Psychologists define a habit as a learned behavior that is repeated without thinking about it. A habit is performed automatically because you’ve done it so many times before you don’t have to stop and think about how or why you do it. Habits are developed over time until they become part of your personality.
Which good habits should you develop that help you grow as a person?
With practice, you can learn the key habits for personal growth:
• Positive Surroundings
• New Skills
• Leaving a Legacy
Personal growth can only be accomplished now, at this point in time. You can’t change your past or control your future. But by improving yourself now, you can move away from past mistakes and build a better future. Mindfulness helps you stay focused on now.
Mindfulness means to live fully present in each moment, and not letting your past mistakes or future challenges worry you. When you focus on what is happening now, you take control of yourself, including your thoughts and emotions. Mindfulness helps you make the right decisions now instead of repeating past mistakes or being fearful of the future.
The habit of mindfulness develops when you learn to focus your full attention on the people and situations around you. Giving 100% of your attention to what is happening now takes practice. This habit helps you build your ability to learn from and influence each moment.
Gratitude is the foundation of personal growth. People who aren’t grateful are never happy or satisfied with life and find it hard to move forward and accept challenges. Gratitude turns problems into learning opportunities and challenges into ways to improve.
Developing the habit of gratitude involves considering the good and bad in each situation. Even when things don’t go your way, there is something to learn or appreciate about the experience. Sometimes, bad experiences make you stronger, more knowledgeable, or more prepared to overcome the next challenge. Realizing and being grateful for the lesson you learned is a habit that helps you grow as a person.
Where you choose to spend your time is a habit. People often find themselves sitting in the same room, their “usual” chair, or taking the same route to work over and over. Routines can be comforting, but if your surroundings aren’t positive, you won’t grow as a person.
Consider two different tables of coworkers at lunch. The first table uses the lunch hour to complain about the workload, the boss, and the low pay. This table complains every day, and they gossip about other coworkers who get promotions or raises. The second table spends their lunch hour talking about training classes and seminars they’ve taken for work and share the information they’ve learned with each other. Sometimes they talk about their lives and families and get to know each other as friendly, interesting people.
Which table do you sit at during lunch? The people at the first table aren’t the ones getting promotions and raises. They have nothing to offer each other or the company other than their complaints. The people at the second table are much more likely to be happy and succeed in work and life. Your surroundings make a difference in the growth you can experience. If you’re sitting at the first table, it’s time to develop a new habit.
Your physical surroundings are also part of your habits. Posting daily affirmations, motivational posters, and photos and mementos of your previous successes in your home or workspace create a positive area. Every time you see these positive messages, you reinforce good growth habits.
Personal growth includes learning and practicing new skills. You need to develop both new mental and physical skills to succeed. The habit of seeking out opportunities for new skills involves being open to trying and even sometimes failing as you learn and grow. If you’re in the habit of saying, “I don’t need to learn that,” or “I can’t do that,” you won’t grow as a person.
Many people fear failure, ridicule, or rejection if they try something new. Those attitudes are bad habits that keep people from growing and succeeding in life. Developing the habit of learning new skills is a good habit that moves you forward in your growth.
Leaving a Legacy
Forbes, the business magazine, states that the habit of leaving a legacy is key for personal growth. Whenever you make a decision, consider what impression your choice will leave on the people around you. That is your legacy. Developing the habit of always considering the future impact of what you do reminds you to use your choices wisely. If you model good decisions, your legacy will be positive and useful.
These kay habits help you grow as a person. Practicing them daily helps turn them from individual choices into life-long habits that will help you succeed.