In this article, I wanted to share with you 3 goals that you can set for your own personal growth.
They might seem fairly easy on paper (or, in this case, on-screen), but it’s much harder to do them in practice!
After all, if they were easy, we would all be peaceful, joyful, and self-aware pros.
Mastery of self is one of the hardest things to do, so rather than focusing on external activities, fitness skills, and routines — I want to share with you 3 goals for your personal growth that will tremendously impact and transform who you are as a person.
“One can have no smaler or greater mastery than mastery of oneself.”
— LEONARDO DA VINCI
1. respond, don’t react
We can’t control the world, our partner, our kids, our friends, our partner’s friends, our dog, or anything that is outside of us. We can only control our reactions, and lemme tell you, dear friend, controlling one’s reaction to things is one of the hardest things.
When we react to things without thinking, when we get overwhelmed with emotion and snap, when we respond automatically, habitually, and reactively — that shows us that we are anything but in control of ourselves. 99% of the time, our subconscious habits and learned responses get in the way.
Got a rude email from your co-worker? Your blood boils, you’re swearing under your breath, and you craft a quick response and press send without thinking.
Your partner forgot to do the dishes? again? You snap at them the second they get home, find 5 other things to add to the pile of ‘you never do anything to help around the house’ and spend the rest of the night in separate rooms. Your child spilled his juice on the carpet? You get furious and upset, acting like a stain on a carpet = the end of the world. (not okay.)
So goal #1 for your personal growth — and this is going to be the hardest one, so we might as well get this one out of the way — is to manage your reactions and focus on responding rather than reacting.
‘It’s the same thing’ you say? Well, it’s not!
As I already mentioned, a reaction is automatic, habitual, and there’s no conscious intent behind it. It’s the doing without thinking, the habit that’s ruling you.
With responding, you are consciously choosing what you say, how you say it, what you do and don’t do. It’s time to take the power back and not let your life be just a series of reactions to everything that is around you!
2. make time for self-reflection
Goal #2 for your personal growth is to schedule time for reflection, whether it’s on a daily basis at the end of the day, or on a weekly basis at the end of the week. My favorite way to have deep reflections are through journaling. I have a digital journal (practically a word file) and a paper journal. I use my paper journal for day-to-day reflections, and my digital one for bigger (week or month long) reflections, where I go much more in depth.
When we set the time aside to reflect and look back on our day, week, or month, we get a better sense of what we think throughout the day, what we feel, what repetitive struggles/joys we might be encountering, and how we’ve been dealing with it. The reason I’m including this in the list of goals for personal growth is that it’s easy to reflect on things in our minds, but a week or a month later, we forget it!
It’s one of those things when you come up with a great idea and think ‘omg! this is so good! I better remember it because I can’t find a pen to write it down right now’ and an hour later you’ve completely forgotten about it. But now you’re also frustrated because you can’t remember it!
Writing down what’s going on in our lives and reflecting upon it is powerful because we can go back to it months and years later, and see just how far we’ve come. It’s a way to de-clutter our minds, reflect and keep track of it all for future reference.
There’s no ideal way to journal. You can free write, answer journaling prompts, or invent daily/weekly prompts of your own. The most powerful journaling exercise to date that I’ve done is a 30 day journaling challenge where you answer 3 questions at the end of every day for 30 days. (Check out my ‘exercises’ page for this).
I’ll leave the creativity up to you — but set aside some time, whether it’s 10 minutes each evening or 30 minutes on Sunday afternoons, to reflect back and take note of what’s been going on. I can’t even tell you how powerful of a tool this is, as it’ll help you deepen your self-awareness profoundly.
3. stop making assumptions
Goal #3 for your personal growth is to stop making assumptions. Easy enough, right? If only.
We make assumptions all day er’ day. We make assumptions about what our partner is thinking, what our boss is thinking, we make assumptions about why our friend isn’t replying, why somebody looked at us in a weird way, we make assumptions about why that bumble match un-matched us (because of my nose, right?) and we make assumptions about the world as a whole.
“If others tell us something we make assumptions, and if they don’t tell us something we make assumptions to fulfil our need to know and to replace the need to communicate. Even if we hear something and we don’t understand we make assumptions about what it means and then believe the assumptions. We make all sorts of assumptions because we don’t have the courage to ask questions.”
— DON MIGUEL RUIZ
Not only does making assumptions create a great deal of stress, but it’s also very energy-consuming.
We drive ourselves crazy, making assumptions about every single thing. Want to up-level your self-mastery and create real peace in your mind?
Stop making assumptions.
You don’t know why someone was rude to you, looked weirdly at you, or unmatched you. You truly do not know what your boss or spouse is thinking, and you definitely don’t know why you didn’t get that job. You’re only making assumptions. Sure, you might get it right once in a while, but the act itself is incredibly tiring.
We want to know the why behind everything, and it’s only natural that our mind begins to fantasize and create stories of its own.
However, it’s all fiction.
Stop making assumptions, and not only will you have greater peace of mind and more energy, but you will also be mastering your mind and not letting it run wild.
You’ll be aware of what is happening in your mind and just what stories your mind feels compelled to create. (p.s. oftentimes, our mind makes assumptions in relation to our beliefs. Basically, if your belief is ‘i’m ugly’, you will take that belief and make assumptions about events to match that belief. Tinder match un-matched you? It’s because you’re ugly. Your boss passed you on the promotion? It’s because you don’t look right. You get the point!)
If you want to see just how difficult this is — set this as your goal for the next week or month. Tell yourself that you’ll stop making assumptions, and see how it goes!
Are you up for the challenge?
Here ya go! These are the 3 powerful goals you can set for your personal growth and work on self-mastery.
1. Work on consciously responding, rather than reacting
2. Reflect on self + life on a daily or weekly basis
3. Don’t make assumptions
These things are not easy, and they require a ton of effort and continual practice, but I promise you — it’s well worth it. If you simply do your best on actively pursuing these goals, your future self will thank you for it!