Year after year people focus on the same resolutions. The most common goals are about being healthier – losing weight, quitting smoking, eating better and flossing. After that the focus is usually on money – saving more or getting out of debt and finally decluttering homes and offices.
So I was delighted to see in the Inside the Circle January poll that another focus topped the list for 2015.
Personal growth is the primary focus for this year for a third of the people voting in the poll.
Here’s why that is a great thing:
If you haven’t been successful with goals you have set in the past, focusing on personal growth might just be what you need.
Personal growth is coming to a deeper understanding of who you are and what is important to you. Most of time people set goals without a lot of prior thought. They end up being “should” goals rather than ones that are a good reflection of who you are. That’s one of the reasons why people set the same goals over and over again.
Personal growth is about developing more awareness so you can make more conscious and intentional choices. It’s not about searching for a fix to something you think is wrong with you. Trust me – you are just fine. What you might need is a better understanding of who you are and what you truly want and how to align your choices so they best reflect that.
So if personal growth is your primary focus for this year, here are some ways that will help:
Commit to your growth.
Personal growth requires some structure and commitment. It doesn’t just show up spontaneously. You have to do some activities to create an atmosphere for growth. Think about a plant. It thrives when it gets light and water and nutrients. It does less well when you sporadically pay attention to it. Commit to including personal growth time in your weekly or daily schedule.
Do some reflection.
People often think that reflection means journaling. For lots of people sitting down with pen and paper results in staying at a blank page while listening to your inner committee remind you that you have nothing to say. While journaling is a powerful way to develop a greater understanding of who you are, it’s not the only way. Walking is also a great reflection activity. There is something about the rhythmic movement of walking that allows you to access different parts of your brain. Take a reflection question out for a 20 minute walk. You just might find that once you are back home you have a few ideas or insights to jot down.
Clarify your values
Values work is one of the most important ways to get clear about what is really meaningful to you. Most people have spent very little time exploring the topic of personal core values. When asked, they default to the usual family, health and world peace. Those are far too broad categories to meaningful help direct your choices. My experience with clients is once they delve into the values conversation and become more specific, they find that setting priorities is much simpler.
Personal growth means you have to stretch beyond where you are now. You have to do or think about something in a new or different way in order to grow. The status quo won’t help you. There’s nothing wrong with baby steps though. Sometimes it’s the first small step that really begins to open your eyes.
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