overcoming personal growth mistakes
Personal Growth

The 9 Biggest Personal Growth Mistakes You Should Avoid

Just like any other journey, we expect to come across difficulty and as a result, make decisions on how to overcome the difficulty. Sometimes we will make the wrong decisions leading us to more problems. But, what if you knew what to expect? Similarly, in the personal growth journey, you will face challenging times and there are personal growth mistakes I would want you to be aware of and avoid if you can.

I have tried to show how one mistake leads to another and by avoiding one, you can avoid most of them. Personal growth is an interesting journey but is faced with a lot of uncertainty, risk and unknown emotions. But I have found that reaffirming myself that I will not make these mistakes, being aware of these mistakes and how my decisions influence these mistakes; makes me remain focused in my journey to actually know who I am.

When I consciously decided to take on the personal growth journey, my mind was everywhere. I just wanted everything to work out and see my life put together. The process, however, was taking too much time, and each time I thought I was getting better I slid back down. I know that I am not alone and this leads me to mistake number one.

Learn from the mistakes of others. You can’t live long enough to make them all yourself.

Eleanor Roosevelt

1. Giving up on yourself.

I had to make a promise to myself that I would never ever give up on me. Truth be told, there were times I would just ask myself, ‘Why can’t I seem to do it right?’ and ‘What I’m I lacking to be happy?’. Critically looking at my life, there was everything to make me happy but I just could not feel that happiness. Moments like this made me give up and tune to just do things because they need to be done.

The tune is wake up, switch off alarm, shower, eat breakfast, go to work, deal with work, go home and sleep. You go to default mode. No energy to push yourself to achieve greater things. This was too boring, so I had to do something. Furthermore, it only drew me further from happiness.

Each time I notice myself getting tired of pursuing my goals, I remind myself that I have to. I take my annual personal goals (the template I use) and read them to myself. Remembering just what I will gain from achieving my goals makes me happy.

In whatever you do, don’t ever give up on yourself. Don’t let life dictate you, dictate your life. Especially those moments you begin to question yourself, always remember to stand up for yourself. Do you know what makes you give up on yourself? Mistake number two.

accepting personal growth mistakes

2. Expecting too much too quick

There is this one day, probably after reading how to set personal growth goals, you had this energy to write your goals and visualize yourself as this successful person you have always wanted to be. Day one comes and you are so motivated, you set goals, you accomplish, you feel good. On day two, your old self starts creeping in and you miss one or two things. Day three you are tired and you can’t see any difference in your life. It is now one month later and you think, ‘there is nothing I have accomplished, this is just a scam’.

When you expect yourself to achieve too much in a short span of time, you are being unfair to yourself. This is one of the personal growth mistakes you should stay away from. I am over ambitious and I often overestimate what I can do in a day. Over ambition makes you frustrated sometimes and there is one quote I always remember when I do not accomplish everything that I had planned:

Rome was not built in a day.

Constantly remind yourself that you cannot build yourself in just a day. Some days will be rough and you need to learn to accept and deal with them. One reason why we are bound to expect too much of ourselves in a short period of time leads me to mistake number three.

3. Impatience and shortcuts

Life happens to hate impatient people. Likewise in the world of today, patience is becoming rare and a harder virtue to acquire. The outstanding people in society have mastered the art of being patient. I have learned and I keep being reminded that I need to wait. For me to enjoy the fruits of my hard work, I need to learn to wait.

Therefore, each time you feel like you want to give up, give yourself one more shot and remind yourself to wait. Nothing comes easy. The easier it comes, the faster it goes. But if you wait, it may take time but all good things take time. Of all the personal growth mistakes, being aware of this one will save you a lot and encourage you to keep moving forward.

Training yourself to be patient will also take time. However, when you are aware that we tend to want quick fixes, you will begin to slow down. Soon you will the importance of waiting. One of the reasons why we tend to be impatient is trying to work on a lot of things and we just want them all to work. Leading me to . . .

4. Trying too many things at the same time

Aha, this one hit me hard! It is tempting to try out a lot of things. Succumbing to that temptation makes you miss out on the value of any of the things you have tried. Do one thing at a time. Work on one goal at a time. Focus on the task at hand without thinking of anything else.

Working on too many things at the same time made me very demotivated and exhausted. Doing too many things is not what makes somebody successful. I say work hard, work smart and play hard. These days I force myself to take a break and to look around and appreciate nature.

Taking a break is underestimated and our culture tells you that you have to work hard and spend as many sleepless nights as possible in order to succeed. Lol! Yes, I said Lol! What happened to trying to get a balance in life? I said trying because getting a balance in life takes way too much time, effort and skill. Although, if we keep trying, who knows, we might get there.

personal growth success
Appreciate and Celebrate

5. Being too hard on yourself

I have been accused of this countless times. There is a 50% chance I am guilty. The personal growth mistake I have made quite a number of times. For me being hard on myself was natural. The consequences were frustration, unable to accept failure, anxiety, always competing and sadness. We always want to do something the right way and receive what we think we deserve. What if that does not happen? Are you able to forgive yourself?

Lord grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can and wisdom to know the difference.

If you are like me who believes you can literally change a lot, you need to slow down. I fully understand the quest to make a difference and nothing matters to me more than having an impact on people’s lives – the reason why I have this blog. And if you feel the same way, you need to repeat that quote/prayer every single day. That wisdom is necessary.

There are things that will always be beyond your control, it is okay to let them go. I have learned this the hard way. Nevertheless, it is not a reason to give up. The people who actually made a difference tried to change something, they may not have succeeded the first time (patience) but they continued to pursue it. At the end of the day, there are things that we cannot change and we have to let go and accept.

When you forget something or you don’t do it right but unintentionally, forgive yourself. I know it is easier said than done but let that not be an excuse. Even when you fall off your routine a day, the next day, you just go for it. Don’t beat yourself up for it. Those little steps count.

6. Not appreciating

Personal growth is a journey with no final destination. Therefore, if you are waiting to arrive so that you become happy then you will never be happy. You have got to appreciate every little step you make. It does not matter how small it is.

Appreciate who you are today because you are better than yesterday. For as long as you are trying, it is unfair if you don’t tell yourself thank you for being there for you. Also, it is good to appreciate the things and people around us. Our environment contributes to who we are, so take some time to appreciate that too. Appreciation is the only way you can find the motivation to keep moving in the personal growth journey. Sometimes you may not see anything to appreciate, but you need to make yourself find something to appreciate.

In spite of appreciating, you may still feel unfulfilled and I have been there. But again, do not be hard on yourself. Accept your feeling first and try to figure out what is causing you unhappiness or lack of fulfillment. Never forget to appreciate.

7. Not celebrating

How often do you celebrate your milestones? And, how do you celebrate? When your family member or friend tells you what they have achieved, how do you react to that? “Congratulations, you made it!” But how do you celebrate yourself? In the first place do you recognize you have made a step?

Seeing your own success can be hard especially when money is not involved. However, money is not the only measure of success. You can measure your personal growth success by how happy you are or discovering one little tiny thing you never knew you loved. Each day you are happier know that you are doing something good for yourself and you need to celebrate. When you feel not as happy, just know you need to work more on yourself.

By making this personal growth mistake, you can easily give up. I bet you are asking, ‘How do I celebrate?’. You know yourself and you know what makes you feel great. I celebrate by dancing, singing or telling myself congratulations. I also love listening to hype music – just to ignite the happy feeling of accomplishing something. By the way, sometimes I celebrate without any accomplishment. Why? Can’t I just celebrate being me, my mess and my imperfections?

personal development mistakes

8. Complacency

Along this journey, you will reach a point and feel that you are there. I had reached that point where I knew that there is nothing more to know about myself. The mistake is that I was not challenging myself. I had become comfortable with who I was and so there was no need to do anything about me. Of all the personal growth mistakes, this one is costly and can easily lead to giving up on becoming a better you.

That is when I fell in love with reading personal development and self-help books. I also enjoy listening to motivational videos, TED Talks, and podcasts. They make me challenge myself and in the process, I get to learn something new. Therefore, if you are in your comfort zone, it is time to step out and challenge yourself. 

Something I would love you to know is that as you continue to grow physically and you are maturing. Your environment keeps changing, you face different life challenges and different things. In short, everything keeps changing and developing hence you cannot reach the end knowing yourself. When I got to know this, I began to look for new opportunities and to take risks for myself. Whenever you feel like you are settling, stop and think twice. What is it that you are not doing?

9. Following the wrong people

I never used to believe that your friends can influence your character. I decided to experiment it myself and see if my character would change. Then, my conclusion was you should not be following, you should be attracting. Anyway, to simplify it, your personality tends to attract certain people around you. So if you realize that you have friends who are misleading you then you need to assess what about you attracts that kind of friends.

When you attract the right people in your life, they will always challenge you to be better, they will entertain you and most importantly they will encourage you to have a say for yourself. If you think you are in the wrong company, you need to first evaluate yourself and embrace personal growth then you will realize after some time you will start attracting the right people.

And when I say following, I also mean on social media. I recently did an email to my subscribers about using social media intentionally. Being very intentional about what you do online makes a difference. You can find the email here.

10. Not taking risks

What? Yes, I had two bonuses so one had to come as an extra point. You are really ready for this journey if you have read till here. Anyway, back to the point. I love my age right now – very little responsibilities, a lot of time and the courage to take calculated risks.

For the majority part of my life, I have been a risk taker. I am the girl who chooses all the scary rides in a theme park (when I am sure of my safety and my sanity). However, being in that queue to take the ride is the most daunting time of my life. Watching others scream and thinking of myself being in that position makes me always want to quit.

That experience has taught me a lot. Whenever I am about to do something that I think will work but I am not sure, I just face it and do it. Of course, I feel all sorts of reactions in my body and my thoughts try to convince me how bad of an idea that was. Sometimes I laugh back at some bad and fast decisions I made but they remind me that I was courageous enough.

What makes taking risks hard is because we never know the outcome and also the fear of failure. Nevertheless, if you want to keep developing yourself personally, the personal growth mistake you should stay away from is not taking risks. A side note, make sure your risks are calculated.

personal growth mistakes
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I used to think being a perfectionist is a strength not a weakness. It turns out I was extremely wrong. Perfectionism can easily be the worst personal growth mistake. Life cannot be perfect and that means that it is impossible to be perfect or wait for the perfect time to start something. Waiting for the right time or that perfect moment is a very big lie to yourself. There will never be a perfect time other than now to start or keep moving forward in your personal growth journey.

Becoming aware of perfectionism helped me to be more productive and happier. When I hear that critical voice telling me something can be better, I tell it “yes but for now this is my best”. The point is never to be perfect but to work towards giving your best self. What that means is that you need to do the task first (take the first step) and continually work to make it perfect.

I have – not once nor twice – been caught in the trap of trying to find the right time. Everything in our body is hard-wired to protect us and that is why there will never be a right time to do anything.


Do those personal growth mistakes feel familiar? It is good to be aware of them and avoid them when you see them coming. I really hope you will do your best to avoid the mistakes or tackle them if they have already happened. The best time is now.

I hope you have your personal growth goals ready and you are determined to overcome every obstacle on the way. I believe you can make it because you have all it takes to do this. Subscribe to my newsletter to get access to the personal growth goals worksheet as well as exclusive emails.

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Reina Janet is a young talented writer and the founder of El Mieles. She believes in making the world the best place for you by inspiring you with her creative writing and personal stories that help you to love life and also solve day to day challenges. Get to know her more.

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