Ever get the feeling that you’re not really living up to your fullest potential? Life has a way of keeping us busy and distracted so that we always have all sorts of excuses to make about why it’s been weeks, months, or even years since we last really challenged ourselves and grew from it in any meaningful way.
What’s worse, so many of us have been so invested in the busy, distracting tasks of everyday life for so long—perhaps decades—that we don’t even know what types of challenges we really want to pursue. We may deeply want to become the best versions of ourselves, but if we’re so busy taking care of everything and everyone else, it’s easier and safer to stick with our distracting routines than it is to take time to learn about what it is that we really want, and the pursue it.
It’s up to you to use your own sense of awareness to identify what’s really important and what will serve you most in terms of growth. Chances are it’s probably not the safe, comfortable, and totally unchallenging routine that you may have been doing for a long time already.
Here are five simple habits that can help rev up stagnant growth again and make you feel like you’re growing by leaps and bounds.
Make inward reflection a regular habit.
Whether you mediate every morning for 20 minutes or you take an entire afternoon to yourself at the end of every month to reflect on the past 30 days or so, scheduling some quiet time where you can disconnect from everyone and everything is hugely important for personal growth. Looking inward helps you develop your intuitive listening skills so that you can become conscious of the tiniest physical sensations and subtlest emotions—all of which are messages from your deepest self that are trying to tell you something about how to move forward. Here’s how you can start an inward reflective mindfulness practice.
Recognize when you no longer feel like you’re learning anything.
It’s easy to get stuck in a rut when you become distracted by the busy nature of modern life and all its responsibilities. Unfortunately, it’s even easier to remain stuck in the never ending cycle of things that need to get done. If you never have the time or energy to do anything new, however, then how can you grow? Once you truly become aware that you’re no longer learning anything new, it’s time to explore new ways to explore how you can reintegrate it back into your life.
Do one small task a day that scares you.
If you don’t like the word “scare,” then replace it with “challenge.” Do something every day that challenges you in a brand new way. It doesn’t have to be big—something as small as trying to practice your supported headstand away from the wall for the very first can count as something scary and challenging.
Make an effort to meet new people regularly.
While the people you already know well and spend your time with can certainly help you grow, it’s new connections and friendships that tend to inspire us in ways we may not have ever considered before. So look to your yoga teachers, your fellow yogis, people you meet at events, and other friendly faces to help you discover new things about yourself and the world around you. Other people have a lot to teach you, and remaining open to that can unlock great potential for personal growth.
Have great self-compassion.
All personal growth journeys come with their fair share of bumps along the road. When mistakes are made and setbacks happen, it will be your own sense of self-compassion that will help get you through it. Learning to be kind to yourself even when it feels like you’ve taken one step forward and then three steps back is the ultimate skill that sets the people who succeed in accelerating their personal growth apart from the people who give up too early.
Remember that even when it feels like you aren’t growing, you certainly are. The biggest growth spurts happen over the long-term and come from the little things you do over and over again on a daily or weekly basis.