Personal development is important, as it lets you take control of your life and focus on being the best person you can be. Whether you’re trying to help your career, relationships, or well-being, personal development gives you the tools and ideas to improve yourself in those areas and so much more.
Follow this beginner’s guide to getting started with your own journey toward becoming the best version of yourself.
What Is Self-Development?
Self-development is about taking responsibility for your actions in order to realize your goals. It’s about harnessing your unique set of skills and energy as you navigate life’s challenges.
By learning how to take care of yourself and put your needs first, you can avoid burnout and develop an inner confidence that allows you to assert your voice.
By taking care of yourself and developing your skills, you'll be better equipped to deal with life’s challenges and help others in need. Ultimately, self-development empowers you to set goals and achieve them.
How Does Self-Development Differ From Self-Help?
Many people confuse self-development with self-help, but they are two very different concepts. Self-development is a lifelong process that focuses on improving your mental health, finding and achieving your goals, learning how to manage stress more effectively, and more.
Self-help is more of a one-time solution; you read an e-book, listen to an audio program, or attend a seminar and then you're done. Self-help is more focused on having the tools to help yourself.
While self-development focuses on lifelong progress, self-help focuses on a specific problem and (often) promises immediate outcomes.
Self-help tools and books can be useful in personal development.
On their own, self-help techniques aren’t enough for a sustainable personal development plan. You need more than just tools and techniques. You need actual goals, positive habits, and a strategy for how you’ll achieve those goals and habits.
How Can I Start With Self-Development?
There are several ways to get started with personal development.
Self-development is an ongoing process.
A great place to start is with reflection and identifying the parts of your life you want to change and uplevel. This can include relationships, health, finances, career, hobbies, or anything else that is important to you. Then set goals to improve in these areas over time.
Maybe you start with a self-help tool to overcome a problem, obstacle, or situation in your life. As a result of that, you discover something about yourself – a dream, a talent, a characteristic that you want to develop.
Once you’ve decided on a goal or two – whether it’s learning how to ask for a raise at work or saving more money – take time each day to reflect on how well you are doing towards achieving it and make adjustments accordingly.
What if I have failed in the past?
Failure doesn’t matter. In fact, it is part of the process.
What matters is that you learn from your mistakes and move on. Every single human being on Earth has experienced failure, yet very few of us are willing to talk about it openly. Why? Because we feel ashamed by our failures and don’t want people to judge us for them.
The truth is, though, that every time you fail at something there is an important lesson waiting for you in its ashes… if only you’re brave enough to seek it out!
What are my risks if I fail?
If you fail now, what does that mean? Well, it could mean that you need a different direction. It might mean that you’ve reached your end goal and aren’t moving forward because your interests have changed. And yes, it could very well mean that there are other factors at play here and maybe you need to address what they are.
Whatever those factors are, there’s only one way to find out: through hard work and perseverance.
If you fail now, then you get up again.
You readjust your path and move forward toward success. That’s really all there is to it!
But if you don’t address these things now, you might not even have a chance in future endeavors because these problems could rear their ugly heads at any point along your way.
How do I make sure my motivation lasts?
Motivation alone is not enough. While it’s good to have a clear picture of your future, you should also have a plan on how you will get there. Without a plan, motivation is easily lost and can be hard to reclaim. With a solid plan in place, motivation will come more naturally—and even if it doesn’t, you’ll at least know what steps you need to take next and why.
How To Create A Personal Development Plan?
There are several options – you can work with a personal development coach, mentor, or join together with other growth-minded individuals to do that work together.
If you are going to do it on your own, you'll need a clear goal that is within your reach, and a means for measuring your progress. You can check in every day, week, or month. You can use pen and paper or build tools into your life like habit trackers or apps that motivate you and help you keep focused on your goals.
How Will I Know When I Have Completed My Personal Development?
Personal development is a lifelong exercise to improve yourself on all levels—intellectually, emotionally, socially, and spiritually. Simply put, if you are not growing as a person then you are actually regressing in some aspects of your life.
Your personal development journey will never end. It will continually be refined to allow you to reach your next level, goal, or aspiration.
If you are constantly evolving and improving yourself then you are on your path of personal development. It’s not a set plan with a beginning and an end, but a continual series of steps along your life's journey.
Personal Development is a Journey Without a Final Destination
While personal development doesn't immediately start when we are born and we all enter our journeys at different points, once you start, it doesn't, or shouldn't, end.
There is no right or wrong to your personal development journey. It will have twists and turns and ups and downs. The goal is to keep moving forward and toward your highest self.
You now have an idea of what personal development is, it’s time to get started. Start with baby steps and focus on one thing at a time until you get into a regular routine. You will be surprised how quickly your mindset shifts. Before you know it, you will be on your way toward new opportunities and experiences.
It won’t happen overnight. As long as you keep going, there is no limit on where your journey will take you.