The Ultimate Guide To Personal Development And Self-Improvement

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personal development
The Ultimate Guide to Personal Development and Self-Improvement
Remember when you were a child, and your parents told you to “make a wish upon a star?” They said that if you look at a star that is millions of miles away and wish hard, it will come true.

Your parents knew it probably wouldn’t happen just because you wished for something. But there is something to the idea of “What a person thinks in his or heart, so is he.”

If you dwell on something long enough and you want it badly enough, you can empower yourself to reach your goals or at least to stay focused and on the right track. But first, you have to know what your goals are for personal improvement.

Many people are confused about what they should do or what path they should follow to be successful. In this article, we will look at everything it takes to brainstorm, plan, and reach your goals so that you will know you are on the right path as the new year begins.

What You Will Learn:
  • What is personal development?
  • How to Set Attainable Goals and Stick to them?
  • To Thine Ownself Be True?
  • Do I need training?
  • What is true Self Development about?
  • Career vs. Family?
  • How do I develop my personal development plan?
  • Which personal development courses should I take?
  • How do I avoid distractions and focus on what is important?
  • Where do I find courses to take to improve myself?
  • Do you like yourself?
  • Reality Therapy for Beginners
  • General Plan for Self Improvement that Anyone Can Follow
  • The Results

What is personal development?

Personal Development

This is a general term that includes many different aspects of a person’s life. It often includes life goals, as well as short and long-range goals.

It can include developing as an individual in one’s career, relationships, and feeling of self-worth and obtaining a sense of individual empowerment.

All of these things are worthy aspirations, and we hope to set you on the right path through this article.

How to Set Attainable Goals and Stick to Them

Goal-setting is an important part of achievement and self-actualization. As the old saying goes, “if you don’t know where you are going, how will you know when you get there?” Write down your goals for the coming new year and think about where you want to be a year from now.

How will you measure your progress?

Writing down specific but attainable goals will ensure that you will have some degree of success right away. This will then encourage you to reach even higher goals. Always have a specific goal along with a timeline as to when you can reasonably expect to achieve your goal.

Then move onto the next goal. This will keep you focusing on the most important things so that you will continuously be improving yourself.

To Thine Ownself Be True

William Shakespeare once said this in one of his most classic works, “Hamlet,” to illustrate the importance of being honest with oneself regarding their life, abilities, and challenges in life. The rest of the quote goes like this, “And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man.”

So the idea of being honest with yourself, in Shakespeare’s opinion, also traversed to one’s relationships with others. In other words, if you are honest with yourself, you will be honest with others, and your relationships will be of higher value because honesty and trust are at the basis of them.

In the work world, when you have a high work ethic, expect the highest degree of success from yourself, and strive for success, employers will want you on their team. This can lead to even more significant success in your work life, as well.

Do I need training?

Whether or not you enrol in a training or self improvement course is up to you. But doing so may help you to get a better grasp on your personal goals and help you to reach a higher level in life.

Sometimes employers send their employees to such training if they feel it will help them build more confidence or to approach things in a better way.

The goal of employers in sending people to these types of training is to improve the productivity and confidence level of staff, especially sales staff. But attending training can help you in some different and important ways. Courses on this topic can be found on many online learning portals.

Before you sign up for self-improvement training, ask yourself why you want to take a course in development and what you hope to gain from it. This keeps you focused on what is important to you as you take notes on the course or webinar so that you will find ways to apply it to your life.

What is true Self Development about?

Psychologists use the term “self-actualization” or self development to refer to the idea of developing oneself to their full potential. Many early theorists believed, including Maslow from which the idea of “self-actualization” is found, that people are never pleased until they reach the top level of needs known as “self-actualization.”

The bottom rungs of the famous Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs include things like survival and physical needs (at the bottom), followed by safety needs, love and belonging, and self-esteem.

Personal Development

Maslow’s Hierarchy table has influenced many teachers in public school systems, and it has often been used in public and private school settings to plan lessons that help improve one’s access to physical needs by skill-based learning, as well as love, safety, and belonging needs of individual students.

Most teachers and administrators believe that, if these more basic needs can be met, a person can start reaching for higher levels of achievement in self-actualization.

Self-actualization: Finding your True North

True self-actualization doesn’t happen overnight. It doesn’t happen when one graduate from high school or college, start a new job, gets married, or any other “life event” that is considered to be a milestone in one’s life.

These things are important, and they shape one’s feeling and impression about themselves, but they are not the cause of one’s self-actualization. Why not? Because self-actualization comes from within a person, not from their environment.

Extrinsic vs. Intrinsic Factors

Another important point to address is the fact that there are extrinsic (external) factors as well as intrinsic (internal) factors. Both of these factors influence a person’s sense of self-worth. But external factors are not what helps a person improve. That comes from within. It is the inner drive and motivation of a person, not the environment, politics, or any other external factors, which create success in someone’s life. In other words, it is up to you to improve yourself!

Common extrinsic factors include the amount of money someone has at the time, the political environment, society, the economy, or even other’s opinions, natural disasters, and uncontrollable events. Sure, these things influence what happens in our lives. But it is what we do in the end that ultimately influences the outcome.

Intrinsic factors include one’s attitude toward their situation, other people, and the world, their degree of motivation to change, and their willingness to improve their lives. Even among people who are severely handicapped or at a serious disadvantage, the most powerful thing that has changed their life has been their willingness to beat the odds and work harder until they reach their goal.

The most important thing to remember about internal or intrinsic factors is the fact that these are things you can control. It is in your hands. You and only you are ultimately in control of your fate!

Career vs. Family: How do I Create a Life Balance as an Entrepreneur?

Sometimes ambitious people can feel a bit overwhelmed in their search for self-improvement and success. But, increasing your productivity should not lead to being obsessed with work.

Personal Development

Even Steve Jobs, one of the most successful entrepreneurs and innovators in the tech industry, had some regrets about being so consumed by his work because it meant he had so life outside of work. Often these types of people create ingenious inventions to share with the world, but they leave little for themselves.

So how do you create a work-life balance so that you don’t get burned out? Here are a few tips:

  • Learn to say “no” to projects that deplete your time and energy and don’t pay off well.
  • Prioritize your time according to the most productive tasks
  • Create a “to do” list each day with no more than six tasks on it.
  • Make sure 60% of your daily time is spent on increasing productivity
  • Take time off when you have achieved your goal and reward yourself.
  • Save time for family and friends and things you like to do

How do I develop my personal development plan?

Everyone needs a development plan that will help you keep on task and improving yourself. But how do you do it? First, write down your priorities. What is most important to you? Is it making more money on your current job, launching a new business, or improving your relationships?

Personal Development

Whatever your priorities are, that is where you should focus your goals for the next year. Then you can revisit your primary goals at the end of a year and decide if it is still the focus of your life.

The ideal plan for improvement should include a set of realistic but challenging goals that force you to strive to be just a little better than before while offering realistic milestones that you can accomplish.

You should also work on your time management and have a schedule where you bring in the most important tasks that are directly related to your primary goals.

Which personal development courses should I take?

The kind of course you take should depend on what you need to move forward in your career, relationships, and life. It shouldn’t be based on what is “trendy” at the time nor should you attend this kind of course or workshop just because your friends are attending it.

Personal growth and individual development are personal and should be planned according to the individual needs that enable you to grow and develop as a person.

Where do I find courses to take to improve myself?

Udemy.com and Lynda.com are popular online platforms that offer a wide variety of online eCourses that you can take at your leisure.

Udemy allows you to purchase a course anytime and some of them are free. One course on self-improvement that we found that you may want to check out is “Unlocking the Power of Permission.” Lynda.com is more oriented toward technical courses such as Coding and Design, but you will find other topics there, as well.

These are only two examples of the plethora of online course opportunities you have today to take from the comfort of your home.

How do I avoid distractions and focus on what is important?

This is one of the most challenging aspects of entrepreneurship as well as personal growth for any individual. Where do you spend most of your time so that it will produce the best results? For this, and many other important questions, it’s a good idea to turn to the gurus of the past. Brian Tracy and Earl Nightingale both had something to say about time management.

Tracy spent a lot of time studying time management (no pun intended). In the video link above, you can listen to 6 tips he has to manage your time better so that you are spending the most time on productivity. He recommends spending at least 60% on the tasks that produce the best result. This will improve your sense of self-worth and energize you to do more because you will know that you are on the path to success.

In the Earn Nightingale clip, you’ll learn what success means regarding not following the crowd. He makes the point that you have to form the habit that others don’t like to do. If the crowd is going one way, you should go the other if you want to be unique and different. He also drives home the point that the “result” is the key that you should focus on every day. Everything you do should lead to a positive result that matches an important goal that you have defined for yourself.

Success is something “unusual” that most people are not doing. It does not mean just having a job. It’s doing universally impactful work. It’s not about the money. It’s about changing the world in your little corner.

Success and self-improvement for you may not mean a million dollar job or company. It may not mean a lot of money in the bank or to be the most popular person in your community or town.

How you define success may differ from the way others do. That’s ok. Those who refuse to follow the crowd are the most successful. Don’t be afraid to do your own thing and think for yourself.

Education is a Lifelong Process

If you take the approach that education is a lifelong process, you will continue to learn new things all of your life. In our day of current technology and lightning-fast communications and internet access, there’s no reason why you cannot keep learning and improving yourself all of your life.

Just set some goals for yourself regarding what you want to do and be in the next five years, then write them down and create a timeline for completion.

Check and monitor your progress as you go so that you will know you are on the right track. Your “To Do” lists and plans are not static. You can always change and adapt your plan to fit new priorities or goals that you develop along the way.

Do you like yourself?

One of the most basic questions you should ask when starting a self-improvement plan is whether you like yourself or not.

It is important to accept yourself and your value as a human being, even if you don’t feel that your life is what you want it to be yet. All of us are in a continual state of flux and moving toward the goal of self-improvement.

There is no perfect person, no one who has it all figured out. Even a multi-millionaire could fail in business next week, next month, or next year. Nothing is sure. But you can develop a sense of stability and security by reminding yourself that you are a talented, worthy individual who will figure it out, even when life throws unique challenges in your path.

Developing Meaningful Relationships that Last

To quote from the famous American movie, “The Dead Poet’s Society,” “friendship, romance, poetry, and love..these are what we stay alive for.” The point the teacher was making in this moving scene as he taught his poetry class was that we have certain career goals and financial obligations that we must meet in life. All of these are important.

But we should also pay attention to the things that make life great like love, family, and friendship.

No matter how great our career lives may become or how big our bankroll is, we won’t find true value and happiness without people to share it with.

What’s Wrong with Me?

It seems like these days young people especially ask themselves, “What’s wrong with me?” They often add statements like, “Why can’t I be like everyone else? Why can’t I have more friends or be more popular?” But if you want to find true meaning in life, you need to look deeper and realize that you may have a purpose that is unique that you must still find.

The search for meaning in a sea of confusion is your ‘true north.’ There is nothing wrong with you if you don’t feel accepted by the crowd. It probably means that you have something special that should be cultivated for greatness.

Reality Therapy for Beginners

Reality therapy is a type of therapy that uses rational thinking to look at “cause and effect” relationships between events.

For example, if you are not getting the job you want, reality therapists would not tell you to go around saying, “that’s not fair,” or “Why can’t I ever win?” Instead, they would empower you to try for another job and another, learn a new skill or start your own business.

Reality training is for people who want to take control of their lives. You can use reality training in your own life simply by following these steps:

  • Set a goal and stick with it.
  • Keep a journal of the things you want to change and go after them.
  • Connect with others who want to change their lives for the better.
  • Choose role models who are a positive influence in your life
  • Be real and true to yourself as well as others
  • Make your life extraordinary; don’t follow the crowd.

Personal Development

Once you learn to accept yourself for what you are, you can feel free to rise up and do more for your workplace, your community, and your world. When you help others achieve their goals, your own goals will be closer to you also.

People help people who radiate energy and a positive light toward others. So don’t forget we are not in this world alone. The more we can influence positive change around us, the more that light will reflect on us.

Self Growth and Personal Improvement

Nothing great happens overnight. It takes time to make things happen. Whether you are starting a new business, beginning a new relationship, or planning a two-week vacation in another country, you can achieve what you want to achieve by following a plan.

Keep in mind, though, that everyone’s situation is unique. Some factors are present in some situations that are not present in others. Therefore, there is never going to be a magic bullet for positive self-improvement.

That being said, keep the following steps handy as you go through your day and make sure you are considering them all. You may be inspired by your new-found sense of control of your life and your life’s goals.

General Plan for Self Improvement that Anyone Can Follow

1. Set weekly goals that you can reach which challenge you to do more than before.

2. Make sure your daily “To Do” list follows your goal sheet so that most of your productive time is focused on achieving your goals.

3. Listen to positive thinking mp3s and videos from the gurus like Earl Nightingale or modern thinking entrepreneurs such as Tim Ferris or Neil Patel. Look at what they have done to reach their goals and take in their podcasts for inspiration.

4. Monitor yourself from time to time, using your journal, your notebook, and any phone apps you use to keep on track. Some great work apps you may try include Hours TrackerEvernote, or Pomodoro Timer. These tools all help increase your productivity time and help you feel you are accountable for your time. This is especially helpful if you work alone.

5. Think about your relationships. What do you do that others respond favourably to? What works? What doesn’t work? Plato once said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” Only by asking yourself these critical questions will you know where your life is headed and be able to direct your ship.

6. Reward yourself for small steps achieved. Psychologists tell us that we all need rewards when we do something useful. Make sure and include small rewards when you have reached a goal you set for yourself. Then implement the next goal in your daily routine.

Make sure you have both long-term and short-range goals that you implement. Keep them close to you every day. Improving yourself means to take a deep inner look at yourself both physically, emotionally, and spiritually to find your true destiny.

Some find this early in life. Others are always searching.

How will I know when I get there?

In closing, think about what you will use as the standard to decide when you get to where you want to be. But also remember that life is not about the destination. It’s about the journey. None of us is perfect. We all make mistakes. It is the ones who pick ourselves up and try again who experience the highest level of success.

Personal Development

Remember, even great entrepreneurs and business owners experience setbacks from time to time. People experience setbacks personally as well.

You may lose someone close to you, get fired from a job, lose a friend.
It’s part of life.

But the winners are the ones who know that no matter what happens, you are a valuable person. You still have a lot to offer others. So get out there and get started.

Give Back

In the end, it is up to us as to what our future will be. We cannot control everything. But we can control how we act, interact, and what we do to influence the world around us.

Remembering that it’s not all about us and that there is a big world out there should keep us in a proper work and life balance. Even Steve Jobs who took a trip to India and was influenced by a priest who reminded him that our time on earth is limited, said in a famous Stanford commencement address, “We are not as important as the work we leave behind.

Someone will always come after us to do something better.” He was referring to the way the world of technology is in a total state of change, but his wise words could be applied to other situations also.

We should try to give of our time, money, and expertise to those who need it.

Remembering that there’s something bigger than ourselves will keep us working on work that is not only important to us, but it is important to the world.

In closing, there is no magic potion for success, no twinkling star that will grant your wish, no “genie in a bottle.” Instead, the power is in your own hands right now. The choices you make, whether you move forward to keep standing still, whether you hold back and launch your dream, will determine your outcome.

The start of a new year is an ideal time, to begin with, your self-development and self growth goals. It’s never too late to be a better version of you!

We know you will do it. Because you are special and no one can be you.

For an extra resource, check out this quick and easy self improvement checklist video to think about when planning your future life.

Remember it’s about the journey. Make it good. Enjoy the ride.

If you have comments or ideas on how you are going to use the information we’ve provided or how you plan to implement your very own personal improvement plan, please comment below. We look forward to hearing from you!

A Seeker Of Life. I Love What I Do, I Do What I Love.

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