I know it can be hard to balance a healthy lifestyle with the pressures of work, other day-to-day responsibilities, and all of our internal struggles. Sometimes it's easy to put your mental and physical health on the back burner. One thing slips, then the next, and when you look back you wonder how you got there.
Over that time, I personally struggled with becoming a celiac, stressful but empowering jobs in tech, fending back depression, while never shaking my own anxieties and other mental quirks.
Through all these ups and downs I had to learn and re-learn so many elements of who I am as a person. Read the story of one success. Here are some re-learnings I recently experienced as I achieved my own goals in my journey of self-improvement.
One thing that is important to understand that I learned before diving in is:
Mental health and emotional maturity are unique to every person.
ALWAYS Evaluate Yourself
Looking within ourselves is never an easy task, and more so setting personal "goals" can be daunting. Where do you start?
The mental picture of "become a new and better version of yourself" or "I need to heal and reconsider myself to be 'ready' for what's next." Should truly be maturing into accepting yourself.
You are not becoming a better version through adding a "skill". You are just maturing into who you really are; by becoming more self-aware of that idea/skill/opinion, now found. Once one is more emotionally mature, leading to becoming more self-aware. We can all embark on new journies to further ourselves more consistently and successfully through that understanding.
Understanding your own self-awareness is key to personal growth, but experience only works if you are completely honest with yourself at where you are truly starting at.
Just Start.....Something! One thing at a time though.
The greatest success barriers will likely come from within you.
It is common to commit self-sabotage because of a blocker that may or may not actually exist. We often act subconsciously before considering the consequences of our actions based on pure emotion. Your fear for what could happen when trying something new may cause your brain to rationalize. Limiting beliefs in order to protect yourself from failure.
This may lead you to believe that if there's a chance at succeeding or failing. Truly leading to you to only prove "why" an idea wasn't worth going after all along - despite knowing deep down how beneficial such progressions can be!
So..... Don't think too much and just start with 2 feet in!
The biggest barrier to self-improvement I’ve noticed is the phrase “I should have...”,“What If...”, etc. We all need to eliminate those from our vocabulary if you want further ourselves from the irrational fears we may have.
Thinking of the past and possible futures won't get you anywhere. You can’t change the past, and you were operating with what knowledge that you have at the time. Living vicariously in the past or the future is what prevents us from moving forward. It’s never too late to find a way forward, few things are really ever truly stopping you lest you get bogged down in those “What If...”
One method to use when facing this is what could be called the "2 Minute Rule". Whatever you are facing those anxieties like going for a run, driving to an appointment etc, whatever it is! Challenge yourself to do the first 2 minutes of the event, then check within yourself if you should just keep going. Usually, it will be a yes keep going.
One of the most difficult elements in personal growth is relationships and how they change as we change.
You may find that lifelong friends ridicule you and or try to hold you back in a way in which you did not expect. React out of emotion for what your "growth" or "change" might do to their beloved wayward relationships. Or even more so, they're just not ready yet to provide the space to grow and understand your growth.
One should be prepared to serve as a reminder for themselves and others of what their own potential is. In doing so it displays what could be if the choice is to put in the effort ourselves or externally in others. The reality of our relationships and communication comes to true light on how positive vs negative relationships can derail personal growth.
The key to any relationships we experience through life (at least in my opinion) with more understanding of who each other is will become more synergistic, allowing you to grow together in a highly positive fashion.
As stated by Robert Pirsig:
“We always condemn most in others, that which we most fear in ourselves.”
This is something I always remember.
Failing does not mean complete failure
As long as you keep honestly trying and learning from your mistakes, then you have no other option but to improve. Each time-evolving, understanding, succeeding, making new mistakes while changing entire perspectives. The only true failure is outright choosing inaction.
As stated by Napoleon Hill:
“Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit, you just may not know it at the time.”
When you do Succeed - Ensure there is a proper reward
A well-defined personal growth has many steps along the way - you should feel accomplished when reaching any one of these milestones and you might want to reward yourself when you get there, too.
Rewarding oneself is a great thing to do, but can backfire if done irresponsibly. When you reward yourself after reaching your target for the week or hitting a milestone, you get a dopamine boost in your brain, making you feel good.
In turn, this helps increase or maintain your motivation. Subconsciously, your mind builds a connection between your hard work and the good feeling that comes after.
Rewards are great but make sure to choose a healthy reward. Moreover, we should always check in with ourselves or a partner - to hold accountability to not to overdo it, being too generous with ourselves.
The greatest 'success' barriers will likely come from within you. If you don't reach for it, you will never find it.
As a note of celebration for achieving a few of my personal own goals which lead to this post. I decided to start to get a sleeve developed over the next few months.... this is the first piece!