You might be familiar with personal growth — whether you follow certain Instagram accounts that focus on individual growth or you’re an avid reader of personal development books. But if someone were to ask you to define personal growth, what would your answer be?
The truth is, the answer might be different for everyone.
Why is Personal growth important?
Personal growth is an individual journey that every person experiences uniquely. It’s a never-ending process and requires you to work on yourself as a person constantly. It can happen in all aspects of life, including your relationships, career, health, and spirituality. It involves taking a good, hard look at yourself and identifying areas where you can improve. To arrive at your definition of personal growth, you can start by asking yourself the following questions that will help you identify areas where you hope to grow.
Start by defining what you want to achieve from this process. What do you hope to accomplish? What are your long-term goals? To help narrow down your goals, it can be helpful to ask yourself, “What do I want to learn?” If you’re like most people, the answer will be “a lot.” Personal development covers such a wide range of topics that no one can know all there is to know about it. But if you’re tired of being stuck in the same place and want to get unstuck, then defining what you want to learn is a great way to start.
For example, if you want to learn how to play piano, you can set a goal of learning how to play a song in one week. If you’re going to be more sociable, you might place a goal of going out with friends once per week.
Once you have established exactly what you’re working toward, it becomes easier to develop a plan for getting there. This plan should include specific actions that will help move you toward achieving your goals and timelines for completing each task.
Personal growth is a journey that requires reflection, exploration, and experimentation. As you progress through different stages of life, you’ll find that your definition of personal growth changes. That’s why it’s so important to ask yourself what’s most important to you right now.
For example, if you’re focusing on raising your children or completing a degree, then the areas of growth that matter most to you might be time management or education. If you’re retired and traveling the world, your focus may be more on physical fitness and health.
The key is to identify what’s truly important and focus on that goal instead of worrying about other people’s thoughts. If improving yourself means getting an advanced degree or making more money, then go for it! If becoming healthier or more organized are your goals, then work toward them until they become habits.
For many people, letting go of their past is the hardest thing they’ve ever had to do, especially in family relationships or toxic friendships. Yet it’s also one of the most important steps you can take toward personal growth. Once you let go of negative situations or relationships that are not serving you — even when you have tried to improve them in the past — you’ll find room to grow in ways you may have never imagined.
For example, if you feel like you’ve hit a wall in your career, it might be time to make some changes. A common fear among people struggling with their careers is that they won’t be able to find another job if they quit their current one. But often, when people choose to stop and start fresh elsewhere, they do much better than they ever did before.
The challenge is figuring out what you need to let go of. It can be difficult because you might have gotten so wrapped up in the situation that you cannot see the problems in front of you. You might have become attached to the way things are supposed to be — even if they aren’t working anymore. It’s not your fault that change is hard, either; Columbia Business School notes that our brains are wired to resist change. At the same time, embracing change can allow for more significant innovation and creativity.
When thinking about personal growth, ask yourself what would happen if you chose not to grow. What would happen if you stayed the same? Sometimes, the greater risk is staying stagnant and remaining precisely as you are.
You will never be able to reach your full potential unless you do something different than what you are doing now. Personal growth means making changes in your life that make it better for yourself and those around you. It means becoming happier, healthier, and more successful as an individual. And the only way to make that happen is to embrace change.
Answering the questions above will allow you to discover the definition of personal growth that makes the most sense for you. Once you’ve established that definition, you can take concrete steps toward achieving your personal growth goals. No matter your purpose of personal growth, it can seem like an abstract concept that’s hard to achieve. But by identifying what your values are and working toward your goals, you’ll find that personal growth comes a lot more easily than you might have thought possible. Just remember to review your action steps frequently so they stay top of mind, and you can keep moving forward toward greater self-improvement.