30 Days of Personal Growth, Day 30: The Journey Continues

“When you change, everything will change for you.”  -Jim Rohn

Wow–I can’t believe 30 days have passed already! Our journey has come to an end now, and I sincerely hope you’ve enjoyed it as much as I have. I’m so thankful for the new and old followers, likes, and comments. I hope I’ve inspired you to love yourself unconditionally, pursue your goals and dreams freely, think flexibly, and live fully. This has been a rewarding challenge for me, both in terms of learning about myself and posting daily.

I’m taking a week off from blogging, but before I go, I want to remind you that the journey toward personal growth never ends. As long as you’re alive, you’re constantly learning, growing, and evolving. Embrace it! Here are 10 tips summarized from this series to help you on your own unique path.

1. Love and accept yourself. You have a right to take care of your needs, appreciate yourself, and value yourself. Never forget your intrinsic human worth.

2. Be a flexible thinker. Allow for variation and change. You’ll win some, you’ll lose some. You’ll never be perfect. Be open to all of life’s possibilities, and know that whether you succeed or fail, you’re worthwhile.

3. Treat your body right. You only get one. Don’t get caught up on how it looks–focus on what it does for you, and feed it the nutrients it craves.

4. Take control of yourself. No one can make you feel, think, or do anything. It’s all up to you to decide what things mean for you. Take mastery over yourself.

5. Surround yourself with honest, real people. Real friends accept you for you and care about you. As much as they love you and want to see you succeed, they’ll also be honest with you when you’re not doing your best.

6. Connect to your external world. Our inner worlds can be exciting places, but there’s a lot to admire outside of ourselves, too. Put your feelers out into the world and savor its richness and diversity.

7. Respect others’ rights. We all have a right to our own unique existence, whether someone likes it or not. As long as what you do does not hurt you or infringe on someone else’s rights, live as you desire, and allow others to do the same.

8. Find your peace place. The world’s chaotic sometimes. Step back from draining relationships, work, and other sources of stress and tap into your own peace place–art, music, writing, nature, anything that uplifts you.

9. Be thankful. Be grateful for what you have. Somewhere, someone doesn’t have half as much as you do. Thank others as much as you can and appreciate what’s in front you right now.

10. Commit to personal growth. Finished products we are not. There’s always something for us to learn, to see, to experience. Commit to your personal growth through books, blogs, audiotapes, and more. And don’t just read or listen to them–try to apply them to your life. You always have room to grow. Be positive during the journey!

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30 Days of Personal Growth, Day 29: Just Do It…You Probably Know How

Sorry; I have no space left for advice. Just do it.
-Donald E. Westlake

I work as a freelance writer and magazine intern, and every time I sit down to write something, I freeze. I’ve been through the scenario a million times, but each time I futz over the assignment as if I’ve never written anything in my life.

For example, my first freelance magazine piece is an interview due on Saturday, and I’m having the hardest time organizing my thoughts. I’m going back and forth over the details, reading articles from past issues and staring out the window every five minutes, hoping a wave of inspiration will wash over me. And nothing happens. Nothing happens until I stop squirming and write.

I think we make things more difficult when we forget our successes, when we forget that we’ve done this very same thing before and have done it well. Sure, I haven’t written this exact piece before, but I have written profiles. I’ve written blog posts, e-commerce copy, and term papers. With every new project, it’s up to me to have confidence in myself that I can finish the job. And the best way to finish a job is to just do it, not to obsess over it.

While it’s not easy, I’m really trying to remind myself of my successes when I feel stuck. Once I finish what feels like a daunting assignment, I realize how silly it was for me to stress over it. So today, remember your successes. Remember that even when something is new and a bit scary, you may already have the tools you need to conquer it. Once you realize you’re already prepared, don’t stress any longer–just do it!

30 Days of Personal Growth, Day 28: 7 Quotes to Remember Today

When I’m feeling unmotivated, stressed, or doubtful, a good inspirational quote helps me pick myself up. Here are seven to remember today:

Change your thoughts and you change your world.

-Norman Vincent Peale

Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.

-James Baldwin

Wanna fly, you got to give up the s–t that weighs you down.

-Toni Morrison

Trust yourself. Think for yourself. Act for yourself. Speak for yourself. Be yourself. Imitation is suicide.

-Marva Collins

To avoid criticism do nothing, say nothing, be nothing.

-Elbert Hubbard

 All progress has resulted from people who took unpopular positions.

-Adlai Stevenson

 Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.

-Will Rogers

30 Days of Personal Growth, Day 27: A Letter to the One Looking Down

The lotus begins life in the muddy bottom of a pond. Slowly, it grows toward the surface. When it reaches the light, it becomes a beautiful flower.

I want to talk about you.

You’ve been told you’re not smart enough. You’ve been told you’re not good enough. You’ve been told that other people are better, more worthwhile. You’ve spent years crying, feeling sorry for yourself, thinking everyone else had a better chance to reach their dreams than you did.

I’m here to tell you you’re wrong.

You’re worthwhile. You’re not perfect. You have good and bad days. You don’t always remember things. You don’t always make the right decisions. But you’re valuable.

You don’t always feel beautiful. You slip up sometimes. Still, you’re unique, complex—and worthwhile. Nothing can make that more or less true.

You can’t control what others think about you. You can’t control what others do or say. You can’t read anyone’s mind, nor can anyone read yours. You’re not going to like or agree with everything everyone says and does. Some things others do are going to make you upset. But you can control what you do.

Every day is not going to be wonderful, but you can smile. You can feel thankful and joyful no matter what is happening.

You don’t have to be famous to be worthwhile. You can enjoy living an ordinary life. You can take pride in the things you do to keep things running smoothly.

You can speak clearly because you belong here. You don’t have to shrink away, thinking others’ opinions and existence are more worthwhile. You have just as much right to be here as anyone else, and you have a right to your own unique existence.

You have a right to be present. You can absorb details about people and the environment. You don’t have to worry about what your hair looks like. You don’t have to worry about your skin, teeth, height, weight, clothes, education, marital status, bank account, credit score, or friends list. Though you want to do your best in all aspects of life, you can’t control everything. Yet, you are worthwhile.

You can gracefully give and accept compliments. You can admire others and accept their admiration of you. You have a right to feel good about yourself no matter how you look.

You are not a static photograph. You are a living, breathing, dynamic human being. You are so much more than you know.

You don’t have to do anything to please others. You can be compassionate, but you can care about yourself, too. You can laugh, smile, and chat with others. You can put your two cents in just as anyone else can. You have that right.

You can absorb people, nature, and life freely. You can make mistakes, and you can learn from them. You don’t have to hide for fear others will know your shortcomings. Others have shortcomings, too.

You don’t have to worry about being the best at everything. You can’t. The most you can expect of yourself is to do your best work. Know that you can’t do everything perfectly, but know that you can be proud of what you do.

Not everyone is going to like you, and you’re not going to like everyone else. Yet you can accept others. You can accept yourself. You can take criticism with the intent of strengthening yourself. You can dismiss anything hurtful or rude.

You don’t have to judge others, and you don’t have to judge yourself. You can be as silly, smart, or sassy as you want, as long as you remember you’re no better than others, nor is anyone better than you. Like you, people have their own unique way of being. Your worth is on par with everyone else’s.

You have a right to look people in the eye. You don’t have to plan what you’re going to say. You can handle any social situation when it happens. You have a right to speak loudly and clearly. Others do too, and they expect that from you.

You are free to have your own style. You can wear prints, solids, sleek, bohemian, anything you want. You can express yourself through fashion, music, arts, writing, sports, any way you choose. You have that right.

You have your own gifts. Others have theirs. You are not going to be perfect even at your strengths, but you can take pride in what you’re capable of. No one has your unique voice, experience, biology, psychology, spirituality. Things won’t be easy, and nothing says they should be.

Stay focused. Growth is painful. Goals take discipline. But your dreams will come true if you believe in yourself and fight for them. You’re going to fail sometimes. You’re going to fall short of your goals.

But even if things don’t work out exactly how you want them to, you’re still worthwhile. You can pick it up and move ahead.

You can have a balanced view of yourself and others. No one is wholly good, bad, right, or wrong. Everyone, including you, is too complex for a label.

Your thoughts, beliefs, opinions, feelings, interests, and talents are worthwhile. You as a living, breathing being are worthwhile.

Let nothing distract you from that.

30 Days of Personal Growth, Day 26: Who Will You Be Today?

No man can climb out beyond the limitations of his own character.
-John Morley

Who will you be on this journey called life? Will you be the person who…

  • Wakes up a few minutes earlier to get a fresh start on the day, or sleeps late
  • Holds others’ private information in confidence, or gossips about his or her friends
  • Takes appropriate action, or freaks out when things aren’t going right
  • Listens first, or judges others
  • Spends money recklessly, or saves for what she or he or really needs
  • Loves her body person, or despises it
  • Appreciates time to himself, or can’t stand to be alone
  • Listens to her own judgment, or needs everyone else’s approval or permission
  • Fears change, or embraces it
  • Speaks honestly, or pretends to be someone else
  • Pays attention, or ignores the present
  • Shows gratitude, or complains about everything
  • Keeps an open mind, or stays stuck in rigid ways
  • Cares about others, or only cares about self
  • Thinks realistically, or wants to be perfect
  • Gives compliments freely, or criticizes others
  • Lives in truth, or lives in denial or delusion
  • Takes no interest in tomorrow, or plans for a smoother future today
  • Uses time wisely, or procrastinates
  • Survives, or thrives

Who will you be today? Choose wisely.

30 Days of Personal Growth, Day 24: When It All Changed

“As I stopped feeling like I couldn’t do things, I began acting confident and successful, and I realized that the better I felt, the more opportunity was coming to me.” -Amy DuBois Barnett

I was waiting on something to happen. I was waiting to feel content, to feel as if I could accomplish something, to feel good about my life and about myself. As I hoped and prayed for my life to begin, I cried some nights and zoned out most days.

Why didn’t good things happen to me? I wondered. Why was everyone else so lucky, so fortunate? Where were my blessings? What had I done to deserve such a life?

I waited. And waited. And cried. Wasted time. Wasted money and energy. I wanted what others had and didn’t appreciate the things that were right in front of me, however small. I had nothing to be proud of, so I thought. I had nothing to show for myself. When was it going to be my turn?

Then something happened. Tired of wallowing in despair and blaming the universe and my elementary school teacher for my problems, I opened my eyes. I began to search for knowledge, for truth and wisdom. I devoured everything I could on being a better me. I took a deep, difficult look at myself and saw some things I didn’t like. But with information in hand, I was able to begin the long process of change. I was able to accept full responsibility for my life. I was able to change.

No longer could I blame others for anything I didn’t like in my life. I gained mastery over myself, over my thoughts and feelings, and over my actions. I became the woman I had always wanted to be, the woman I had not fathomed would be me. I made up my mind to accept myself and be bold, fearless, and strong. I became powerful, and that’s when my situation changed. I became confident, and that’s when my situation changed. No more bitterness. No more longing for the past. No more wasting the present. I changed, and everything around me changed.

Of course I still have more to learn, more ways in which to grow. But I’ve done what it takes many years to do: I’ve begun. I’ve realized that I want to live in peace and on purpose, and, with the support of family, friends, and mentors, I’ve made it happen. I decided to stop being a victim and start feeling empowered and confident. I didn’t wait my turn–I took it. When I made that decision, that’s when everything changed.