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Last Updated on July 4, 2019

12 Most Important Milestones in Life to Grow Through

12 Most Important Milestones in Life to Grow Through

Life truly is a journey. The experiences we have as we travel through our days are what give our lives richness, meaning and purpose.

We are all familiar with society’s conventional ‘markers’ of success and accomplishment – things like reaching the legal age to vote, getting your driver’s license and first car, graduating, getting married, becoming a parent, buying your first home, and retiring…

But society has changed; fewer people are choosing marriage, parenthood or a formal education. Many will never be able to afford to buy their own home, and retirement is no longer the guaranteed cushion it once was. How do we measure our success and progress without these once standard markers?

And what about all those moments that reveal our values, such as humility and acceptance, or that show us our greatness? They may be less spectacular or outwardly notable to others, but these markers often play a more significant role in defining our life values, our sense of self, and our place in the world.[1]

Let’s take a look at some of these important milestones in life, and the rich life lessons they have to teach us:

1. Opening Your First Paycheck

Opening your very first paycheck from your first real job is incredibly exciting. Even if the amount is paltry by anyone else’s standards, and even though it’s likely to be the smallest you’ll ever open, it’s yours.

You worked for it, earned it, and get to cash and spend it however you like. No other paycheck, no matter how large, will fill you with such pride and accomplishment.

Of course, once the initial excitement wears off, most of us are faced with the dawning realization of just how much everything costs.

But earning our own money can hopefully teach us responsibility, budgeting, and debt management. Earning and spending our own money can also show us a great deal about what we value in life.

2. Leaving Home

For most, leaving home is a bittersweet occasion. We feel excited to be free of the rules, restrictions and limitations of our parents’ ways, and to finally be striking out on our own. But we are likely also more than a little frightened and unsure of our ability to survive without the comfort and security that comes with being a child under those parental ‘wings’.

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When the reality of leaving home sets in, we have the opportunity to learn the valuable lessons of hard work (laundry, dishes, cooking), money management (I have to pay for heat?), and appreciation for our parents and family.

3. Falling in Love and Getting Your Heart Broken for the First Time

The many forms of love we are fortunate to experience throughout our lives will hopefully deepen and grow as we do, but there is nothing quite like the intense and absolute euphoria that first love brings.

We learn what it means to appreciate and focus on someone other than ourselves; and if we’re lucky, we get to experience how it feels to have someone appreciate and love us in return.

Of course, falling in love also opens us to the possibility of heartbreak, and the first time we experience it can be quite a painful and sobering shock.

But as with every life experience, there are gifts to be had in a broken heart – realizing you can and will overcome difficulties, and that time truly does heal all wounds.

4. Gaining Self-Awareness and Autonomy

This is a big one, though often it comes in incremental revelations rather than a lightning bolt of sudden understanding.

It comes in those moments when we realize we have dreams, interests and passions that are different from what is expected of us by our parents and society; or when we become aware of a value or belief that doesn’t match those of our peers, and that we didn’t know existed within us; or when we realize suddenly that we care less about what we look like or what clothes we are wearing, and more about who we are and how we feel.

If we’re lucky, we’ll come to this burgeoning self-awareness in our twenties. But for some, it comes later in life as a result of a painful event (divorce, losing a job, illness or injury), as a sudden realization that they are not living the life they want, or as an urge to reinvent themselves in some significant way (mid-life crisis).

Self-awareness is a never-ending unfolding of truth as it relates to our experience in life. We could all stand to increase it in key areas.[2]

5. Realizing Your Parents Are Real People

It’s quite a shock to realize that those people whose sole purpose you believed to be taking care of you, suddenly reveal themselves to be actual, whole individuals with hopes, dreams and fears of their own.

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For some, it can be quite disconcerting or even disappointing to see their parents in this new light; we have a tendency to put our parents on a pedestal, and view them as perfect or even godlike. When we become adults ourselves, and we see our parents making mistakes, failing or experiencing illness, it can shake our very foundation, and make us feel suddenly vulnerable and far too ‘grown up’.

Equally valuably, we may abruptly realize that our parents were not simply put on this earth to care for and cater to us, and that they have their own very complex and private lives that don’t involve us at all. This can teach us appreciation for all that they have done for us, and remind us to do for them in return.

6. Surviving Disappointment

Everyone’s got to go through this one for the first time. And it can be extremely unpleasant for those raised to believe they are only destined for happiness and success.

When we experience the sting of disappointment as adults, the experience often comes with a degree of lost innocence or naivety. We may have been led to believe that life would be easy, or that by simply being good people we would only experience good things.

And life is mostly easy and good. But not everything is going to turn out how we hoped or planned, and sometimes bad things happen to very good people.

When we first learn this through some significant disappointment – not getting that job we wanted, or not making the team, or not catching the eye of the person we adore – it can feel as though the whole world is suddenly against us, and that nothing can be counted on.

Experiencing disappointment is life’s way of teaching us to go with the flow and roll with the punches instead of expecting perfection or trying to control everything and everyone around us. It also teaches us that we are are more than the sum of our accomplishments.

7. Experiencing a Different Culture

Our first experience with an entirely different culture from our own often comes as a result of traveling outside our home country.

But it can also come about as a result of moving to a big city from a small town (or vice versa), or spending time with a family of a different ethnic or religious background from ours, or even going to a different part of our own city that perhaps we never knew existed.

However we first experience a way of life that is significantly different from our own, we are forever changed by it if we remain open to it. We gain perspective and appreciation for our own culture and environment, develop understanding, tolerance and compassion for those different from ourselves, and become inspired by new possibilities for how to live our lives.

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8. Doing Something That Terrifies Us

When we face a lifelong fear – skydiving, traveling alone, singing on stage, or speaking in public for example – we gain invaluable personal power and strength of character in the form of courage, will, confidence, and self-respect.

People who have overcome significant trauma or illness, and who have been able to turn it into a positive life lesson, also report these same gains.

And it needn’t be something huge to reap these rewards; even doing one small thing each day that pushes us outside of our comfort zone will net huge benefits in the short and long-term.

9. Dealing with the Death of a Loved One

This is something we must all face at one time or another in our lives, and the first time is always particularly challenging and life-altering.

Whether it’s the loss of a beloved goldfish in early childhood, or the deeper grief of losing a spouse, parent, child or family pet in our adult years, our first brush with death on this level can be extremely traumatic as we grapple with larger questions of our own mortality, the impermanence of life, and accepting the unknown.

10. Failing

Experiencing a critical or momentous failure is a life-changer for almost everyone.

Getting fired from a job we loved, the unwanted ending of a marriage or long-term relationship, not getting into that prestigious university program, or failing to make the cut in our chosen field of the arts, sports or entertainment can be devastating.

When we are forced to accept an outcome we did not want or choose in spite of our best efforts, it can feel as though we ourselves are not good enough.

But if we are courageous enough to accept and embrace our imperfections, and if we are willing to change course and adapt, we will be graced with resilience, strength and humility.

Perhaps the biggest key to learning from failure is the critical distinction that failure is a matter of personal interpretation. Once you learn to frame your failures properly, you know how to overcome them.[3]

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11. Hitting Rock Bottom

This is going to be different for everyone, but it’s potential impact on our lives is the same for all who face this heavy milestone.

Our personal low point could be as seemingly benign as dealing with any of the failures mentioned above, or it could be as low as anyone could possibly go, including signs of misanthropy or general hatred of humanity.[4]

It could be brought on through struggles with addiction, money troubles, loneliness and isolation, mental health issues, or illness and injury. It doesn’t discriminate: anyone from the loftiest, most beloved and popular to the lowliest and marginalized can experience being in this place of despair and hopelessness.

Hitting rock bottom can and does often prove to be a pivotal turning point in a person’s life, as they learn what is really important in life, and what they are truly capable of.

Humility, compassion for ourselves and others, perspective, strength, resilience, and a strong sense of purpose are just some of the many gifts they may choose to receive on their way back up.

12. Doing Something Selfless

When we are younger, by design we are focused on ourselves – on our own happiness, gains and security.

But as we mature, we begin to see the world through others’ eyes. We develop compassion. We fall in love. We feel joy and excitement for our loved ones’ accomplishments and happiness.

When we realize that we are doing something entirely for the benefit of another, we are be truly selfless and loving.

Volunteering, giving the gift of our time, attention or energy to another, helping make someone else’s dreams come true, or saving someone’s life are all examples of how we may express this more advanced type of love and compassion. In acting selflessly, we reap the immediate rewards of good feelings, and an increase in our own happiness.

The overarching and profound life lesson for this important milestone in life is a realization that we are all connected to one another, and that we are not alone after all.

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Featured photo credit: Søren Astrup Jørgensen via unsplash.com

Reference

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Mike Bundrant

Co-Founder @inlpcenter, which offers NLP training and life coach certification to students in over 70 countries.

12 Most Important Milestones in Life to Grow Through How to Get Motivated to Go to Work Every Single Day 9 Ways to Prepare for Change and Live Your Dream Life 10 Essential Leadership Qualities That Make a Great Leader 10 Leadership Goals That Strong Leaders Set for Themselves

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Last Updated on July 23, 2019

15 Ways to Practice Positive Self-Talk for Success

15 Ways to Practice Positive Self-Talk for Success

“You live the words you tell yourself in your mind.” — Dr. Magdalena Battles

Self-talk is the act of talking to yourself either aloud or mentally. No matter good or bad, these are the messages that you are telling yourself all day long about yourself.

The messages you tell yourself will encourage and motivate you, or they will limit you because they are negative.

For example, if you go to a work party and make a joke in front of 10 colleagues and no one really laughs, just a few chuckles from those being nice, what do you tell yourself after the party? Do you drive home thinking “I should have just kept my mouth shut, now they think I am an idiot,” or do you tell yourself “No big deal, at least I put myself out there and tried.”

Version one of self-talk will make you question yourself at your next social event. You may even hold yourself back from saying too much out of fear of embarrassment or making yourself feel bad. Worse yet, you may develop an aversion to social situations because you feel insecure about your interactions with others.

Version two of self-talk allows you to give yourself a pass to try again, to just be human and interact with others. We cannot all be on spot with humor and social interactions 100% of the time, but it is worth the effort to at least try.

Self-talk is so important as these are the messages that determine whether you should keep trying or not. The messages you send yourself can either help you succeed, or they can hold you back and keep you paralyzed in fear.

Here are 15 tips to help you provide yourself with good, positive self talk for success:

1. Have a Purpose Higher Than Self

Having a strong faith in a higher power is helpful in having positive self-talk. Research shows that teens who had “regular religious service attendance, high subjective importance of faith and years spent in religious youth groups, are associated with higher self-esteem and more positive self-attitudes.”[1]

Having faith in a higher power, along with involvement in a religious community, helps individuals have higher self-esteem. Self-esteem and self-talk go hand in hand.

For example, if you believe that God (or any higher power) is good and loves you, then your feelings toward yourself will be kinder. You were created by a higher being who made you for a purpose. When you believe this in your heart, you are more apt to believe in yourself and pursue the positive things that you are created for in life.

When you feel that you have purpose, you focus on the positive reasons for which you were created to pursue and accomplish.

2. Cut Overly Negative People out of Your Life

Everyone can have a down day and be negative or moody. However, some people seem to have down days every day of their life. If you have some of these people in your life, it may be time to distance yourself from them.

Attitudes of the people you are around will have an effect on your own attitude. If someone has a negative attitude, they are likely to bring down those around them, especially if their negativity is pervasive over time and across a variety of situations.

It is hard to cut family or co-workers out of your life. However, you can limit your time and exposure to these people. Don’t spend time off work with negative co-workers. Don’t hang with negative co-workers in the break room.

Keep the negativity to a minimum in your life by limiting your time with negative people.

3. Be Grateful

A great way to find the positive in your life and create positive self-talk, is to recognize the things in your life for which you can be grateful. A study in Psychology Today showed that:[2]

“Young adults assigned to keep gratitude journals showed greater increases in determination, attention, enthusiasm and energy compared to the other groups.”

Finding things you are grateful for in life daily helps to improve your attitude, which will help you have better, more positive self-talk..

One way to practice gratitude is by starting a gratitude journal. Use it to write the things you are grateful each day.

Some of the things will big and some will be small. This will help you focus on the good things that are happening in your life, even if it was something as simple as seeing a rainbow or spending time walking and talking with a friend.

The expression of your gratitude in a journal makes these emotions and experiences more tangible. You are helping yourself focus on the goodness in your life.

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It doesn’t need to be a long winded journal either. You can simply start by finding a notebook and jotting down 3 to 5 things at the end of each day that are grateful for on that particular day.

4. Don’t Compare Yourself to Others

When you are constantly comparing what you lack to what others have, you can easily get down on yourself.

It is easy to become negative about your life if you are playing the comparison game. Instead, find gratitude in what you do have, rather than concentrating on what you don’t have.

For example, you may have a casual friend who is always getting a new vehicle every two years. They are always top of line, beautiful vehicles. You, on the other hand, are driving a ten year old minivan. You have kids the same age, the same educational background, and you both are married to successful husbands. You compare yourself to what she has and wonder why you can’t also have a new vehicle each year.

What you don’t know is that she and her husband have a large amount of debt. They do not live within their means and have planned very little for their retirement. You and your husband have been very responsible in your spending and retirement planning.

It is not wise to compare yourself to this woman or anyone else, because you likely don’t know the whole story.

You can always find others who are better off than you or worse off than you. It’s more important to concentrate on yourself and on being grateful for your own life.

Live your life and stop making any comparisons.

5. Use Positive Words with Others

If we are negative with our words with others, then we are likely to be negative about ourselves as well.

Having negative thoughts leads to negative self-talk. If you are in a negativity rut, then stop now.

Start speaking life and affirmation to the people in your life that you love, including yourself. Doing so will help improve the attitude in your heart.

For example, when you get to work in the morning, do you start your first conversation by complaining about all the things that went wrong with your morning? Or are you grateful that the sun is shining and that you have a job to pay the bills and you express these sentiments to your co-workers?

What comes out of your month can be positive or it can be negative. The choice is up to you. If you chose the negative, it will not bring about anything positive for your day or life.

Another example is how we treat our loved ones. Do you constantly nag or find fault in your spouse or partner? Or do you focus on the positives and speak encouraging words to them?

If you find yourself focusing on the dishes sitting in the sink, them leaving wet towels on the floor, and them failing to walk the dog once again, you will speak these words to your loved one.

When you speak words of negativity, nagging, and fault to your loved ones, they begin to feel negative around you. Their response to you is likely not going to be positive. They will probably respond with a negative remark such as “you always nag me” or “you never help with the laundry.” Thus begins a pattern of negativity.

If you can let the little things go and instead, focus on the positive and use uplifting words, your home life will be much happier. For example, say “thank you for taking out the trash” and “thank you for helping put the kids to bed”. Even if you expect them to do these things, it still feels good to get a compliment and words of praise. These positive words will bring positive words in return and likely more positive actions from them.

Your relationships will become more positive because of your focus on their positive actions. Your willingness to take the time to recognize these things and verbally provide praise and thanks will enhance your relationships.

Positivity breeds positivity, and negativity breeds negativity. Choose the positive for yourself and others.

6. Believe in Your Success

Believe in your ability to succeed. Believe in the abilities and skills that you have, so that you can propel yourself toward success.

Doubting yourself holds you back from trying and thus holds you back from succeeding. Believe you can succeed, even if it takes multiple tries.

For instance, if you go into a workout class and have already told yourself that you won’t be able to complete it, then you will indeed fail. You are setting yourself up for failure when you go into a situation telling yourself mentally that you can’t or won’t be able to complete the task at hand.

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Commit to telling yourself that you can do it. Even if you have to modify your movements to keep going, tell yourself that you will not quit. Tell yourself that one way or another you will get the job done.

You need to tell yourself you can do what needs to be done and you can succeed at whatever you put your mind to. If you don’t believe in yourself, then who will?

7. Don’t Fear Failure

Don’t fear failure as it is often the road to success. Some of the greatest success stories in life are of people who failed multiple times before becoming successful. If they had given up the first time after failing, then they never would have become hugely successful.

Fear of failure holds back many people from ever even trying to succeed. They remain in their status quo in life because they live in fear of failure.

If Milton Hersey had given up after his first three candy companies failed, he wouldn’t have gone on to create the world-famous Hershey’s candy company. He is just one of many examples who failed many times before finally succeeding: 10 Famous Failures to Success Stories That Will Inspire You to Carry On

Don’t allow fear to hold you back from trying. Tell yourself you can keep trying if you do fail!

For example, if you bomb on a work project, don’t tell yourself you are a failure. Instead, look at it as an opportunity to learn a new way to go at the project and to grow in your skill set.

Don’t take the failure and accept it. Instead, reframe the experience as an opportunity for more growth and development of whatever job you may be doing.

Don’t throw out your previous work because someone rejected it. You may need it later. Set it to the side and save it for future reference. You never know when that project that didn’t worked for that instance may work for another.

Your efforts are not in vain if you look at a failure as an opportunity to try again and take a fresh approach.

8. Replace Negative Thoughts with Positive Ones

Negative thoughts happen. It’s hard to provide yourself with positive thoughts all the time.

However, you can start replacing negative thoughts with the positive ones. There is always a flip side or upside to any situation. It’s up to you to start finding the positive in order to begin changing your negatives into positives.

For example, if you have a tendency to tell yourself that you are fat, you will feel fat and bad about the way you appear. If you aren’t fat, then stop telling yourself this message!

If you are overweight but are working to improve your physical health, then focus on those thoughts. When it pops into your mind that you look fat as you wash your hands at the bathroom mirror, replace those thoughts immediately. Instead, tell yourself that you are working to make positive changes in your physique and are making strides in being healthier every day.

Tell yourself that you are pleased with yourself because you are making efforts daily to improve that which you see needs improvement. Say “job well done” when you get your workouts done. Give yourself a mental pat on the back and feel good about what you are doing for yourself.

Focus on what you are doing to change what you don’t like about yourself or your life. If the message that you are feeding yourself is false, then stop. Replace the thoughts with correct messages such as “I am fit, in shape, and I should be proud of how hard I have worked to get to my physical fitness level”.

Be positive when negative thoughts creep into your mind. Doing so will help you find the motivation to try again in the future.

If you concentrate on the negative, you are mentally holding yourself back from trying again.

9. Post Positive Affirmations

A great way to provide positive self-talk to yourself is to write it down.

Have positive mantras, scriptures, and affirmations written and posted for you to view throughout your day. Post them on your refrigerator, your bathroom mirror, next to your computer screen, or wherever you can see them often on a daily basis.

Having positive messages around you helps to shape positive self-talk in your mind.

Here are some examples that you can post on your bathroom mirror today, just use some sticky notes:

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  • I am adventurous and I am embrace all that life has to offer.
  • I feed my spirit daily.
  • I am in charge of how I feel today.
  • I am grateful for…
  • I will choose happiness and gratitude today.
  • I am special and unique, nobody else in the world is exactly like me.
  • I am proud of myself for…
  • I show love to myself and others daily in all that I do.
  • I find joy in all situations.
  • I am kind to others and to myself.
  • I am of value and have purpose in this world.

Or you can try out these apps: 10 Uplifting Positive Affirmation Apps That Help You Re-Center on the Go

10. Don’t Dwell in the Past

Don’t be too hard on yourself. Everyone has a past. Everyone has bad things in their past.

Don’t concentrate on these failures, mistakes, or negative things that have happened in your life.

Keep your mind focused on the future and what is possible, especially the positive things that are possible.

For example, imagine that you are in a new relationship after going through a divorce or bad breakup. You harbor ill feelings toward your ex because they cheated on you. You have the right to be angry, but there comes a time to move forward.

Put the past in the past. Don’t bring up your ex every time you watch a movie that involves infidelity. Don’t bring up your ex and their wrongs on a regular basis. Doing so is bringing your ex into your current relationship. Your current spouse or partner didn’t sign up for you and another person in tow.

Leave your baggage at the door. Don’t speak the words about your past when they aren’t necessary. Doing so keeps them going and gives them new life.

Don’t provide breathe and space in your life for the negative things of your past. Focus on moving forward and the new relationship that you do have.

Centralize on the fact that you were strong enough to move forward and embrace your future.

There is a reason why your windshield is so big and your rear-view mirror is so small in your vehicle. What’s ahead is far more important than what is behind you.

11. Visualize Your Success

Your ability to visualize your success is tied to your ability to actually achieve success.

For example, if you want to run 10 miles today, envision the beginning, middle, and end. Think about how you will prepare for your run. Think about what it will feel like as you get going and how you plan to push through the tough moments you will have on your run.

Strategize about what you will tell yourself to keep yourself going when times get tough. Also, think about how you will react when things get rough, and tell yourself that you will push through, even when it gets really difficult.

Then, envision yourself finishing your run and how you will feel once you completed your goal. Visualize the entire process and how you get to your success. This will help you when you get to the actual run because you have thought about your commitment to that success and what it takes to get there.

You have also created strategies for pushing through any bumps in the road to keep yourself going. You are committed to not quitting.

Envisioning the entire run, which includes the difficulties, will help you get to the end goal which is successful completion of the 10 miles.

Visualizing helps you think positively about your situation and encourages you to see that your vision of success is possible.

12. Limit Your Intake of the News and Media

The news and media can be predominantly negative. When you are constantly feeding your mind negative messages, it becomes very difficult to find positive self-talk.

Limit your exposure to news and media. It’s good to be an informed citizen but sometimes, it is good for your mind and soul to shut off the TV and cut off the negativity that is happening everywhere in the world.

For example, if you have made it a habit of listening to a news station on your commute, you may want to change that habit.

Filling your hour long commute with all that is wrong in the world will not help you start your day out right. Instead, listen to a news station that provides a quick recap of the news. Spend only a small percentage of your commute listening to the news. The remainder of the time you can listen to an audio book that is uplifting or helping you become a better version of yourself.

Putting a limit on the amount of time for your news intake can help you focus more time and energy on other positive activities.

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When you do listen to the news, remind yourself there are lots of positive things happening in the world too; but they just aren’t often put on the news.

13. Help Others

Helping others is a way to bless others, but it can also be an even bigger blessing to yourself. This article on helping others shows how beneficial this act can be to yourself.

You can experience feelings of being more positive, empowered, and optimistic by helping others. These feelings will help you have better self-talk during your day and improve your mental health.

Try to do one thing each day to help another person, so that you can begin the habit of helping others on a regular basis. You will thank yourself later, as will the people you help.

For example, on your way to work, hold the door open for others. Smile at those who are looking to make eye contact. You can also buy a cup of coffee for a co-worker, genuinely compliment people on their appearance. Or you can let someone who looks super rushed ahead of you in line.

The list is almost endless of the kind things you can do for others on a daily basis. Start looking for ways that you can help others see the bright side of life.

You can be a light in the world and some of these people may otherwise only be feeling and experiencing darkness. Your light can make a difference in the world.

14. Be Physically Active

There are a great many benefits to becoming active; such benefits include increased creativity, reduced anxiety, improved self-confidence, reduced stress, increase in happy brain chemicals and more.[3]

All of these factors will help with your ability to practice positive self talk to yourself and eventually succeed in life.

Get up, get active, and improve your body and mind together by exercising on a regular basis.

Think you’re too busy to exercise? Here’re 5 ways to find time for exercise.

15. Dream and Set Goals

A great way to begin positive self-talk is to dream about the future.

What is your desire in life? What do you want out of life? Where do you see yourself in 5, 10, or 15 years?

Allow yourself to dream big and then set smaller goals toward reaching those end goals.

Encourage yourself toward your life successes by providing supportive messages about how you will achieve these goals.

When you reach these small goals, you will become more positive about your abilities and skills that help you achieve these milestones. This helps with your positive self-talk.

Don’t get down on yourself if you do have failures along the way. Allow for flexibility and changing of plans along your route, and you will be a happier person.

Tell yourself it’s okay to let go of some dreams and take on new ones as well. Your life is yours. Allow yourself to dream and to go for those dreams.

Shoot for the stars; you never know which one you will hit. If not the first one, then try, and try again.

Respect and appreciate yourself and your ability to keep trying.

More About Positivity

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] National Study of Youth Religion: Sociologists Find that Religious Teens Are More Positive About Life
[2] Psychology Today: The Grateful Today
[3] Greatist: Benefits of Exercise

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