Practices for Personal Growth in the New Year

As the new year and new decade begins you may find yourself involved in goal setting, visioning or simply setting New Years resolutions. You may be doing this because you are longing for growth, change and a fresh start in order to improve your quality of life. However, simply setting a New Year’s resolution does not guarantee that you will reach the goal of improving your quality of life. In order to recognize the true meaning of your internal call for growth and change, and to learn how to best answer that call it is important to understand that change that is lasting and positively impactful, is holistic change, or what we therapists call second-order change. This is change that creates new ways of thinking, increased insight, and lasting shifts in behavior toward yourself and others.

We have five areas of personal development: Spiritual, Physical, Mental, Emotional and Social. When each of these areas of your development is being attended to, and nurtured, you experience an overall sense of balance, increased personal growth, and improvement in your quality of life. 

As this new decade begins I encourage you to to take a closer look at each of these five areas of your life, to mindfully consider and identify your needs in each one of these areas, and to enact a consistent practice to address each area of your personal development. 

May you experience increased mindful awareness, holistic personal growth and improvement in your quality of life in 2020.

Below are some common practices in each of the five areas of development. 

To help you consistently enact such practices in your life answer the questions below.

Common Spiritual Practices:

  • Prayer
  • Meditation
  • Reading Spiritual Literature
  • Volunteering your time or your skills for the needy in your community
  • Giving financially to the needy

Common Physical Practices:

  • Exercise
  • Healthy eating
  • Sleep
  • Stretching
  • Relaxation

Common Emotional Health Practices:

  • Therapy
  • Emotional Awareness (naming feeling and working toward acceptance)
  • Mindfulness
  • Journaling
  • Artistic Expression (art, drama, cooking)

Common Social/Relational Practices:

  • Quality time with partner/friend/family
  • Intentional interactions
  • Vulnerable conversations
  • Expressions of gratitude and appreciation for partner/friend/family

Common Intellectual Health Practices:

  • Reading a book
  • Taking an online course
  • Crossword puzzle
  • Sudoku
  • Auditing a class of interest


1. Which practices you would like to enact in your life? Select or create one practice from each area.

2. How much time per day/per week/per month would you like to dedicate to this practice?

3. Where will you engage in this practice?

4. How will you remind yourself to engage in this practice?

5. What is your intention for this practice? (i.e. to gain self-awareness, to feel connected to my spiritual higher power, relational grown, etc.)

Happy 2020!

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