It is officially 2021 (we made it!) and we are now seeing our Instagram feeds flooded with new goals, resolutions, and “New Year, New Me” pictures. Whether or not you enjoy seeing your friend’s and followers’ resolution posts, it is clear that personal growth and development are important to many people, especially millennials.
The pull to be your best self is not just tied to the new year. Millennials are constantly introspecting and trying to grow in all areas of life, whether that be intellectual and spiritual growth or career growth.
Now my question is…
Why is personal growth so important?
There is no lack of apps, books, podcasts, life coaches, and journals that encourage you to strive for success and happiness. Before we dive into personal growth tools and “how-to’s”, I want to talk about why it is important to implement personal growth into our lives as a constant practice.
Let’s dive in.
Why is personal growth important?
First, I want you to ask yourself, “Why is personal growth so important?” and see what comes to mind.
Asking ourselves questions like this is one of the main pillars of personal growth. Developing a deeper understanding of ourselves and how our brains work.
When we intrinsically understand our thought patterns, what is important to us, and how we view the world, we become more fully-realized versions of ourselves. Not only does this improve our life in general, but it also improves everyone’s life around us.
Ask Yourself This Question
Why is personal growth important? We can learn and work through our negative thoughts, past trauma, and unconscious biases that are holding us back. We can retrain our thought patterns to brain-hack our way into a happier life and be more present in our day-to-day.
Why is personal growth important? We tap into the skill sets we excel at and are passionate about, making us a better employee, boss, and coworker. Tapping into your “zone of genius” in a career will propel you forward into more work you love, more money, and more fulfillment.
Why is personal growth important? We keep our brains growing and running our whole lives, keeping us healthy and sharp as we age, while growing a deeper appreciation and respect for the world around us.
Why is personal growth important? Staying active and finding movement we enjoy boosts our happiness levels. Nourishing our bodies with a variety of foods keeps us energized and our immune systems strong, leading to a longer and more full life.
Now that we’re all on the same page of why personal growth is so important, let’s talk about tools and action steps to get there. We’ll break growth down into four categories: emotional, professional, spiritual and intellectual, and physical.
Grab your journal and let’s do this!
Personal growth can encompass so many different areas of your life, so right now we’re going to focus specifically on your emotional health.
Journaling is a fantastic way to learn more about your thought patterns and your values but is also a great way to physically see how you’re progressing. Have you ever gone back and read a journal from middle school? It’s a wild ride.
One of my favorite journals is The Five Minute Journal.
The first line in the journal description is, “Elevate yourself. Be happier. Improve relationships. Shift your mind to a state of optimism.” Sign me up! It includes a morning routine including three simple questions to start your day off in the right headspace, and a nighttime routine reflecting on the positive experiences of the day.
Developing a positive mindset is also something to focus on when thinking about emotional health. It is so much easier to focus on the negative things in life than all the things going right (I’m looking at you 2020). However, noticing our thought patterns and consciously rearranging them can help us to shift our perspective.
Daily gratitude lists help to re-train our brains to focus on the good more than the bad, and soon it will be an unconscious habit!
Starting therapy or getting consistent therapy sessions on the calendar is another great way to propel your emotional growth.
Kate Denihan, a Talkspace therapist, says, “A therapist serves as an authentic, genuine, empathic individual who is unbiased, supportive, and, can provide objective, non-judgemental guidance, assisting clients with desired changes as well as achieving their maximum self.”
Call your insurance to see what mental health services they can cover, and there are also plenty of low-cost options for those without health insurance.
We all know our careers shouldn’t take over our lives and become our sole purpose. However, it can be incredibly fulfilling to find work that you love and do it well.
Work will always be a huge part of our lives, so let’s make sure we are growing in our careers and moving towards work that makes us happier.
Love Your Job
Even if you currently have a job, taking a career aptitude test or a skills assessment can help you better understand what you excel at. Are there certain projects or tasks you can ask to be assigned that better suit your strengths? Do you feel you’re in the wrong job completely and want to start over in a new industry? Life is too short for things that feel “meh”, so go for it!
Successful Work Habits
When you do find that job or project that excites you, you are still going to want to grow and get better in that role. Successful people always tout their achievement to a routine or system, whether that’s a morning routine, a certain type of schedule, or a goal-setting practice. One of my favorite tools to facilitate this is The Productivity Planner!
This planner utilizes the Pomodoro Technique (a time management method for optimal productivity), empowers you to focus on the most meaningful tasks ahead, and it’s printed on sustainably sourced paper. Make prioritization a priority!
You may find that although your job isn’t the thing you are most passionate about, it provides you financial stability, health insurance, and a great group of coworkers. That is important too!
A great option if you are in this scenario is to start a hobby that you love. Is there something you love learning about or something you would be great at teaching others? Spend a few hours creating an Instagram account, taking an online course, or learning how to play an instrument.
Spiritual and Intellectual Growth
Our brain is a three-pound muscle that facilitates your thoughts and all body functions. Let’s spend more time giving it some love!
The New England Journal of Medicine published a study about adults completing activities that challenged their mind, and guess what they found? These adults were 63 percent less likely to develop dementia!
Some things that you can do to keep your mind in tip-top shape are developing a daily reading practice, game apps for your phone that encourage problem-solving, and even something as simple as Sudoku puzzles.
Not only is it important to work our brains on an intellectual level, but also to widen our range of knowledge on a spiritual level.
Whether or not you consider yourself a spiritual person, it’s important for you to understand how you fit into the world around you and your place in this life. For some people that is a religious or spiritual practice and for others it is learning about where they came from and grounding themselves in their family’s history.
If you have ever wondered where you came from and want a deeper understanding of your place in the world, 23andme can help you find it. You can discover more branches of your family tree and look to the future of your family’s health.
Spirituality is all about connecting with something larger than yourself, be it a higher power, energy, and chakras, or the physical earth we inhabit. This pulls us into a higher purpose and can also bring calm when we find ourselves stressing out over small matters in our personal lives.
Explore what spirituality means to you. That can mean diving in deeper into your current spirituality or exploring other venues. Either way, there are so many books and resources to help you on your journey.
Adding in a meditation practice to your daily routine allows your subconscious to process new information you learned that day. We can read about spirituality all we want, but the true growth comes from within. After writing in your Five Minute Journal, take another five minutes to meditate by focusing on your breath, reciting a mantra, or giving thanks to the universe.
Physical health is so important for a long and fulfilling life, and as our body and mind grow, how we approach physical health has to grow along with it. It’s important to find physical movement that brings you joy, and what brings you joy may change over time. A good way to check in with whether or not your current routine is the best fit for you is to have a week of trying new things!
Try New Workouts
Make a list of activities that are physical (exercise classes, outdoor activities, online fitness subscriptions, etc.) and for one week, try one new thing each day. This will push your body out of its comfort zone and will also allow you to gauge what kind of movement excites you the most right now. After that week, are you still craving your old workout routine? Or did you find something else that you want to add in as a new routine?
Grokker is an awesome online platform that can help you try many different types of workouts and movement, all in one place! Whether you have one hour or five minutes, Grokker helps you sweat it out with a HIIT workout, de-stress with a yoga flow, or just relax with a slow stretch session.
Whatever your fitness goals are, Grokker has classes to help you get there.
Get Health Insurance
Another part of physical growth is the ability to get medical care if you need it, as well as making time for routine physicals and preventative care. Health insurance can be confusing, especially if you’re a freelancer without a work-sponsored health insurance plan.
eHealth is here to help! As your personal health insurance advocate, they help you find the right plan, they have the best prices, and they can answer any questions about coverage or billing.
So now I ask again:
Why is personal growth important?
I hope after reading this article, you can answer that question in a heartbeat.
There are a million reasons to prioritize personal growth. There are so many different facets of growth that you can focus on, and they are all connected.
Focusing on physical growth will give you more energy and endorphins, which then leads to a happier disposition and positive mindset, which then motivates you to be more productive at work, allowing you more free time to read that new book or meditate. Even if you only choose to focus on a few aspects of growth at a time, it will have a ripple effect on your overall personal growth.
Before the end of this month, write down three specific goals for personal growth that you will focus on in the coming year. Bonus points if you take a picture of them and tag us on Instagram @missmillmag!
Personal growth is a constant journey, so your goals will constantly be changing as you go along. Have monthly check-ins with yourself to assess your progress and take time to celebrate how far you’ve come.
Get to it, girl!