I’ve invested more than 25 years into personal growth and making changes in my life. Growth is necessary, for everyone. You may have heard it said that growth does not take place inside our comfort zone. Changing your life isn’t always easy. And changing your mind can be pretty challenging, but not always as difficult as one might think. The return on your efforts can be incredible. How can I be sure? I believe my adult life is proof of how one simple commitment can alter one’s path for the better. I began focusing on personal growth in the early 1980s, and I’ve been fully committed to a life of personal growth since the early 1990s. (I wasn’t nor am I perfect. This is a process.) Thankfully, I chose to hold on to that commitment and resist complacency. I’m sort of my own case study. The results are evident to my husband, adult children, and especially to me. So, how did I do (and continue to do) it? Here is a good place to begin:
Change your thinking and you will change your life.
Did you ever change your mind on what you were going to have for lunch? Not a big deal, right? Changing the course of your life, or just having the desire for life to go more smoothly, can take a few minor tweaks sometimes and other times it may take a change in major life choices. How do we know we’ll make the right decision? You don’t need to have everything figured out. Just take the next right step.
Commit to intentionally making decisions that will set you on a more positive path. I’m not talking all flowers and butterflies – sometimes life gets messy, or downright hard. But one minor tweak can make all the difference in the world. To reach the positive path, avoid those knee-jerk negative reactions. Take a moment and pause; don’t just react, but give a thoughtful response (you’ll be surprised how much differently you respond when you take ten seconds to think). It takes time and practice; you’ll get better (don’t expect perfection; strive for excellence).
Remember, this is a process.
Listen to what trusted individuals from your inner circle are saying, and keep an open mind. Twenty-five years ago (plus a week or two), I realized I had become more outspoken. I had been outspoken all my life, but at this time I lacked healthy boundaries. I sometimes spoke more boldly, which wasn’t always a bad thing. When I spoke curtly, however, it was unloving and rude. In the early ’90s, I had a newfound confidence, not necessarily an abundance of it, but it was a start. I wasn’t going to be manipulated or treated badly by people, in society or anywhere else. So I bit before I could get bitten. I had some things to work on, for sure. This stage lasted about two years. By 1992, I realized I was over-the-top and becoming more like people I didn’t respect. It wasn’t who I wanted to be. I received enough unflattering feedback when I crossed the proverbial line, it caught my attention. So, I made a commitment that year to think and act differently. I made an effort to be more approachable, friendly, and loving. I decided if I honor God with my words and actions, people would see me differently (and so would God). That was my goal. Overall, except for a brief lapse or occasional moment of poor human judgment, I’ve made great strides in this area. I choose to live by the mantra:
In all things, love.
Grow through life. I began to study people’s behaviors and actions. I observed individuals I had come to respect and admire, and frankly, I wanted to be more like them. I knew I could be a better person – more positive, less stubborn, a more loving person with a focus on spiritual growth, etc. I had some baggage, some issues and poor choices (some horrible) that I needed to work through. I never wanted to repeat poor choices, so I knew I would have to change my mindset. I didn’t always practice self-control. I was never considered obnoxious; I was often respectful. However, I knew I was falling short of my potential. Studying people of integrity and good character was a wise investment. I had plenty of chances to be tested, as I would come across some pretty ugly souls. Perseverance pays off. (When I failed now and then, I didn’t quit.)
Stay the course.
This journey has been a long, steady climb, and I’m happy to have made the commitment to personal growth. Make no mistake; the climb isn’t over. As long as I have breath I will be a lover of life and learning. Through my personal experience, what have I learned? I would do it again. Investing 2 1/2 decades to my personal growth has resulted in a life more abundant in love, contentment, and gratefulness. I can’t imagine where I’d be if I had chosen to settle for status quo. God forbid! There is no doubt my life would be different, for the worse. I now have joy! I choose to live in a spirit of gratefulness. It is my hope that through sharing my personal journey in this blog, my upcoming podcast, and through my coaching sessions, I may be able to help others.
So, where to begin? Let’s be REAL.
Please leave a comment below…
Do you think it would be worth the effort to make a commitment to personal growth?
What have you learned from your life’s journey that has helped you grow through life?
Do you choose to be a lifelong learner, dedicated to healthy choices?