01/06/2016 10:49 EST | Updated 01/06/2017 05:12 EST

Personal Growth Work In 2016? It's Worth The Effort

strong confidence woman open...

The new year, 2016, has just begun, and you'd think that everyone wants to put their best foot forward, but I've been noticing how reluctant people are, these days, when it comes to their personal growth. The opportunity to do this kind of work can be handed to them on a silver platter, and they'll shy away from it. I've even seen this happen when they have a trained, experienced therapist there to guide and support them.

I've recognized a number of factors involved in why people avoid doing their inner work. The good news is that these factors don't have to prevent us from creating a better life.

It's clear that change is scary. People become attached to the status quo and are fearful of the unknown. They'd rather stay with the devil they know, even if it's the unhappiness devil, than venture into uncharted territory, even if it might be the best place on earth.

Many people have a great fear of confronting their own demons. It can be painful to face our personality quirks, shortcomings and mistakes. Sometimes, we'd rather avoid looking at ourselves, than face our flaws and errors and work with them in our process of change.

We're changing all the time, either for the better or for the worse. If we take responsibility for ourselves, and do our inner work, we're much more likely to make positive changes than negative ones.

It's also daunting to imagine how much energy it might require in order to change. We envision months or years of grueling work on ourselves, and have little sense of what the outcome could be. It just doesn't seem worth all the effort.

The thing is though; change is a fundamental reality of life. We're changing all the time, either for the better or for the worse. If we take responsibility for ourselves, and do our inner work, we're much more likely to make positive changes than negative ones.

If the inner critic is loud in your head, every time you identify a problem area in your thoughts or actions, it gives the critic ammunition to use against you.

But, if you develop self-compassion, you can look at yourself honestly, identify your counter-productive thoughts and actions, and make the changes that will allow you to be happier, healthier and more successful in your life.

Change requires work, and in this era of "quick and easy" everything, we've become averse to expending effort, even on a worthwhile goal.

Many kids think that they should get an excellent mark, just for showing up in class; many workers expect a great evaluation, even if they practice "presenteeism;" many parents think that all they need to do is provide their child with the basics of survival, and nothing more.

It's an unfortunate attitude, because everyone I know who's happy and successful in their life has put a lot of time, energy and effort into initiating and maintaining their achievements.

Whether it's doing well at school, building a fulfilling career or raising a healthy, well-adjusted child, it takes an investment of effort over a period of time to achieve this success and hold on to it.

If you're unwilling to do the work, your attitude is self-defeatist. Your reluctance to roll up your sleeves and do what has to be done is probably what's holding you back from getting what you truly desire in life.

When it comes to personal growth, it's essential that you take responsibility for yourself, muster up your courage, and devote yourself to the process. You'll have to face your fears, and make a commitment to yourself for the long run.

Anything good in life takes work and the value of doing your very best should also apply to your personal growth. When you commit to this process, you'll reap the rewards, and discover a level of contentment you previously couldn't have imagined, as well as a degree of success that you probably never dreamed of. I'd say it's definitely worth the effort.

Sign up here for my free monthly wellness newsletter. January is all about authenticity and mindfulness.


11 New Year's Resolution Ideas