This could be your year! When you focus on yourself and your personal growth, magical things will happen.
If you’re unhappy with yourself and where you are in life, you should make personal development a priority this year. I used to rely on others for happiness, but I’ve since learned that the only way to sustain joy is to create it myself.
Before I started focusing on myself, I looked for solutions to my problems in temporary, shallow relationships and friendships that were failing. I spent my time partying, spending money, and aimlessly wandering through life without any real motivation to do anything for myself.
Last summer, I realized that I had to get my life together. I had to find my purpose in life and start working toward some meaningful goals. I learned valuable skills in college, but unfortunately, a degree doesn’t guarantee you a “good job” (or any job at all, for that matter) in today’s world.
So, after college, I did some soul searching, and I realized that I needed to take care of myself, work toward goals I actually want to achieve, and live life on my own terms.
Here’s how I started focusing on myself.
1. I thought about what I really wanted out of life (NOT what others wanted for me).
2. I planned how I would bridge the gap between my “current self” and “ideal self.”
3. I set goals that made me want to get out of bed every day.
If you want to live a fulfilling life, you need to focus more on yourself this year. That doesn’t necessarily mean focusing less on the important people in your life. It just means that you need to be more aware of your passions, inner desires, and overall life goals.
Still not convinced? Here are 12 reasons to focus on yourself this year (and every year for the rest of your life!)
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1. You’ll get ahead.
When you focus on your own goals and aspirations, you’ll get ahead in both your personal and professional life.
Getting in shape was one of my personal goals that I began working on last year. Now, eight months later, I’m stronger than ever and in the best shape of my life. And I wasn’t perfect with my routine, either. There were weeks when I didn’t go to the gym at all. But every time I got distracted, I always brought my focus back to the goal of getting fit, and that’s what counted in the long run.
If you want to maximize your potential, focus on yourself. Don’t worry about what other people are doing or saying about you. Define “success” for yourself instead of using someone else’s idea of success as your own benchmark. Do things that make you happy.
2. You’ll take control of your fate.
You have the means to improve the situation you’re in—you know that, right? Even if the change you make is simply a mindset shift, you can always find ways to make life better.
It might not be easy. In fact, it probably won’t be. But the truth is that the best things in life don’t come easily. You have to work for them.
If you’re in a less-than-ideal place right now, you’ll need to change one of two things: the situation or your mindset. But when you focus on yourself, define your goals, and master your mindset, the path to a better place will reveal itself.
I wrote an article for Thought Catalog titled Nobody Likes You When You’re 23, But That’s Okay Because I’ve Learned To Love Myself. It’s about how I took ownership of my life after college. I sprung out into the world with no idea what to do and eventually found my identity through self-love.
If you struggle with intentional living and have a hard time taking control of your fate, give my article a read. I hope it helps.
3. You’ll avoid the dangers of complacency.
Don’t confuse being complacent with being comfortable. Comfort is associated with happiness, and it means feeling at ease. Complacency, on the other hand, will ruin your life.
When you’re complacent, it means you settle for a boring and unfulfilling life. You’re not fighting for survival, but you’re not growing as a person either. Complacency is comfortable to an extent, but it’s not exciting.
Instead of settling for comfort, you should strive for something better. Your self-improvement journey isn’t over, and it never will be. If you’ve already achieved your biggest goal for personal growth, you’re not thinking big enough.
In the past, I made the mistake of settling for incompatible relationships. Why? Because they were comfortable, and I got complacent in those situations. (I’m single these days, and I’m so much happier!)
When I started focusing on myself, I became terrified of complacency. Now, I don’t believe I should ever settle for anything less than what I want. You shouldn’t either.
4. You’ll build your character.
Character building involves learning from mistakes, creating your personality, and improving your attitude. Simply put, it will make you a well-rounded person, just like a fleshed-out character in a great novel.
People with strong character live intentionally, and they stick to their values when challenged. I’ll admit that I don’t have the strongest character, but it’s way better than it was when I was in undergrad. It’s something I’m working on!
You build character through experiences, but not directly. The character building comes from your reactions to experiences and what you learn from them.
As you focus on yourself more in 2020, reflect on your past experiences. Have you overlooked any important lessons embedded in them? How have your experiences shaped you as a person?
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5. You’ll feel happier.
Ever since social media became popular, I’ve seen people get so invested in the lives of others. Even if the people you see on social media look like they’re living their best lives, it’s important to remember that you don’t know what is going on behind the scenes. They might not be happy at all.
Instead of worrying about what other people are doing, focus on your own life. You’ll find joy in simple things and create your own happiness.
I’m not saying Instagram is the devil, but I will say this: when I started spending less time looking at my feed, I noticed an improvement in my mood, stress level, and overall outlook on life.
6. You’ll never stop learning and growing.
As soon as I took control of my life and began my personal growth journey, I noticed improvements in my mindset. I used to wake up and ask myself, “What’s the point? Why should I even try?”
But when I became passionate about personal development, I realized I need to do something meaningful with every moment I have. (I don’t necessarily mean being super productive 24/7. Self-care time is meaningful, too!)
Personal development is one of the most powerful ways to focus on yourself. It builds character and helps you move forward in life, whatever that means for you. It’s personalized, which I love. You get to create your own life based on your aspirations and values.
If you haven’t made a personal development plan yet, I encourage you to. It’s a great first step to take if you feel stuck!
7. You’ll be proud of your accomplishments.
When you focus intently on your goals, you’ll surprise yourself with how much you can achieve. You’re capable of more than you realize, I promise!
If you have big goals that seem intimidating, you’re not alone. Sometimes I think about the goals I have for myself and wonder, “How the heck am I EVER going to do that?”
But remember, the fear is all in your head—you just need a strategy to conquer it. Try to break every big goal down into mini-goals or checkpoints so it’s less overwhelming.
Each time you reach one of your checkpoints, celebrate! You should be proud of every accomplishment, no matter how big or small.
8. You’ll feel motivated by self-confidence.
Confidence is one of the most powerful motivators. I’ve struggled with confidence many times, and my lack of self-esteem prevented me from doing the things I wanted to do with my life. I felt paralyzed.
But when I improved my perception of self and built my confidence up, I suddenly felt capable of taking risks and venturing outside my comfort zone.
My blogging journey is a great example of a risk I took. I started my first blog in late 2016, but it was something I had wanted to do for many years (probably since 2012!)
Even though launching my blog was a little uncomfortable at first, it paid off. I built an audience, made a little money from it, and learned SO much in the process.
If you’re interested in personal growth but don’t feel motivated, ask yourself: Could it be because of low self-esteem? If so, that’s something you should work on.
9. You’ll realize your purpose in life.
Everyone’s journey in life is different. There’s no definitive time or place when you’ll find your passion or purpose in life. However, you must focus on yourself to uncover those insights.
Deep soul searching isn’t easy, but it’s worthwhile. It will help you clear up any confusion about why you’re here or what you’re meant to do with your life.
10. You’ll become a better lover, friend, and family member.
Focusing on yourself might sound very self-centered, but it will actually help you create balance in your life and set healthy boundaries with the people you love.
As you grow and improve yourself, you’ll be able to give more to others. As you become happier, you’ll have better relationships with your friends and family. You’ll act as a positive force in their lives when they need it most.
Remember, you don’t have to be selfless. It’s better to strike a balance between meeting your own needs and giving to others.
11. You’ll inspire others.
Think about the people you look up to. I bet they have strong character and a sense of purpose in the world. To acquire those two traits, you must focus on yourself.
Even if you’re not trying to be a role model, people will naturally look up to you when you start killing the game. As you make the most of your life, others will feel inspired by you.
12. You’ll fall in love with life.
One crucial lesson I’ve learned lately is that it’s up to me to create a life I love. Same goes for you, too!
“Life’s what you make it” is a cliché that you’re probably so sick of hearing, but it’s true. It’s miserable to spend your life doing only what other people want you to do.
And yet, so many people move through life passively without taking initiative. That lifestyle might be comfortable, but I couldn’t ever see it being fulfilling.
In 2020, it’s time to think about what you really want, take initiative, and act.
Start doing things that make you happy and working toward goals that are important to you—pretty soon, life won’t seem so dreadful anymore.
Eventually, you’ll fall in love with it.