Of course, it’s impossible to know yourself completely. We’re human, always changing, always moving forwards towards new things and new versions of ourselves.

But it is possible to know yourself to some extent, and the benefits that come with knowing yourself a bit better are astounding. You feel a certain security in your own skin, in your movements, in your decisions.

Sadly, many of us don’t take enough time out of our busy lives to really get to know ourselves. Busy working, socialising, sleeping… It’s easy to forget to carve out little slivers of time in our days and weeks to spend some time with ourselves, so that when we get back to the daily grind, we can do it with some peace of mind.

Make the time to be alone

For many people this is easy, but for some extroverts or chronically busy people, it isn’t. But we all need some alone time, some mental quiet away from the hubbub. Maybe it means scheduling one mandatory alone evening a week, or one lunch break away from the office and colleagues, or a couple of hours one morning away from all responsibilities. Light some candles, open a window, take a deep breath and pause.

Now be alone with you

Alone time doesn’t mean doing things like your accounts, or writing that email, or preparing that presentation. It means being alone with yourself. Imagine you’re going on a date with you. What do you love doing? Do it. Is there somewhere you’d like to go? Go. And don’t take someone else with you! This is about being alone with your thoughts. Do something for you. Think quietly and exclusively about you and your life.

Think about what you love

In her book The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving A F***, Sarah Knight invites her readers to seriously think about the things they do care about in their lives. That means things you care about just for you — not because you think you should care because other people think you should. What do you love? Where do your interests lie? What are your hobbies? Maybe it’s reading, ballet, or team sports. Think about those defining passions that make you you.

Think about what you’ve always wanted to do

Maybe it’s hot yoga, or going on a trek to Machu Picchu, or watching Orange Is The New Black because your friend says it’s great. Start making lists, and then when it comes to your time alone each week, go through that list. It’s useful to write “at home” next to all the things you can try at home. First start with the small at home things, and then as you start discovering new things you love (and things that actually just aren’t you, which is equally important), revel in getting to know you a little bit better.