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Building Resilience for Personal Growth

Setting goals, self-care and self-knowledge are all important elements for personal growth. Just as important but not discussed quite as often is building resilience. Articles on setting goals often make it sound like once you've got your goals in place, you'll sail through to success, but the truth is that everyone has to deal with times when things don't go as planned. What sets apart the people who are ultimately successfully from those who are not is often resilience, the ability to recover from setbacks and carry on. The tips below can help you build your resilience.

Expect Complications

This doesn't mean you should be negative or go into every situation assuming you will fail, but you can prepare yourself somewhat for disappointment by keeping in mind that you're likely to encounter some problems along the way. Instead of blaming yourself when those problems arise--even if they are the result of something you did--your self-talk should instead sound something like this: "I did my best, but that didn't work out the way I expected it to. What are my options now?" And if you suspect that perhaps you didn't do your very best, ask yourself why. Maybe you need to change your goals, or perhaps you are engaging in self-sabotage.

Develop Problem-Solving Skills

Resilience means not throwing up your hands and giving up at the first hurdle. For example, if you are planning to go to college, you might feel discourage when you look at the cost. You might even feel like giving up. However, a resilient person would start looking at ways to get the necessary funds. You can use a FAFSA calculator to find out how much federal aid you qualify for, and this will let you know how much you need to borrow in private student loans to make up the difference. You can then start researching how to apply for private student loans.

Form Connections

One of the best ways to strengthen your resilience is by turning to others. This might be family, friends or a support group. Some people are tempted to withdraw when they are upset, but learning to accept help matters. Resilience does not mean that you don't feel hurt when bad things happen but that you are able to rally and carry on, and one of the best ways to do that is with the support of people who care about you.

Change Your Stories

Do you know anyone who tells a lot of funny, self-deprecating stories about themselves, or someone who describes overcoming hardships when they talk about their past? Now compare that to someone you know whose stories are all about ways they have been wronged and life has let them down. You might find that the biggest difference in the stories is not the things that happen in them but the way they are told. In the first two cases, the focus of the person's self-narrative is humor or strength while the third is mostly negative. This doesn't mean that you are required to gloss over genuinely disappointing or traumatic events, but consider the different ways you can talk about things in your life and how different approaches change how you see the events and yourself.

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