Considering the fact that I now run a personal development blog, you may find it surprising to know that at one point in my life, I was kind of against any kind of growth. Surprising, right?
I had this belief that only broken or weak people need to grow, improve, or seek the advice of any kind from others. It wasn’t until I was in a really rough spot in my life that I had a shift of perspective.
Shortly after college, getting married, and moving to a completely new place, I found myself in a rough spot mentally and emotionally. It’s the closest thing to being at rock bottom I’ve ever experienced. It was definitely a wake-up call for me – the defining moment that led me to devour all personal growth tips I could.
The growth I’ve experienced in my life since has been so life-changing and I’m truly grateful for it. After I started my personal growth journey, I started hearing from others who struggled with the same things:
- not knowing what to do with their lives
- not sure what they were passionate about
- feeling lost or stuck
- and the number one most mentioned reason: knowing they wanted to make a change but not knowing how or where to start
All of which are things I felt in my rough season. All of which I have worked so hard to grow through. It’s why I decided to write this post all about the personal growth tips I wish I had known when I was first starting out.
How to Achieve Personal Growth
Before I jump into the tips below, I want to preface this post by saying that there is no one right or wrong way to truly achieve personal growth. Every person is different. Everyone has different life experiences and the things each person needs to grow through will differ a little.
“Achieving” personal growth also isn’t really an end-all kind of thing. Growth by nature, never really stops. If you stop growing, you’re stagnant. Personal growth is a journey with ups and downs. Sometimes you’ll see fast and exponential amounts of growth in an area. Other times growth is simply gaining a deeper more foundational level of understanding.
As a whole, I would say that achieving personal growth is simply the act of starting on the journey and making the decision to continue on it. At some point, you’ll look back and see how far you’ve come and that in itself will be an achievement.
I say all this to simply get across that I think of personal growth as less of something to achieve and more of a journey with achievements along the way.
Ready to get started on your personal growth journey?…
9 Steps to Personal Growth
1) Figure out where to start
Not knowing where to start is the number one struggle people mention to me when it comes to taking things to the next level in life and creating a life they feel good about.
I almost always start with this point because it can be such a powerful one. Figure out where to start on your personal growth journey by doing a life audit of sorts. List out the areas of personal growth, take an honest look at where you fall on a scale of 1-10 for each with 1 being in a bad place and 10 being in a phenomenal place.
I categorize personal growth in four areas: emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual.
Then answer this question: if you could change 2 of them this instant, which three would have the biggest positive impact on your life?
2) Focus on One Area At a Time
Once you know which two would have the biggest impact, figure out which one would be the most life-changing for you to change. Whichever area that is, go all in and focus on growing in that area for now.
I’ve come to believe that we cannot truly do more than one thing well at a time. If you split your focus across more than one, you’re spreading yourself thin. A personal growth journey is enough work without trying to balance several areas.
Give yourself permission to be present and focused on one thing at a time – you deserve it and so does your mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual health.
Plus, the truth is, a rising tide raises all ships – which means that when you start to change or elevate one area of your life, other areas will naturally follow.
3) Create a Personal Growth Plan
Creating a plan for personal growth can be super helpful for knowing what next step or path to take. Sometimes when you’re right in the middle of a deep personal growth journey or season, lots of things come up that you may not have been expecting. It’s easy to take side trails and forget what your original plans for what your goals are.
Mapping out a plan, in the beginning, can be super helpful over time. Write down what order you want to work on the four areas of personal growth in and what books, resources, or other tools you want to go over during that time.
Having said that, don’t feel like you can’t veer off course at all. The plan is merely to keep you from ever not knowing where to go next. If you’re in a good place of growth and you come across a book that is perfectly on topic, go with it.
Related Post: How to Start a Life Changing Self Improvement Plan
4) Plan for the Resistance
Every time I talk about resistance, I think of Star Wars… anyone else???
In all seriousness though, resistance in life and growth is a very real thing. It’s something I used to not even be aware of but now that I am, I recognize it in many things in my life. I’ll wager that after this you will too…
Resistance – it’s that thing that pushes back every time we make a decision to change or grow. It pops up when we make the decision to exercise every day but last-minute question it before we pull the shoes on. You’ll hear it in the voices of your loved ones and friends as they express confusion over your new life choices (even if they’re choices to change for the better). You’ll feel it as you fight to follow through with action, the intentional thing you wanted to do.
Resistance is the thing that holds us back in life when we don’t even know why. We call it laziness, a motivation issue, fear, there’s never enough time… anything we “give” into that isn’t doing the thing we want to be doing or know we should be doing to improve our lives and follow our dreams – that’s resistance.
Know it’s going to show up, plan for it, fight it, overcome it, and grow through it. This right here might be the best of my personal growth tips. If you can recognize and work through the resistance factors that pop up in life, you can accomplish anything.
My favorite tool for fighting resistance is the book The War of Art.
5) Self Discovery
Doing a little bit… Okay, really a lot, of self-discovery may be the thing that fueled my personal growth journey the most. I spent so many years trying to figure out who I was supposed to be based on social media and societal standards that I never stopped to figure out what I actually wanted, liked, disliked, needed, needed to avoid, and just a little bit overall who I was.
Self discovery helped me answer a lot of these things about myself. You would think that being you would mean you would know everything there is to know but we close up, avoid, numb, and become chameleons for ourselves too.
I believe that part of a personal growth journey is becoming more confident in yourself. When who you are grows, you grow in confidence about who you are – but… how can you be confident in who you are if you don’t even know who that is?
Want some help with your self-discovery journey? Grab the Ditch the Struggle lesson for free from my self discovery course Finding You!
6) Have a growth mindset
In general, personal growth would imply having a growth mindset but the two don’t always go hand in hand as much as you would think. Keeping an open mind and heart to shifting the way you think is a long and intentional journey.
A growth mindset is about being open to always learning – about life, about yourself, about others. Be open to having a growth mindset and it’ll aid your personal growth journey. You may even find that it’s the thing that will eventually pull you along or guide you on some level to your next area of growth.
Related Post: 5 Tips for a Growth Mindset
7) Find the Right Tools
This may be the most practical in nature of the personal growth tips I want to give…
Find the right tools and resources that will guide you through personal growth. These can be books (my personal favorite), podcasts, Youtube videos, blog posts, courses, conferences or workshops, and probably a few other things I haven’t thought of yet.
These are my main go tos for personal growth tools and they’ve been absolutely life-changing.
If you want some exact resources, check out this guide i put together about the books that have changed every area of my life.
8) Practice Gratitude
Very few things in this world can shift our perspective and literal physical being like gratitude. In a world of fast-paced and instantaneous everything, I think gratitude as the norm is dying off with dial-up internet.
Have you ever taken notice of the situations where two people go through the same thing but come out with completely different perspectives or even attitudes about it? Or how people who have zero access to all the tools and resources and books we do in this internet age can manage to be so wise, present, and happy? I have zero doubt in my mind that gratitude has something to do with it.
Out of all the personal growth tips I give here, if I had to suggest just one to someone who didn’t have access to all the tools and resources, it would be to take stock of what you have to be grateful for… and not just the big things, but the little things. The sunrises, and cups of hot coffee, and the person who held the door open for you or let you into traffic.
After all, it’s the little things in our daily life that make the biggest difference.
I started doing a gratitude practice based on the Start Today Journal Method from Rachel Hollis and it has made a big difference in my life. You can hear her talk about it in episode 72 of the Rise Podcast.
9) Make it Part of your Routine
Growth, in general, isn’t really a one and done kind of thing. It’s an ongoing process. At first, it may feel weird and uncomfortable, but over time, it’ll become part of your normal routine – a habit. I would encourage you to find ways to work it into your day now. Listen to podcasts or audiobooks on your drive, as you take a walk, or instead of a Netflix binge.
Journal in the mornings, choose the water instead of soda, search out better and it’ll find you.
You know, they’ve done the math and found that just a 1% change each day is a 37 times difference in a year (source).
I started my personal growth journey because I needed a change. I knew I couldn’t live another year and have no change. If you feel the same way, I want to invite you to join me in my plan to live a 1% life. Every day I strive to be just 1% better than I was yesterday. In a year, I’ll be 37 times different than I am today. You can be too.
I hope you’ve found these personal growth tips to be as impactful as they were in my life. If I could go back and tell myself anything about this journey it would be that it’s not always easy but it is always worth it.
Some of the people I thought would always be there, weren’t, but I came out stronger for it… and most importantly, a personal growth journey is just that – it’s personal. Don’t feel the need to justify your decision to grow when it’s questioned. Just be yourself through it all, give yourself a little grace, and don’t forget to look back and celebrate just how far you’ve traveled.
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