Are you totally happy with your life? It wouldn’t surprise me if your initial response was to ask the question “Is anyone totally happy with their life?” Fair comment. So let me rephrase the question. “Is there any area of your life right now that you are not happy with?” Is that a better question? You may be one of the fortunate ones who can say they are happy in every area of their life. However, I bet you are like most people in our society, who are probably unhappy with one or more areas of their lives.
If that is the case, let me talk to you about personal development. Before I move on it may be useful to offer a definition of personal development. I decided to do some research on the internet and Google the term personal development. I was surprised to find that there were not really that many sites that offered a definition, although there were many adverts promoting personal development. I shouldn’t be surprised because Marketdata a research firm has estimated that the personal development industry is set to grow at a rate of 11.4 yearly through to 2010, to a value of $13.9 billion. “Personal development is the deliberate growth or development of a particular individual to bring out their potential and capabilities making them more aware of their inner feelings, belief systems to become a more conscious, whole or healthy human being”. I know that probably seems like a mouthful but it seemed to encompass my own thoughts about what personal development is. I decided to ask my partner to offer a definition: “Strategies that enable me to enhance my life in all areas” Now I do like this definition because it says what it is, simply and succinctly.
The thing about personal development, is that it means different things to different people. When someone embarks on the journey of personal development, it maybe that they have chosen to improve their health, relationships, career prospects, finances etc. Sometime people talk about the mind, body and spirit, or physical, emotional and spiritual. So how do you get started on the road to personal development? Well, first of all become aware of what you already have in your life and what you are grateful for and then think about what is missing, what do you want, I mean really want. Awareness has to come first, because without an awareness there can be no conscious decision to take action. Becoming aware also means asking yourself different questions and then seeking out the answers. So if your question is “There must be more to life than this?” your mind is already making an assumption that there is more to life and as if by magic you start to see things around you that maybe you did not notice before. Below I have put together my top 10 strategies that I use regularly to keep myself motivated. As a bonus I contacted some of my friends within the personal development field and asked them to give me their top 3 personal development books and created a top 10 list. I hope this helps you to get started.
1. Take time everyday to do something for yourself. This is so fundamental. Many people go through their day giving of themselves to other people, their job etc. and don’t have time for themselves. Even if you give yourself 15 minutes, that is time with yourself to reflect and focus on the most important person in your life, YOU.
2. Read or listen to personal development material. You must find time to learn about personal development to read or listen to positive and inspirational messages. You could use the 15 minutes put by for yourself to read a chapter of a book. If you drive, put in a tape or CD, this is making use of net (no extra time) time.
3. Decide what you really want to do and do it. Often we think about what we want to do and make excuses as to why we can’t do it. The reality is that the time we have taken to think up excuses as to why we can’t do something, we could have done it. What have you been putting off doing? Take this opportunity to do it, clear out the clutter. Once you have done it there is space in your mind to think about other things.
4. Do not be afraid of making a mistake. You will only achieve success from doing. In history many brilliant ideas have come about because of a mistake. Don’t let fear of failure stop you from doing what you want.
5. Do not put off making a decision because you are afraid it may be the wrong one. Nothing is gained by sitting on the fence. So the sooner you make a decision, even if it is the wrong one, the sooner you can make the right one. Practise being decisive.
6. Keep a journal recording your thoughts, ideas, feelings and personal growth. Keeping a journal is a great way of measuring your progress. Looking back at your journey. It is also a great source of material for any projects you hope to do in the future. If one of your dreams is to write a book, why not start with jotting down ideas in a journal.
7. Be flexible and willing to change your approach if things are not working. Sometimes when you set your mind to do something, with a set plan, things don’t always go smoothly. Remember that as long as you are clear about your destination, you can always change your route, it may take you longer, but as long as you get there in the end.
8. Visualise your goals on a daily basis. Better still put up pictures of your goals so that you can see them on waking up and going to bed. Our minds respond better to pictures than words.
9. Get yourself and elastic band and put it around your wrist. Make sure it fits loosely. Every time you find yourself thinking a negative thought pull the elastic band and let go so that it snaps back onto your wrist. Yes, it will hurt. That is the whole idea. Keep this up for the next 30 days and notice what happens.
10. Celebrate your achievements. Award yourself for any progress that you make because you deserve it. Sonia is a Personal Development and Success Consultant. She has been involved in the personal development industry for over 20 years primarily in the public sector. When you visit her website be sure to download the free Confidence Building ecourse and sign up for her success strategies and tools newsletter.
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I really like your tip on not putting off making a decision because you are afraid it may be the wrong one. I think it happens all too often and keeps a lot of people from pursuing their dreams. A great book I’m reading is written by David Fox, M.D. called Comfort Healing and Joy: Secrets to living a magnificent life. It includes exercises that will interrupt the patterns that hold you back and show you how to “discover your bliss” and find true happiness in your life.