I've always considered myself a relatively proactive individual when it comes to my personal development. I not only actively pursue methods, tips, and techniques to incorporate into my life, but I also tend to carry through by implementing them.
Despite this, approximately six months ago I found myself in a bit of a mental rut. To many, the self-inflicted low point seemed nonsensical, as several individuals regularly reminded me of how much I had already accomplished by the ripe old age of 27, but internally I was not satisfied.
Only I knew what was consistently brewing inside of my head, much of which helped me to get to where I was at that point, but it was those same thoughts that drew me to go after even more.
I decided to make radical changes in a number of areas of my life, and now six months into it, it's time to reflect on what is and isn't working.
My first ever self-help binge took place in 2010 starting with an unexpected recommendation to read the book Conversations with God: An Uncommon Dialogue. The book spoke to me like no other I had ever read before, and I quickly found myself falling down the rabbit hole of spiritual curiosity.
Within weeks, I had read not only the entire previously mentioned book series, but I also read both The Power of Now and A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle, as well as several other classics by the late great Wayne Dyer.
This time around, my self-help binge was centred around personal and business, rather than spiritual and conscious development. My first read was Awaken the Giant Within by Tony Robbins, which quickly spiralled into several other written and audio books as well as courses by business "masters" such as Zig Ziglar, Tai Lopez, and even the controversial Kevin Trudeau.
The Result? In just six short months I feel like I've completely transformed my outlook and approach to life in a way that to this point feels better. Awaken the Giant Within in particular helped me to re-assess my own value system and to identify beliefs that were unintentionally contradicting each other and holding me back from attaining some of the success I had sought.
I now better understand what I am passionate about, and am actively identifying ways to support myself in ways that engage those passions. I am without a doubt still a work in progress, but this binge has helped me to step into my own power and to start creating rather than simply daydreaming about the life I plan to live.
My Grade: A-
Even though I still feel like I have a long way to go to get to where I want to be, I'm still very proud of my willingness to start my journey towards it. There is a great power in stepping outside of your comfort zone, and much of this material (although not all) helped me to do just that.
When I first started out, it seemed impossible. Growing up in a relatively traditional Italian family, I was raised in an environment that not only served gluten, but pretty well made it the focal point of every meal.
But now, approximately six months into being gluten free (with a handful of cheat days scattered throughout), I realize how simple it really is. The trickiest part is being able to put up with and respond to the raised eyebrows and witty remarks you are bound to get from some family members and friends, but the diet itself is easy.
At least in Toronto, it seems that almost every restaurant has adopted at least a small selection of gluten free options, and cooking at home sans gluten (yes, I just went french) is flat out simple.
The Result? I honestly always thought that getting mildly bloated and feeling tired after eating a meal was a normal occurrence. It wasn't until I cut out gluten that I identified how crazy this actually was.
I feel healthier, more alert, more energized, and even focused when I go through a day without consuming any gluten. I'd say that part of this could be attributed to the placebo effect, since I had read about the subject quite extensively before trying it out, but six months of experience is pretty hard to ignore.
My Grade: A
I'm not suggesting that everyone cut gluten completely out of their lives, nor am I qualified to make such a recommendation. But I am suggesting, human to human, that you at least try it out. There are undoubtedly dozens of delicious things in this world that contain gluten, and you can still eat them, but why not indulge in them in moderation rather than consistently?
There is no brand quite like your own. Whether or not that statement resonates with you, that seems to be quite accurately reflective of the mindset of most millennials. Long gone are the days where the world's youth strove to be a part of a thriving organization, and here to stay is their desire to be the organization themselves.
As much as I truly love so much of what I have collectively built, six months ago I decided to start putting more time into simultaneously building my own brand as well. I took to the worlds of Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram more aggressively, populating them with more original content in hopes of building my personal reach.
The Result? As the modest numbers suggest, I haven't put enough time into identifying the best methods to doing this. I've taken the approach that if you put it out there, they will come, and some have, however, not nearly as many as I had hoped to have at this point.
Regardless, I am grateful to be developing my own brand while still contributing to collective projects, and feel that a balance between both is key.
My Grade: C+
I've stepped up my game a bit as of late, on Instagram in particular, but I've still got a ways to go. Perhaps your like or follow will help me to be a bit easier on myself six months from now (I'm kidding of course, but not about the like or follow part).
If this article hasn't been personal enough already, this section is sure to do the trick.
Approximately six months ago, I decided to become a lot stronger in being my true self when it came to relationships — both romantic and not. Traditionally, I would often play the role of a giver. I would find fulfillment in doing for others, which is undoubtedly a wonderful trait, but not if it comes at the expense of not doing for yourself.
The Result? You win some and you lose some. In the process of being sure to give to myself as much as I give to others, I've reconnected with a number of old friends but have also lost a romantic relationship that I saw as being very long term.
Regardless, I am still incredibly happy to be where I am today, and know that even the challenging moments will help to connect me to more wonderful people moving forward.
My Grade: B-
All I can pretty much say is that I am without a doubt still a work in progress when it comes to this area in life.
Ultimately, despite seeing mixed results there is a great power to be had in consistently looking to improve upon yourself and grow. Are there any areas of your life that are in need of a reboot? If yes, what are you waiting for?