4 Keys to Personal Growth and Transformation - Part 4: Implementation

By Barbara @ Follow Your Own Rhythm

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Welcome to the fourth and final part of this personal growth and transformation blog series where we are integrating everything we have learned and actually applying it to our own lives.

So far we talked about 3 keys to personal growth and transformation which includes self-honesty, self-awareness and openness and learning.

However, none of all that we talked about matters without this last and crucial step: IMPLEMENTATION.

It’s great if you know that self-honesty, self-awareness, learning and openness is important, or even that you have mastered being honest with yourself and being open to new perspectives, but can you apply this level of wisdom to real life situations?

The best way to raise and evolve our consciousness is to put into practice all the wisdom and knowledge that we have.

So I had to make implementation into a point on it’s own because it’s that important.  I know so many people who know they should be healthier, they know they should stop being so angry, they know they should build more confidence, but they don’t.  They talk about wanting to but don’t make the changes they need to.

So today as we continue with our personal growth and transformation series, we will be talking specifically about implementation. 

We will be covering what implementation means, what that looks like in real life, why it’s so important, and how you can implement what you have learned into your daily life.


What does "implementation" mean?

At it’s most basic form, implementation means to follow through on what you know you need or want to do. 

If you know you need to be more self-aware, then you need to actually learn to be self-aware. If you know self-honesty is important in order to get to know the REAL you, then you have to actually sit down and do some introspection.  

However, assuming you’re already doing these things as a regular practice, implementation means to basically integrate and apply all of the lessons and knowledge you have learned, experience and wisdom you have gained, and all of the insights you acquired from your practice of self-honesty, self-awareness, and openness into your real life and into actual situations, scenarios, circumstances and life events.

It’s one thing to learn that you get angry when people cut you off in traffic, or that you get impatient when you don’t get what you want, and even know that it’s unproductive, but it’s another to actually practice being calm when you get cut off or be patient when you don’t get what you want. 

So implementation is all about applying your knowledge and wisdom to actual situations

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Let’s say you are super honest with yourself, you are super self aware, and you try to learn something from everything.  You self reflect often, you identify patterns within yourself that are unhealthy, you recognize when you’re being reactive and irrational, so on and so forth. 

This is great and essential.  This is what I call the prepping part.  You prep yourself for success.  This is the personal, and sometimes dirty, inner work that you need to do.

However, implementation is the test.  You studied, you did all the behind the scenes work, now can you apply what you have learned? Can you show your progress, your growth, your wisdom, when given a real life scenario?  Will you pass the test?

When you are in an argument with someone, instead of just recognizing that you are wrong, can you admit it in that moment and tell the other person?

Can you remain calm and conscious when in a situation that is not going your way?

Can you shift your mood when you’re being negative?

Can you reframe from comparison to gratitude?

Can you control your emotions when triggered?

Can you find the good in unpleasant situations?

What is your philosophy on life and do you live by that?

Are you a problem solver or a complainer in the midst of chaos?

Do you rely on facts or intuition when making decisions?

You know that happiness is just a state of mind, so are you able to remain happy during times of stress?

Is your happiness based on external events?

How consistent are you with things you want to achieve?

How much are you integrating your knowledge and wisdom into your daily life?

How much are you applying all of the tools, tips, and techniques you have learned to those most needed situations or circumstances?

These are all good questions to ask yourself to see just how much you are using implementation as a regular practice.

“The best indicator of your level of consciousness is how you deal with life’s challenges when they come. Through those challenges, an already unconscious person tends to become more deeply unconscious, and a conscious person more intensely conscious. You can use a challenge to awaken you, or you can allow it to pull you into even deeper sleep. The dream of ordinary unconsciousness then turns into a nightmare.”
Eckhart Tolle
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I especially like the part in Eckhart's quote about your level of consciousness being determined by how you deal with life’s challenges. How you act, react, and respond to unpleasant circumstances, how much you get triggered, and how emotionally unstable you become is a good test to how conscious you are. This is why just knowing the information and wisdom without being able to apply it, doesn’t do anyone much good.

This is your goal.  Implementation is something that will accelerate your growth and transform your life.    


Why is implementation so important?

Probably the most important aspect of implementation is that it raises your level of consciousness and helps you evolve as a person. It is the key to transformation. 

Implementation also takes your life to a whole new level because it puts you into action. Things aren’t just in your head anymore; you are actually aligning the inner with the outer. 

If you just simply learn that drinking is not for you because it makes you feel like crap, and if the next time an opportunity arises to have a drink, then without implementation, and saying no, you would just continue drinking and your life wouldn’t change much. 

Following through and living true to all of the lessons you have learned and wisdom you have gained is the key to transformation.  

Implementation is important because it allows you to live a life true to yourself and be your best self.  It allows for you to live an authentic lifestyle where you make choices that are based on what YOU truly believe in.

Implementation also allows you to be a shining example of someone who is connected, conscious, and courageous, and you show others how to do it too. You sort of become a leader and a role model.

Another reason implementation is so important is because it leads to happiness, freedom, and peace as you take actual steps to get to where you want to be.

Implementation is action, follow through, application, integration, and practice, without which change doesn’t happen.  You can envision who you want to be in your mind, but if you don’t practice actually being that person, he or she will never come to life.

"Knowledge is useless without consistent application."
Julian Hall
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As I mentioned in part 1, these 4 keys come from my own life and personal experience with transformation.  If I hadn’t implemented what I learned on my personal growth journey into my actual life and into real, in-the-moment situations, then I would still be very far from living in alignment with my truth.


Examples of implementation in real life  

Example 1: You want your life to be less stressful and more meaningful. Instead of just thinking about all that you want to do with your life, you actually start making physical changes.  You’ve learned tools to calm your mind, you’ve reflected on your life, and you’ve discovered your passion.

In the implementation phase, you’d start to physically eliminate activities, people and situations from your life that stress you out. You would actively pursue your passion, even if that means changing jobs, quitting jobs, or starting your own business.  

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Example 2: You have a hard time controlling your emotions. When someone does something that doesn’t align with your expectations, you get really frustrated, intolerant and angry.

You don’t like being this way because it causes problems in your relationships and quite frankly, it’s not a peaceful way of living. You’ve read a ton of books on what emotions are and how to deal with them effectively.

In this phase of implementation, you would actually apply all that you have learned and practice controlling your emotions in the midst of chaos.  You would develop a practice that works for you and implement it each time.

It could be taking 10 deep breaths before responding, it can be leaving the room or situation until you calm down and process, or it can be staying quiet and letting things play out without your input.  It can even be getting angry, but instead of lashing out, just observing the emotion within yourself and seeing how it feels, seeing what it does to you physiologically, feeling your heart racing, and just observing it until it passes.

If you struggle with anger, an excellent book on calming your nerves and finding inner peace is "Anger: Wisdom for Cooling the Flames" by Thich Nhat Hanh.

This is an EXCELLENT book for those who are ready to understand their anger, deal with it, and overcome it.

 

Example 3: You have bad anxiety. You worry about the future often and you get nervous easily. You are aware of this issue, you’ve done the research, and you know that your anxiety comes from the thoughts you think - mostly worries about the future and negative what if’s, and not from the situations themselves. 

In this phase of implementation, you would start to consciously change your thought patterns and physically rewire your brain. Now that sounds more scientific and complicated than it has to be.  

Every time you’d get anxious, instead of getting lost in your anxious thoughts and freaking out, you’d check in with yourself and see what types of thoughts caused this feeling.  Then you would ask yourself if these thoughts reflect the truth and reality (most likely not), or if they reflect some irrational fear or belief (most likely yes). Then, instead of focusing on negative what if’s, you focus on positive what if’s.  What could go RIGHT? This positive thinking would start to rewire your brain to scan the world for the good, not the bad.

Example 4: You’ve been neglecting yourself. You need some TLC. You’ve read so many blogs about self-care, self-love, and self-acceptance and noticed that you need some of it yourself, yet you find yourself too busy, too afraid, or too guilty to do it. 

The implementation phase would require that you say no to other people, that you cancel certain activities, that you let go of control and trust that others can take care of themselves, and that you figure out what YOU want. You figure out what you NEED.  And you figure out who YOU ARE.  And that means scheduling in some “me time” and owning it unapologetically.  It means proudly taking this sacred time for yourself, letting your friends and family know, and doing the work it takes to nourish your mind, body, and soul. 

That could be a relaxing hot bath with candles and soothing music, it could be reading a personal development book, it can be journaling, exercising or meditating every morning, or it can be looking in the mirror to tell yourself how beautiful you are just the way you.  It can be anything that you need right now to reconnect, replenish, reenergize, and relax.

Example 5: You get in a fight with someone and you catch yourself being a really big Beeee.  The practice of implementation would require that you stop yourself in the moment and change your approach and attitude. It can also mean admitting to the other person that you were being inappropriate.   And it can also mean that you apologize for hurting their feelings. It basically means owning up and taking responsibility for what you did or said, and doing what needs to be done to resolve the situation.

Example 6: A more practical example - You took Spanish in high school and you sort of know how to mumble a few sentences.  You travel to Mexico and your skills are needed to get around. You don’t shy away from speaking out of embarrassment and you don’t pretend to not know Spanish.  You speak like you’ve never spoken before! Make your Spanish teacher proud!

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Those are just a few examples from a billion different possibilities. The key is to identify what you know, what you believe in, and how you want to be, and align your outer actions with these desires and truths.


So how do you implement what you know into your daily life?

There isn’t a magic formula for how to follow through on all that you know and have learned. Our habits are so strong, our mental patterns so engrained, and our behaviors and reactions so conditioned that following through is going to require some work and discipline.

1.   First, you’re going to have to be SUPER conscious and aware. The only way to physically and actively make actual changes within yourself and in your life and thus transform, is by being CONSCIOUS of yourself and your patterns. 

2.   Second, you’re going to have to have the COURAGE to go against what you’ve always done and what is comfortable.   You will have to step out of your comfort zone, face some fears, deal with challenges, and make mistakes and fail; all of which requires courage.

3.   Third, you have to CONSISTENTLY do it.  Practice, practice, practice. When you practice applying all that you have learned into your life situations, how you respond to things, how you deal with people, how you control your emotions, and you do this over and over again consistently, you will see it becomes much much easier.  So just do it, and don’t stop. Consistency builds comfort and experience, which builds confidence. Consistency is also essential in reconditioning your behavioral patterns and reprogramming your mind so that eventually your new ways of doing things will be the NORM.

Try not to baby yourself and let yourself off the hook.  Be firm, disciplined, and hold yourself accountable. 

So my 3 keys to implementation are the 3 C’s:

Consciousness, courage, consistency.

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SOME OTHER THINGS YOU CAN DO:

  • Identify the parts about yourself or your life that does not align with your values, beliefs, and truths. What parts about your life need tweaking to align with who you truly are?  Identify those parts and decide how you will move forward.  And make a promise to yourself that you will follow through.

 

I wrote an article on this topic of aligning your truth with your actions, and there is a worksheet that will help walk you through this process. You can download it for free below.

  • Shift your mindset. Through self-honesty and self-awareness, when you recognize that you are not being authentic, or that you aren’t being your best, most conscious self, CHOOSE TO SHIFT. Consciously shift your attitude, shift your mindset, shift your perspective, change your behavior, and do what you know is right.
  • Practice mindfulness. When you actually sit down and meditate every single day, it makes it much easier to deal with life, people, and your emotions consciously.  

  • Stay focused on WHY you want what you want. Let’s say you want to start exercising.  I know, cliché example, but it’s one that gets the point across. First, identify why exercising is so important to you. Then, start exercising. And then two weeks in when old habits and patterns creep up and you start to loose motivation, remember your WHY. Remind yourself of why you are doing this and what it means to you.  If you have a strong enough reason for making the change you want to make, you will keep going.

  • Don’t let fear or limiting beliefs hold you back.  As soon as we start to look within, see the changes we need to make, and build up the courage to do it, this little evil voice in our head gets in the way and tells us that we will fail, we aren’t strong enough, who are we to do this, or that people will judge. This is your inner critic, also known as your limiting beliefs. Whenever you’re on a path of making some positive changes, become aware of how your ego, or limiting beliefs, try to keep you from succeeding. And then, don’t fall for it. Don’t believe any of the negative messages it has to say about you. Keep believing in yourself and continue on your path.

Implementation is probably one of the most difficult things because it requires action on our part. 

It requires that we go out of our comfort zone, act differently than we are used to, go against our conditioned ways, deal with our emotional baggage, drop our agenda, get out of our heads and into our hearts, and that we remain conscious, compassionate, and authentic. 

And this can be hard, especially when we haven’t built the muscle to do it yet.  Which is why, practice will make perfect.

So just to recap the 4 critical aspects of personal growth, self-improvement, inner change, and transformation:

  1. Self-honesty

  2. Self-awareness

  3. Openness and learning

  4. Implementing what you have learned into your daily life

Practicing these 4 key aspects to personal growth are choices you can make everyday no matter how rough your past was or the hardships you've been through.  You can start fresh by making a choice in each moment to be honest with yourself, be self-aware, be open and learn from each experience, and implement all that you have learned into each of life situation. 

I promise that if you make these 4 practices into a habit, you will see accelerated growth within yourself and in your life, and you will be much happier, more fulfilled, and at peace.

  

I really hope that this was insightful and that you learned something new, and if you have any questions or comments, please leave them below or feel free to email me.

Please share this article with others so they can benefit too!

I wish you all the best on your personal growth journey!


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