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Last Updated on May 14, 2019

10 Personal Development Goals for Success and Happiness

10 Personal Development Goals for Success and Happiness

Success is like an elusive rainbow that we chase our whole lives.

Every time we get close, it appears to fade into the distant horizon. After numerous futile attempts, we begin to wonder, will we ever get there?

But this doesn’t have to be the case.

Author and motivation speaker, Jim Rohn, once said,

“Success is nothing more than a few simple disciplines, practiced every day.”

By aspiring towards these 10 simple personal development goals and consistently working on them, you’ll be well on your way towards a life of success and happiness:

1. Be Committed to Growth, Learning and Improvement

Whether you want to create an ideal relationship, build a successful business or master a new skill, you’ll need to be open to learning and expanding your knowledge to further your progress.

Just as your body needs a healthy food diet, your mind needs a wholesome information diet.

To evolve as an individual, feeding your mind with new ideas and information is essential. Every day, dedicate at least 15 to 30 minutes to reading material that enlightens and enhances your knowledge.

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Don’t read just to be entertained, read to stay informed and broaden your horizons. Consume content that is actionable and directly relates to your goals and aspirations.

Your reading material could include books, magazines, newspapers, journals, and online publications. You may also listen to podcasts and audio books if you prefer to learn aurally.

2. Engage in the Practice of Goal Setting

You can’t achieve success without knowing your destination. Having a vision of where you want to go makes it easier to create a road map and develop a plan for focused action.

If a lifetime vision plan does not seem feasible, break it down to a 10-year, 5-year, or 1-year plan – whatever time frame you’re comfortable with.

Based on your vision, create long term and short term goals. Ensure that they are meaningful goals that inspire to think big and build your commitment to stay on course no matter what obstacles you face along the way.

3. Build Realistic Strategies

To manifest your goals on the material plane, you need to be strategic about allocating your resources such as time, money, effort, and connections. Your strategy should include a comprehensive pre-assessment of what really goes into realizing your goals.

Outline a plan based on your assessment, as well as a strategy for execution. Getting a realistic overview of what’s needed to accomplish your targets will give clarity on the amount of effort required.

Without having this estimation, you can easily underestimate how much work and resources will be needed, and fail.

4. Be Flexible and Patient

While it’s important to stay focused on your personal growth and progress, you’ll also have to prepare yourself for unforeseen changes.

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Always keep the end goal in mind, but stay flexible about how and when you’re going to get there. You have to lower your expectations of how your path will look, because there will be many twists and turns along the way.

When you let go of your rigid outlook, you release yourself from the anxiety, worry, and disappointment that occur every time you hit a curveball.

The best practices that have made it easier for me to go with the flow is mindfulness, deep breathing techniques, staying in the present moment, and having a sense of humor.

5. Make Your Physical Wellbeing a Priority

Your body is your vehicle for your life. It will be challenging to reach you full potential if you’re perpetually unhealthy and unwell.

A lot of ailments, sickness, mood disorders and lack of energy are a direct result of a poorly managed lifestyle. Science has proven that our intellectual capacity and emotional wellbeing are strongly related to the state of our physical wellbeing.[1]

Make sure that you’re following the basic tenets of healthy living such as eating healthy and nourishing foods, getting enough sleep and and living an active lifestyle that keeps you fit and strong.

6. Breathe

In our hectic and fast-paced world, it’s essential that we make time during our days to pause and take a breather. We can center ourselves by bringing awareness to your breath.

Most of us don’t realize that whenever we are stressed out, we have a strong tendency to hold our breath and have shallow breathing.

By directing our attention to our breath, we not only take in more air, which relaxes our minds, but we bring our focus to living in the here and now.

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There are several exercises that can help us bring focus to our breath, such as certain breathing exercises, meditation practices and yoga.

7. Take ‘Time-Outs’ to Relax and Rejuvenate

If your thoughts are getting too overwhelming to handle, it may be best to step away and take time out to unwind and get into a calmer state of being.

In addition to bringing more awareness to your breath, you can engage in relaxing activities such as meditation, yoga, tai chi, nature walks, listening to soothing music, gardening, drinking calming herbal teas, lighting candles with aromatherapeutic properties, reading a novel, or anything else that brings your pulse down.

Avoid being in noisy and crowded environments, or consuming stimulants such as caffeine.

8. Build a Reliable Support System

Success is not a one-man journey. You’ll need the help of a trusted team of advisers, mentors, friends, and skilled professionals to facilitate you.

Seek out friends and partners who support and encourage you in your endeavors.

You can find these individuals anywhere but there’s a higher chance of meeting them at certain types of groups and organizations that generally attract people with high self-awareness, strong value systems and conscience, such as volunteer groups, animal shelters, self-enrichment courses/workshops and spiritual or religious oriented organizations.

9. Cultivate Gratitude and Simplicity

Sometimes we may not like what’s going on in our present life and we’ll be tempted to give in to unhealthy forms of escapism. We can steer ourselves from this by cultivating an attitude of gratitude and simplicity.

There’s been so much written about the power of gratitude and how it can instantly raise our personal vibration. The mere act of appreciating the simple things that we normally take for granted can instantly shift our perspective on our life and uplift us in the process.

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A warm cup of hot cocoa on a winter’s day or your loyal pet who’s always by your side, especially after rough days, or your healthy body that allows you to stay active are all simple yet profoundly blessed realities that we can appreciate.

10. Embrace the Unknown and Let Go of Expectations

Most of us have an instinctive dislike of the unknown. We’re uncomfortable with uncertain outcomes and not knowing what lies ahead of us. But trying to get insights and clarity about an unknown future is a recipe for mental anguish.

As spiritual leader Deepak Chopra says,

“those who seek security in the exterior world chase it for a lifetime. By letting go of your attachment to the illusion of security, which is really an attachment to the known, you step into the field of all possibilities. This is where you will find true happiness, abundance, and fulfillment.”

When we let go and trust in what we cannot see, we open the doorway for abundance.

According to a study done by nurses who spent time with dying patients, the number one regret of the dying was wishing that they had the courage to live a life true to themselves and not what others expected of them.[2]

Let this inspire you to take hold of the wheel and steer our lives it in the direction that will bring you the joy that you seek. Because, this is your life, and only you can make it as spectacular as possible!

More Resources to Help You Achieve Success & Happiness

Featured photo credit: Cristian Escobar via unsplash.com

Reference

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Seline Shenoy

A passionate author, podcast host, and coach who focuses on personal empowerment, self-esteem, productivity, and wellness.

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Last Updated on August 19, 2019

5 Steps to Cultivate a Positive Mental Attitude

5 Steps to Cultivate a Positive Mental Attitude

Cultivating a positive mental attitude starts with a realization — a realization that you’re not the only one who has struggled, who has survived, and who has started over again. You are not alone, and there is a way through the darkness. There is simple wisdom, which can be relied upon, to help.

Find support, but also learn self-care in how you treat yourself which is what positivity is all about. That self talk, that perception, that attitude you choose changes you and changes those around you.

According to New Stanford Study: A Positive Attitude Literally Makes Your Brain Better by Jessica Stillman,[1] Stanford researchers studies how the brain was impacted in achievement and learning when one felt or was positive about a subject. The result? Outcomes were much more favorable for that student.

We do well in areas we are positive about. But what if we can choose to be positive about, well, anything? That would change everything.

Positivity is not about just being happy, which is often the misconception. In fact, acknowledging a range of emotions is healthy. Positivity is persistence while using positive thinking strategies. It is sitting with your feelings; it is acceptance of what is; it is holding onto what makes you happy; it is purpose found in pain.

And the reasoning behind choosing to be positive — you get what you give. You receive what you believe.

Here’re 5 steps to cultivate a positive mental attitude. In part, they detail why it’s important to be positive as an understanding assists in the pursuit as much as the adoption of the mindset.

1. Attitude is What We Can Change

There’s a Maya Angelou quote that goes:

“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.”

When you choose positivity as your attitude, you select an attitude far more destined for resilient behavior than the alternative.

When you have a negative attitude, your brain gives itself permission to develop negative thinking patterns and in turn, difficult and dark emotions. You spend all your days ruminating, or worrying about the same thing over and over again, thinking that will solve it. Doing this will cause you to miss the answers rather than make the most of the moments in front of you.

In actuality, the first thing you need to do is calm yourself. It feels counterintuitive, but that means to release your troubled mentality. When you release what is bothering you, you choose a safer attitude. One that helps you to accept your emotions, accept what is happening and accept that you don’t have all the answers. You’re less afraid of that fact.

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Attitude is everything. It’s how we heal ourselves. It’s how we stay positive. It’s how we secure things. It’s how we overcome.

Without a positive attitude, we cannot persevere. Perseverance is the point of positivity.

A positive attitude is how we fuel willpower. Willpower is how we fuel positivity. It goes in a circle. They are interchangeable.

Positivity denotes willpower. You can be standing in a storm and feel completely calm when you use positivity. You stay grounded. You stand firm. You do not fall over. And you know what? Even if you do, you get back up again.

There is a Japanese proverb, “Nana korobi ya oki” which means fall seven times, get up eight. This means you do not stop; you keep going. You make it through the hard times to find the good.

A positive attitude is about understanding you have power over your problems. Once you understand that, you can change your attitude. You have to choose positive thinking first in order to reap its benefits. Once you’ve chosen to be positive, you can do anything.

2. Positivity Is Your Unique Power

When you have lost it all, a positive attitude can help you regain it or to regain your strength. It’s the best way to live. It’s the best way to learn from life and love. When you are positive, you have a power that circumstance nor others cannot take from you.

Recognizing the power you have to carry on, to make the best of things, to keep going when everything inside you wants to quit is worth everything.

You can’t always have it all, but you can always have a positive attitude. This in itself helps you stand out, helps you to shine. It’s enough to save yourself (and others potentially) with. That power keeps you grounded and safe.

For example, say you lost someone to a disease. Instead of just thinking about the loss and seeing it as the end, a positive person may decide to contribute to a cause dedicated to that disease. In doing so, the positive person becomes a beacon of hope. They become a voice for something which in turn gives them power over their hardship.

This is how people keep going: Meaning. Meaning creates a power over our emotions, over our loss so that they do not define us.

According to the Mayo Clinic, positivity affects one’s stress levels and overall health.[2] It is that powerful. When you are positive about a situation, you are less stressful and more calm and able to reason better to solve the very problem in front of you.

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Cultivating this power is about realizing a sense of meaning can be derived from all circumstances, even senseless tragedies. People often contribute to something greater than themselves when they are searching for meaning, for purpose, for positivity, for power.

You don’t always have to have a reason for why something happens, but you can use whatever happens for a greater cause. It’s subjective, changing from person to person. That’s why no matter how much you want to derive meaning from an event, there are no outright answers about how to do that.

So, what do you do? Meditate. Listen.

“Whatever purifies you is the right path, I will not try to define it. Let go of your mind then be mindful. Close your ears and listen.” — Rumi

3. Be Absolutely Present

In life, you have control over your ability to be present in the moment, even if not control over everything. You have the moment.

Positivity is telling yourself that this moment is what matters. You can’t regret the past or see the future. The only way to be positive is to be here. What do you have right in front of you? Suddenly, your life shifts to gratitude.

Gratitude serves us in letting go of what we do not need. Listing what makes us happy is one way to stay present. What do you have right now that you can use? You have the tools to be positive.

Some techniques to getting there are through meditations or mantras. For example, “Nothing bad is happening right now” is an easy one to incorporate. Your past traumas can’t trip you when you ground yourself in the present, and your ability to reason further develops to the point that even if you can’t see the future, you know it will play out like this– with you empowered and in the moment, using all your wisdom and tools and positivity to persevere. That’s all you need.

Focus on the moment. In a blog about Mindfulness, Courtney Ackerman writes that one such exercise is to live in the moment to reduce worrying.[3] Think about the past and future in small, manageable doses. But focus mostly on the present, what is happening right here and now. This will reduce worrying and therefore stress as well as other negative emotions significantly.

This will allow you to be positive.

4. Practice Self-Love

Self-talk is the core of self-love, the core of what positivity is all about. Positive self-talk leads to self-love. And when our own cup is empty, we can pour into another’s. We have to help ourselves first before we can help others.

What we say to ourselves is how we practice positivity or put it into action.

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For example, there’s a children’s book called The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper where the train thinks, “I think I can, I think I can” the whole way through its travels. The result? It could because it told itself that it can.

Such a simple concept for a complex world. And yet, it works.

This is also how self-love works. What you tell yourself is powerful and makes its mark. Here are examples of things you could tell yourself to practice positivity:

  • I am enough.
  • I am worthwhile.
  • I can do this, I just have to hold on.
  • I will make it through this.
  • I am powerful.
  • I am unstoppable.

Here’re more examples for you: 10 Positive Affirmations for Success that will Change your Life. Add to this list with your own!

When you write these positive mantras, you start to feel them. If you write “I am positive about this situation” enough times, you will start to feel that positivity seep in.

Loving yourself is not going to be easy nor come overnight. There will be a mess of feelings, regrets, negative self talk and more that you will have to carefully tip toe through to hold your own heart. Your heart needs love, and often, we deny what it needs in pursuit of purposeless pleasures such as external rewards rather than internal motivation for a life well lived. We live for what others think of us, say about us, and sometimes, losing it all or going through hardship can teach us what we really need: ourselves.

Loving yourself needs to come from an authentic place, not a “fake it til you make it” mentality. It needs to be real. It needs to include those flaws and all. That’s all you can do to become positive about yourself. You have to start within and do the work necessary to heal and be healthy.

Take a look at these 30 Self Care Habits for a Strong and Healthy Mind, Body and Spirit and try to practice them.

5. Avoid Toxic Positivity (Unhealthy Positivity)

Avoid the white knuckling type of positivity where you don’t acknowledge your struggles or pain (as they also serve you). You don’t just want to tell yourself to move on because that equates to repression.

Emotions are part of positivity. You want to sit with your feelings. You want to acknowledge them, give them a voice. Instead of telling yourself to move on, you let your emotions lead to a breakthrough that helps you cope with the changes of life.

The greatest misconceptions made about being positive is assuming one does not have to feel in order to change. Throwing away hurt, anger, grief, sadness, all those emotions we associate with being “negative” only thwart our growth and power. Positivity is USING these things to better yourself or the world around you because you’re not going to give in to them. They do not become you or your identity.

You don’t have to be the white knuckling soldier you’ve always been. You say your emotions, then follow up with a use or outlet for them. That makes your positivity profound.

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Positivity is not about wearing a mask; it is the opposite of a mask. It is freedom from negative thinking strategies such as jumping to conclusions, black or white thinking, worst case scenario assumptions and more. It’s acknowledging that there may be more strength or ability in you than previously assumed. And it’s worth it to find out.

Toxic positivity may suggest you simply put a smile on and act fine. That’s not real positivity. Healthy positivity is about showing up when you’re tired; loving when you are feeling loss; healing when you want to cling to your hurt. It’s realization that you are worth it, not worth writing off. And you care about the outcome, so you stay to sort it out. You don’t abandon or jump ship. You hold on. That’s healthy positivity.

So that one day you may say to others, “I see you. I feel you. I understand you,” because you have been where they are and got through it. It’s acknowledging the dark as much as the light.

It’s living so others may live; it’s all you need. It’s not an exact formula everyone can replicate, and no one can copy you either. Your story is important. You are meant to be here. You are meant to do well. It will be those thoughts that get you to the finish line. Thriving.

Final Thoughts

In every moment, you’re not going to want to be positive. There will be times when you want to throw in the towel. But even then, choosing your attitude, recognizing the power of positivity, being absolutely present, practicing self-love and avoiding toxic or unhealthy positivity will better your days and assist through your trials.

Being positive isn’t easy, but it’s worth it to see what is going to happen next. Just around the corner may be the change you need, but you’ll never know if you don’t hold on to find out.

Positivity is about being curious enough to stay for the outcome because you simply believe, hold onto and trust in yourself and some goodness in this world. That’s enough to keep one going, and enough to help them go from surviving to thriving which is where you want to be.

Everyone has low moments. There’s nothing to be ashamed of for that. You can feel negative emotions though without shaming yourself for them by practicing healthy positivity. These steps are how to cultivate a positive mental attitude.

That way you don’t live with regret. You live in the moment. You make the decision how.

You can start at anytime. Positivity can be like a switch of perception. Once you uplift yourself, there’s nothing you can’t accomplish. And soon, you’ll be onto uplifting others which helps even more.

Positivity is contagious. It spreads like sunlight over the darkness. You can be the source of that sunlight. All you have to do is simple: Believe you can.

Good luck!

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Featured photo credit: Court Prather via unsplash.com

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