Do you feel sometimes that each day morphs into the rest? That you are just going through the motions? You may not be in your ideal job, are saddled with too many obligations or just plain need a change. Shaking up the routine may be just what you need to arouse some excitement and enthusiasm in yourself. Below are 12 personal growth ideas that can help lead to positive change. You can even take on the challenge of pursuing one of them for each month of the year!
1. Take a spiritual journey. Spirituality has different meanings for people. For some, it’s going to a house of worship. For others, it may be reading religious texts, practicing meditation or taking yoga. Whatever spiritual journey you desire, start a journal to write down your thoughts, challenges and accomplishments along the way. You’ll be sure to gain some valuable insight about yourself.
2. Creatively express yourself. Creativity gives us an outlet to express our authentic selves—the true self which is aligned with its values, desires, talents, and beliefs. So how do we choose what best expresses our true selves? Think about what creative activity excites you? Is it writing, painting, cooking, making jewelry, or flipping houses? You can spark some creative thinking with ideas like creating a vision board, trying a new recipe, or taking a day trip somewhere new. This will help you discover what inspires you most.
3. Choose a virtue. One way to challenge yourself is to choose a virtue that can support your vision for the year. Practicing a virtue such as kindness can make a difference in the many people you meet and there are so many ways to express kindness. Not to mention how good you’ll feel when spreading kindness!
Other virtues such as gratitude, courage, determination, and integrity are all important for a successful life. You can choose one, two or even three virtues from our list of virtues that can be a steady guide and inspiration for what’s to come. To select a virtue, ask yourself, “What do I most want to manifest in my life?” Then select the virtue(s) that you’ll need to achieve that answer.
4. “Act as if”. These simple words have the power to transform a person and/or situation. Say you feel self-conscious and nervous whenever you have to speak in front of people. The next time you are in this situation, you can make a choice to be more confident and “act as if” you are more confident. See how it works for you. Your perceived lack of confidence is from persistent thoughts of how poor you think you are as a public speaker, when in fact you appear to others much better than you think.
5. Stop resisting. “What you resist, persists,” said Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung. Meaning that whatever experience you are pushing away, keeps showing up in your life because another option is not present. For example, if your thoughts are always focused on what you don’t like about your job then you are resisting it, and your situation gets magnified, creating anxiety for you. If you give yourself another option, another way to think about the job, then your resistance and misery lessens. To do this, mentally catch yourself next time you complain about the job and shift to something you like about the job and/or how you will make things better by finding a new job or becoming an entrepreneur.
6. Forgive someone. Who have you not forgiven? Although forgiveness is one of the hardest things to do in life, it’s one of the biggest acts of self-love. Forgiveness expert Fred Luskin said that the single most beneficial thing that comes from forgiving is that people, once they forgive, feel that they can deal with whatever life sends to them. He also says, “Forgiving lowers blood pressure. It reduces the strain on your heart. It certainly reduces depression, anger and stress as well as makes people feel more hopeful.”
We can forgive for a better life. By letting go of anger and resentment, we become more peaceful, happier people.
7. Step out of your comfort zone. Most people shy from stepping out of their comfort zone. We like our comfort and that’s not bad. It’s just that if we become more conscious of our habits, we may see how little risk we take in life. To take risks is to grow as a person and feel alive. So think about how you can change your routine, even if it’s minor. Some examples can be to get up earlier, ask a co-worker to lunch, start a project you’ve put off for years, go to a different church, restaurant or library. Try something new, anything! You might be amazed at the experiences that come about.
8. Practice self-love. Being kind to ourselves is not something that comes easy for most. Our natural tendency is to talk to ourselves in a negative way, criticizing our behavior and who we are. To be kind to ourselves means to honor our needs and wants. It also means to take care of our health, stress levels and personal happiness. Find ways to practice self-love which will help increase your confidence.
9. Change your mindset. “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new lands but seeing with new eyes,” said Marcel Proust, French novelist. Changing our mindset, can change outcomes. It’s not easy though because so much of our thinking is habitual. Really, it’s becoming more aware of our thoughts that allow greater control over them. So keep in mind that you always have a choice in how to react to life’s setbacks and challenges.
10. Start doing what matters. “Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least,” said German writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. This quote by Goethe brings to light a very important point. If we do not place our attention on what matters most to us in life, we can easily end up with regret later in life.
What matters most to you right now? Are you setting aside time to focus on this or are you placing other obligations and distractions ahead of it? Try and move what you want to the top of your list and rearrange your schedule to honor that desire.
11. Do some self-introspection. When did you last take some time to reflect on how your life is going? Asking yourself, “Am I happy?” “Do I have meaning in my life?” “Am I using my talents?” and “What do I value and am I making my values a priority?” These questions are some of the most important ones you can ask yourself and the answers can bring about change that leads to greater joy and fulfillment in life.
Set aside some time to reflect on your life to become more self-aware. Even write the answers to the questions above in a journal to help you get started. Then see if what you want in life is matching up with your daily life choices.
12. Serve more. What if we woke up in the morning and instead of thinking about all that we needed to do that day, we asked ourselves, “How may I serve today?” This question takes us out of ourselves and gives us a new and different perspective. For example, someone might wake up and say, “I have so much to do at work today and not sure how I can do it all.” Alternatively, someone can say, “How can I make a difference today with a project or a co-worker?” This approach gives us a whole new way of looking at things, taking us out of our ego and into the difference we can make in in others lives and in our own.
Which idea(s) above are you willing to explore?