You are different today than you were 5 years ago. And 5 years ago, you were different than you were 5 years before. Change is inevitable.
You can encourage your own personal growth and change, though you may grow in ways you didn’t expect.
As you consider how to improve yourself, the answers may be simpler than you think. Much of who you are comes down to the intentional choices you make every day.
You can change, grow, and improve (whatever words ring true and motivate you) by consciously choosing your daily, weekly, or even monthly choices and directing your habits toward the future of your choice.
Improving yourself can be called many things, 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 cultivate 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 matters to you, what gives you meaning and purpose.
Knowing your values can help you when choosing a career, a title, or even accepting that promotion you’ve been offered. It can also help you learn how to set and maintain healthy boundaries in your relationships.
2. Practice daily gratitude.
Daily gratitude is a positive psychology method that can help you find ways to be grateful for the experiences you’ve had in your life.
Positive psychology was developed out of the belief that building on your personal strengths and focusing on concepts like gratitude and purpose can help you lead a meaningful and fulfilling life.
You can start a gratitude journal or just write down a couple of things you are grateful for each day 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 muscles strong. If you already exercise regularly, try a new sport or activity.
You can also physically stretch yourself by seeking out new exercise challenges, such as strength training or signing up for a race.
Adding a 5-10 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 help you learn to stay focused in the moment and redirect your thoughts when they start to wander.
When your mind wanders, you may have trouble concentrating on a task, whether it’s a special project at school or a big presentation at work.
Meditation can help improve your focus and concentration and reduce mind wandering, according to a 2013 study.
Improving your focus and concentration can open the door to new opportunities for growth at work, at school, and in your personal relationships.
5. Get quality rest.
Rest is a crucial part of your personal care.
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Quality sleep not only rejuvenates you for the day ahead, but can also help you stay focused on your goals throughout 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 to set one or two long-term goals, then create the short-term goals you’ll need to achieve them. Tracking your progress to see your growth can 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 others.
Also, remember that self-compassion is not the same as self-pity.
Self-pity says “Why is this happening to me?” while self-pity says “These things happen.”
8. Accept setbacks.
Setbacks give you the opportunity to learn, grow, and try again.
Remember that any type of growth or change is accompanied by some discomfort. A setback can also make your success that much sweeter.
9. Explore new activities.
Taking the time to explore new activities can open you up to new opportunities and new ways to help promote personal development.
Some new activities to try include:
- Learn a new language. Learning a new language has never been so easy. apps like Duolingo and Rosetta Stone allow you to learn languages on your daily commute or on the run every day.
- Try a new podcast. Curious about real 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 classes. If in-person lessons aren’t your thing, there are plenty of places to take lessons online, including free videos on YouTube. If you’re already a musician, consider trying a new instrument or a new type of music.
- Develop and feed your creativity. Creativity comes in many forms. Your creativity may come in the form of developing a new pantry organization method, building a new storage rack for your garage, or redecorating your bedroom. If you like to draw or paint, try to find a class near you. Cooking can also offer a creative outlet to boost self-esteem and foster connection.
- Read a book. You can read a book about almost anything, exposing yourself to new ideas. Try a book on personal growth or development 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.