Life is a journey, which means we should never stop growing and moving forward. Contrary to what we’re made to believe as children, we don’t magically become complete once we enter adulthood. In fact, most of us can probably agree that the majority of our greatest struggles didn’t occur until we were well over the legal age.
Adolescence is a time to wrestle with our concept of identity, but most of us will continue to evolve as we encounter new experiences. As an adult, it’s important to know that no matter how badly you’ve fallen on hard times or how little you resemble the person you long to be, growth is possible.
Consider these five tips as you move forward and begin to transform your life.
Realize Growth Isn’t Linear
Life is full of ups and downs, but failure does not indicate a lack of progress. Sometimes, no matter how well-equipped you are to do something, you won’t be able to pull it off. Other times, situations beyond your realm of control will leave you feeling lost, heartbroken and confused.
Understand that all of these moments are acceptable no matter how undesirable they may be. Your feelings of sadness, anger, and frustration are valid and warranted, and you don’t have to force a smile when you want to cry. Let yourself feel and then keep trying your best.
Part of growing as a person means coming to terms with your feelings and accepting that you are allowed to experience the broad spectrum of human emotion without guilt. No matter what happens, every time you extend kindness and forgiveness to yourself, you are growing.
Contact a Professional to Clear Up Your Past
We can’t move forward if we’re stuck on or worried about the past. Whether you had a bad divorce, spent time in prison or struggled with other legal issues, working with an attorney can help you close that chapter and begin to move forward.
Come to terms with the fact that you may face consequences for your actions if they were illegal. However, if you truly want to change and are sincere about making things right, the legal system will likely go easier on you. Your attorney can help you sort through the confusion of bail bonds, lawsuits and so on. Just be willing to do what’s asked of you.
Further Your Education
You’re never too old to go back to school. You might be in your late 20s or 30s and want a high school diploma. You could be in your 40s or 50s and want to attend college. Whatever your age or education level, you’re never too old to go back and continue learning and pursuing your dreams.
Don’t let age or fear of the unknown stop you from bettering yourself. Pursue education that you’re passionate about, and consider looking for additional skill certifications you can earn that will further your career and open up the doorway to greater opportunity.
Take Up New Hobbies
One bad habit most adults develop is only doing things they have to. Anything that doesn’t result in discernable profit or outcome is considered a waste of time. You are so much more than your job, even if you’re passionate about your career. Make sure that you indulge in your interests and develop hobbies for the sheer enjoyment of them. Learn to paint, start writing, go hiking or do anything that makes you feel happy to just be in the moment. Keep in mind that you don’t have to be good at a hobby to have it in your life. If it brings you joy, why not pursue it?
Get Help with Your Mental Health
Learn to cope with stress, break bad habits and stop repeating an endless cycle in your relationships with a therapist. Many of us can’t figure out why our lives keep taking the same path no matter how hard we try to change its course. A therapist can help you understand yourself and inner-thoughts and behavior patterns better. There may be repressed feelings or negative beliefs you hold onto that prevent you from branching out and truly blossoming.
No matter how far you feel you have to go, don’t give up. Change your perspective and try, even for just one day, to enjoy the act of growth and the feeling of progress. Rather than focusing on the outcome, consider how wonderful it is to do something in the here and now. Be present as often as you can, and you’ll realize that fulfillment is a lot closer than you think.