According to self-determination theory, we need three things in order to become the most evolved versions of ourselves. These three things are competence, connectedness, and autonomy.
The problem is that we’re not going to suddenly tap into these things overnight. Achieving true personal growth requires time, effort, and patience.
How can you begin this journey toward your best self? What should you keep in mind and what practices should you adopt into your daily life?
Read on for nine tips to achieve personal growth and become the best, most productive, and most confident version of yourself that you can be.
1. Practice Self-Awareness
We often assume that we’re self-aware because we may understand how our words and actions affect others. However, how often do we turn that self-awareness inward and examine our own feelings?
Getting back to the basics with our emotions is an important part of personal growth. When you feel emotions that make you uncomfortable, don’t try to ignore them. Instead, sit with them, ask yourself what’s uncomfortable about them, and do your best to identify what made those emotions arise.
2. Put Your Current Habits On the Examination Table
A lot of the less productive or even self-destructive habits we have are actually responses to our uncomfortable emotions. When we don’t feel good, we tend to seek out ways to either replicate good feelings or distract ourselves.
After sitting with uncomfortable emotions, pay attention to your urges. What do you normally do at a time like this? Once you start exposing the connection between discomfort and your responses to discomfort, you can start replacing your current habits (sometimes also referred to as coping mechanisms) with new habits that are more productive.
3. Start With Small and Tangible Goals
How do you go about replacing one habit with another? Forming a habit takes time and repetition. The best way to approach forming a new habit is to start with a small and tangible goal.
For example, maybe you want to develop a better morning routine that will lead to a happier and more energetic day. To start, you may decide that you will go to bed a little bit earlier than normal for two weeks straight. Then, you may add a regular wake-up time, followed by a nutritional breakfast, and so forth until you have a morning routine you are used to.
4. Practice Self-Forgiveness
Wallowing in guilt and regret can seem like a productive thing to do, but that’s because many of us are inclined toward self-punishment. The reality is that refusing to move on from a mistake or an error is not helpful. Learn to recognize your mistakes and errors while also acknowledging that you always have the room to do better next time.
5. Practice Mindfulness
Mindfulness is a practice that allows you to stay present regardless of what’s going on around you. Achieving a constant state of mindfulness is difficult, especially if you experience things like anxiety or sensory overload.
To improve your own ability to move mindfully through the day, start with practices in a controlled environment. Set aside alone time each day to try meditation, yoga, or deep breathing exercises. The more you practice these things in a controlled environment, the more your body will help you navigate experiences that are not in your control.
6. Try New Things
A lot of times, we start to feel like we’re in a rut. Maybe we’ve decided that we don’t have time to try new things or we worry that trying new things might make us feel like we’ve lost control. Maybe we feel that our current routine is the most productive, and we decide that trying new things is frivolous or unnecessary.
The reality is that it can be deeply beneficial to remain open to new experiences. Trying new things can help us discover passions we didn’t know we had, meet new people, or even just blow off a little bit of steam. Make an effort to try something new–it could be anything from tasting a new food to taking a class in a subject that is new to us–at least once a week.
7. Seek Support
You don’t have to strive for personal growth alone. In fact, it’s a lot easier to keep moving forward, get through rough patches, and hold yourself accountable if you have the support of other people. Join the Movement of Personal Improvement and meet people who are just as eager to grow as you are.
8. Enjoy the Ride Regardless of the Outcome
It’s hard to relax and enjoy what we’re doing when we’re constantly worried about the outcome. Oftentimes, we get so focused on the end goal at work that we end up applying this same pressure to our personal lives.
Start reminding yourself that the stakes usually aren’t as high as you think. Whether you’re cooking a meal, practicing a hobby, or even cleaning up your home, stay focused on the present and enjoy the ride. You don’t need to strive for perfection and instead, should look for fulfillment.
9. Remember That Progress Is Not Always Linear
One of the biggest reasons that people bring their personal growth journey to a halt is the feeling of relapse. You may participate in a habit you’ve been trying to break or skip a few days of your mindfulness practices. If you take this as a sign of ultimate failure, you’re going to feel like everything you’ve done up to this moment didn’t work.
This is where self-forgiveness really needs to come into play. Reverting to an old behavior or thought pattern doesn’t mean that you can’t return to your personal growth efforts. No matter what, there’s always room for improvement.
Personal Growth Is Always Possible
No matter what stage of life you’re in or what battles you’re fighting, personal growth is always possible. Use our tips to find the best approach to personal growth for you and remember, it won’t happen overnight!
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