Are you just starting out on your personal development journey and are unsure what to do? Then this series is for you. In this post we’ll go over the foundations (what is personal development, etc.), so that we can explore the specifics later. With this series I hope to help out all of those that, like myself several months ago, feel overwhelmed by the amount of material on personal development online or are otherwise lost, not knowing what to do next.
What is personal development?
Personal development can be defined as the conscious pursuit of growth in all aspects of life. These include health, finances, purpose, relationships, habits, self-awareness, beliefs, happiness and everything in between.
Usually people notice improvements and declines in these areas along their lifetimes, because their circumstances force them to change and grow. Some are more resistant to growth than others, stubbornly sticking to old habits and beliefs and hardly noticing any improvements in their life. This is what I would call ‘unconscious’ people.
A conscious person, on the other hand, welcomes change into their life, creating situations that allow them to grow. They challenge their habits and beliefs regularly and know that there is always more to be learned. From the moment we become conscious (this can take a long period of time, yet one can usually tell when someone just ‘woke up’), we have started our personal development journey. We realize what can be improved in our life and start taking action towards changing ourselves. The journey is not always easy but is very rewarding.
Does this sound like something you feel inclined to doing? Then read along.
How do we ‘grow’?
Growth occurs in a variety of ways. You can grow by learning or mastering a new skill, taking up a new habit, changing your beliefs about reality to make them more accurate and empowering. The best way to make sure you grow, though, is to do something you’ve never done before, especially if it requires a little bit (or a lot) of courage. We call this ‘going out of your comfort zone’.
- Have you been eating the same diet for a long time? You’ll grow by changing it.
- Are you afraid of being judged by others? Do something silly in public and you’ll grow.
- Do you believe in God? Read a book by an atheist explaining why he is an atheist and you will grow, as long as you keep an open mind.
- Don’t believe in God? Well, you know what to do.
Growth is a process. You become aware of a habit, belief, trait, you realize its nature (empowering or disempowering), you make it even more empowering or discard it if it’s completely negative. And then you start over. Gradually you’ll shed attitudes that leave you unhappy and become happier. You’ll find your purpose and start aligning all your actions with it. You’ll learn languages, meet people, and learn to create the life you desire. If you want to, of course (one of the realizations when you become conscious is that your life is your responsibility and you’re the one who controls what happens to you).
Luckily there are several tools you can use to aid you in this process, such as journaling, meditation, 30-day trials (you’ll learn all about them later) and many qualities you can develop which will make everything easier such as courage and self-discipline.
In this series…
We’ll go through the process of beginning your personal development journey. I’ll share with you online resources and books that will help you jumpstart your personal development and keep you on track, and give you some tools (in form of exercises) you can use over and over and which will be very important throughout your journey.
Sounds fun? Then here’s your first exercise/task: commit to the conscious pursuit of personal growth. Said it aloud: “I am a conscious human being and accept full responsibility for my life.” These words resonate with me, but feel free to use your own words to describe your commitment to personal development.
By the way, you just learned you first tool: commitment. Use it when you want to reinforce your desire to do something, and mean it.
How to use this series
I recommend you read one article per day, so you can better digest the information. The posts will be scheduled every three days, so you will have plenty of time to internalize what you learn if you’re following along in real time. You should also do all the proposed exercises, because they will help you understand what I’m trying to convey and bring you one step closer to consciously changing your life and pursuing growth. In fact, if you didn’t do the exercise in the last part, please do so now. It will only take a minute.
Next in the series: Self-Assessment. Here you’ll discover how to accurately figure out where you stand in life and how to use the results to your advantage.