Becoming your best self is a freaking mission. It takes a lot of personal work; consistent personal work.
Have you ever noticed that when you’re in a bad mood, you often haven’t done a lot of the inner work that usually makes you feel good? And it’s even harder to feel any motivation to do those things when you’re not feeling like yourself.
Here are some tools to add to your personal growth toolkit. They’re the self-care practices that will help you learn about yourself, and do the inner work. Plus, they’re totally free.
Select one or two to get started with, and dive deeper into how you can use this tool to grow and care for yourself.
Want more personal growth tools? We created a free pdf toolkit with over 50 tools for you to download for free.
Affirmations & Mirror Work
Speaking or writing affirmations (aka positive self-talk) can help you start to believe in yourself and your worthiness.
Louise Hay is an influential author and teacher in the personal growth space, and she taught about using affirmations through mirror work. You can do mirror work by simply repeating affirmations in front of the mirror. The reason it’s so effective is because you have to look at yourself while you’re saying positive things. It can be really tough to do for the things you dislike about yourself, but that’s when the most powerful results show up.
“Because the mirror reflects back to you the feelings you have about yourself. It makes you immediately aware of where you are resisting and where you are open and flowing.” – Louise Hay
You might’ve heard about morning pages, the system of writing stream-of-consciousness first thing in the morning for three full pages. It’s a system created over 25 years ago from Julia Cameron of “The Artist’s Way”. It’s a full 12-week long guidebook for sparking creativity or re-igniting the love for what you do.
Binaural beats are sound frequency patterns that can be used for relaxing or concentrating. You can find lots of varieties on Spotify, like this one for Beta Brainwaves.
- Alpha: relaxation
- Beta: concentration
- Delta: dreamless sleep
- Theta: REM phase, meditation and creativity
Breathing techniques like “box” or “square” breathing can be great when you need a chill moment. Breathe in for four seconds, hold for four seconds, breath out for four, and hold for four. It’s a calming technique that can help you in times when you’re feeling anxiety, panic or stress.
- Read: Breathwork 101: Can A Breathing Practice Change Your Life?
- Download: Breathing App
Feeling creative? Start bullet journaling. Bullet journaling is an all-in-one notebook system that helps you stay organized and plan in a creative, unique-to-you way. There are thousands of spread ideas out there on the internet. You have an index page to keep tabs on all your pages, create layouts for your week and keep track of anything important you have going on.
Byron Katie’s The Work
What if four questions could change your life?
When you’re having a stressful thought, ask yourself:
- Is it true?
- Can I absolutely know it’s true?
- How do I react when I believe that thought?
- Who would I be without the thought?
- Turn the thought around.
- Download: Get the worksheet.
- Read: “Loving What Is: Four Questions That Can Change Your Life”
Chakras can be defined as the spiritual energy centers within the body. In sanskrit, chakra means wheel. Within these chakras is our ‘prana’ – the most pure energy form or “life force energy.”
The seven chakras are:
- Crown – top of the head
- Third Eye – center of the forehead
- Throat – center of the neck
- Heart – center of the chest
- Solar Plexus – below the chest
- Sacral – below the navel
- Root – base of the spine
Made popular by Gwyneth Paltrow, Conscious Uncoupling is about ending a relationship intentionally and gracefully without destroying your relationship with your partner. This is especially helpful when you have children, but even without, we’d all rather end a breakup peacefully right?
Alissa Vitti of Flo Living introduced us to the idea of cycle syncing – correlating your life with the four stages of your menstrual cycle for your best health. If you experience cramps, bloating, irregular periods, PCOS, cysts or infertility, this might be a good option for you to look into. She has a protocol that covers how to workout, eat, work and more.
- Read: “WomanCode: Perfect Your Cycle, Amplify Your Fertility, Supercharge Your Sex Drive, and Become a Power Source” by Alissa Vitti
- Read: blog post on cycle syncing
- Get access to our spreadsheet here for what foods to eat and avoid, how to exercise and work to support each phase of your cycle.
One of my favorite personal growth practices I’ve discovered is Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) Tapping. It is like acupuncture, but minus the needles and with some added strategic self-talk. Work through anxiety, stress, headaches, or simply get motivated through tapping.
- Download: TappingSolution app that walks you through it all.
- Explore: The Tapping Solution Blog & Summit – They have tons of free tapping videos, and their website is filled with great information.
- Read: How To Use Tapping For Your Limiting Beliefs
It’s time for you to take the enneagram test, because I ~selfishly~ really want to know your type! It’s a personality test that gives you a number 1-9 and shows you what your personality looks like in both healthy and unhealthy states. We all have a little of each number, and we’re all connected through this system. It’s such a fun way to learn about yourself, and is way more accurate than any test I’ve ever taken.
- Take the test. Here’s a basic one for free, and here’s the best one.
- Check out your results, and read about the other 8 types.
- Read: What Career Path is Right for You, Based on your Enneagram Type
Follow: @enneagramandcoffee (Read interview with creator SaraJane Case)
Fab 4 Food Philosophy
We’re here for health and well-being, but we’re not about fad diets. That’s why we love the fab four approach from Kelly Leveque. While she gives plenty of advice on eating well, the one thing we love most is what she says to include in every meal: protein, fat, fiber and greens. Include all four types of food should leave you feeling nourished, full and satisfied. Listen: Podcast episodes: Almost 30, Rachel Hollis and Mind Body Green. Find recipes on Kelly Leveque’s blog, Be Well By Kelly
Femininity & Masculinity
It was such a fun realization when I explored the true difference between masculinity and femininity. It is not about being female and male, but more yin and yang compatibility and we all need to possess a balance between the two.
- Femininity is tender and relationship focused.
- Masculinity is assertive and achievement focused.
- Read: Why Your Femininity is the Best Medicine for Perfectionism
Do you find yourself getting stuff done, but only when someone is holding you accountable? Or are you the opposite, finding that you can only get things done when no one is crushing you with a deadline? The four tendencies from bestselling author Gretchen Ruben covers the ways in which we find inner motivation. She found that we all have different blocks when it comes to getting work done.
- Read: “The Four Tendencies: The Indispensable Personality Profiles That Reveal How to Make Your Life Better (and Other People’s Lives Better, Too)” by Gretchen Rubin
- Read: If you’re an “obliger” AKA you struggle to say no to other people, but find yourself struggling with accomplishing your personal goals, check out these tips for saying no.
It’s a common practice, but all gratitude journaling is not created equal. When you gratitude journal, one of the best ways to do it is to express WHY and HOW that thing is a powerful force in your life. Simply saying I’m grateful for my partner is one thing. But when you really sit with your gratitude and think about why you’re so grateful for them – picture them, give a reason, and feel it. That’s when gratitude can be a gamechanger for your perspective. Simply jotting down a list is fine, but you won’t get the same effect.
- Get the 5 Minute Journal from Intelligent Change
- Read: 9 Fun Ways To Make Gratitude A Consistent Practice
Dubbed by YouTuber Kalyn Nicholson, GYST stands for Get Your Sh*t Together and the idea behind it is to create a full day to getting your life in order – from the laundry that’s been neglected to your favorite self-care activities. Usually it’s done on a Sunday, but you can choose whatever day you want.
- Watch: Kalyn Nicholson’s GYST videos
- Read: How To Create Your Own Weekly GYST (Get Your Sh*t Together) Day
Low Waste/Zero Waste Living
Trash is for Tossers is a great resource from Lauren Singer, who was one of the main people (inspired by Bea Johnson of Zero Waste Home) who made Zero Waste living more mainstream. She lives in NYC and is such an inspiration. She started the Package Free Shop, a great resource for buying plastic-free goods.
- Read: “Zero Waste Home: The Ultimate Guide to Simplifying Your Life by Reducing Your Waste” by Bea Johnson
We’d be crazy not to include meditation on the list, but don’t worry – you’ll learn more than the obvious here. Did you know there’s over a dozen forms of meditation? It can be hard to choose the one that works for you. But even if one form doesn’t align with you, there are so many more options to choose from.
Forms of meditation that we’re familiar with:
- Mindfulness meditation
- Loving kindness meditation
- Transcendental meditation
- Vipassana meditation
- Chakra meditation
- Yoga meditation:
- Includes Third Eye, Kundalini, Tantra Meditation, etc.
- Insight Timer (free)
- Headspace (paid subscription)
- Oprah & Deepak Chopra (free series at certain times of the year & paid otherwise)
- Calm (paid subscription)
- Read: 5 Alternative Types of Meditation to Try if You’re Not Into Traditional Meditating
- Read: I Tried Meditation for 30 Days and This is What Happened
Social Media / Technology Detox
Have you tried a weekend away from your phone? How about a week without TV? It’s hard to argue that we’re not addicted to technology when the average we spend 3.25 hours on our phones a day. Is it time for a little break?
Get your personal growth toolkit with 30 more ideas for your personal growth toolkit.