If you’ve had a vague feeling of things not being quite right, or you feel that life is just passing you by, then you might be ready to undertake your personal development journey.
Many people are happy just going with the flow and have no reason or desire to change – and that is perfect too. However, if you feel there is more to life, or you feel you have more skills as yet undiscovered, then it is the perfect time to start your journey.
What Is Personal Development?
Whilst personal development means different things to different people. It is not always about making changes to your life, but ultimately it is a desire to have a better understanding of yourself, and that itself will make changes to the way you think and feel about yourself and your relationship with the world and others. Sometimes that is enough, and people are happy and feel more confident in themselves when armed with that knowledge.
However, once you have the knowledge, you may decide to use that to change your life. Undertaking your personal development journey will help you discover traits, strengths, and weaknesses and will give you the tools to change those you do not like and accept those you do.
Changing your mindset is the key to a happy life. There may be growing pains along the way, as you assess your life, as well as your strengths and weaknesses, but changing bad habits that may have been with you for a long time will help you grow beyond measure. The key is to move at your own pace and not put pressure on yourself. Let’s see how we can start this journey!
Step 1 – Inner Reflection And Evaluation
Before you start your personal development journey, invest in a journal. This will be a good way to keep a record of where you are at any given time. You can buy a blank journal, use a word document page, or even find a template that will help you on your journey.
In your journal record separate your page into different sections to include different aspects of your life. You can look at any area you feel is relevant. These may include:
In each section write everything positive and negative that you can think of. There may be things that you would like to change that are easy to think of, but for some other areas, it may be more difficult. Give yourself time. Once you feel you have enough to start with, then you are ready to look at where and if changes are needed.
Step 2 – Identify What Can be Changed
Not everything in life is within our control. For example, you may be in a job where one of your colleagues makes you feel inadequate. You will not be able to change your colleague, that is their journey to undertake, BUT you can change the way you feel in response to their behavior – that is within your control and can be part of your personal development journey.
Now you have an idea of the kind of thing to look for, go through your list, and see what is within your power to change. These can be physical, emotional, or spiritual changes. As you progress you may notice something miraculous – you can change the way you think and feel about ANYTHING!
Step 3 – Look At Your Strengths And Weaknesses
This step may be a little more unsettling for you because it is time to lay yourself bare. Make two columns in your journal and title their strengths and weaknesses. Do not hold back. If you have anger issues – write that down. If you easily feel jealous – write that down too. Are you flexible, conscientious, loving, or demanding? Write down as many things as you can and choose which column you think they should go in.
Once you have a list, look at it closely. Most people will have many more on the weakness column than in the strength column. That is the way we are wired – we see the negative before the positive. This is the trait we need to change to ensure your personal development journey is a good one.
Next, create the columns again and put all negative traits in the strengths column, and vice versa. How does that make you feel? Why does it make you feel that way?
Here’s a tip – all negative traits (or weaknesses if you prefer) can be changed into positivity. Every single one. For example, some may see flexibility as a positive trait, and it can be, but if you are too flexible and allow others to take advantage of you it becomes a weakness.
Go through all of the information again and write examples of how and why it can be a strength or a weakness. This exercise may make you feel a little unsettled, and that is good, it shows you are committing yourself to look at yourself properly and once you do that you can make changes
Step 4 – What Do You Want To Achieve?
Now, you are ready to define your goals and set out what you want to achieve. The best way to start with this is to focus on what you will find easier to achieve, or there may be something that urgently needs changing. For example, you may have realized that you are not happy in your current job, or it no longer meets your needs.
One of your goals, in this case, would be to look for another job that will suit your needs and skill set. Your goal will need to be realistic. You cannot really decide to get another job the very next day with a salary of 900,000 per annum. This goal would be unrealistic and is likely to set you back and make you feel despondent when you do not achieve it.
Instead, focus on what you can achieve. For example, update your CV, your skillset, and your experience. Look at your strengths and weaknesses again and see how they relate to what you would like to do with your working life. If you feel you do not have the relevant skill currently, then look at ways you can obtain that skill or experience. There is always a way. The first step starts with you.
Step 5 – Review, Refine, And Update
Once you commit to your personal development journey you will invariably want to review your progress. See what you have achieved or changed and review what you still want to change. Your goals and aspirations will change as you change. You will also find you can add more strengths and weaknesses as you become more aware of yourself. Make sure you set milestones so you have a checklist against which you can measure your journey.
By reviewing your progress or your list regularly, you will feel you are actively moving along your personal journey. This not only encourages you to continue but also gives you the opportunity to make any changes to your plans.
There may be times when things slide for one reason or another but do not let this deter you. Personal development is a continuous journey of ebbs and flows and you can always change. After all, your personal development journey is all about having a better understanding of yourself, your needs, and the changes you want to make.