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Published on April 10, 2019

8 Ways to Continuously Achieve Personal Growth

8 Ways to Continuously Achieve Personal Growth

The most successful individuals place great importance to continuously achieve personal growth and development. Despite already being at the pinnacle of their career, they still make the time in their busy schedule to endlessly push themselves out of the comfort zones and to unlock even more of their inner potential.

So what does personal growth mean? It is a lifelong process of psychological, physical, social and spiritual development.[1] It is an active process of learning and developing new skills long after one has completed any formal education.

The beauty of personal growth lies in its unlimited possibility — you can learn across many fields that pique your interest and go as deep as you would like to. And by continuously growing, you’re set on the path of living an extraordinary and fulfilled life.

It is never too late if you have just come across the idea of personal growth. Now is definitely a good time to start!

Taking the first step is always the hardest part of the process, but persevering is definitely harder. But do not worry, we have got you covered.

Discover the 8 simple tips to keep the momentum going for you to continuously achieve personal growth:

1. Grow at Your Own Pace at Something You’re Passionate About

Along with the rise of smartphones, social media platforms have been a staple in our daily lives. Stories of success, while inspiring at times, when served in a disproportionately higher frequency than stories about the ongoing hardship of climbing to the job, can leave even the better of us feeling rather inadequate. Sooner or later, you tend to compare yourself and start to question your current life’s path.

But the thing is, every journey is not the same for everyone. As cliché as it may sound, you need to stop comparing and start appreciating your individual journey. Chart out a path that aligns with your personal values and needs.

To begin, think of your interests and passions. Try to recall your childhood memories. What did you love to do as a child? Bill Gates once said that you’re likely to excel at something that you were obsessed with when you were 12 – 18 years old.[2]

If nothing stands out, then think of what sparks joy in your life now? What are the things you could talk about for hours?

For example, if you have been watching foreign movies for a while, maybe it is time to learn the language. Imagine how rewarding it will be when you are finally able to sit through a movie and ditch the subtitles.

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“Enlightenment must come little by little – otherwise it would overwhelm.” – Idries Shah

Once you have found your passion, you must be patient. Remember that it is okay to take it slow and not rush the process. It may seem to you that everyone else except you is moving forward at the speed of light, that’s probably just a mere illusion. Even if it is true, do not feel demotivated and be brave to grow at your own pace.

2. Make Use of Curiosity to Cultivate Soft Skills

Soft skills are just as important as hard skills. In fact, you need to cultivate soft skills not only to shine at your workplace, but also to become a better human being.

Let us consider empathy, for example, which is considered one of the most important soft skills to have at the workplace and in life. Empathy is commonly associated with having similar past experiences. Award-winning graphic novelist Gene Luen Yang agrees that empathy for others can come from having experienced something similar.[3]

But how do we empathize even with the lack of experience?

The answer is to be curious of everything! The next time that someone tells you that they can no longer cope with something, before you formulate your response, be curious and put yourself in their situation.

Suppose that you are a breadwinner husband and wonder why your stay-at-home wife whines so much about how tired she is at the end of the day. Perhaps you can volunteer to substitute her role during the weekend. You’d be surprised of how your view may dramatically change.

Being curious does not only cultivate your empathy but also enhance your decision-making skills, while at the same time pave the way for your own personal growth.

3. Kaizen Approach: Aim for 1% Progress, Not Perfection

Personal growth is a lifelong process. Sure, being a perfectionist to a certain extent may have its place, but overdoing it and you may risk doing a disservice to yourself and the people around you, as in the case of the creative genius, Steve Jobs.[4]

If you are plagued with striving for perfectionism, it is better to shift your focus on the progress that you’ve made, rather than perfection, in order to avoid feeling discouraged. In fact, perfectionism can have serious adverse effects on your mental health.[5][6]

To give you an idea, pretend that you are into arts and decide to try calligraphy. You’d realize that it is so much harder than it looks once you’d pick up the pen. Suddenly, your goal of achieving the mastery level that you’d once dreamed of seems too daunting of a task…and you may be tempted to throw in the towel.

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First of all, do a reality check. Accept that you won’t become a calligraphy expert overnight. However, your skills will slowly improve if you keep practicing everyday. Change your mindset of aiming to be 1% better than yesterday, which is known as the Kaizen approach.

To summarize this point, stop beating yourself up when progress seems slow. Focus instead on achieving at least a 1% progress everyday. Small but ongoing positive changes will get you there eventually.

“Be patient with yourself. Self-growth is tender; it’s holly ground. There’s no greater investment.” – Stephen Covey

4. Start a Journal and Track Daily Habits

Now come the question:

How to know that you are progressing?

“Inevitable we find ourselves tackling too many things at the same time, spreading our focus so thin that nothing gets the attention it deserves. This is commonly referred to as ‘being busy’. Being busy, however, is not the same thing as being productive.” – Ryder Carroll.

The answer is simple. Document everything whether in actual or electronic journal. What gets measured, gets done. Routine measurement and documentation help you identify the gaps that are holding you back from achieving goals.

For example, you can plot a line graph to track your weight as well as your calorie consumption and physical activities for the day, so as to get a better clarity of what works for and against your fitness goal.

You can also use your journal to develop or break a habit. New study found that it requires a minimum of 66 consecutive days of doing something to develop it as a habit — an act that comes naturally to you without involving any willpower.[7]

The simplest habit tracker is in the form of a table, where you list down all of the activities that you want to track on the left-side column and have the days of the week in the following columns. Remember to be specific when listing the activity. For example, “Drink 2 liters of water” is better than “Drink water”.

It is entirely up to you whether you want to maintain a minimalist or artistic journal. If artistic journaling appeals to you, you can try the Bullet Journal Method.

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5. Boost ‘Happy’ Neurotransmitters

As you progress in ahead in your quest for personal growth, don’t forget to celebrate the small victory along the way by treating yourself to something nice. It does not have to be extravagant. Whether it is indulging your favorite ice cream, having a picnic by the lake or buying stuff from your wish list, go ahead and reward yourself without any guilt.

These small celebrations can boost neurotransmitters – serotonin and dopamine – that make you happy. Serotonin works by improving your overall mood, while dopamine works as a motivator that pushes you to achieve your goals, so that you can delight in the reward later. Make these two neurotransmitters work to your advantage.

You can learn more about How To Celebrate Small Wins To Achieve Big Goals here.

It is important to always be proud of how far you’ve come along. After all, Rome was not built in a day, and there is no such thing as an overnight success.

6. Get the Social Support You Need

You’ve probably heard the saying that you are the average of five people you spend the most time with. A scientific research has disproved that theory – you are actually the average of all the people you surround yourself with.[8]

The people around you play a big role in your journey to achieve continuous personal growth as they directly and subconsciously affect your attitudes and emotions. People who radiate positive vibes can offer you multiple kinds benefits. Apart from the social support that pushes you to be better, their positivity can also rub off of you.

“People inspire you, or they drain you. Pick them wisely.” – Hans F. Hasen

But what to do if the people that are currently in your life do not share the values that you hold and aspire to?

You can join online groups or find local communities – both are easily found through a quick Google search. Make use of these platforms to exchange knowledge and opinions, to boost motivation, or to just bask in their positivity.

Make it a point to cut out toxic friends and surround yourself with the ones that cherish your small victories. Sometimes, knowing someone is rooting for your success can be a good enough reason to persevere. A social support will catalyze your growth and make your journey a little bit easier.

7. Find Happiness in the Little Things

Science has proven that attitude of gratitude is just as important as other moral values.[9] But it can be difficult to appreciate the good things that happen in your life when you are having a tough time. As you bury yourself in negative thoughts, it becomes nearly impossible to move forward.

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Writing one line of gratitude per day trains you to find happiness in the little things even if it seems like nothing good is happening now. Whether it is the good traffic and weather, a compliment from your boss, a delicious lunch or affection from your cats, the small happenings that you tend to miss out are worth to be thankful for.

Besides that, you can start by saying ‘thank you’ to others more often. Who knows what miracles you can bring to their lives. After all, we are all interconnected in some ways.

Expressing gratitude helps you to feel good about yourself and your life. And when you feel good, you’ll be more driven to continue growing as a person. Take a look at these 6 Ways To Implement More Gratitude In Your Life.

“Thank you is the bridge from where you are now to the life of your dreams. Your life will change by practicing gratitude and saying thank you.” – Rhonda Byrne

8. Emphasize on Self-Care

You may have been misled to believe that self-care is about pampering yourself – for instance, splurging on a new handbag or that expensive spa treatment after a job well done.

Newsflash: You may have gotten self-care wrong.

Self-care is about being disciplined in nourishing your body and your mind. This includes eating right to ensure that your macro nutrient and micro nutrient intakes are as per recommended, and getting enough quality sleep at night.

If the only means of physical activity you do in a day is taking out the trash, it’s time to step up the game. The key is to choose an exercise that brings you joy. It could be running in the park, swimming, joining Pilates or kickboxing classes. A routine exercise lets the brain function effectively and helps you live longer too.

Remember this: A healthy body and an alert brain will tremendously help you in your personal growth.

Final Thoughts

Design the journey that suits you. You can seek for inspiration from others but remember to appreciate your own journey.

Be kind to yourself as you embark on the quest towards your personal growth and development. After all, it is a lifelong journey.

Are you ready now?

More Resources to Help You Grow & Improve

Featured photo credit: Artem Bali via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] V. Berger, Psychologist Anywhere Anytime: Personal Growth and Development
[2] Inc.: Bill Gates’s Simple Trick for Finding a Career Where You’ll Shine
[3] G. L. Yang, Big Think: Minority Book Report: How Reading Grows Our Empathy
[4] The Atlantic: The Crazy Perfectionism That Drove Steve Jobs
[5] Medical News Today: How Perfectionism Affects Your (Mental) Health
[6] M. Etherson and M. M. Smith, The Conversation: How Perfectionism Can Lead To Depression In Students
[7] P. Lally, C. H. M. Van Jaarsveld, H. W. W. Potts and J. Wardle, European Journal of Social Psychology: How are habits formed: Modelling habit formation in the real world.
[8] The New England Journal of Medicine: The Spread of Obesity in a Large Social Network over 32 Years
[9] S. Scott, Happier Human: The Science of Gratitude: More Benefits Than Expected; 26 Studies and Counting

More by this author

Jay Liew

Founder at Great Big Minds, Positivity Enthusiast, Social Media & Digital Entrepreneur

8 Ways to Continuously Achieve Personal Growth

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Last Updated on July 17, 2019

How to Make Changes in Life To Be The Best Version of You

How to Make Changes in Life To Be The Best Version of You

Let’s start with the problem:

You get back from work. You’re tired. It was a long day. You know there’s things you could do, to get out of the rut you’re in.

But, let’s be honest. You really would rather relax, sit down and chill for a bit. Grab a snack. Watch your favourite show.

By the time you’ve done that, the day’s over. There’s just not enough time. To make this worse – you don’t have the energy or willpower to make changes in your life today.

So where do you go from there?

What you need are some easy to apply actions that are proven to work.

This article is going to give you 4 steps on how to make changes in life so you can follow today and get closer to success – even when you are feeling tired and lazy.

These steps have proven to work for me, and many of the coaching clients I work with privately.

1. Squash Inconsistency by Giving up Motivation

Now most people, when they want to make changes to their lives, focus on making lengthy to-do lists and plans. They think over and over again about what is going wrong, what is going well and what they want, etc.

All in a bid to push themselves to getting more motivated.

Guess what? This isn’t going to work.

Willpower and motivation are feelings. Feelings are vague and unreliable.

Instead, what you should do is focus on putting your flawed unpredictable self in the best possible environments.

If you do one thing first from this list, it’s THIS:

Find and go to the best possible environment for the area of your life you want to change.

For example:

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  • If you want to get fit, make your first goal to show up at the gym three times a week.
  • If you want to find a new relationship, show up to a meet up in your city for single people.
  • If you want to be productive and make your business idea work, don’t work at home, go to a co working space nearby.

The reason people fail to become the best version of themselves is because they underestimate the power of environments to influence behavior.

Accept that you are flawed, prone to distractions and your motivation and willpower will fail you.

The best hack at your disposal? Show up to “change inducing” environments and get out of your comfort zone (physically)!

OK. Next step.

2. Recruit an Elite Team to Help You (For Free)

Open up any social media platform you’re active on that contains some positive connections you have.

Send this message to one person you already know and trust ton help you make changes to your life:

“Hey [first name]. Can I be really frank and honest with you? I’m having one of those – ‘OMG I NEED TO MAKE CHANGES TO MY LIFE!’ moments.

And I was browsing the internet, looking for tips and this article I came across suggested accountability. So here I am, messaging you to be part of my accountability system.

My ask is simple.

Can we sit together once a week at [x place] but do absolutely no socializing? I’ll buy the [coffee/food] and it will be a space to force me to do [x thing]. You literally have to do nothing other than eat the free coffee/food I pay for lol. But it will keep my accountability high, which is what I need.

What you reckon? Can you help? Thanks!”

Now obviously, change the language to suit you but you get the idea.

Not only are you going to environments that will help you make changes, but by bringing a friend (or two), you make it even likelier that you will succeed. It doesn’t even have to be in person, it could be a video call.

People fail to make changes to their lives because they try to do it all themselves.

It doesn’t really work in long term, and it doesn’t have to be this way.

You can recruit and “enlist” people to help you. By doing this, you’re taking care of the up and down motivation you have.

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Not only are people happy to help, when they see this type of behavior, they’re also inspired and motivated to change their lives. Pretty soon, you end up creating change in not just your life, but other people’s too.

So when the next dip in willpower comes?

You have a friend sitting right next to you, watching your every move, making sure you get things done anyway.

3. Build Good Habits Effortlessly

Changing your life means changing your day to day habits.

Habits are automated behaviors you do everyday, like how a clock works, without thinking or motivating yourself to do them.

Some habits help you to change, others can stop you. One of the best ways to replace your ‘bad’ habits with good ones is to treat them like old clothes. What happens when your t-shirt gets old, faded and out of fashion? You replace it with something new and improved.

Do the same thing with your habits – upgrade and replace them with something better. Start small, then slowly graduate to higher levels of difficulty.

Let me give you a clear example of what I mean:

A few years ago (before it became mainstream), I was trying to start my own habit of meditating every single day to help boost my productivity and mindfulness. I’d done a mind blowing course called Vipassana. It involved 10 days of deeply powerful meditation combined with noble silence in a remote part of the UK.

Now it was easy to do when I was there (#1 – environment!) with all those other meditators (#2 – people helping me). All I could do was meditate. There were ZERO distractions. I had NO CHOICE.

When I got home however, after a few days of sticking with it, I quickly caved.

Those extra 30 minutes of sleep were just so much easier than waking up everyday at 4am for a long one hour meditation.

So what did I do to build this really important habit?

Like with most things, I wanted to make changes to my life. I wanted to become my best self.

I knew how important it was. I just couldn’t follow through consistently and kept failing over and over.

Then, it hit me.

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I needed to start small. I made a tiny change, that made all the difference.

I made a tiny change, that I could stick to – without fail – that has me meditating daily every single day now.

What was it?

Instead of trying to do something BIG inconsistently (1 hour of 4am morning meditation) and failing again and again. I decided to do something small consistently.

Building any good habit really just comes down to repetition. The way the brain is built works in favour of this.

My new habit became:

When I wake up, I will fold my bedding neatly. Then I will sit cross legged for 30 seconds with my eyes closed.

Eventually, once I did this consistently for a few months. I increased difficulty.

When I wake up, I will fold my bedding neatly. Then I will meditate for 10 minutes.

Why does this work?

What’s important here is that the behavior you want (meditating) is tied to another consistent habit (folding your bedding).

I attached my new habit to one that already is consistent.

Making it more likely to happen.

Secondly, I aimed for consistency, not perfection. This is where a lot of people fail. They have an idea of the change they want, but things become all or nothing.

When you do this, you fail to realize the power of consistency. The brain you have loves patterns. In this case, I trained my brain to repeat a set pattern every morning when I fold my bed.

There was no motivation or willpower required.

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This training has gone so far now that if I miss a day of meditating, I really feel uncomfortable. I’m just as conditioned to meditate as most people are to checking their phones in the morning.

If you want to learn more about quitting bad habits, Lifehack’s CEO also has a guide on it: How to Break Bad Habits: I Broke 3 Bad Habits in Less Than 2 Months

4. Create More Time by Quitting Social Media

You know the best thing I’ve ever done for my productivity and it took me 30 seconds to do?

I deleted all social media apps from my phone and blocked them on my laptop.

Then, to reinforce it, I told all my friends and followers on Facebook (my most used platform) I wasn’t using it for a while.

Now, there’s nothing wrong with my social media. Social media is a tool. Tools are neutral. It’s how we use them that is “productive” or “distracting”.

We each have to judge how healthy our usage is, especially when weighed against unlocking our best self. That said, for most people reading this, including me, I think limiting our usage is a very favorable advantage.

One of the best ways to make changes in our lives is not to add new tools or tricks. But simply remove things that distract us.

Social media is something I use heavily for my businesses. Technically I’m a “social media influencer” and “YouTuber”. I need to be posting constantly, right?

Our situations are unique, so I came up with a unique solution for this. After deleting and blocking these apps from my devices, I installed a social media management software that still allows me to post my updates.

The big difference, however, is I cannot spend any time scrolling and being distracted.

Final Thoughts

Change is not always about more. Sometimes it’s about doing less and getting rid of what distracts or blocks you.

Trying to do things by yourself is a good way to fail. Share your goals and pitfalls with people, no one helps until you ask.

Start with small changes consistently instead of big changes failed at consistently. The momentum will give you results over time.

So what to do next to make changes in your life?

  1. Write down where you are going to GO to create the changes you want.
  2. Message 3 to 4 people on social media and ask them to help you using the message template I gave you.
  3. Choose one small habit to get started with immediately and upgrade it over time.
  4. Delete all, or at least most social media apps on your devices, and notify people you are leaving to make it stick.

More About Making Changes in Life

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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