Most of us restart our personal development goals early in the year, maybe reading some books and watching a few videos to become a “new me” during this new year. However, when it comes to starting, we tend to struggle on the “how’s” and the “what’s”. So much to learn, yet so much to do this year to recover and rebounce from the after effects of pandemic.
“Old ways won’t open new doors”. The level of one’s agility to personal development would determine the level of success one can achieve.
Fret not, we’re here to provide you some tips and tools to finally get started on your journey to personal development! (and possibly cross out those pesky past new years resolutions) Before we begin, personal development is a constant journey to understand ourselves better and to become a better version of ourselves that may lead to better life satisfaction. As such it is fundamental to be consistent and patient throughout this journey while also not forgetting to be compassionate towards ourselves =]
Where Do We Start In Personal Development?
- Understand and deciding the area you’d like to develop
- Research and read up on the area of interest
- Creating a personal development plan
1. UNDERSTAND AND DECIDING THE AREA YOU’D LIKE TO DEVELOP
As the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche once said, “He who knows why can bear any how”, understanding the reason we want to develop ourselves is crucial in the journey. By knowing your “why”, the “what” and the “how” to achieve will follow automatically. I used to struggle all the time when it came to becoming a better version of myself. The term personal development wasn’t known to me till I started college and attended a class called Personal Development and Leadership. I started out by reading a book called “7 habits of highly effective teens” (the one by Stephen Covey’s son, Sean Covey), and that was when I found my own “why” to develop myself. I embarked on this journey of personal development because I want to change my circumstances. I want to be able to regulate aggression in my family, I want to be able to convey my ideas more smoothly and I want to become more positive towards life.
My journey of personal development is still ongoing to this very day because I found my “why”. By finding your why, it can propel you forward even if it seems tough. Once the “why” is found, we can then move on to deciding which areas we would like to develop. Now there are a ton of areas for us to develop, but we can start by focusing on just one area at a time – Yes, just one area at a time. My early stage journey in personal development was filled with delusions of taking the whole world and becoming an ideal person in a matter of months. So I decided to develop 5 areas at one go! I signed up for the Toastmaster club to improve my public speaking skills, dance classes to keep my body active, and joined an event planning club to develop my planning, leadership, and conflict resolution skills. It all went well for the first week, but I found myself immediately burnt out during the second and stopped everything at once.
I decided to just focus on developing my public speaking skills mainly with dance classes to keep myself active. By focusing on these two, I was better able to learn, polish and develop myself yet still have the capacity to hang out with friends and family. So, picking multiple areas isn’t necessarily bad, but it does take a toll if not paced well enough!
2. RESEARCH AND READ UP ON YOUR AREAS OF INTEREST
It comes without saying that understanding the hurdles and challenges of our journey is essential before we begin mapping out our journey. Thus, reading up and researching is a fundamental step to kickstart out journey. However, research doesn’t have to take hours or days at one go, it can even take up to as short as a few seconds or minutes. Here are some ways we can start incorporating research in our daily lives:
· Listening to self-development podcasts during commute
· Watching short 5-minute self-development videos during breaks
· Read self-development books for 5 – 15 minutes a day!
These few precious seconds and minutes do add up to your knowledge and understanding of the area you’d like to develop. Sometimes, you might even get surprised at how you won’t want to stop after 15 minutes. Not only will you be able to utilize your daily life to its highest potential, but you’ll also start craving for activities like these. Take me for example, I used to listen to podcasts for 5 minutes a day and eventually that was increased to 15 minutes a day on average.
Of course, aside from researching, we can get ideas, concepts, and aspects to develop ourselves better. For example, I decided to read up on this book called Antifragile by Nassim Nicholas Taleb. Remember how I wanted to become more positive in life? Well, I realized along this journey that I don’t take criticisms lightly, so I decided to read up on this book. At first, I was struggling to understand the contents of the book let alone practice it. As time went by though, I began putting some of the concepts and thought processes into practice in real life when dealing with criticisms and feedback. So, it’s not a huge surprise to know reading does provide you with knowledge, now it’s a matter of using our wisdom to practice it.
3. CREATING A PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT PLAN
Now that we’ve gotten our reason, a better idea of the area we are interested to develop, and the knowledge of our area, all that’s left is to put it to action! There are a few tips when it comes to creating a personal development plan which are:
· Listing down and analysing your qualities (SWOT analysis, comfort zone etc)
· Setting up 2-3 main goals to be achieved (SMART goals, DUMB goals etc.)
· Create bite-sized milestones
· Setting up a reward system
As we set up our PDP (Personal Development Plan) we need to first understand what we are good at doing, bad at doing, comfortable doing and afraid of doing. By listing this down, we can save ourselves on tons of avoidable trial-and-error methods and focus on the things we can do to achieve maximum effect.
Next would be to set up goals and milestones for us to achieve. Remember to set achievable and possible goals though. As much as we want to become our ideal self ASAP, we also want to achieve these goals and motivate ourselves further down this journey. By setting up bite-size milestones, we build up confidence to take on the next challenge and hurdle. Last but not least, don’t forget to reward yourself when you do meet your goals! Your personal victories need to and should be celebrated as well!
Personal development is essential in achieving both work and life satisfaction. However, it does feel daunting at times to start. Still unsure on where to begin? Want to learn more in-depth strategies before embarking on your journey? Sign up for our Personal Development Program today where we’ll reveal more in-depth strategies to embark on this essential journey to become a better you in 2022! Click here to find out more!
Written by Bryan Law Chu Zheng,
SHRA Corporate Trainer
Bryan is a member of the SHRA trainer team. He is a major in Psychology with a retail background. He has a deep passion for human interaction and personal development.
You can catch him dancing or playing the uke on a lazy Sunday afternoon.
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