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Best 23 Self-Assessments and Self-Reflection Exercises

Self-assessments and self-reflection exercises are key components of any good personal development plan. By regularly assessing your progress and reflecting on your successes and failures, you can gain valuable insights into your behavior and motivations. This self-knowledge can then be used to set realistic goals, identify areas for improvement, and make necessary changes in your life.

Best 23 Self-Assessments and Self-Reflection Exercises Self-Assessments and Self-Reflection

We all know the importance of self-reflection and assessment to maintain a healthy lifestyle and grow as individuals. However, many of us don’t dedicate enough time to effectively engage in these activities. This blog post will provide some tips on how to get started with self-assessments and self-reflection exercises. These techniques can help you gain valuable insights into your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. So let’s get started!

What are Self-assessments and Self-Reflection Exercises

Self-assessments and self-reflection exercises are important parts of personal growth and development. Taking some time to analyze what we have done, thought, or said with an open, honest perspective, allows us to get an overall view of our actions. 

Self-assessment can help us understand where we are in our current situation and how far we have come since then. It allows us to map out our journey and challenge ourselves to make improvements. 

Furthermore, self-reflection can provide valuable insight into the thoughts that lead one to their present point in life. Self-reflection allows people to assess if they are thinking positively or heading in a negative direction toward a goal. With this understanding comes awareness of one’s beliefs and attitudes – this provides the building blocks for achieving any desired outcome. 

Self-Assessments and Self-Reflection Exercises

Self-assessments and self-reflection exercises are important tools for personal growth and professional development. They can help identify strengths and areas for improvement, support personal goals, boost motivation, and provide a greater understanding of oneself. Self-assessment is often done by taking an inventory or questionnaire about one’s achievements in both their personal life and career. 

It also involves looking at past successes, and mistakes, recognizing patterns in habits or choices, setting new goals, and learning from mistakes. Self-reflection is a more introspective approach to assessing oneself. 

It considers how the person’s behavior has changed over time, how certain decisions have impacted their life, and how emotions affect thinking, behaviors, and responses to people and events. Below is a list of 23 self-assessments and self-reflection exercises.

1. To reflect on a project or process, ask yourself: 

  • What have I learned about how my organization works?
  • What barriers did I overcome? 
  • What will I do differently next time?
  • What do I know now that I didn’t know then? How did I acquire that knowledge?
  • What do I need to do today to make this learning concrete?  

2. To reflect on “where you are,” ask yourself

  • What’s important to me?
  • How has what’s important to me changed in the past year? Five years? 
  • How am I aligning my actions with what’s important to me?
  • What’s difficult about it?
  • What actions can I take today to find more alignment? 

3. To reflect on a mistake (a rash decision you made, an offensive thing you said, a clear oversight in your judgment), ask yourself

  • From the perspective of three other people, what happened here? How might I have been perceived by those people?
  • What will I do differently next time? Whose help do I need to make that happen? 
  • What’s the new entry I’ll now add to my failure resume?
  • With whom do I need to share my learning to maintain strong relationships in the future? 

4. To reflect on an article you’ve read, a quote that speaks to you, or a talk you attended, ask yourself

  • Why are the ideas I’ve learned here so compelling to me? 
  • How am I currently living out the ideas expressed here? 
  • What might I do differently? 
  • What might it feel like to make this my mantra? 
  • What actions do I want to take next? 

5. To reflect when you’re feeling disengaged, antsy, uninspired, or just “blah,” ask yourself

  • What are all of the things I’m feeling right now?
  • What’s going on in life that might be creating these feelings?
  • How do these feelings impact me?
  • Do I want to let this continue? Why or why not?  
  • What kind of support do I need? 
  • What are the next three steps I’ll take to move through (not around) these feelings?  

6. Personal Brand Tagline

Time-frame: 5 to 10 minutes

Participants: Any number of participants. This activity is done individually and the results can then be shared with the rest of the class.

Purpose of the Exercise: This is a great marketing, creativity, or self-reflection exercise. This activity can be used for training sessions on copywriting, marketing (including digital marketing), soft skills, and writing CVs. It can be quite a versatile tool.

Activity Instructions

1. Provide participants with a pen and paper if they do not already have them.

2. Ask participants to write a tagline as a tweet, using only 140 characters to promote themselves.

3. Share with the rest of the class and discuss.

Benefits of this Activity

  • This is a good exercise to help participants focus on the essentials and on what is important.
  • The results can be funny, so this may be a useful activity to lighten the mood.

7. Personal Shield of Honour

Activity Time-frame: 15 to 20 minutes.

Number of Participants: 

Put participants into groups of 4 to 8 people.

Purpose of this activity: This activity is perfect for Reflection and discussion.

The aim is to focus on what is done well at their workplace, as well as on what could be improved.

Activity Instructions

You will need:

  • A1 piece of paper
  • Writing implements such as pens, markers, and crayons
  • Possibly even a magazine and scissors

1. Explain that each group will create a ‘shield’ out of a big piece of paper.

2. Each group will need to divide its shield into 4 quadrants, each containing the following elements:

  • Quadrant 1: What skills and abilities do you bring to the workplace
  • Quadrant 2: What skills and abilities do you need to improve upon in the workplace
  • Quadrant 3: What frustrates you about our workplace
  • Quadrant 4: What is a source of pride at your workplace

3. Ask the groups to use only images, photos, drawings, and graphics. No words are allowed.

4. Give them 10 minutes to create their shield.

5. Give every group the chance to share their results by asking them to present their shield to the rest of the class. Allow 1 to 2 minutes for each presentation.

The Benefits of this activity

  • By promoting discussion, this exercise stimulates deep learning.
  • This activity engages visual and kinaesthetic learning styles.

8. The ‘Response Cards Activity

Time-frame: From 15 to 30 minutes, depending on the number of questions you want to ask.

Number of Participants: Any number, in groups of 4 to 6 people.

Activity Purpose: This is a revision, reflection, and discovery activity. It’s an interesting alternative to asking questions to participants with the trainer writing the answers on a flip chart.

Unlike the flip-chart activity, this activity gives everyone the chance to answer.

Activity Instructions

1. Ask an open-ended question and ask each participant to write their answer on a card. Give them a suitable time limit.

2. Separate the participants into small groups of 4 to 6 people per group.

3. Collect the responses from each team and give them to another team.

4. Ask each group to select two responses: the ‘best’ one and the response that is the most different from the others. Give them a suitable time limit.

5. Ask each team to read the responses they selected.

6. Comment and discuss each response.

The Benefits of this activity

  • This activity gives participants time for reflection.
  • It is a good way to involve even the shyest participants, who would not answer in front of the whole class otherwise.

9. The ‘Your Ideal Life in Three Acts’ Revision & Planning Exercise

Activity Time-frame: Allow 15 to 20 minutes for this reflection and planning exercise

Number of Participants: This exercise can be carried out individually or in small groups of 3 to 4 people.

Purpose of this Reflection and Planning Exercise: This is a good exercise for a training session on focus and life planning, happiness, or mindfulness. It could also be a useful exercise for talking about the importance of prioritizing, during a session on time management.

Instructions to Run this Activity

1. Ask participants to write the story of their ideal life in three acts, as though it was a play:

  • Past dreams achieved.
  • Present situation (good and bad parts)
  • Their ideal future

2. You can ask participants to share this exercise with a small group and discuss it, or it can be used as an individual reflection. Some discussion with the rest of the class after the activity is always useful though, even if participants carry out the exercise individually.

The Benefits

  • By asking participants to focus on their ideal life and finishing with their ideal future, it gives them a positive perspective on what they can still achieve.

10. The ‘Snowballs Revision & Reflection’ Activity

Time-frame: 15 to 20 minutes is the perfect amount of time for the Snowball activity exercise.

Number of Participants: This activity is ideal for 6 people or more.

Purpose of this Revision and Reflection Exercise: This is a fun and active way to review a topic.

Activity Instructions

1. Supply each participant with a pen and paper.

2. Ask a relevant question and ask participants to write their answers on a piece of paper.

3. Form a circle, away from any obstacles such as tables and chairs.

4. Ask participants to scrunch up their sheet of paper to make a ‘snowball’.

5. Say ‘Let’s start a snowball fight’ and allow participants 30 seconds to throw, catch and throw as many snowballs as they can.

6. At the end of the 30 seconds, stop the fight by blowing a whistle.

7. Ask each participant to pick up a snowball and open it.

8. Ask participants to take turns in reading aloud the response on their piece of paper.

9. Repeat the process with another question, playing as many rounds as the number of questions you want to ask.

Benefits of this Activity

  • Through this activity, participants can give their input anonymously.
  • As a trainer, this activity can help you evaluate what the participants have learned or want to learn.

11. The ‘Elements of Success’ Reflection Activity Exercise

Activity Time-frame: 15 to 20 minutes is the perfect time frame for this reflection exercise, but you can easily adapt it to be shorter or longer, depending on available time.

Number of Participants: This activity is best done in groups of 3 or 4 people.

Purpose: The topic of this game is ‘success’, so participants will share their ideas on what makes something or someone successful.

It’s very useful in particular for soft skills and life planning training sessions.

Activity Instructions

1. Split participants into groups of 3 or 4.

2. Ask each of them to think of a peak experience of whatever the topic is (e.g., the best work meeting you ever had; the best-organized conference you attended; the most engaging speaker you ever heard; the most interesting presentation you remember; the best piece of work you did, etc.).

3. Ask each participant to think about what made the experience so successful.

4. Ask participants to share their stories with the rest of their small group.

5. Get the group to discuss what they think the elements of success are.

6. Get each group to share the outcome of their conversation with the rest of the class. You can write down the elements of success on a flip chart yourself or ask each group to write on their sheet of A1 paper and present it.

Benefits of this Reflection and Revision Exercise

  • This exercise promotes a positive mindset as it focuses on success.
  • By promoting discussion, this exercise stimulates deep learning.

12. The ‘Matching Games’ Icebreaker

Activity Time-frame: Allowing 20 to 30 minutes is the perfect amount of time for this activity.

Number of Participants: Divide participants into groups of 4 to 6 people.

Activity Purpose and Goal: For revisions and reflection, this is a good activity to either get the participants to revise concepts covered during the training or to reflect and find solutions on a topic.

Each group receives a set of cards, which have information on them such as sentences, questions, pictures, and scenarios. Almost anything significant for the topic.

They are then asked to rank the cards in a particular order, sort them into categories, or use them as labels on a mind map, chart, or picture.

Alternatively, they can match each card (which contains a question, for example) with a corresponding card from a different set (which contains the answers).

Reflection Activity Instructions

1. Divide participants into small groups of 3 to 6 people each, depending on the class size.

2. Give each group of participants a set of cards, 20 for instance, with words, pictures, or statements. If relevant, also give them the items that they need to match these cards with (another set of cards, a map, etc.)

3. Explain to them whether they need to sort the cards into groups of concepts, rank them, or match them with other items.

Give participants 10 minutes (or a bit more, depending on the complexity of the concepts).

Ask each group to discuss with the rest of the class how they have matched or ranked the concepts.

Benefits of this Classroom Reflection Exercise

  • This activity helps students to ‘construct’ their knowledge.
  • It is very good to help participants take ownership of their learning by giving them time to reflect and make associations.
  • This is an activity that participants can do on their own but, if they do it in groups, they will develop communication and team-building skills.

13. Make self-reflection an evening ritual

A good and very simple exercise for more self-reflection is to review how your day went in the evening. Make it part of your evening ritual to reflect on what went well, what your greatest success was, or what you want to improve on tomorrow, for example.

Make sure, though, that you don’t go to bed brooding. This can lead to insomnia.

14. Diaries and apps to prompt reflection

There are various diaries or apps available that provide you with daily questions and encourage reflection. They can offer some good prompts to keep you questioning yourself.

The advantage of apps is that they can remind you to pause for a moment and observe yourself at certain times during the day. This reduces the likelihood that you’ll forget to self-reflect on a stressful day.

15. Self-reflect with a morning journal

Many people report having a good experience keeping a morning journal. Here’s how: give yourself a set number of pages to write – three A4 pages, for example, are a good amount. Then just write down anything and everything that comes to mind, without any full stops or commas if in doubt.

If you’re struggling to keep writing, just repeat the last word until something comes to mind. This regular activity does require some self-discipline, but if you write in your morning journal regularly, you’re sure to come up with an array of interesting insights.

16. Self-observation with meditation 

On the one hand, meditation can give you the peace and relaxation you need to gain insights about yourself. On the other hand, you can also use meditation techniques for the act of self-reflection itself. If you’re already familiar with meditating, then next time take a question or topic into meditation with you.

The special atmosphere created when meditating encourages mindfulness and brings with it completely different insights than simply sitting and pondering.

17. Identify your values 

If you haven’t given much thought to your values as a leader, there is power in that exercise. Reflecting on what you care about the most will help you articulate your leadership style and be more intentional in the way you communicate with your team, says Chu, who recommends using the following prompts:

  • Think about a time when you felt good at work. What values were being honored?
  • Think about a time when you didn’t feel so great. What values were being challenged?
  • Think about a time when your boundaries were pushed and you compromised values. What led to it?

18. Reflect on your strengths 

You’ll also want to reflect on your strengths. Get clear on what you’re good at so you can understand your blind spots, build on what you do best and find strategies to compensate for any weaknesses (hiring people who can balance out your strengths, for example). 

“Think about a time when you have accomplished a goal. What are some of your strengths that led you to that goal?” says Chu

19. Connect values and strengths to goals 

Now here’s the good part: You can combine the insights you gathered from the two exercises above to reach your goals. The idea is to leverage who you are and what you’re good at for results, adds Chu. “This will help you lead from a place of passion and purpose and avoid burnout.” 

Reflect on these two questions: 

  • Think about some goals you have (for yourself or your team). Why are these goals important to you?
  • How can you leverage your values and strengths to accomplish these goals?

20. Keep a journal of thoughts and feelings 

While the exercises above don’t need to be performed regularly, there is value in consistently engaging in self-reflection. 

Acquah recommends keeping a journal of thoughts and feelings over time. “You don’t need to write down everything that happens in your day—jot down some notes about what went well and what didn’t go so well, as well as any insights or revelations that come up during the day, ” she says. 

“Doing this regularly will give you a better understanding of yourself and how different situations affect you. It will also make it easier for you to identify patterns in your behavior and make changes where necessary.” 

21. Set aside time each week or month to debrief 

Setting aside time each week or month to debrief is another self-reflection exercise to add to your routine. 

“Think about any successes or challenges that have come up, as well as any new insights or ideas that have come up. This type of reflection helps put things into perspective and allows you to think about how best to approach different situations in the future,” according to Acquah. 

She recommends asking yourself questions about why you think certain events happened the way they did or how you feel about them ideas is to learn from past experiences so that you can be better equipped in the future. It may also lead to shifts in perspectives or shine a light on areas that you want to work on – say, your ability to set boundaries at work or the way you cope with stress.

22. The Morning Reflection Exercise 

When you wake up, before you grab your phone and start checking email or messages, grab some pen and paper and ask yourself this question: “What are the one or two things that I need to achieve today for this to be a successful day?”

I know that you’ve got dozens of items on your to-do list, but I can virtually guarantee that one or two of those items is far more important to your career success and your sense of fulfillment. And it’s the high-leverage items that you need to identify.

Then, once you’ve written down your one or two big items, ask yourself this question: “What could prevent me from accomplishing those things and how can I overcome those potential roadblocks before they occur?”

It’s great to have a plan, but realistically, there could be roadblocks that get in your way. So you’re going to proactively anticipate those roadblocks and develop a workaround (and frankly, your workaround could sometimes be as simple as not checking your email until you’ve accomplished one or two big items).

Proactivity is one of the characteristics that separates high achievers from their less-successful colleagues. 

And in the study “Employee Engagement Is Less Dependent On Managers Than You Think,” we discovered that proactivity was a key determinant of whether someone would feel engaged and inspired at work.

Additionally, data from the test “How Do Your Time Management Skills Stack Up?” found that proactive planners were less likely to get interrupted frequently at work, leading to even greater productivity.

23. The End Of The Day Reflection Exercise 

Another reflection exercise can take place at the end of the day. Much like the tech-support employees I cited above, at the end of each day, you’re going to take 12 minutes and reflect on what you learned today.

Again with a pen and paper, you’ll write about the main key lessons you learned, and ideally find at least two key lessons. But the key to this exercise is that you have to be specific. You can’t write something like, “I worked really hard today.”

Instead, you’ve got to find a specific lesson like, “Whenever I felt myself getting distracted, I would set a timer for 15 minutes and focus super hard for that time. Then when it was done, I would give myself 5 minutes to check my email, etc. 


Completing a self-assessment or reflection exercise can be uncomfortable and sometimes feel like a waste of time. However, if you approach it with an open mind and are honest with yourself, you may find that these exercises provide valuable insights into your strengths, weaknesses, and areas for improvement. 

Additionally, continuing to reflect on your progress over time can help you stay motivated and focused on your goal. If you’re not sure where to start, there are many resources available online or from your human resources department that can help get you started.

Overall, self-assessments and self-reflection exercises can be extremely beneficial in personal and professional development. They can help individuals identify areas that need improvement as well as strengths that can be further developed. When used correctly, self-assessment tools can provide valuable insights that lead to lasting positive change.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. What are the benefits of Self-assessments and self-reflection exercises?

Self-assessments and self-reflection exercises are essential parts of personal development. Not only do they help track progress, but they also encourage further exploration and learning. They allow us to become more aware of our strengths, weaknesses, and tendencies, which provides valuable insight into how we can best utilize our skills and improve our approach in various life scenarios. 

Additionally, these types of self-examinations enable the applied use of theoretical knowledge — they facilitate the deciphering of abstract themes into concrete actions. As such, taking the time to regularly assess ourselves helps increase productivity and boost motivation, which can ultimately lead to increased success.

2. How to make time for Self-assessments and self-reflection exercises daily? 

There are some steps you can take to ensure that you dedicate a few moments each day to self-assessment. 

Firstly, plan by setting aside a specific amount of time – say 10 minutes – that you will use just for self-reflection. With this planning in mind, make sure to create a comfortable environment wherever it is that allows for meaningful reflection: grab yourself a cup of coffee, wear comfortable clothing, and open up some blank paper in front of you if it helps. 

Secondly, come prepared with thought-provoking questions about yourself and the goals that you’re hoping to tackle during the reflection time. Just like with any project or school assignment, it’s always helpful to create an action list or steps to take to help progress toward your goal(s). 

Finally, don’t forget to reward yourself! Self-care is so important in today’s world and whether it’s with a special treat or an early night off–you should always pat yourself on the back for setting aside specific “you” time each day as part of your commitment towards self-improvement.