necessary ingredient in making any kind of long lasting behavioral change.


However, in the quest to reach goals, we often miss the value in this powerful skill. From the outside, the process to insight can seem tedious and look a lot like “just talking”. Many of us want change, and we want it immediately. But, solutions out there that promise big results in a short amount of time are usually short lived. This is why extreme diets, and things like New Year’s resolutions don’t work. Insight gives change sticking power.


The best part is that insight is like any muscle in your body. It’s there, but it may not be very active or strong. The lack of activity may prevent you from successfully doing things you want to do. Once a person develops a practice of self-reflection, as their insight grows deeper, lasting change happens in a way it never has before.

From extensive experience, observation and feedback from clients, the reason for this is simple: until you can accurately reflect on your actions, attitudes, thoughts, and behaviors, you don’t actually know what obstacles are arising or why they are arising. If you don’t have this information, you can’t create and execute an effective plan.

Believe me, this doesn’t require living as a self-aware guru or living every moment with intense focus. Subtle increases in self-reflection, even for a few minutes everyday can result in huge payoffs. Start small, and build from there.

To start building insight- try this:

Engage in a favorite activity or pass-time.

After you finish the activity sit for a few minutes with a notebook.

Ask yourself these questions, and take the time to think before you answer.

How did this activity make me feel (emotionally)? Was there one emotion the whole time, or multiple emotions? Did I start with one emotion and then experience another?

Why did I choose this activity? What is it about the activity I enjoy? Is it one thing? Multiple things? How did I start doing this activity?

When did I start doing the activity? Is it something I’ve recently started? Something I’ve done for a long time? Is the way I do the activity now different than the way I did it before? If so, why has it changed? If not, why hasn’t it changed?

How does my body feel when I do the activity? (scan your body, head to toes), does my body feel relaxed, agitated, light headed, tingly, warm, cold?

How do I interact with people when I do the activity? Am I kind? Am I self-protective? Do I engage or stay to myself?

How does the way I act impact the people around me? Are they effected by me? Are they impacted at all? Are they happy? Sad? professional coach, I’m not surprising anyone when I profess that I’m a big believer in the power of insight. To me, self-reflection is one of the most important skills a human can possess. It allows us to understand our actions on a deeper level, as well as understand how our actions impact others. It’s a foundational skill in improving relationships with others, and a necessary ingredient in making any kind of long lasting behavioral change.


However, in the quest to reach goals, we often miss the value in this powerful skill. From the outside, the process to insight can seem tedious and look a lot like “just talking”. Many of us want change, and we want it immediately. But, solutions out there that promise big results in a short amount of time are usually short lived. This is why extreme diets, and things like New Year’s resolutions don’t work. Insight gives change sticking power.


The best part is that insight is like any muscle in your body. You have it, but it may not be very active or strong. The lack of activity may prevent you from successfully doing things you want to do. Once a person develops a practice of self-reflection, as their insight grows deeper, lasting change happens in a way it never has before.


From extensive experience, observation and feedback from clients, the reason for this is simple: until you can accurately reflect on your actions, attitudes, thoughts, and behaviors, you don’t actually know what obstacles are arising or why they are arising. If you don’t have this information, you can’t create and execute an effective plan.


Believe me, this doesn’t require living as a self-aware guru or living every moment with intense focus. Subtle increases in self-reflection, even for a few minutes everyday can result in huge payoffs. Start small, and build from there.


Start building insight- try this:

Engage in a favorite activity or pass-time.

After you finish the activity sit for a few minutes with a notebook.

Ask yourself these questions, and take the time to think before you answer.

How did this activity make me feel (emotionally)? Was there one emotion the whole time, or multiple emotions? Did I start with one emotion and then experience another?

Why did I choose this activity? What is it about the activity I enjoy? Is it one thing? Multiple things? How did I start doing this activity?

When did I start doing the activity? Is it something I’ve recently started? Something I’ve done for a long time? Is the way I do the activity now different than the way I did it before? If so, why has it changed? If not, why hasn’t it changed?

How does my body feel when I do the activity? (scan your body, head to toes), does my body feel relaxed, agitated, light headed, tingly, warm, cold?

How do I interact with people when I do the activity? Am I kind? Am I self-protective? Do I engage or stay to myself?

How does the way I act impact the people around me? Does their emotion change? Do they say or act differently?

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