Contrary to popular belief, you don't have to spend hours meditating, learn multiple languages or do a yoga retreat to grow personally. There are ways to accelerate your personal growth without having to sacrifice giant amounts of time.
Yes, the best way to learn Spanish would be to move to Spain and enroll in a language class. However, you have a job, relationships and commitments you have to keep intact.
In this article you'll learn 6 daily activities you can implement around your current schedule to facilitate personal growth.
1. Learn another language, slowly
According to a study at Penn State, learning another language strengthens connections between certain regions of your brain. Learning a language can seem daunting from the outset but programs like Duolingo and Rosetta Stone allow for you to learn languages at your own pace. These are good starting points. It's important to note, nothing will replace actually practicing speaking with native speakers. Chances are your local library has free classes--a great way to take your skills past what online programs offer.
2. Practice gratefulness
If meditating isn't for you (I get it), then try practicing a gratefulness exercise. Pick one thing before you go to sleep and focus on how grateful you are for that one thing to be in your life. It could be a family member, your job or your favorite sports team, it doesn't matter. The key is that you learn to appreciate what you have, right now.
3. Move your body
The amount of Americans who get less than 10,000 steps per day is startling. In a 2016 study, it was found the average American walks 6886 steps per day. By incorporating walks into your daily routine, you'll see that (i) you'll lose weight and (ii) you'll feel more energized. You don't need a Fitbit or smartwatch to track this either. Chances are your phone is already tracking your step count for you. On Android, the app is called Google Fit and on iOS it's called Health.
For reference, it will take you about 10-minutes to walk 1000 steps so if you're already hitting the gym before/after work, then add a 15-30 minute walk onto the end of your workout.
4. Set an alarm to go to bed
Though you may feel like you're conquering the world when you go consecutive days on a few hours of sleep. The truth is, this isn't sustainable and it's taking a toll on your body. The CDC released a study showing one in three Americans is sleep deprived. Lack of sleep has negative effects on overall cognitive function.
You set an alarm to get up every day, but why not to go to sleep? Setting an alarm telling you to go to bed is a great way to ensure you get consistent amounts of sleep and don't burn the midnight oil too often.
5. Listen to books over reading them
Audiobooks are a great way to ingest information while accomplishing other tasks (like your walk). You can listen to audiobooks at 1.5x speed to get through them quickly. Find a book on a topic you're interested in and hit the play button.
6. Do something that makes you uncomfortable
Growth only happens when you shake up the status quo. A lot of the time this means hurling yourself into an uncomfortable situation. Maybe it's picking up the phone and cold-calling a prospective employee or customer. Or it could be as simple as asking for 10 percent off of your coffee next time you go to Starbucks.
Reframing the word "discomfort" to actually mean "growth," will change how you approach the day your personal development as a whole.
You don't have to undertake large initiatives to facilitate change and growth. Small wins can add up and turn into big changes over time.