You are different today than 5 years ago. And 5 years ago you were different than 5 years before. Change is inevitable.
You can encourage your own personal growth and change, although chances are you will grow in ways you didn’t expect.
If you’re considering how to improve yourself, the answers may be simpler than you think. Much of who you are comes down to the deliberate decisions you make every day.
You can change, grow and improve (whatever word is right and what motivates you) by consciously choosing your daily, weekly or even monthly choices and directing your habits towards a future of your choice.
Improving yourself can be called a lot, from personal development and self-improvement to personal growth – all of which describe how you grow and change internally.
Growth is not necessarily linear. It can expand in all directions.
You can grow physically, emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually as you develop your activities, habits, and choices toward the person you want to be.
Whatever personal growth means to you, there are small changes you can make every day that can have a big impact.
Here are some you can try.
1. Identify your personal values.
Consider exploring what’s important to you — what gives you meaning and purpose.
Knowing your values can help you choose a career, a degree, or even accept that promotion that has been offered to you. It can also help you know how to set and maintain healthy boundaries in your relationships.
2. Practice daily gratitude.
Daily gratitude is a positive psychological method that can help you find ways to be grateful for the experiences you’ve had in your life.
Positive psychology was developed from the belief that embracing your personal strengths and focusing on concepts such as gratitude and purpose can help you live a meaningful and fulfilling life.
You can start a gratitude journal or simply write down a few things each day that you are grateful for in a planner or notebook.
3. Adopt a healthier lifestyle.
Eating a more balanced meal and exercising regularly can improve your mental and physical performance and increase your productivity throughout the day.
Exercise releases feel-good endorphins and keeps your muscles strong. If you already exercise regularly, try a new sport or activity.
You can also stretch yourself physically by seeking out new exercise challenges, such as strength training or entering a race.
Adding a 5 to 10 minute meditation session to your day is easy and has many physical and mental health benefits. But it can also promote personal growth.
Meditation is designed to teach you to stay focused on the moment and redirect your thoughts when they start to wander.
If your mind wanders, you may have trouble focusing on a task, whether that’s a special project at school or a big presentation at work.
Meditation can help improve your attention and concentration and reduce mind wandering, according to a 2013 study.
Improving your focus and concentration can open the door to new growth opportunities at work, school, and in your personal relationships.
5. Get quality rest.
Rest is a crucial part of your self-care.
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A good night’s sleep not only rejuvenates you for the next day, but can also help you stay focused on your goals during the day.
6. Set short and long term goals.
Your growth may not be as static as you think. Sometimes you can’t see how much you’ve grown without the help of goals.
Try setting one or two long-term goals, then set the short-term goals you need to achieve them. Tracking your progress to see your growth will help you see how far you’ve come.
7. Be kind to yourself.
Making mistakes is part of life. Instead of criticizing yourself for those mistakes, try practicing self-compassion.
Consider giving yourself the same empathy and understanding that you give to others.
In addition, remember that self-compassion is not the same as self-pity.
Self-pity says, “Why is this happening to me?” while self-compassion says, “These things happen.”
8. Embrace adversity.
Setbacks give you the chance to learn, grow and try again.
Remember that any kind of growth or change comes with some discomfort. A setback can also sweeten your success that much.
9. Discover new activities.
If you take the time to explore new activities, you can discover new opportunities and new ways to further your personal development.
Some new activities to try include:
- Learning a new language. Learning a new language has never been easier. Apps like With Duolingo and Rosetta Stone, you can learn languages on your daily commute or on a daily run.
- Try a new podcast. Are you curious about true crime, marketing or genealogy? There is a podcast for almost everything.
- Learn to play an instrument. If you’ve always wanted to learn to play an instrument, consider signing up for music lessons. If in-person classes aren’t your thing, there are plenty of places to take online classes, including free videos on YouTube. If you are already a musician, consider trying a new instrument or type of music.
- Develop and nurture your creativity. Creativity comes in many forms. Your creativity can come in the form of developing a new method of organizing the pantry, building a new storage rack for your garage, or redecorating your bedroom. If you enjoy drawing or painting, try to find a class near you. Cooking can also be a creative outlet to boost self-esteem and encourage connection.
- Read a book. You can read a book about almost anything, which will give you new ideas. Try a book on personal development or growth from your local library. A biography or historical novel can also be helpful in motivating and encouraging you to take a new step or make a change.