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Personal growth is the result of continual efforts to improve ourselves, intellectually, morally and physically. Freelancers who commit to personal growth tend to have better relationships with others and are generally happier. However, there is a caveat: personal growth tactics only lead to happiness when they work.

Unfortunately, it’s quite possible to spend a lot of time and money following self-help gurus, attending retreats, or being coached to little or no success. This is because there is no fast and easy path to personal transformations.

Still, this doesn’t mean you cannot jumpstart your personal growth today. Here are the seven ways to do that.

1.  Learn more all of the time

We know that education and economic status are closely related. People who are curious and well-informed generally earn more respect. They are regarded as more interesting and better conversationalists and they project more authority. Unfortunately, many people don’t pursue education because they think it’s unattainable for the lack of time or finance. This simply isn’t true as there are so many options available today. You can create your own educational path using the dozens of free educational courses available to you. There are open-source platforms that allow you to take college course online for free such as Coursera, Khan Academy and or even more institutionalized options like an online MBA. Locally, you can check out educational programs available through your library, chamber of commerce, community centers, even museums.

2. Volunteer your time

Obviously, the primary reason that you should volunteer is the good it does for others. Still, it opens up so many paths to personal growth. First, volunteering is an amazing way to learn new skills. What an employer may not have the time and patience to teach you, a volunteer coordinator would be happy to. Perhaps even more important is the spiritual and moral development that happens when you volunteer. Getting out of your own headspace and helping others creates perspective and helps you to develop a more compassionate world view. Finally, volunteering can have a measurable impact on your overall happiness. People who volunteered monthly were 7% more likely to be happy. The more they volunteered, the more that number increased.

3. Travel as much as you are able

It’s difficult to grow when you are constantly surrounded by the same people, same points of view, same belief systems and same traditions. There’s nothing there challenging your thought processes or even your senses. Traveling is a beautiful cure for all of this. Prioritize travel in whatever way that you can. If that means traveling abroad and experiencing new countries, that’s wonderful. If not, don’t dismiss the potential in travelling to new states, cities, even  neighborhoods. Traveling can positively impact your health, creativity and happiness.

4. Pursue something creative

Write stories, paint pictures, learn photography, download an app and start creating EDM, pick up a camera and start taking pictures, or try acting in a local theater production. There is no wrong path to creativity. Creative people are more self aware, better problem solvers and have more confidence. That is truly the definition of an evolved person.

5. Prioritize your health

Eat balanced diet, exercise regularly, avoid sleep deprivation and get in shape. All these require commitment and self disciplines, so you’re not just getting the direct benefit from them; you might also develop and uncover traits you may not realize you had. There’s also the matter of energy and endurance. Personal growth isn’t a passive thing. It requires that you are active and engaged outside of your normal schedule. It’s important you are physically able to take on opportunities to grow and learn.

6. Evaluate your life honestly

Personal growth is improvement. To accomplish this, you should be willing to evaluate your life as it is right now. Be willing to identify and acknowledge strengths and shortcomings alike. This will allow you to choose the steps you need take going forward.

7. Make a radical commitment to time management

Giving excuses not to have time is the very enemy of personal growth and improvement. Everyone has time. You just have to modify how you use it. Here are some areas where most people can stand to re-prioritize: Watch less television and truly focus on shows you love when you do watch; reduce time aimlessly surfing the internet; rethink your commute, taking the bus instead of driving might give you time to read or listen to podcasts; recruit friends to turn get togethers into something productive like volunteering or taking a class.

Personal growth can lead to happiness, better career prospects and better relationships. Try out any of these seven strategies to get your efforts off the ground.

Culled from Forbes

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