The Self-Growth Guide That Has Nothing to Do with Chasing Perfection

For starters, you don’t need to work on yourself. But if you’re inspired to reconnect with yourself mentally and emotionally, this guide can help.

If the phrase "personal development" reeks of unhappiness or dissatisfaction to you, it's understandable. There's something about the idea of "working on yourself" that feels downright depressing — but there's a way to approach self-growth that isn't antiquated or cringy and is actually pretty damn empowering instead. It's not so much about what you're doing to encourage that growth, but more about how you choose to tackle self-development.

That's all to say, this guide isn't some 1990s preachy self-help book. Whether you're pursuing self-growth because you have lofty goals, seek to reconnect with yourself, or want to approach the next season of your life with a refreshed mindset, this guide will help get you there — no shame included. Self-growth is always on your own terms.

Step by step, this guide will walk you through pinpointing potential areas in your life for growth, creating space for self-reflection, and cultivating an attitude of grace. Then, you'll find tools to make those changes — first, on your own, and next, with the help of an expert, if you're interested.

The idea is to build a rock-solid base of self-awareness, resilience, and a can-do attitude, and arm yourself with coping mechanisms so that you can confidently handle whatever comes your way. Scroll to see what resonates, or take the self-growth quiz below to see which area of personal development may be a good place to start exploring. On your mark, get set, grow.

The Foundation for Self-Growth

In this section, you'll learn about the concepts and principles that will help you build and strengthen a healthy relationship with yourself, so you can grow from there — after all, hearty, healthy plants come from good soil.

If you're already feeling pressure dipping a toe into the concept of self-growth, know this; perfection isn't the goal, and pursuing personal growth doesn't mean you're not good enough as-is, right now. Rather, a major aim of "working on yourself" is learning to view your personal journey with grace and forgiveness. If you can approach self-growth from an attitude of love and care — versus that of shame and dissatisfaction — you'll be unstoppable.

Self-Work Is Not About Trying to Be Perfect

Why Self-Work Isn’t About Trying to Be Perfect , cut out collage of woman
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There's no place for shame or guilt on the road to personal development. Show yourself grace to really dig deep and come out on top.

From there, believing that you're capable of transformative change (hi, growth mindset), can do hard things, and are worthy of all the love and success in the world — no matter what anyone says — are instrumental steps in your self-growth journey. There's a certain magic in meeting yourself where you're at, then charging forward.

How to Develop a Growth Mindset to Pretty Much Conquer Life

What Is a Growth Mindset?
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If you have any intention of setting — and crushing — goals, this perspective is key.

What Is Self-Awareness Exactly, and How to Tell If You Have It

What Is Self-Awareness Exactly, and Why Is It Important?
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A shocking percentage of people don't have this important skill, even if they think they do.

Building Your Personal Development Skills

Once you've builta strong self-love foundation,these next-level skills will help you continue to shape your mindset and roll with whatever happens in the world around you (global pandemic, breakup, you name it). Learn to meditate, be more mindful, and manifest things you want (yep, it's legit — and it's more than just putting what you want "out there" and receiving it). Then practice setting intentions (both mini and major), and cultivate gratitude for yourself and all the wonderful things you already have in your life.

Yes, some of these personal-growth skills focus on what you hope might come in the future, but every single one grounds you in the now. That's because, in case you haven't noticed, growth is actually a mindset, not a destination. If you act like the person you want to be, every single minuscule decision you make now will get you one step closer to becoming that person.

How to Manifest Something You Really Want

How to Manifest Something You Want — and Why It Really Works
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There's some serious science behind why manifestation can actually work. Here's how to tap into its power.

The Benefits of Journaling and How to Get the Most Out of Your Practice

The Benefits of Journaling and How to Get the Most Out of Your Practice
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If you've ever considered taking up journaling, these benefits of journaling will show you there's no time like the present.

Adding to Your Self-Growth Toolkit

After you've wrapped your head around important self-growth concepts and built up your skillset, turn to these mental health apps, personal development books, guided journals, and more to help continue your self-growth with tangible practices. They'll serve as a place to reconnect, help coach you through major life changes, inspire you when things feel stagnant, and center you when things seem wild.

There's no need to do all of these practices every single day — you just want to add them to your self-growth toolbelt to grab one when you need it. It's your self-care and self-growth journey, so go with the flow and find what best serves you.

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The Best Meditation Apps for Beginners

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Getting started with anything new, including meditation, can feel super overwhelming—especially on those anxious days when sitting still and breathing feels like climbing Mount Everest. That's where meditation apps come to the rescue.

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Journal Apps for 'Writing Down' All Your Thoughts

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Whether you're looking to document your favorite quotes, daily thoughts, or sources of gratitude, these journaling apps can help — no pen and paper required.

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The Best Therapy and Mental Health Apps

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Because sometimes in-person couch sessions just don't work for your schedule, your wallet, or your needs. These mental health and therapy apps can connect you with a pro or offer quick tools to help you find peace.

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The Best Guided Journals, Picked By Mental Health Pros

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Find the best guided journal for you, whether you're hoping to focus on wellness, gratitude, your sensuality — or if you have no idea where to start.

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The Best Self-Growth Books for Changing Your Life and Perspective

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Whether you want to build better habits, navigate difficult change, or overcome imposter syndrome, one of these personal development books will be the perfect next step in your self-work journey.

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75 Journal Prompts for Self-Reflection

50+ Journal Prompts for Self-Discovery
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Maybe you need help starting a daily journaling habit or want something to inspire your next writing session — either way, these journal prompts will help get you started.

Asking for Support

Maybe you've pinpointed some deeper, more complex issues you want to work on, or simply want to bring in a pro's perspective. This section can help you seek support via a therapist or other expert, such as a life coach. Get the scoop on what, exactly, they can do to help, how to find the best professional for you, and more.

How to Find the Best Therapist for You

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Finding a mental health professional shouldn't be the cause of your anxiety.

Let's get one thing straight: Asking for help does not signify weakness. Everyone can benefit from support, and looking for it is actually a sign of strength. Whether you need it now or later, turning to an outside perspective can do wonders to help you through life changes, big decisions, difficult circumstances, or heavy emotions. To continue your personal development journey, consider working with a professional such as a therapist or life coach, who can help you continue to learn and grow — not just in this current stage, but for life.

Produced by Lauren Mazzo

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