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Your Guide to Personal Growth: 6 Steps to Becoming Your Best YOU!

Written By: Matt Mignona

Your Guide to Personal Growth: 6 Steps to Becoming Your Best YOU!

There comes a day when you wake up and realize you were made for more. You have a burning desire to step into the best version of yourself and truly live your best life. But how do you do that? When who you are and who you want to be seem to live on different planets, and how do you close that gap?

Becoming your best you requires a plan. You can't sit around and hope for it. You need actionable steps you can follow that lead you to the person you're meant to become. These six steps will get you started, but keep in mind they aren't necessarily sequential, and you're unlikely to leave one behind as you move on to the next. Instead, you might start slowly, adopting one step at a time as you get used to new habits and ways of thinking, but each step becomes a part of your life and continues to serve you in your personal growth journey.

Meditate

You've heard that one before, right? That's because it's essential. Studies have shown it can help reduce stress and anxiety, improve your creative problem-solving ability, increase your attention span, enhance sleep, and so much more. With all those potential benefits, it would be silly to brush it off with, "I can't. It's hard."

Guess what: it's not easy for anyone when they get started. That's why it's called a practice. You practice, you get better. 

You don't have to jump into a 30-minute session of silence. Instead, start by practicing for one or two minutes at a time. There are countless excellent guided meditations on YouTube and via mobile app; you could also try simply focusing on your breath or repeating a positive, inspiring word or phrase. Keep experimenting with meditation styles until you find something that works for you.

How do you know it's working? You'll notice the difference.

How to get started:

  1. Find a quiet place. Set a timer for one minute.
  2. Sit comfortably and close your eyes.
  3. Inhale for five counts and exhale for seven counts. Focus on the breath and keep the count going in your mind.
  4. Stop when the timer sounds. Whatever happened during the session, count it as a success and try for 90 seconds tomorrow.

Examine Your Relationships

It's important to look closely at the people closest to you. Do they enhance your life or detract from it?

It can be difficult to stay objective about this. Sometimes, our own parents, spouses, siblings, and years-long friends can, intentionally or unintentionally, hold us back. Perhaps they're afraid you'll outgrow them or become successful without them; maybe it's hard for them to see you happy and thriving when they still have a lot of work to do on themselves. Stuck people will try to keep you stuck with them.

It's important to recognize how toxic people might be manipulating you and impacting your goals. At some point, it may be necessary to limit your contact with some of them. This Forbes article offers some helpful tips on dealing with these types of people and rising above the negativity and drama.

How to get started:

  1. Take note of how you feel when you're around certain people.
  2. When a text comes in and you see who it's from, what's your initial feeling reaction?
  3. Notice how people respond when you talk about your goals or your achievements. Are they supportive or not?
  4. Has anyone ever tried to talk you out of doing something you know is good for you, like eating a healthy meal or going to the gym?

Meet New People

To grow personally, you need to grow your social circle. Meeting new people will expose you to new ideas, ignite your creativity, improve your communication skills, and teach you more about what you might like to see in your own life. 

Not everyone you meet will turn into a lifelong friend, but that's not the point. If you find it challenging to introduce yourself to someone, look at that as an invitation for growth: it's a low-risk way to practice getting uncomfortable. Who knows what you'll learn or where that introduction could lead you?

How to get started:

  1. Take a class or join a group.
  2. Make small talk with someone in line at the grocery store or waiting at a crosswalk.
  3. Walk up to someone at a party and introduce yourself.
  4. Call an old friend and say, "I want to meet new people. Do you have any friends who might like to get coffee and discuss work/spirituality/sports/etc with me?"

 

Write It Down

Journaling is good for our mental health. It gives us a place to explore thoughts and feelings, prioritize concerns, enhance creativity, outline goals, and practice gratitude or positive self-talk. 

You could scribble in a blank notebook, but for some people, this can seem overwhelming. Where to start? What to write? What if it takes a dark turn and becomes a place to do nothing but vent and complain? The best journals offer a framework that directs your focus toward what you want to achieve in life, whether that's related to your professional, personal, or spiritual endeavors. Use one that helps you track your goals and hold you accountable to them. 

How to get started:

  1. Pick up the Happier Mind Journal and follow the prompts.
  2. Schedule your journaling time into your day, the same way you would schedule any other appointment.
  3. Make it as easy as possible: keep your journal and a pen handy on your desk or at your bedside.

Skip the Comparisons

There's no one like you, so why would you compare your journey to anyone else's? There's nowhere you "should" be by this point in your life. Those "9,000 Things You Should Do By the Time You're 19" lists are ridiculous. It doesn't matter what your past holds: your future is there to be designed by you. Everything you've done so far has led you to this moment, and this moment is pretty great. So embrace it and move forward. You do you.

Like meditation, this is a continual practice. Life will show you friends with big houses, friends with perfect relationships, friends with dream jobs, friends with complete peace in their lives, and you will be tempted to compare yourself and your achievements to them. Every day, you'll have an opportunity to say, "Great for you! And great for me, too, because I'm right where I need to be." Keep practicing.

How to get started:

  1. Be genuinely happy for your friends and their successes.
  2. If you feel envy rise up, bring your attention back to everything in your life you're grateful for. 
  3. Celebrate your own successes on a daily basis, including the small ones: completing your to-do list, making an incredible meal, or getting all your bills paid. 

two friends working out together

Be Thankful

Gratitude is a way of life, and it has scientifically proven benefits: grateful people tend to be healthier, friendlier, more understanding, less aggressive, more well rested, and mentally tougher. There are dozens of fun ways to practice gratitude, and the more you practice, the more it becomes the bedrock of your life. 

How to get started:

  1. Every day, write down three things you're thankful for.
  2. Write thank you notes to people who've helped you in some way.
  3. Set a timer for 15 minutes. Without stopping, write (or think of) all the things you're thankful for. These can range from your family and your health to the smooth-writing pen you're using, the mug you're sipping from, the computer you're typing on. It'll help you realize that everything around you is worth being grateful for.
  4. Practice saying "thank you" more often—and meaning it.
  5. Create a gratitude jar: every day, write something you're grateful for on a piece of paper and put it in the jar. At the end of the week, month, or year, read them and reflect.

Personal growth is a never-ending journey, and that's a good thing. There's no finish line because as you become the best version of yourself, you'll change your ideas on what "best" looks like to you. The more you learn, the more you'll want to learn. You'll realize that growth never stops, and the journey gets more enjoyable with every step.

The Happier Mind Journal can help you adopt these steps and stay on your personal growth track with a focus on gratitude, small daily victories, and consistent low-pressure self-evaluation. Don't take your journey without a roadmap: get clear about where you want to go, and we'll help you get there.

 

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