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!
Henry Ford, one of the most influential men in history, once said, “Whether you think you can or you can’t, you’re right.” He believed that the largest obstacle people faced, the obstacle that kept them from realizing their potential, were themselves. Now coming from your average Joe these words may have little meaning, but as I’m sure you will agree, Ford’s success gives those simple words a great deal of credence. By eliminating the words “I can’t” from his vocabulary, he created one of the largest empires in the world.
Self-limiting beliefs are huge obstacles to success. Recognizing these self-imposed limitations is the first step to overcoming them, allowing you to reach any goal you wish. Below are the 4 most common self-limiting beliefs:
1. Failure Lasts Forever
Failure can stop people in their tracks. They allow a lone setback in life to define who they are and stop them from realizing their potential. But failures do not have to be permanent, and in no way are they representative of who you really are. It’s true that we must live with the consequences of our actions, but learning from these consequences is what separates successful people from the crowd. Use these failures as an opportunity to grow, and move forward confidently with this new knowledge. You are more than your experiences and the lessons you learn, followed by the actions you take in the face of failure, will help you to achieve remarkable results in your life.
2. I’m Not Smart Enough
Many people believe they are not smart enough to make a difference. They feel success is reserved for people in an entirely different class than them—an elite group of some kind—and that greatness is reserved for only them. They feel they have no control or power over their own lives because they just don’t measure up. This is simply not true.
Thomas Edison, the famous inventor, was a common man with very little formal education, yet his belief in himself allowed him to revolutionize the world. Can you imagine what the world would have been like if he believed he wasn’t smart enough or worthy of his calling?
Everybody has something that makes them unique. The trick is to discover your special skills—the skills that make you who you are—and utilize them to create the type of life of which you can be proud.
3. I’m Not Worthy
Unfortunately there are people who believe they don’t deserve to be successful. They think that great success and happiness is reserved for others and regardless of what they do, they feel they will never measure up.
Unfortunately, living life this way seems safe to a lot of people. After all, if they never even try, failure, their worst fear, is not even possible. One can’t, for example, fail to land their dream job if they never even submit an application. Conversely though, using this same thought process, success proves to be unattainable as well. This manner of thinking poisons the possibility for success and positive change, and creates that mediocre existence that most people are constantly complaining about.
You are indeed worthy of success. Believe in yourself and your ideas. They have great worth because they come from you.
4. Nobody Likes Me
Fear of the way we are perceived can be a major impediment to growth. Many of us become paralyzed to action because we’re afraid of the way it will look to others, but this paralysis is completely unwarranted. The majority of people-those same people we worry about-are far too concerned about themselves and their own issues to even notice what we’re doing. If you think about it, concern over the way we are perceived is rather egotistical.
Now there are people who care about you, and thus have a vested stake in the decisions you make, but why in the world would you worry about their perceptions? They are the people who want you to succeed and will unfailingly root for you regardless of the outcome of the decisions you make. They are your support team, people who will be there for you through good and bad. Count yourself lucky for having them in your corner. The rest of the world, however, is too wrapped up in their own daily grind to have time to ponder yours. Don’t worry about how your actions will be perceived by others. Move forward with the knowledge that the people that matter to you will support you in everything you attempt.
Looking for a few good things to say to yourself? Here are 21 Positive Self-Talk Affirmations.
Done beating yourself up? Here are 66 Ways to Lessen Stress and Feel Happier.