The key to achieving anything in life is to continue on a path of personal development and self-improvement. In fact, human beings are almost put on this path from the day we’re born. We start off as babies, but quickly learn how to do new things and improve ourselves. This starts with crawling, walking, learning how to speak, how to count, etc. We’re even sent to nurseries and schools where we continue to develop different aspects of our intelligence. This continues all the way through until we’re adults, but then the cycle stops for some people.
When you get a job, you can become guilty of getting comfortable. You no longer look to improve yourself, and you’re happy to just get your paycheck and move on with life. If that’s genuinely what you want in life, then fair enough. However, most of us are unfulfilled, and this is characterised by the constant feelings of anguish at work. You’re not happy with your job and you wish you could do something better, something you’re passionate about!
Well, you can unlock all sorts of new opportunities if you learn the keys to personal development. Develop yourself as a person and professional, and you’ll be capable of achieving just about anything. How can you do all of this? Well, you can start by reading this guide:
The first step on the path to a better you is understanding why you need to do this. Effectively, there aren’t many wrong answers to this question. As long as you want to do this for yourself, that’s fine. Issues arise when you’re looking to change yourself for the benefit of others. Don’t do this. It’s never a good idea to embark on this journey if you’re doing it to keep someone else happy. You’ll start resenting yourself even more and may end up in a worse place than you started!
How do you know if you’re seeking personal development for yourself? It’s simple: you have a goal in mind. Maybe you want to gain a new qualification, start a new job, or open a business? Anything along these lines means you are in it for yourself, not to please others.
When it comes to helping yourself improve, the ideas of visualisation and manifestation work really well. Some of you might be dubious as these things are often linked to ideas of spirituality. Ironically, that’s because a lot of ‘spiritual’ people like to use these terms and talk about them in the wrong way.
Realistically, visualisation and manifestation are all about picturing and believing in your goals. You write down your goals, write down things you want to achieve, then imagine yourself achieving them. The misrepresentation of these concepts comes when people act like spiritual forces help your dreams come true. In reality, the only way to actually see your development is to act.
As such, these ideas work by almost creating a positive self-fulfilling prophecy. In psychology, the idea of a self-fulfilling prophecy is that your beliefs end up dictating outcomes. Usually, it relates to negative feelings and emotions.
For instance, if you get up every day and think ‘today is going to be terrible,’ there’s a high chance your day will be bad. Why? Because you have this mindset drilled into you that it will suck, so all of your emotions are geared around this. You only notice the bad things, and you might act in certain ways that cause bad things to happen.
So, manifestation and visualisation work in the same way, but positively! If you believe that things will happen, there’s more chance of you acting to make them happen. It’s almost like flicking a mental switch in your brain.
On the topic of visualisation, one excellent way to put it into practice is to create a pathway. This is also known as a mind map, but the concept is that you write down key things you want to achieve, then link them together. It’s almost as though you’re creating stepping stones towards your ultimate goal.
Doing something like this can really help as you break things down into more achievable goals. The goal of starting a business seems daunting, but it’s much easier when it’s broken down and you see the path to follow to reach it. How does this relate to personal development and self-improvement? Well, the stepping stones are usually things that you have to do to reach your end goal. It can mean learning a new skill, gaining qualifications, etc.
Ultimately, a pathway/mind map is all about giving yourself goals to tick off on your journey. Now, you can focus on doing things to ensure you achieve all of these little goals and continue on your personal development voyage!
Up until this point, you might be feeling super confident. You’ve got a plan, you’ve visualised it, and you’re ready to improve yourself. The hard part is actually putting it into action. How do you ensure that you will stick to this plan and continue improving every single day? It’s actually quite simple: aim to improve a small bit every day. This is often theorised as the Kaizen effect, and people like James Clear have dubbed it the 1% rule. In essence, your goal is to be 1% better today than you were yesterday.
Initially, this sounds confusing. How do you quantify a 1% improvement? However, it’s far simpler than you think. A 1% improvement on yesterday can be going online and researching different courses. The next day can be creating a table of the best courses and comparing them. The day after that you might sign up for a paid course or try online learning for free. You see, you’re cumulatively improving day after day because you’re taking things a step further than before.
Of course, this example is based on someone that might be keen to learn a new skill. It’s actually a great example as it demonstrates how far you can break things down each day and still improve.
The biggest problem in self-improvement and personal development is that people aim too high, too soon. You try to make drastic improvements right away when the better approach is to be slow and steady. It’s well worth writing down the quote about being 1% better than you were yesterday. Hell, stick it up on your wall as a constant reminder if you have to!
Lastly, the true key to personal development is constantly adjusting your goals. Once you’ve achieved what you set out to achieve, adjust your goals to something else. Again, this helps you continuously improve as a human being. It ensures you are always at the top of your field and continue to grow your knowledge.
Most people reach a goal and then stop. You see this with a lot of university students – they graduate, get their degree, then don’t know what to do. Some people won’t achieve or see any personal development for years after this point. Why? Because they achieved their goal and have nothing else to focus on. Always readjust and come up with new goals and aims to develop as much as possible.
This guide should help you understand the basic concepts behind personal development and self-improvement. It’s never a good idea to settle and get too comfortable. If you want to achieve your dreams, you should always be on a progressive path of self-improvement.