I was certain that this year of college would be one full of change; I was determined to become the new, better me. However, like my many New Year’s resolutions in the past, I have found that personal growth is not something that occurs overnight.
Setting goals and establishing new habits can be hard. It requires dedication, and more often than not I have found myself burned out and consequently left in a state of self-doubt. For a long time, it seemed like the bloggers I had seen talk about personal growth made this complicated subject seem easy, so what was I doing wrong?
I turned to Pinterest as a source of inspiration, and there are hundreds of lists with step-by-step instructions of things one should do. Through this, I have gathered five of my biggest takeaways about personal growth that I have begun to implement into my life and some tips and tricks that I have picked up along the way.
1. Create achievable goals
If you know about the acronym S.M.A.R.T Goals (specific, measurable, assignable, realistic, time-related), you are on the right track. Creating achievable goals is all about taking your goal and breaking it down into smaller, achievable steps that you can strive toward.
If you have a planner you can make a goal at the start of each month and track it throughout the weeks. I find that making mind maps help me create a clearer picture of what my goal looks like and how I can implement it into my day to day life.
Bonus tip: schedule your goals into your planner.
It may come as a surprise to some, but I am not someone who enjoys journaling. I do, however, love to do my end of month reflections in my planner.
Although my planner comes pre-made with monthly and mid-year reflections, you can also incorporate monthly reflections into your routine with questions such as:
- What was a memorable part of this month?
- What were three lessons you learned?
- Who or what are you grateful for this past month?
3. Repeat after me: ‘Your feelings are valid’
If there is one thing I know to be true, it is that life can be frustrating. Natural frustration and stress can often bring out emotions that we may feel ashamed of, such as anger or sadness. However, it is important to remember that it is okay to have these feelings, and that your feelings are valid.
If you need to cry, that’s okay. If you are feeling stressed to the point of exhaustion, that is okay too. More often than not, when people are asked how they are feeling they reply with “fine,” but sometimes the first step toward feeling better is admitting that you aren’t.
4. Make ‘fun’ a priority too
Between making goals and striving toward establishing new habits, it is easy to forget to make time for yourself. Of course, like self-care, making time for “fun” is just as important as work, studying and personal growth.
Try setting aside time each week in which you can enjoy yourself without having to worry about work or school. For example, try blocking out Saturday or Sunday in your planner, free yourself from your responsibilities for the day and have fun.
Your mental health will thank you.
5. Celebrate your successes
Last but not least, don’t forget to write down your successes and celebrate them. Whether you aced a major exam or accomplished a minor goal, remember that every success is a step toward your personal growth.
Try including a section to your planner or make note of your accomplishments from month to month, and make sure to reward yourself.
Personal growth can seem like a difficult concept to approach, but these ideas are easy to implement into anyone’s life and can start you on the path toward becoming a better you.