Most people would admit that self-improvement is an important goal in their life. Some may even place it at the top of their list. But unfortunately, for many, the process of self-improvement often ends there.
In the busy dealings that make up their lives, most people claim they have neither the time nor the energy to pursue personal development goals. The business of life—school, work, family—becomes the reason why the goal of personal development “dies on the vine.” It doesn’t have to though. Your personal development journey can begin today, and with a little effort you can help jump-start your future. Below are 10 Personal Development Strategies which can help get you moving in the right direction.
1. Self Talk
Positive self-talk is a great beginning for your personal development journey. Listen carefully to that little voice in your head and evaluate the messages. Remember the old saying: “Whether you think you can or can’t, you’re right?” It’s true. You can achieve exactly what you believe you can achieve, so replace self limiting thoughts and beliefs, such as “I can’t” with “I will.” This positive self-talk will help you create a great sense of momentum.
2. Self Inquiry
What’s really important to you? What do you want to achieve and what are the timelines for these goals? These questions are an example of self inquiry using quality questions. Develop a list of questions applicable to your own life and personal development goals, and them take the time to answer them thoughtfully and honestly. Refer back to these questions often to assure you are on the right track.
Whatever it is you want to do, you can be fairly sure someone else has already done it. Take a look at the people you admire and respect. What techniques do they regularly employ that help them become successful? Take note of the way they carry themselves and try to emulate those qualities you find helpful. There is no need to reinvent the wheel.
There are literally thousands of self-help and personal development materials available, both online and in print. Not all will be applicable to your situation, but you’d be surprised at the pearls of wisdom you can find with a click of the mouse or a visit to the library. Turn off the television and use that time instead to educate yourself. Remember that there are people who have been where you are and have reached where you want to go. Find out how they did it.
Everybody needs time to rest and refuel. Reward yourself for all your hard work by occasionally taking a break. Use the time to reflect on your progress—your successes and failures—and create an honest assessment. This will be an important tool when you’re ready to get moving again.
Keeping a log of your progress is vital for personal development, and a journal is perfect for this purpose. Think of your journal like a letter to yourself. Write down all the measures you have employed and techniques you have implemented, and note both the ones that have proved useful as well as all the ones that have failed. This is a great way to combine record keeping with creativity.
Have you ever heard the saying, “If you can see it, you can be it?” I’m sure you have, and that quote aptly summarizes the technique called visualization. In simple terms, visualization is a technique in which you picture yourself being successful in various situations. Instead of fretting over an upcoming exam, for example, picture yourself calmly answering the questions with confidence and certitude. Picturing success can have a calming effect and will enable you to perform at your best.
8. Goal Setting
Goal setting is widely accepted as the most important technique for self improvement. Setting measurable goals and objectives will help you define exactly what you want, and serve as a plan for how you will get there. Remember to create timelines for achieving each milestone. This will help keep you focused and on track.
9. Learn from Failures
Everybody would like to avoid failure, but unfortunately that’s not possible. Regardless of your efforts and energy, there are going to be times when things do not work out. Do not let these minor setbacks discourage you. Learn from your mistakes and use these lessons as an opportunity to grow.
10. Reward Yourself
Take some time to reward yourself for all your efforts. Take a vacation, go to a movie or visit friends. Celebrate your success!
Most brain specialists believe that our mind is separated into two distinct parts: the conscious and the subconscious. The conscious half is the one that is aware and in the moment. It’s the part of the brain that makes decisions and provided focus for real-world tasks. The subconscious, on the other hand, is the portion of the brain that operates under the surface. People such as hypnotists suggest that the subconscious part of the brain is the key to creativity and innovation.
Sigmund Freud first introduced the theory of the conscious and subconscious mind. The conscious mind, said Freud, consists of those thoughts people have in the present and is responsible for a large part of how we behave. The subconscious, however, was responsible for the primitive drives and impulses that sometimes govern our thoughts. He believed these thoughts out of direct reach of the conscious mind, working independently to guide our thoughts and actions during times when we are not consciously aware. Naturally this theory alarmed many people, for according to Freud, people are unable to control some of the actions initiated by the subconscious mind.
Techniques for tapping the subconscious mind can be valuable in helping people maximize their potential. It is widely believed that conditions such as anxiety and depression stem from uncomfortable thoughts about events that happened in the past and that the only effective way to treat these illnesses lies in bringing these thoughts to the surface. Freud introduced a process called psychoanalysis in which he sought to identify troubling, hidden thoughts within the mind and bring them to the surface through therapy. To cure the person, he thought, we must first discover what is happening below the surface.
Other techniques have sought the same result as Freud’s psychoanalysis, and more are being developed each year. Here’s a few of the most widely used techniques for tapping the subconscious:
Hypnosis attempts to tap the subconscious mind through a process called hypnotic induction. It is initiated by a series of suggestions, either administered by a hypnotist or self administered, that guide individuals to a greater state of awareness.
Affirmations are positive thoughts that individuals repeat to themselves continually to effect a change in their mental state. For a list of 21 Positive Self-Talk Affirmations click here.
Autosuggestion is a process by which an individual trains the subconscious mind to believe something, or systematically schematizes the person’s own mental associations, usually for a given purpose. For instance, autosuggestion thoughts such as “it doesn’t hurt,” can help train the mind to cope with pain.
There are many more of course, but the above are some of the most widely used. Another method that is gaining popularity is Subconscious Restructuring, which is a conscious process to gain control of your subconscious mind.
The key is to remember that there is much more going on than you are currently aware of. Hidden thoughts and resentments can not only cause a great deal of stress, but can lead people to act in ways that are harmful or inappropriate.