Personal growth is easier said than done. Attempts to change can even seem like we are fighting against our nature. Here we are going to explain how to have smart goals and how to be gentle with yourself when it comes to personal growth.
One Goal at a Time
Personal growth at times can even feel like a lot of pain and little or no gain. This especially refers to when we are trying to change multiple things at the same time. A moderate approach is the best for personal growth. Change takes time and patience.
If you are trying to achieve multiple goals and failing at each one of them, you will get discouraged. If you have one goal at a time, you will have more focus on what needs to be done. Even if goals are connected, the one at a time approach will help you achieve the second goal later on while you are remaining focused on the first goal.
Find a Balance
Even when we are trying to achieve one goal, finding balance is effective because it’s a combination of two different behaviors. For example, if you want to be more assertive, we can have a combination of assertive and more straight-to-the-point behavior. From one side you don’t want to argue with people all the time, but you don’t want for people to walk all over you as well.
Extreme forms of behavior are never a healthy option. Think about Buddha’s Middle Way more than becoming a perfect person who never makes mistakes. Most personality characteristics can become maladaptive when pushed.
Different Strokes for Different Folks
We all need to move in different directions. There is no one perfect way that works for everyone. Someone who is highly self-critical needs to be gentle with themselves while people who are conceited need to be harder with themselves. Some people who are extremely rigid need to be more flexible while disorganized people need more structure. In these two examples, one extreme is not good behavior at all.
Personal Growth as a Range
Personal growth doesn’t come in one form that fits everyone. There are a lot of different ways to function successfully. Personal growth is not a point of functioning but a range. This means that adaptive functioning is not one behavior only but it can be a range of behaviors.
I Want to Be Someone Else
If you want to be someone else, you are on the wrong track. That’s not the most effective approach and you will more likely fail than succeed in this endeavor. We need to find the balance between our behavior and desirable behavior (the other extreme). When you put things in perspective like this, personal growth is not as difficult as you might initially imagine.
It’s important to remember those good qualities when pushed to the extreme can become bad. Or sometimes our bad qualities are good, but they’ve been pushed to the extreme. Sometimes all we need is to tone it down, not remove them completely.
If you are the type of person who always asks for help, and you want to change it, this is the wrong approach. What you need to do is find a balance between believing in yourself and asking for help.
Find Your Goals
Personal growth is crucial, and it is completely ignored by many. On the other side, some keep dreaming about a change but never get close to actioning the change. Often, the reason behind this is the fact that change seems to be daunting. It will feel overwhelming if you want to be someone else who seems to have a perfect life. If I could be more focused like my co-worker. If I could be braver like all those successful people.
It doesn’t mean that you have to be perfect, and it doesn’t mean that you have to be someone else. Personal growth is more about tweaking certain characteristics not changing them or removing them completely.
Are There Any Exceptions?
Yes, the exception is a general feeling of good and bad behavior towards yourself and others. Other than moral behavior, everything else is negotiable and achievable only as a balance not as perfection.
This article was written by Elvira Barucija, who has a Master Degree in Psychology.
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