Achieving personal growth throughout your entire life is no easy feat — in fact, it’s something that every human struggles with. However, everyone would also agree that you shouldn’t throw in the towel just because things have become difficult. People who are feeling down should understand that everything, even defeat, is temporary. Achieving personal growth throughout your life takes commitment to keep trying and moving forward, and it can be done if you follow the right steps.

Here’s how to continuously better yourself as a person, and what common mistakes to avoid in life.

Understand the value of being a lifelong learner

Most people don’t have the privilege to continue their education after they attend high school, which is unfortunate — it can lead to the belief that your time for learning is over after your 18th birthday. In reality, being in a constant state of learning is something that you should try to achieve regardless of your formal education, and it would be a mistake to think that you don’t have anything to learn beyond what you are taught in school.

Becoming a lifelong learner begins with one simple thing – curiosity. Wherever you go, whomever you encounter, and whatever it is you’re doing, you should be asking yourself “what can I learn from this?” You’d be amazed at the myriad of discoveries you can make in your own life from small, everyday encounters — from pop culture insights to new skills. Everything you learn can help you meet new people or even help you earn a higher income. If you’re struggling with this, take some time to read up on tips for becoming a better lifelong learner.

The next thing to understand is that you can’t achieve all of your personal growth at once. It’s a life-long quest to take, and not something you can just master overnight. Small, incremental steps which build towards overwhelming progress should be the primary focus of your daily life. Achieving things bit-by-bit isn’t always easy, as even the best of us get impatient at times, but understanding that biding your time and doing things slowly but properly is one of the most important aspects of achieving personal growth throughout the entirety of your long life.

Keeping track of your habits is the next step, as you’re likely holding yourself back in a number of ways without even realizing it. Being mindful of your diet, your fitness, and the overall vibrancy of your health will ensure that you stay on a positive track even as you get older is crucial to thriving in your life. Using tools to keep track of your habits is an important part of staying on the right path, whether it’s starting an old-fashioned journal or relying on a smartphone app.

Understand the importance of your environment

Individual agency is important, yet the prevailing structure of your life will constantly shape your experiences and outcomes in many ways that are difficult to perceive. Knowing the importance of the environment you’re in is crucial towards achieving personal growth throughout your life. Surrounding yourself with healthy people who bolster your best traits while helping you overcome the worst aspects of your personality is a big step in achieving your goals.

Be familiar with the kinds of toxic people that you need to cut out from your left root and stem if you want to have a happy existence. Some people merely exist to leech on others, so preventing them from weighing you down with their baggage is an important part of continuously becoming a better person. If you surround yourself with bitter people who are cruel to others, you’ll likely adopt those traits yourself. If you surround yourself with helpful, happy faces who support you then you’ll always have friends to count on in your darkest hours.

If you attempt to deal with everyone else’s problems in life, you’ll end up like FedEx during the holiday season trying to schedule a pickup — tired, stressed, overworked, and unfulfilled. Learn to let other people deal with their own toxicity while still being willing to lend a helping hand to friends who really need it if you plan to have a long, happy, and successful life. Perhaps above all else, know that only you can live this life of yours, and that the path you walk is one you must discover yourself.

Life is long, complex, and full of stressful letdowns. It’s also delightful in innumerable ways and jam-packed with pleasant surprises, though, so it’s important not to allow temporary rainclouds to permanently block out the sunshine. Keep an eye on the distant future, a close track of your personal habits, and your good friends close to you, and soon you’ll be continuously achieving personal growth throughout a wonderful life.