Ken’s Seven Ideas for Personal Growth in the New Year

As we begin our second week of the New Year, the excitement and celebrations are beginning to be replaced with our return to our normal routines and schedules. Here are seven ideas I will be attempting to include in my life this year and may be a perfect fit for yours.

  1. Begin each day with a moment of gratitude. We are all blessed with such a treasure chest of things for which to be thankful. Freedom, family, friends, health, work and the opportunity to help others are just a few to ponder on. Even things that challenge us through adversities like sickness, finances, and frustrations take on a new look when greeted with thankfulness. Remember there are no coincidences, only opportunities.
  2. Tap into Your Creative Energies. Often we are so wrapped up in careers, family and life in general that we forget to focus on ourselves. Utilizing opportunities to be creative aligns us with our authentic self (the beliefs, morals, talents and needs that make us an individual). Whether it be designing, sewing, dancing, cooking, writing, think of something that you enjoy that allows you to forget about everything else for a moment and bloom. The results will also open new doors in our home and workplace where we begin to create new approaches to best equip us in our daily routines.
  3. Step Away from the Mirror. As we grow older we often get “set in our ways.” We tend to see others through “our” eyes, meaning we think others are supposed to live their lives as we live ours. A simple way to break this cycle is to pause before speaking or reacting, and ask yourself, “How would my Dad, a friend, or my colleague respond to this situation?” Taking a moment to look through someone else’s eyes actually enlightens us to appreciate the similarities and respect the differences of others.
  4. Forgive. Keeping a list of the wrongs of others and ourselves is an energy drainer. A simple act of wrong can be built into a wall of anger. Although difficult, forgiveness is one of the most rewards acts of self-love. Forgiveness expert Fred Luskin said that the single most beneficial thing that comes from forgiving is that people, once they forgive, feel that they can deal with whatever life sends to them. Some other benefits he says are: “Forgiving lowers blood pressure. It reduces the strain on your heart. It certainly reduces depression, anger and stress as well as makes people feel more hopeful.” Letting go of anger and resentment leads to a more peaceful and happier being because you are letting go of wasted energy.
  5. Take a Risk. Going outside of your normal zone can be uncomfortable. As we grow older, we are not so open to change (don’t mess with my routine). In becoming comfortable with our routines, we are less likely to take risks and challenges.  To take risks is to grow as a person and feel alive. Try a new restaurant, attend a different church (just as a visitor), invite someone to dinner you would like to get to know better, take walks up a different street. Changing your routine opens new perspectives on life and builds confidence to start manifesting your goals into reality. Remember, our reality is only confined by our lack in attempting to try.
  6. Reflect on “Who You Have Become” Versus “Who You Really Are.” Start doing things that really matter. When we conform to our environment or what others think we should be doing, we often lose sight of who we really are as an individual. “Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least,” said Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. This quote by Goethe brings to light a very important point. If we do not place our attention on what matters most to us in life, we are settling for less than who we really are, and my fall short of our life’s mission.
  7. Make a Difference. By asking yourself each morning “what I can do to make a difference,” breaks our routine thought process and places our focus beyond ourselves. This approach gives us a whole new way of looking at things, taking us out of our ego and into the difference we can make in our lives and in the lives of others.

These seven ideals are simple, yet challenging. They also go along with my personal belief that the most important things in life are simple, because they are real. I hope your 2016 journey will present roads of prosperity, personal growth, love and light.

With a Heart Full of Gratitude,

Ken Rivenbark