We know that personal growth is essential to promote health, happiness, ambition and general well being in your life. But many of us struggle to progress from thought to practical action.
So you may find it a little strange to hear that as human beings we do have amazing potential to accept and conquer new challenges.
There are few things in life that you cannot achieve if you really want to achieve them.
But here is the key – you have to really want something to achieve it. When you want something enough you will automatically motivate yourself to take action.
Many people hamper their own personal growth by refusing to take practical action. They find any excuse not to make the changes that are necessary in their lives.
Be honest about this. If you want to avoid becoming a “non-achiever” then you must develop a personal growth mindset. If you do this you will find it easy to actively search out and take on new challenges.
You might think this is a tough call. Our minds are very good at making things seem hard and unattainable. Basically we are lazy. We want to go to work, come home and eat, entertain ourselves and sleep! We are generally creatures of habit and so we will repeat these actions day after day, putting off any decision that requires a little more effort and commitment.
But this is all about mindset and the good news is you can change your mindset by retraining it. All it takes is a small amount of discipline and some regular practice.
Do you find yourself putting forward objections when you’re asked to try something new or challenging?
I used to be like this. When I was a child I was quite nervous and shy. My mum pushed me to try new things all the time, but I hadn’t developed my self confidence enough and so I was always very worried about what other people thought of my performance.
I found it hard to try new things unless I could do them perfectly. I became a “perfectionist” and this attitude limited both my personal growth and my social skills.
I spent more time worrying about getting approval from my parents and teachers than I did enjoying the new and interesting challenges presented to me.
When you develop a personal growth mindset you understand that you can’t be instantly good at everything you try. You have to work at it, persevere and develop your skills over time.
You also have to be prepared to fail and learn from your mistakes. Ironically, the process of failing does also help you to succeed.
But before any of this you have to start trying new things. You have to find out what you enjoy and what you have a passion for in your life.
When I saw how my attitude was holding me back I decided to make a change. Each Christmas I made a short list of 5 things I’d like to try in the upcoming new year.
These things weren’t always huge challenges but at least one of them would involve me stepping outside my comfort zone. For example, my first ever challenge was to skydive on my 18th birthday!
Other things on my very first list included improving my French, going to The Albert Hall to see “La Boheme” and visiting “Le Mans” the 24 hour motor racing event in France.
The more you challenge yourself by trying new things or visiting new places, the more you will naturally build your self confidence and develop a mindset that improves your personal growth in many different ways.
Every new adventure or achievement begins with a dream. Allow yourself to dream and this will stimulate your imagination. Dreams originate from the creative part of your brain – they are part of your creative self.
You may have to work hard to dream if you haven’t allowed yourself to do this much before. But the more you practice the easier it becomes.
If you embrace your dreams, you’ll see new opportunities for growth. When you’ve identified these opportunities don’t be afraid to try them out.
You don’t need to justify everything you do in life. When you change your behaviour or start a new hobby, your friends and family will probably ask you why you are doing it. They may even give you reasons why you shouldn’t continue to pursue your goal or dream.
Politely listen to their advice but remember you don’t need to give them any justification, except to say ‘I’m doing this because I want to!’
Being negative is really a modern day form of defense. We always want to take the easiest and safest route to achieve a result. Often this is simply to say “no – I can’t, won’t or don’t want to do it”.
This is the thing I most have to watch. I can’t count how many times I’ve said no before going on to complete something, and many times without any problems.
Be watchful of saying “no” before actually giving something a try. As they say, it’s better to say yes and fail than never to have tried at all.
You are improving your mindset for “yourself” not for “others”. This is very important to remember. This is your life and if you get it right you will be a happy fulfilled person. This will automatically be good for your family and friends.
What other people say is irrelevant unless it is good, sound practical advice given with you in mind.
If you ask for the opinions of others as a way of getting approval then you’ll end up doing what they want you to do – not what makes you happy.
You are not being selfish. Others may say you are, but honestly, it’s the people that try to control your destiny that are actually behaving selfishly!
No matter what you do, there will always be opportunities for improvement. You can do your best in any given moment with the skills and tools available, but you’ll always be able to learn from your experiences and do better than before.
This is how mediocre athletes become great athletes.
Spend time with people or groups that you don’t normally hang out with. Subscribe to Meetup.com and attend discussion and networking groups so that you can have new and interesting conversations.
Your own views and opinions may be challenged, but this will stimulate you to come up with new ideas. If you keep an open mind you’ll no doubt learn new things about yourself and the world around you.
You’ll also continue to improve your social skills and find it easy to chat with new people. This might naturally result in new friendships or even romance!
Commit to trying a new thing every week for a year. These things don’t have to be difficult challenges. You could try new foods, a new route to work, read a different genre of book, paint a picture, learn a language, take a train to somewhere you haven’t yet visited – anything at all – as long as you haven’t done it before!
Start by making a list of all the things you’d like to do or try – whether they are small or large, possible or improbable. No limits. You don’t have to create your list in one day either. See it as a work in progress to come up with 52 things you’d like to achieve.
Set a date to start – 1st January would be good – and get going. Use a diary to record your tasks and post to social media each day that you achieve something new!
If you fail to complete an item on your list, don’t worry – but at least make the effort to try.
Before you know it you’ll find that it’s easy to accept and achieve new challenges in your life. You will have successfully developed a personal growth mindset without too much mental effort!
How often have you heard the saying “it’s the journey not the destination that’s important”?
When traveling, it’s all the little things that happen along the way and the people you meet that make the journey worthwhile.
The same can be said for any new challenge in life. It’s the overall experience that fulfills you, not just the final result. If you adopt this way of thinking you’ll have much more fun along the way and a lot less stress and pressure to achieve the end result.
If you learn to develop your personal growth mindset and accept new challenges then you’ll find it easy to say YES to new opportunities.
If you’re offered a job that stretches your abilities, you’ll be less likely to say no. You’ll think seriously about giving it a try. If you are invited on a travel adventure there’s more of a possibility you’ll actually make it happen.
All of this will lead to you living a happy, positive and fulfilling life in a way that satisfies you first and then the people around you!
Anytime is good to start improving your mindset but the beginning of a new year is particularly good. The New Year is a time when we generally feel naturally motivated to make positive changes in our lives.
Start putting plans in place now, make your list of challenges and be ready to start on January 1st. If that’s too far in the distance make the 1st of the next month your day to start saying “YES”.
Honestly, if you begin to embrace change and challenge and say “yes” more often, you’ll discover quickly how confident and happy this makes you feel!