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7 Things You Haven’t Tried To Spark Your Personal Growth

7 Things You Haven’t Tried To Spark Your Personal Growth

Being comfortable with who you are and satisfied with what you have are noble traits that will ensure that you stay fairly happy in life. However, wanting more out of life – a better job, a fit body, more confidence, and a more active social life – is nothing to be ashamed of. In fact being ambitious is a great thing, as it focuses you on goals that become a major source of motivation to improve and grow. Becoming a better person allows you to improve your quality of life and forge strong relationships with those around you, while giving you the strength to deal with difficult or toxic people and persevere through hard times. So, how do you grow as a person? Are there effective ways of reaching a high level of emotional maturity, happiness and financial stability? Here are a few different things you can try in order to reach these goals.

1. Find the time to read more

Painting of woman reading

    An essential part of personal development is intellectual growth. Don’t be fooled by faulty rating systems like IQ tests, or allow yourself to crumble at the first signs of criticism or mockery. If you are a slow reader, and even a slow learner, it only means that it will take you a bit longer to attain information. But to accumulate and retain knowledge takes time and effort regardless of how quick your mind is. You can become more knowledgeable through active reading than people with 10 to 20 IQ points above you who waste their potential. Set aside one to two hours a day or several hours on the weekends to brush up on some basic knowledge, learn more about certain topics, work on your vocabulary and read a mentally stimulating piece of fiction. Reading will help you expand your knowledge, which makes life a bit easier. Audio books are also a good choice as you can listen to them while you run or perform household chores.

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    2. Seek out and befriend smart and accomplished people

    When it’s time to relax and just chat with some friends, the last thing on most people’s minds is the fact that this can be an opportunity to learn something new, become more creative or get a different perspective on certain things. There’s no better way to test your knowledge on global economics or find some detailed information on wilderness survival skills than talking to someone who is a professional in the field or has at least done plenty of research on it. Some people will have tons of practical skills and experience in a few fields, while others will have plenty of information about minute details on certain areas of their chosen field.

    If you start choosing your friends a bit more strategically, you will find yourself in the company of experienced, skilled, well-read and interesting individuals much more often. Don’t shy away from old friends or make every relationship strictly quid pro quo, but try to gravitate towards people whose company you enjoy and who can help you evolve. This way every relaxing afternoon or night out with friends becomes a unique learning experience.

    3. Try to learn several useful new skills and focus on mastering one or two

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    Couple Dancing

      There are tons of things that can look good on a resume, and quite a few skills that would come in handy in your day to day life. Have you ever caught yourself saying something like: “I’d be a lot less nervous during this date if I was a good dancer,” or “Things would be so much easier if I knew Spanish”? You can probably think of three or four skills that would be useful to have, just off the top of your head. I’m going to shock a lot of you with a huge revelation right now: there’s not much stopping you from acquiring those skills. Yes, as some may argue, time and money are a factor, but with the amount of free information on the internet and given the amount of time a huge majority of people already spend there (you are, after all, reading an online article right this second) picking up new skills is just a matter dedication and motivation.

      You only need to become good enough to meet your basic needs in most areas, but you should have one or two main skills that you should strive to truly master. This means that you’ll devote an hour a day or a total of seven to 10 hours a week for several years on your main hobby. Attaining mastery can be incredibly beneficial for mental growth, as the long, arduous journey teaches you a whole lot and helps develop a strong will.

      4. Strive to be somewhat selfless and join a good cause

      Making a stand and fighting for something you believe in is a great way to become more assertive and proactive. Find something that you believe is worth fighting for and join a non-profit organization. Just raising awareness on some issues can mean a lot, and these days it can be as simple as posting some pictures on Instagram or creating a buzz on Twitter and Facebook. Just pointing things out isn’t enough, but it is a great first step. You can get more involved if you want and meet some like-minded people, organize events or help out in any way you can. This can really make you appreciate the luxuries you have and help you become more humble and considerate.

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      5. Do some traveling and experience different cultures

      Travel

        The single best cure against prejudice, dogmatic views and general close-mindedness is travel. When you spend enough time among people of different cultures you start to see all the basic similarities and learn about some interesting little differences that make us unique. Broadening your horizons some call it. You can also learn a lot about human social interactions and the nature of various traditions and ceremonies. Travel doesn’t have to be very expensive, and there are probably plenty of places close to home that you have never been to. It can be a real eye-opener to see your own country for what it is and experience the cultural nuances in different areas. Going abroad for a while and getting your share of cultural shock is an excellent experience that everyone should go through at least once in their lifetime.

        6. Train your body and mind on a regular basis

        There can be no major improvement in the mental plane without improving in the physical plane as well. Physical exercise and a relatively healthy diet can help you significantly reduce the risk of a huge number of health issues, keep your mind fresh and sharp, become less injury prone and feel more confident and full of energy. It can also help you go back to healthier sleep patterns, thus making you less mentally fatigued and sluggish. There is also something to be said about the lessons learned through hard training, e.g., learning to cope with failure and keeping going, controlling your fear and pushing yourself outside your comfort zone to spark growth. This brings us to our last point.

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        7. Push yourself past invisible barriers created by fear and insecurity

        Overcome fear

          We could all just sit around and feel comfortable, but nothing exciting ever happens when you are absolutely comfortable, and you can’t learn unless you jump into unknown territory and make some mistakes. By forcing yourself to try new things, to jump into situations that make you feel uncomfortable and fearful, you will slowly learn to cope with fear and anxiety and perform well under all kinds of stress. Eventually you will be able to thrive in an environment that once frightened you, and then it’s time to find another situation or activity you are inexperienced in and uncomfortable with, and then conquer your fear all over again. You don’t have to become a daredevil, do anything illegal or go out of your way to make yourself uncomfortable, but do try to set up a tent just beyond the border of your comfort zone.

          No one said self-improvement and personal growth were going to be easy. All of the things in this article require a decent amount of determination and even courage to do, but with some persistence they will make you a better and stronger person.

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          Ivan Dimitrijevic

          Ivan is the CEO and founder of a digital marketing company. He has years of experiences in team management, entrepreneurship and productivity.

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          Published on August 4, 2020

          How Smart Goal Setting Helps You Make Lasting Changes

          How Smart Goal Setting Helps You Make Lasting Changes

          SMART goal setting is one of the most valuable methods used by high achievers today to actualize their life goals time after time. SMART goal setting is the inverse of random or carefree goal setting without strategy.

          Perhaps, you’ve always wished to get back in shape, get an annuity, or take control of your finances, but you failed to act. When you approach your goals with a care-free and nonchalant attitude, you’re less likely to achieve them.

          You should have a strategic goal setting method in place, and learning how to set smart goals is imperative in this case. The method is time-tested and purposeful, meaning it can help you achieve your goals now.

          To achieve your goals consistently and join the pack of high achievers out there who have consistently achieved many of their goals, you must be prepared to do what these people have been doing, and be ready to do the right thing: SMART goal setting.

          What Is the SMART Model for Setting Goals?

          SMART goal setting is a goal-setting method that considers certain factors about a goal relative to the person setting it. These factors are simply the five different letters in the SMART acronym for goal setting.

          It is relative to the person setting the goal because what is true for A may not be true for B; or what is possible for A or within A’s ability to achieve may not be possible for B or within B’s ability to achieve.

          What does the goal setting acronym SMART stand for?

          • S—Specific
          • M—Measurable
          • A—Achievable
          • R—Realistic/Relevant
          • T—Time-bound

          Is it possible that this acronym can make a long lasting impact in your life?

          Is it possible that a mere goal setting metric like SMART can help you achieve so many of your unfulfilled goals?

          Is it possible that if you practice SMART goal setting, you will be able to have faster results, understand your goals better, overcome the habit of procrastination, and achieve a lot?

          The power to achieve your goals is in your hands.

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          It is important to extend the inquiry by asking: How many times have you said you’ll do “X,” but failed to do so?

          We all have goals, and we all have 24 hours each day at our disposal. While some people find it easy to achieve their goals without procrastinating, some find it difficult to do so.

          For some people who have succeeded again and again in achieving their goals, they have simply found an easy way of doing this. Is there something they know that you don’t?

          How Smart Goal Setting Makes a Lasting Impact

          Smart goal setting examples can be found all around you. Through SMART goal setting, Stephen Cooley was able to grow his real estate business to the point of closing at $110 million in sales when the average price point of homes was between $100,000 – $200,000 in South Carolina[1].

          Through SMART goal setting, Steve Jobs was able to improve the fortunes of Apple and prevent the company from going bankrupt, even when it had barely 90 days left before being declared so.

          SMART goal setting can make a lasting impact in your life in several ways.

          Make Your Goal Clearer

          When you use the SMART criteria to set goals, it is easier for you to understand the various phases of your goal.

          By using SMART goal setting, you’re able to ask yourself relevant questions pertaining to your goal.

          Motivate You Into Acting on Your Goals

          When you use SMART goal setting and break down the goal into smaller goals or milestones, the bigger goal no longer looks intimidating or impossible.

          Jack Canfield, co-author of Chicken Soup for the Soul, wrote in his book How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be about how they applied the rule of five in marketing their book, Chicken Soup, and were able to make the book a best seller after some months[2]. The rule of five simply means doing five specific things every day that will move you closer to achieving your goal.

          In order not to be overwhelmed, you would have to measure your performance using the right metrics. Here we are considering the Measurable and Achievable aspects of the SMART acronym. It is critical that you measure yourself in terms of lead measures.

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          What are lead measures? They are the things you do that leads you closer to your goals. On the other hand, you would have to avoid “lag measures.”

          While lag measures mean a successful outcome that you wished for and got, they can be emotionally draining and deceitful because, whenever they don’t happen, you can become discouraged.

          Therefore, it is better to stick to lead measures.

          Help You Save Time

          You can achieve more when you use SMART model goal setting.

          To be strategic, your goal would have to be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound. If you can’t identify any of these points in your goal, you probably will be wasting your time on a wild goose chase.

          When your goals are written down, it’s easier for you to go into action mode.

          Improve Your Self-Discipline

          Self-improvement is an important thing for everyone to do periodically. When you set SMART goals, it makes you realize that you have to sit up and work on achieving them.

          How to Set SMART Goals

          See the source image

            To make your SMART goals work, use the following tips:

            Specific

            Every goal ought to be specific. It is important to guard against making vague goals because even when they have been achieved, you may not know. This is because you weren’t specific enough.

            For example, “I will start planning toward retirement” is vague. Rather than write that, you could say, “I will start planning toward retirement by starting an annuity plan.” This is more specific.

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            When you are specific on your goal, it’s easier for you to identify all its components and work accordingly toward achieving it.

            Measurable

            Your goals must be measurable. When they are measurable, it’s easier for you to follow through.

            A goal like this is not measurable: “I want to make millions of dollars.” You can make it more measurable by saying, “I want to make one million dollars selling one hundred thousand copies of my book at ten dollars each.”

            Also, using our SMART goal setting examples while explaining the Specific acronym, you can make the goal more measurable by saying, “I will start planning toward retirement by starting an annuity plan and saving $500 every month.”

            Achievable

            How realistic or actionable is your goal? Is it practical enough to fit into a given time frame? Is it something you are able to achieve in your capacity?

            You would only be setting yourself up for failure if you sets goals that are not reasonable.

            A goal like this is highly unrealistic and, therefore, not achievable: “I want to be the Governor of Texas in six months,” especially since the elections will be coming up in three years.

            Goals must be written down relative to the experiences of the one setting them. They must resonate with you. It is important that you have at least some of the resources needed to actualize this goal.

            It is also important that you consider your time frame. When the time frame to achieve a complex goal is too short, it is rare that such goal will be completed.

            Thus, using our previous example, if you write “I want to make one million dollars in ten days selling one hundred thousand copies of my book at ten dollars each,” you would only be setting up yourself for failure.

            This is especially true if you’re not a popular author or if you’ve never sold even up to one thousand copies of any of your previous books, whether e-copy or in print.

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            Realistic/Relevant

            Before you proceed to making the commitment toward that goal, you need think about how realistic and relevant it is.

            Being realistic means you should be willing to make all the commitments required for that goal to be achieved. If your goal is relevant, it fits into the life you’ve imagined for yourself.

            Time-Bound

            Every goal must have a commencement date and an end date written down. It is also important that you break down your goals into phases, chunks, bits, or milestones.

            The act of having deadlines set to your goals is ample motivation that drives you into action. Without a deadline, it is not possible for you to know if you’re making headway with your goals.

            “I will start planning toward retirement by starting an annuity plan and saving $500 every month for the next twenty five years” is a time-bound goal.

            Remember that some goals are short-term while some are long-term. It is important to always bear this in mind, because this will help you in making a clear and realistic strategy when SMART goal planning.

            Without SMART goal setting in view, much of our goals may likely end in our minds, on paper, or just midway into implementation. SMART goal setting reveals to us all the action points of our goals and helps us to have an awareness of every aspect of our goals.

            The Bottom Line

            What matters at the end of the day is what you do with the contents of this article because the power to achieve your goals is in your hands.

            It is not enough to have a goal. It is not enough to put it down in writing. It is important to have a strategy in mind while putting it down. This strategy is a guideline or set of rules that point you in the right direction. It is SMART goal setting in the given circumstance.

            After writing down your goals, you will have to be ready to take action. There should be a clear action point. Write down what you need to do on daily, weekly, or monthly basis.

            When your goals are realistic, they make them worth the chase. One of the things to bear in mind is that, in order not to be overwhelmed by the daunting nature of your goals, remember to always break them into milestones, chunks, or bits. In fact, take one day at a time.

            Do not bother yourself with the one-year, three-year, five-year or ten-year plan as this may likely overwhelm you with fear and doubt. Let your focus be on each day. What will I be doing today? Consider this and go for it.

            More on the SMART Model for Setting Goals

            Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com

            Reference

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