How to Cultivate & Maintain Personal GrowthAUTHOR: Noah Rue
Personal growth can impact every area of your personal and professional lives. At work, it can help with your productivity, efficiency, communication, and how you interact with bosses and coworkers. Personally, growth can impact your finances, family, friendships, and your mental and physical health.
However, personal growth doesn’t always happen naturally. Sure, you can learn and grow from personal experiences, but often it takes more than that to truly keep personal growth alive and well.
Here are a few suggestions for different ways that you can initiate, cultivate, and maintain personal growth over the course of your life.
Set Achievable Goals
One of the greatest tools for personal growth is the simple, age-old method of setting goals for yourself. However, simply setting any kind of goal can often backfire. If a goal is too overwhelming or even straight-up unattainable, it can often lead to discouragement and apathy.
For instance, if you’re trying to exercise regularly, planning to run a marathon is hardly an attainable goal from the get-go. If you aim to reach 26 plus miles in the first few days of getting back into shape, you’ll likely end up excessively soar, exhausted, drained, and possibly even injured. Even worse, this kind of setback can lead you to give up on your original exercising objective in the first place.
Instead, set an initial goal of running a mile — and if that’s too much, at least walk a mile. Over the course of a few weeks, slowly adjust your goal in order to keep yourself challenged as you get into shape.
If you can apply this philosophy to your entire personal growth effort, it can quickly yield results. Start by doing some research. Look for self-improvement books, personal growth gurus that you can trust, and other resources that can help you either create new goals or retool existing ones in order to make them more attainable. Then, use these updated objectives as a benchmark to give you something to stay focused on and work toward.
If you can’t understand your own progress, it can hamstring your ability to improve on a personal level. That’s why self-awareness is a key ingredient in sustained personal growth. In order to be a self-aware person, you must be able to perpetually realize that you can always learn, improve, and develop. A few suggestions for ways to increase your self-awareness include:
- Spending time meditating and praying every day.
- Slowing down and taking time to analyze your emotions without judgment.
- Looking for cognitive distortions that can cloud your thoughts and opinions.
As you become more self-aware, you‘ll be able to regularly identify areas where personal growth is particularly needed.
Be Holistic About Your Life Decisions
The concept of being “holistic” is a critical step in maintaining healthy, balanced personal growth. For something to be holistic, it must address the subject comprehensively. In other words, it shouldn’t underprioritize one aspect in favor of another.
When it comes to personal growth, the holistic concept can be critical to success. For instance, if you dive into trying to become more healthy purely with the mindset of losing weight, you may find yourself considering fad diets and quick-weight-loss options that can leave you malnourished and dehydrated.
However, if you truly want to heal your eating and drinking habits in a way that improves your overall life, it’s important that you consider a more holistic approach. You can integrate a new dietary regimen that takes your gut health, food choices, exercise, and quality of sleep all into consideration at the same time.
No, this isn’t a call to accept that your imperfections are inevitable or impossible to overcome. On the contrary, the call to “embrace imperfection” can serve as one of the prime motivators to sustain your personal growth.
If, as you go along, you reach a point where you consider yourself to have conquered a challenge, mastered a skill, or overcome a roadblock, you may be tempted to rest on your laurels. You may, often subconsciously, consider yourself to have reached a state of “perfection,” at least in that particular area.
The problem with that mindset is that it stifles the ability to always be learning and growing. If you want to maintain your self-improvement, you have to accept that you can always get better. No matter how productive your development efforts are, you will always be imperfect.
The trick is using this perspective not to create discontent and discouragement, but rather to spur you on to further action. Accepting and embracing the challenge of your permanently imperfect status is the perfect way to avoid stagnating in your personal development.
Maintaining Personal Growth Over Time
Being holistic, cultivating self-awareness, setting achievable goals, and embracing imperfection are all excellent tools for personal growth. However, it’s critical to realize that none of these will have any lasting effect if you, yourself, are not serious about growing in the first place.
If you adopt a fixed mindset — that is, the idea that your personal traits and native abilities cannot be significantly improved — you won’t be able to achieve significant personal growth over time.
However, if you can maintain a growth mindset and an attitude of continual learning as you apply the above recommendations, you can not only jumpstart, but cultivate and ultimately maintain your personal growth indefinitely.