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A Beginner’s Guide To Personal Development
Want to start your own personal development journey? In this blog post, I’m sharing everything you need to know about personal development as a beginner!
Recently I began to, and absolutely enjoyed describing myself as a personal development enthusiast.
I am obsessed with all things personal development, personal growth, self-improvement, self-help, and whatever other names it has been given.
I first got introduced to personal development in 2008. A friend gifted me Brian Tracy’s book “Goals” after hearing me talk about my dreams and life goals.
I went from reading the book in a week to reading other similar books and materials from Jim Rohn, Dale Carnegie, Napoleon Hill, Myles Munroe, Rick Warren, Tony Robbins and every self-improvement work I could lay my hands on.
Before then, I was deeply unsatisfied with my life and feeling inadequate. But I didn’t pay much attention to it since I didn’t really know what it was.
One thing my personal development journey did to me was make me open up to me about myself. I became self-conscious and aware of everything I was doing and how those actions or inactions were going to help or hinder me from reaching my goals.
It made me aware of hidden traits and habits like perfectionism, procrastination, self-doubt, self-sabotage, negative self-talk, people pleasing etc and all the ways I was unknowingly holding myself back.
I didn’t like learning this stuff about me, but it did make me realize the areas I needed to work on if I were to achieve any level of success.
Over time I realized also that it is possible to achieve any level of success we desire. And it’s just a matter of focused work.
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But that’s the thing about personal development– you actually need to do the work (and maybe consistently for years) before you begin seeing results. You have to commit to taking action and apply what you learn to the area you are focusing on changing.
In this blog post, I’m going to be sharing everything I would tell you about starting your own personal development journey. And I mean everything. This is designed to be all-encompassing. Let’s get into it!
Prefer To Listen?
Heres the podcast version of this post for your listening pleasure:
What Is Personal Development?
Since this is a beginner’s guide to personal development, I feel like the best place to start is by sharing what personal development is and more importantly, what it isn’t.
>> Personal development is one of those things that’s very much self-explanatory – it’s an umbrella term that includes any activity that will help you become the best version of yourself that you can be.
>> Personal development is identifying an area of need or weakness in your life that could hinder your growth or success and affect the outcome of your life and deciding to work on it.
>> It is taking action on the lessons you have learned from the resources and materials you have read, watched or heard with the goal of improving your life.
Personal development is a lifelong process of developing oneself.
Misconceptions Around Personal Development
>> One of the biggest misconceptions around personal development is that it is merely a “motivational,” “you-can-do-this,” “feel-good” sort of “crap.”
And that personal development or self-improvement books or materials don’t work. I have encountered many people who think this way.
But I’ll like to say that personal development, self-improvement or self-help, (however you choose to call it) is completely different from motivational and feel goodie talks.
And it only works if you TAKE FOCUSED ACTION. You don’t just a read a self-improvement book for example and go to rest and expect it to work magically, you have to take consistent focused action on what you read before you begin seeing the result in your life.
>> Another misconception I get often is that it is for broken people.
Though many people (like myself) start exploring the world of personal development because they don’t feel like they’re good enough, personal development isn’t about going from broken to normal – it’s about going from normal to extraordinary.
You do not need to be broken to be able to dramatically improve your experience of life and being interested in personal development doesn’t mean you’re broken either.
>> Another thing you need to know about personal development is that it’s not about beating yourself up or shaming yourself over how you’ve acted in the past.
Personal development requires self-awareness, but this self-awareness needs to be non-judgemental for it to be useful. If you’ve been avoiding personal development because you don’t want to feel bad about your past then I have some good news for you – it’s not about that at all!
** Activities of Personal Development
Personal development activities include activities that:
- Improves Self-awareness, self-knowledge, skills and/or learning new ones
- builds or renews identity/self-esteem and one’s mindset
- develops strengths or talents
- improves a career, employability and human capital
- identifies or improves one’s potential
- enhances lifestyle and/or the quality of life and time-management
- improves health and general well being
- improves wealth or social status
- enables one to fulfil aspirations
- helps one successfully initiate and run a life enterprise
- helps define and executes personal development plans (PDPs)
- improves social relations or emotional intelligence
(** From Wikipedia)
Benefits/Importance of Personal Development
Personal development has many notable benefits. I will just list them here and maybe make an elaborate post about them later.
- Increases Self-awareness
- Increases Productivity and improves work life
- Improves mental health, self-esteem and confidence in oneself
- Increases self-motivation, happiness and better relationships
- Increases sense of direction, resilience and purpose
- Improved focus and positive attitude.
How To Do Personal Development
There are SO many ways to do personal development so I thought I’d share a few different entry points to the personal development world.
>> The first entry point is doing a self-assessment and figuring out what area or areas of your life you need to improve or work on.
People enter the world of personal development for many reasons and at different seasons of their lives.
Sometimes it is always upon the realization that their lives aren’t working or something isn’t working the way they want it to. Other times it usually that they got inspired by someone else’s story and decided to make a detour in their own lives to get the same or similar results.
Whatever your reason is, the safest place to begin is self-assessment. This will help you figure out what exactly you need to do to develop your life.
Another entry point is Defining and setting your goals.
Once you’re done with your self-assessment, the next natural thing to do is to define or set goals based on the results of your self-assessment.
Having goals will provide direction and help focus on doing only the things that will help you become a better person.
Define your goals for different areas of your life. Make your goals measurable and time-bound, as this will help you keep track of your progress and know exactly when you have achieved it so as to reward yourself accordingly.
>> Another way to begin your personal development journey is to create a plan for reaching the goals you have set for yourself.
You probably have heard a lot of quotes that emphasize the importance of planning.
This post on creating a plan for your goals will get you off to a great start.
I have created a free monthly goal setting planner that will help you create your plan and take focused weekly and daily actions on your goals. Click the image below to download your copy!
>> The next step is to create a feedback and accountability system.
This will provide you with valuable information on changes you have made, changes you need to make and provide a way for being accountable, discipline and consistent in doing the things you promise yourself to do.
>>Another thing is to create a reward system.
To reward and celebrate yourself for each milestone you reach. Knowing that you get to give yourself a special treat after a week, month or year-long focused work on your goal is a great motivator and encouragement to do the things that are important to your personal development.
Personal Development Tools To Aid Your Journey
There are so many personal development tools out there that will help you get the best out of your journey. But I’ll share the few I use often.
This is one of my personal favourites after books.
If you’re not already an avid podcast listener, you need to become one asap! Podcasts allow you to learn from the very best in the world (in any field or industry of your choosing) while you’re multitasking and doing life. It’s the BEST.
There are so many amazing podcasts you can choose from and I’m working on a post where I will talk elaborately about podcasts and share some of my favourite podcasts!
All you need to start listening to podcast is a podcasting app– there is one for iPhone, there is Google podcast for android which I use and then there is a bunch of other amazing podcasting apps you can find on your play store.
I’ve found that journaling is an incredible tool to increase my self-awareness and see solutions to problems I hadn’t been able to think through (there are A LOT of those).
Magic happens when you put pen on paper. There is something about it that makes it easy for me to open up to me about me, ideas and all and I’m not the only one who finds that!
All you need is a notebook and pen or pencil with a few journaling prompts and you are good to go.
If you’re a book lover, books are an incredible personal development tool.
Reading is a way to begin to learn more about yourself and become the best version of yourself that you can be.
You can get inspired by the success and failure stories of people who have already walked the path you now seek, and their strategy can take you 60% of the way.
And there are tonnes of self-help, personal growth, personal development books that are really helpful.
I dare to add this one here.
It might seem odd to list blogging as a personal development tool. But from personal experience and from the stories of other bloggers I have interacted with, blogging is a great (if not the greatest) personal development tool I have found and used.
You put yourself out there even when you are not an expert or barely know anything about what you are talking about,
you share your progress and what you are learning daily with the world (most of whom you don’t know and may never meet),
you get live feedback and criticism (some of which can be heartbreaking), encouragement and motivation from people who read your blog.
This feedback helps you refine your strategy and all. In the long run, your writing improves and people begin to see you as an expert etc.
I’d say start blogging today if you don’t have a blog.
Attend in person or online seminars, workshops and conferences.
There are a squillion of these in most cities and another squillion that take place online – Google is a great way to find them or just ask the people in your life what they’ve attended.
I have created a free mini email course called Create your Best Life that’s a perfect starting point – Sign up to get started!
>> YouTube videos
Youtube video is also a great personal development tool.
You can watch YouTube channels like Lavendaire, Kalyn Nicholson, Muchelleb, Evan Carmichael, Tom Bilyeu or Actualized.org to get into things. But like with reading books, make sure you don’t just endlessly consume!
Make sure you make the time to apply what you learn to your life.
Jumpstart Your Dream Life Workbook
Most people will do a combination of all the things I’ve mentioned above, but it can be a little overwhelming and hard to know what you’re actually meant to do.
So, I created a personal development workbook that will be a great place for you to get started on your journey.
If you feel overwhelmed by all the different ways to do personal development (there are A LOT, I know) or you’re not sure where you should be putting your energy, this is for you!
It is a part ebook part workbook that covers areas such as self-assessment, goal setting, building good and sustainable habits, accountability, how mindset affects your personal development and how to change it and worksheets for each section to get you into action.
Just click the image to purchase this workbook and get a 35% discount.
What To Expect On Your Journey
When you start your personal development journey, I think it’s important that you don’t expect instant results.
In all honesty, when I’m in the day-to-day of life I don’t really feel like I’m making progress at all. Between one day and the next, I can’t really tell that my self-awareness is increasing and I’m gaining more control over my thoughts and I’m becoming a better version of myself.
It’s only when I look back on the last year, or the last 5 years, or the last 10 years, that I can really see the changes.
So I just want to let you know that if you start your own personal development journey and you don’t feel profoundly different, you’re right on track!
It’s one of those things you need to do with the faith that you are making progress – because you won’t be able to feel it.
But that isn’t a reason not to do it! The changes you can make in your life will be mind-blowing, they’re just hard to catch in the present moment (but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist).
Should You Tell Other People About It?
When I first started out on my personal development journey I felt pretty embarrassed to tell people that I was into this kind of stuff.
I didn’t want anyone to think that there was something wrong with me.
Or that I was weird.
Or that I was into the “motivation” “aspire to inspire before you perspire” “crap.”
Most people around me see self-development or anyone who really preaches about it in some way as a motivational “junk” that keeps being recycled in books, videos and what have you by motivational speakers for the sole aim of making money.
So I didn’t want to be ridiculed by anyone for what I believe was helping me.
And since I wasn’t seeing instant result in my life, I felt I didn’t have any thing to prove that it works if I had to tell someone about it.
If you’ve been hiding your interest in personal development stuff, you’re not alone!
As I mentioned before, it’s NOT for broken people. But that doesn’t stop a lot of us from fearing what other people will think.
So this is official permission for you to learn about this stuff in secret if that’s what you need.
Though I have to say – I’ve created some incredible friendships because I shared my interest in this stuff. So I do encourage you to mention it to people when you can muster up the courage – there are a surprisingly large number of people out there who love this stuff too!
How Personal Development Is Helping Me
In the personal development world, people have ‘breakthroughs’.
And this is what makes it all so addictive!
A breakthrough is when you make a dramatic discovery about yourself or your life – usually something that has been in a blindspot until that moment.
These breakthroughs allow you to have complete shifts in perspective and change the way you behave at a fundamental level (no willpower involved), which is why they’re so amazing!
Over the course of my personal development journey, I’ve had some HUUUGE breakthroughs about both myself and my life.
What led me to personal development was a feeling of deep inadequacy.
No matter what I achieved or how many people were encouraging me, I never used to feel as though anything I did was good enough.
I never really used to feel that I was good enough for anything. I failed constantly at nearly everything I attempted (even though people who know will say otherwise).
I never felt intelligent enough, beautiful enough or felt like I was someone people wanted to have in their lives. There was no such thing as confidence with me and my self-esteem was nothing to write about. Negative self-talk, self-doubt, procrastination, perfectionism, where all things I constantly (and maybe secretly) struggled with.
Personal development has not only helped me see myself as the intelligent, beautiful, capable person that I am
but it is allowing me to become so much more aware of myself, begin to get (more) control over my emotions, stick to healthy habits, create my fab life and experience life in a completely new and empowering way.
I really want you to get started on your journey that is why I have created this free course for you– sign up here to join
and also purchase the workbook I mentioned earlier (You get 35% off the actual price if you purchase it now).
It’s one thing to read a blog post like this and feel all inspired to change your life, but it’s another thing to actually change it.
If you haven’t already, make sure you
- download a podcast app today and begin listening to a podcast,
- Subscribe to the YouTube channels I suggested above and begin learning from these guys,
- Sign for the free course,
- Purchase and download the workbook
- because they will help you put everything you’ve learned into action!
HAVE A QUESTION?
I have created a facebook group called the Fab Life Community where we’ll be chatting about all things personal development and all the things that hinder our personal growth and sabotages our journey and I’ll be available to answer any questions you have about personal development and how to get started.
We will also have monthly challenges to keep you working on your goals. You’ll also be able to hear what others are doing and read my answers to questions you didn’t even know you had!
Make sure you join the FLC to join in on the discussion.
So there you go – a beginner’s guide to personal development. I hope you found it helpful!
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