Signs of personal growth (what to do and a complete guide)

Personal growth should be celebrated.

We’re not supposed to stay the same; we’re supposed to spread our wings and grow. 

But this can be uncomfortable and it’s not always easy, as we notice the changes within ourselves.

Are you feeling like you’re on your personal growth journey?

If you are here’s signs and your complete guide about what to do! 

1) You’re taking responsibility for your happiness

When you’re on a personal growth journey, you will no longer feel like life is happening to you.

Instead, you feel like you’re in control of life

…And that it’s something you design and cocreate. 

If you’re feeling like you’re responsible for your happiness and in control of your life, it’s an indication that you’re growing.

Although it’s very easy to feel as though you have no control over your happiness, people who are on a personal growth journey know that it’s not true!

Truth is, you are wholeheartedly responsible for your happiness. 

Now, what happiness looks like to you will be unique to you!

But there are ultimately so many steps you can take to ensure you live a life of happiness that you deserve. 

Maybe you’ll set boundaries with people around you that don’t make you feel good, or maybe you’ll speak up about the things that don’t feel good. 

This might cause friction with other people, especially if you’ve not done this before!

As you set boundaries, be aware that people might be surprised but it’s ultimately important to stay true to yourself!

This ultimately continues to your personal power and personal growth!

2) You’ve let unhealthy people go 

Now, this is a part of the boundary setting.

It’s a sign that you’re on a personal growth journey as you let relationships go because they don’t serve you.

Truth is, we often maintain relationships with people who don’t make us feel good about ourselves because we fear not having people around us…

…And we don’t want to feel like we don’t have any friends.

However, this is not a reason to maintain friendships!

If you’ve found that you’ve recently told people that you don’t want the friendship then it’s an indication that you’re on a powerful personal growth journey

It will almost certainly be uncomfortable, but it will create so much space in your life.

Stick to your guns and trust that the right people will show up in your life!

In other words, do not let fear dictate your reality and choose to have healthy relationships that empower you.

3) You’re taking time for self-care

Something happens when you’re on a personal growth journey:

You start to care about yourself in a way that you haven’t before.

I’m not only talking about caring about your physical appearance and hygiene, but I’m talking about your inner world.

Going hand-in-hand with taking responsibility for how happy you are, you’ll start to take care and consideration about the thoughts that you say to yourself.

These days, I now catch negative thoughts when I experience them and replace them with positive thoughts. 

For example, I use affirmations to override negative thoughts. 

These include:

  • I am doing well 
  • I am a powerful person
  • I make good decisions for myself
  • I love my life

You see, affirmations are so simple but they can have an amazing effect on how we experience our daily lives.

It’s a sign that you’re on a personal growth journey if you’re being kinder to yourself than you have been before…

…And you should totally keep this up!

4) Your hobbies and interests have changed

For some people, change is seen as a big, scary thing that we should avoid.

But if you’re on a personal growth journey, you’ll see change as a positive thing that you should embrace. 

Simply put, people on personal growth journeys celebrate change!

As someone who’s committed to my personal growth, I’ve found myself regularly celebrating the changes in myself as I outgrow things. 

I used to spend so much time watching and talking about reality TV. 

I would spend hours watching it each week, and talk about it with friends and colleagues. 

I’d know all of the dramas going on with different people in the shows and be more committed to their lives than mine!

But oh… How this has changed! I couldn’t imagine sinking so much time into watching reality TV trash these days, when I feel like there’s so many important things to put my energy towards.

What does this mean for you?

If you feel like your hobbies and interests have changed, it’s a sign that you’re on a personal growth journey…

…And you should celebrate this!

Maybe you used to love going to the pub and drinking with friends, but now you couldn’t think of anything worse!

Or maybe you used to spend a lot of time playing video games, which is something you can’t believe you used to do.

These thoughts are signals that you’re on a personal growth journey, and simply outgrowing things that used to resonate for you.

But here’s the thing:

It’s not comfortable going through change, and it can feel confusing to outgrow things that you used to love so much.

Just know that it’s part of the personal growth journey and a positive shift!

5) You not longer get FOMO about social events

I used to get such bad FOMO, otherwise known as a ‘fear of missing out’. 

If I was staying in by myself on a Saturday night, my mind would often drift to a place of thinking my life was boring.

Worse, if I happened to scroll through Instagram and saw friends having fun, I would immediately feel like no one likes me.

My thoughts would go between wondering why I wasn’t invited to something and berating myself.

I used to end up in such negative head spaces from a state of FOMO.

But this was before my personal growth journey kicked up a notch. 

These days, I feel more inclined to spend time alone by myself.

What’s more, when I’m not by myself and working towards my goals, I find myself wishing that I was.

It’s like the FOMO has flipped on its head!

Simply put, social events are just not as important to me as they once were.

If you’re feeling the same and like you’d rather sit at home with your journal and a cup of tea, it’s a big signal that you’re on a strong personal growth journey.

6) Old photos of you give you mixed feelings

How do you feel when you see old photos of you?

It’s natural to cringe a little and to think “what was I doing!” when you look at your hair or style – but, beyond that, how do they make you feel?

If looking at old photos of yourself makes you feel really uneasy and even confused that you ever liked doing that, it suggests you’re on a real personal growth journey.

I have this with old photos of myself where I’m smoking and drinking.

Truth is, I spent many years in a cycle of additions and I didn’t think twice about it because that was the norm for my social circle.

But now I find myself looking at those photos with a sense of disgust.

I can’t believe that was me… And I literally wonder what I was thinking and why I thought those behaviors were acceptable.

I suggest fishing out some old photos of yourself and taking a good, hard look at them.

See how you feel.

If your reaction is a disconnect between that version of you and the version of you today, it will show you just how far you’ve come!

7) Your decisions surprise you

Now, when I say ‘surprise’, I mean surprise in a good way!

I don’t mean you’re shocked by your decisions and wonder why you’ve made them, but instead you first yourself thinking ‘wow, that was an awesome decision’.

In other words, it’s almost as though you feel surprised that you could make such a great decision!

If you feel like this is where you’re at, it’s a sign of personal growth and evolution.

You see, we make decisions that are in alignment with our values. 

In other words, our values drive the decisions we make in life.

So, for example, if your new set of values are focused on making decisions that are rooted in empathy and being of service to others, it would make sense that you make a charitable decision.

You might surprise yourself if you’ve never done anything charitable before…

…But this act would come about through your conscious decision to be more charitable and empathetic.

Just like us humans, our values aren’t static and they evolve so I suggest repeatedly checking in with yourself about what those values are.

To get super, crystal clear on what your values are, I can’t recommend this free checklist by Jeanette Brown enough.

newimagesize 47 Signs of personal growth (what to do and a complete guide)

An amazing tool I’ve returned to as I’ve gone through my personal growth journey and changed, it will encourage you to work out what it is you care about and where you want to pour your energy.

You see, knowing your values doesn’t need to be super complex.  

8) You say things you never thought you would

This one is an extension of being true to your values

Simply, when you’re on a personal growth journey, you’ll find yourself saying ‘no’ to more things than you used to.

Maybe you used to be a bit of a people-pleaser, and you’d find yourself saying ‘yes’ to things you didn’t really want to go to…

…Perhaps this was driven by a fear that you’d be rejected or upset people, and ultimately be alone.

I say that because that was me!

I literally couldn’t say ‘no’ to anything because I was fearful that I’d never be invited to another event ever again by that person. 

My calendar used to be jam-packed with things to do – from work events to friends birthdays and everything in between – and I thought it was a sign of being successful.

But it made me just feel super burned out and exhausted. 

I’d come back from standing around and talking to people over glasses of wine and feel depleted. 

These days, I find myself saying ‘no’ to events because I reflect on how they used to make me feel.

What’s more, I don’t feel bad about saying ‘no’; I actually feel empowered by my decision.

If you’re finding yourself saying ‘no’ to things you once couldn’t imagine saying no to, it signals that you’re on a real personal growth journey. 

9) You’re not following the rules

Wherever you are in the world, you likely have grown up with a set of rules that have dictated who and how you’re supposed to be in the world.

Maybe these were unspoken rules for you…

…Or maybe you’ve felt like they’ve been verbally repeated to you throughout your life.

These might include all sorts of things, such as expectation around:

  • The sort of person you’re supposed to be in a relationship with, and the gender roles you’re supposed to assume in that relationship.round 
  • The profession you should pursue to make your family and community proud.
  • Achieving certain milestones that you’re supposed to hit by a specific age.
  • Saving up a certain amount of money and buying a house.

As I say, these are likely different based on where you’re from around the globe!

But if you find yourself feeling like you don’t want to follow these rules and you want to design your own life – that works for you – it’s a sign that you’re on a personal growth journey.

Again, you should celebrate this!

When you’re on a personal growth journey, instead of following the rules you make the rules for yourself.

What’s more, you make these rules up despite the fact you have other people telling you how you should be.

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Picture of Tina Fey

Tina Fey

I've ridden the rails, gone off track and lost my train of thought. I'm writing for Ideapod to try and find it again. Hope you enjoy the journey with me.

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