Personal Growth: Developing New Habits and Behaviors

Mapping out New Territory

We create maps in our brain that tell us how to get from point “a” to point “b”.  As we map out new behaviors we etch new maps into our brain. When we refer to personal growth, it is positive change in behaviors, we are talking about. The challenge is to pull up the right frame when we need it. We rely on our hippo-campus to store these memories for later retrieval.  How hard this process is depends on a number of things.  It is clearly unreasonable to expect one person’s journey to be the same as the next. Personal Growth is as individual, as is the growth of children.

personal growth, behaviors,habits

Behaviors: How do you Initiate Change?

There are some strategies for changing behaviors that can make it easier. The first is developing an open mind. This in itself can be a huge challenge. If we have an open mind, we are willing to see the possibility of change – in our selves, in the world around us and we are more able to see the good in those around us.

By the converse, having a fixed mindset, compels us to prove others wrong and ourselves right. Personal growth can’t occur in a rigid environment. This can be caused by low self-esteem. Low self-esteem creates behaviors that are barriers to change. It is easier to open our minds when we achieve successes, which affirm our belief in ourselves. As our confidence and belief in self increases our willingness to see that the world is not black and white, but all shades from black to white including every possible shade of gray, we set ourselves free to achieve so much more.

I know that seems a little contradictory. How, can increasing self-esteem increase willingness to see other people’s view points? It maybe a little hard to understand, but when we feel good about ourselves, we are then able to suspend our need to be right. We aren’t caught in the need to self-protect. Personal growth leads to increased willingness to accept new information.

Behaviors: Barriers to Change

When we have a fixed mind set, if things are difficult we rationalize our choices away. We say “it wasn’t meant to be”, or “I knew I am not cut out for this” or “I can’t change”.  From that mindset we see failure as evidence of a character flaw.

Steps: Changing Behaviors

The first step in changing behaviors, as we discussed is to become more open minded. Open-mindedness  can take work to develop, just like being more mindful of our own surroundings is if we have been accustomed to tuning out.

The second step in changing behaviors that will lead to personal growth, is to be self-reflective and examine our beliefs and the behaviors they generate.

The third step in changing behaviors, is to acquire new information and based on facts that support or debunk our beliefs, reformulate our beliefs. All our behaviors are byproducts of our beliefs.

The fourth step in changing behaviors, is to rewrite our belief and then practice implementing that new belief until the behavior we desire becomes natural and occurs with little thought.

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