As the world changes, and as we change, the pursuit of self-development has become more crucial than ever. Each day brings us opportunities to navigate the complexities of life, and with those opportunities can come fear and triumph. Pain and joy. Success and failure. These duos, as with all great couples, are a package deal. You don’t get one without the other. And the pleasant experiences are worth the unpleasant ones.
Making your way through the tapestries, the journey towards personal growth is a continuous process that can empower you to unlock something within yourself. I hesitate to call it “potential.” Not because I think you don’t have the potential do great things, experience the beauty and step into who you are truly meant to be-but rather because I think that the word doesn’t do justice what you can be if you turn inward and do the deep work I know you can do.
The significance of this process can not be understated. If you are starting the journey of personal development, you are on the precipice of a transformation that can create someone you don’t even recognize-but in the most glorious way.
Let’s dive in, shall we?
Understand what I mean by personal development
Personal development is a journey aimed at enhancing your skills, knowledge, and overall well-being. It goes beyond acquiring new talents or achieving external success; it involves a deep exploration of who you are as a person. It also involves you making the choice to step into that version of yourself. Finally, it means that it is time for you to let other people see that version of you.
Scary? I know. Worth it? Abso-freaking-lutely.
Keys to unlocking your personal development journey:
- Self-awareness: The foundation of self-development lies in self-awareness. Understanding your strengths, weaknesses, values, and beliefs is essential for personal growth. Take time to reflect on your thoughts, emotions, and actions to gain insight into your true self. Take special care to unravel your thoughts, emotions, values and actions from the people around you. It can be SO easy to take what someone else thinks as truth without stopping to ponder if you think it is actually your truth. This is especially true if it is a person who you admire or look up to. It also is important to note that this can be difficult if you are in a relationship (romantic or otherwise) where the person does not appear to want you to disagree with them.
- Setting Goals: Clearly defined goals provide direction and purpose. Trust me. I have tried doing this without a defined focus. It doesn’t work. You end up not making the progress you want and, worse, being unkind to yourself for not doing so. Break down larger goals into smaller, achievable tasks. This not only makes the journey more manageable but also allows for a sense of accomplishment along the way. This is true regardless of what your goal is. And you can start anywhere. I will give you this example; when I was trying to incorporate daily journaling into my morning, for weeks on end the only goal I had was to reduce my snoozing by one. It had nothing to do with journaling, technically, but it contributed to the goal at large.
- Continuous Learning: Embrace a mindset of continuous learning. This is not to mean formal learning like a class, perse (although it might!) It is more about staying curious and open to new ideas, skills, and experiences. This could be through formal education (see, I told you it might!), reading, or seeking mentorship, each opportunity to learn contributes to your personal development. This could also mean picking up a hobby you have always been interested in or staring a book club with the gal pals on your street!
- Flexibility: Life is unpredictable, and adaptability is a key trait for success. Embrace change, view challenges as opportunities for growth, and learn to navigate uncertainties with resilience and a positive attitude. And if something doesn’t go the way you want it to, that is a lesson in what not to do next time!
Steps for Self-Development:
- Create Plan: Outline your short-term and long-term goals. Identify the skills and knowledge you need to achieve them. Do you want to take up yoga? Which days of the week are you going to do it? How long do you have to dedicate to it? How are you going to incorporate it into your routines or daily schedule?
- Anticipate your needs: Think about your plan and identify where you think things could get in the way of achieving it. Then, try to intervene before they happen. You are not always going to be able to do this in a way that is helpful, but if you know that getting stuck scrolling Instagram will take up your Yoga time-set alarm to put your phone away so you can zen out.
- Realize the Plan: You have to attempt the things you said you wanted to do in your plan. If you never try them, you will never know if they help you, right? So, give it your best shot. Try the ten minute yoga. Try the alarm on your phone. Try the cute new water bottle. Try the workout outfit. Try setting the journal on your night stand. Try. The. Things. If they don’t work, that is what the next step is for.
- Evaluate: Hands down, this is the step you are missing. I know, I know, you have made it this far and you are thinking “Jessica, I have tried all of this before. I still am not doing yoga. I really think I am hopeless.” YOU ARE NOT! When you try to make a change, you have to evaluate how that change is going. You have to intentionally take the time to ask yourself “did that work?” “ did that help?” “did that go well?” You are not going to get it right the first time (apologies to my perfectionists out there). You might not even get it right the first few times. You also might get it right, but then some life change swoops in and it no longer works for you. When you take the time to evaluate how things went, you have a better idea for what to try next time. Or, you might just figure out that your goal was not that important to you anyway.
C-Create, A-Anticipate, R-Realize, E-Evaluate.
Starting a personal development journey can feel scary. It can feel like a time commitment (it is), it can feel like you are going to fail (you might), it can feel like it is going to take longer than you want (it could).
It is still worth it. You know why? Because you are worth it. And making the choice to embark on a journey that is about developing yourself is a tangible act of self-love and self-care.
Join me on this Brutiful Journey to making space for yourself in your own life.