When one thinks about development, what comes to mind? You may be tempted to think if you have an economics background like myself that development only concerns rising Gross Domestic Products (GDP) or economic growth. That is where we have the distinction between developed countries and developing countries.
If we connect this to ourselves individually, then we presuppose that the riches is the indicator of personal development. While true to a small extent, there may be many elements of your life that may be falling apart. This may be happening without you noticing.
You may be successful in your field but your health may be deteriorating. You may find that you don’t find your life fulfilling. Your relationship with your family is going downhill. Something is missing definitely.
You didn’t have a holistic view. You didn’t personally develop.
Personal development involves assessing yourself, identifying strengths and weakness and ultimately working on yourself in order to improve your life.
The need For Self Development
The benefits of personal development are endless.
A few of these benefits include:
- You become self-aware.
- Have a sense of direction.
- You develop a ‘tough’ skin.
- Become more focused and productive.
- You have fulfilment in your relationships.
- Become more confident.
- You take more responsibility for your actions.
Areas for Personal Development
There are many areas of our lives of which personal development can be of great use to. The essence of developing many facets of our lives is to create balance and also ensure that we are well rounded.
These facets are mental, spiritual, physical, emotional and social.
The mental area has to do with developing your mind. This area is largely developing during our childhood and early adulthood through education. However once we are done with school, we fail to keep working on minds.
With regards to the spiritual, this involves your relationship with God. If you want to grow spiritually, then you need to put into place certain practices for this to happen? How many times do you want for your day of worship before you have fellowship with your Maker? Do you show love to others? Do you serve? These are three questions you can reflect on as begin assessing your spiritual side.
The physical facet has to do with the wellbeing of your body. This is important because if you are unwell, then you cannot function very effectively in whatever capacity you find yourself. Do you eat a balanced meal? What is your sleeping like? Do you exercise?
The emotional aspect involves dealing with your emotions. This includes nurturing good emotions such as happiness, patience and perseverance as well as controlling negative emotions such as envy, anger and jealousy.
The social aspect involves our relationship with other people. These people include family members, friends, co-workers, employers and even strangers. Are you keeping up with your family members? Do you know their birthdays? Are making an effort to meet new people? These are a few things to assess when it comes to your social life.
Steps To Starting Your Personal Development Journey
1. Know yourself/Self-diagnosis.
“Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.” – Aristotle
The first step to personal development is knowing yourself. I am not talking about your name, age or occupation here. I am talking about your strengths, your weaknesses and your ambitions.
Don’t limit yourself to only these few things I have mentioned. The areas mentioned above should only serve as a starting point. Remember to make it as holistic as possible by looking at all areas of your life such as the mental, physical, spiritual, emotional and social.
You will have to have to ask yourself questions as you make a self-assessment. Do well to jot down the questions and answers to your questions in notepad. You will need it for review purposes.
Doing this self-assessment may seem daunting and time-consuming but you don’t need to do it all in one day. Take as much time as possible to do an effective self-diagnosis.
2. The Personal Development Goals
“Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.” – Tony Robbins
You have done the self-analysis. Good job. Hopefully, you have been able to identify your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.
Now you have to set personal development goals. This is to give you a clear vision of what you want to do. You don’t want to be doing anything and everything. You want to be doing the right things for you.
It is also important that your goals must be tailored to your self-analysis. This helps to eliminate or avoid misplaced priorities. This implies that if your most pressing problem is that you are not making enough money. Then you should set a goal to make more money or to find an extra source of income. The point here is that you want to prioritize your goals and tackle them in that manner.
How do you set the goals in the first place? Write solutions for your problems or weaknesses. For example, if from your self-analysis, you realized that you are overweight then you set the goal to lose weight. Another example if you haven’t been reading then you set the goal to read a book a month.
Finally, you need to distinguish between short term goals and long term goals and give yourself a deadline to complete them. This will help you to deal with procrastination.
3. The Personal Development Plan
“Setting a goal is not the main thing. It is deciding how you will go about achieving it and staying with that plan.” ― Tom Landry, Hall of Fame football coach.
To able to achieve your goals, you need a plan.
The essence of planning is to help you identify resources you may need to accomplish a goal. For example, if your goal is to be fit, you will need to identify what personal gym equipment, you may need.
Additionally, you will be able to identify alternative means of accomplishing your goal. This helps you to choose the best solution for you. Let’s go back to the example of your goal being to become fit, you can choose to do it on own, join a gym or hire a personal coach to assist you. Knowing the available options brings flexibility and comfort.
“Learn from the mistakes of others. You can’t live long enough to make them all yourself.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
Whatever goal you want to achieve, others have tried to do it before. Some have succeeded while others have failed. It is important to learn the lessons of such people. Therefore, seek the advice of others when you are making your personal development plans. You want to avoid making the same errors others have already made.
4. Align Your Actions
“Just remember, you can do anything you set your mind to, but it takes action, perseverance and facing your fears.” – Gillian Anderson
Why did you go through the trouble of self-diagnosis? Did you set personal development goals, why? Why did you make a plan? You have begun the hard work so continue. Get up. Act. Change. Make positive steps instead of procrastinating.
As you take action, you will have challenges. It is imperative that you don’t give up when faced with these difficulties. Take your time. Take heart. The setbacks will develop your character when faced with other difficult circumstances because you know you can get through them.
I will conclude this piece by recommending that you follow these steps if and only if you are serious about personal development.