It’s amazing how many of us go through life on autopilot. When you don’t know what you specifically want from your life or which direction to go, you are probably just spinning your wheels and remaining stationary. If you want to progress and move forward, making a plan is crucial. A map known as a personal development plan can help you to organize your thoughts, view your strengths, clarify your desires and set goals to achieve them. Putting your thoughts and wishes into a formal plan and writing them out is an amazingly effective way of getting what you want. Use the following strategies to map out your self-growth goals for the coming year and watch your life begin to move on track.
Reasons for a Personal Development Plan
Writing a personal development plan just works. It’s definitely worth a try, even if you’re skeptical. Mapping out your goals and desires for life puts things into perspective. It gives you clarity regarding where you want to go within the next year. Starting with a year at a time is a good way to practice this mapping concept. You can later make a five or ten-year plan. As you’re developing your plan, you will begin to focus on the “why” of your goals. Keeping your motivation regularly in mind will push you further when you think about quitting or settling in life. Your personal development plan provides some structure in an uncertain world. You have a map for approaching each day, and you can mark your progress as you go along.
About a Personal Development Plan
There are lots of different formats out there when it comes to setting up a personal development plan. Your plan should be unique to your lifestyle, needs and goals. You can include whatever you think is most important to focus on for the upcoming year. The goal is to develop a document that you can refer to for guidance as you traverse through your days. Your plan will serve to keep you on track and give you focus.
What to Include in Your Plan
You can begin by creating a vision or an overview of what you’d like to achieve. This is more like a general mission statement, rather than one that includes specifics. Next, you’ll hone in on the details by writing down your areas of focus. Which parts of your life are most in need of change or do you want to see the greatest change? Write them down, along with what you hope to gain in each segment. List goals in each section. These are the things you wish to attain by year’s end. You can then lay out a tentative schedule for reaching each goal. This may require modification or tweaking as you go along, and that’s okay. You just need a rough guide to start. Basically, your personal development plan should include what you want to gain, why you want to attain these goals and how you plan to make them a reality. The way you structure your plan is entirely up to you.
Now’s the time you get to be creative. Set up your plan in any form you wish. It can be in a digital document or you can grab a journal or notebook to use. The important thing is that your plan resonates with you and is easily accessible for review and progress monitoring. Have fun with it, and enjoy seeing your dreams unfold.
Because the way we think has such an effect on our feelings and behaviors, it would make sense to place a great deal of emphasis on improving those thoughts. Learning to recognize negative self-talk and transform those messages into more positive, realistic statements can be daunting. However, it’s definitely an activity worth pursuing for its returns on the investment. Another extremely powerful method for overriding the toxicity of intrusive thoughts is to use regular affirmations to remind yourself of what’s good and wonderful about you. When you get in the habit of giving yourself a pep talk every day, you’ll soon start to believe the words you are saying and internalize them as truth. The magnificent transformation this small change in behavior can bring is astounding. Check out some of the benefits of self-affirmations, how they work and how these positive recitations can change your life.
About Positive Affirmations
Affirmations are positive statements that are used to enhance and help solidify beliefs. They can be written down or recited verbally. What’s important about these sentences is that they are concise and personally meaningful. The goal in utilizing these short statements as tools is to affirm them to ourselves or to practice repeating them until we believe them. Repeated exposure to a message can be quite influential. Consider the impact the negative messages you repeatedly feed yourself has had on your psyche. Those toxic effects can be combatted through exposure to positive messages. You can simple affirmations such as, “I am worthy of love,” or “I am capable in my work,” can be used to help you impact a number of areas in your life. Use positive affirmations or pep talks to overcome unhealthy eating habits, move forward in your career or become more confident, along with countless other purposes.
How They Work
Learning anything well enough that it comes entrenched in your mind or habitual involves repetition. That is the premise behind affirmations. It is the repeating of these upbeat and affirming phrases that helps you to internalize them. Essentially, repetition of anything will reprogram your brain’s circuits in order to change the new into the familiar. By stating your daily mantras over and over again, you are hardwiring your brain to accept them as truth. Hence, you believe them and then you start to live them. Just as your old self-sabotaging thoughts held you back, these new energizing ones can propel you forward in a myriad of ways.
How to Use Them
First, brainstorm the areas in which you feel you could use the most positivity in order to break free of self-limiting beliefs. Make a list. Then choose two or three areas that are most important to you and write down a handful of phrases in each category. Keep the ones that most resonate with you and use them as your daily affirmations. Keep this list handy so you can pull it out whenever you need a quick pep talk, but also choose a time each day to sit with your words and recite them. You can do this silently to yourself or read them out loud for more effect. Many people embark on this practice first thing in the morning, as they find it’s a great way to start the day on a high note. Some prefer other times that are more in sync with their lifestyle. The choice is yours.
Getting in the habit of giving yourself a pep talk by reciting your affirmations is one of the most empowering acts you do when it comes to growing as a person. Be sure to stick with the habit for at least 30 days and be consistent. You’ll gradually begin to notice a transformation in your thoughts and behaviors like you never could have expected.
There are many ways to interpret and define the concept of awareness. For our purposes, let’s look at this term as it relates to self-development and growth. Awareness refers to the unbiased power of observation, without self-influenced thoughts or perceptions getting in the way. As humans, we are inherently biased to view the world through our own lens. We make meaning of the world around us through our own filters, and sometimes those filters are heavily clouded by false notions, low self-worth or misunderstanding. To be aware is to grasp the meaning of an event, circumstance or experience through a clearer lens, absent of as much bias as is possible. It is to see things as they are. In order to reach this capability, you need to be present in the moment and to block out distractions such as your inner negative self-talk. One of the most effective methods for gaining unadulterated awareness is to employ a practice of meditation. You’ll discover how you can use meditation to create awareness by reading the benefits it brings listed below.
Brings the Present to Focus
In order to become more aware and to notice things in the present as they truly are, things that others might miss, you need to cultivate mindfulness. Mindfulness is the art of experiencing the present moment, or the here and now. With so many worries and obligations, most of us are thinking of a million things throughout our day. When we have such distractions clouding our thoughts, it’s impossible to be fully aware. Our senses become dulled, and we miss what is occurring in the moment. Meditation helps to clear the mind and train your brain to eliminate the clutter.
Clears the Clutter
Meditation comes in various forms. It truly doesn’t matter which type you utilize, as long as you engage in some form on a regular basis. It takes practice to learn to filter out the useless noise of your mind and learn to focus on the present. An easy way to begin is to simply sit in a quiet space with your eyes closed and take deep breaths in and out. Focus on just your breathing. If a stray thought enters your mind, it’s okay to take note of it. Then push it aside to return to your breathing. This will require practice, but soon you’ll find yourself easily ignoring the clutter in your brain and focusing on your breath or other chosen object.
So many of us allow our thoughts and impulses to control us. We react to every emotion and are thrown into a state of chaos with the slightest bit of upheaval. You may recognize yourself in these statements. If so, know that meditation can help you to gain control over your thoughts, fears and emotions. With this control comes greater awareness without bias. Your mind and its contents are your tools. You are in charge of how you use them. As you practice meditation, you will note this transformation occur gradually. It is an incredibly empowering realization to know you are in control.
Meditation can increase and enhance your awareness. Becoming more aware of your world as it truly is, rather than viewing it through a clouded lens, is essential to any successful self-growth path.
As humans, we are usually our own harshest critic. You’re probably familiar with that voice in the back of your mind telling you that you’re not worthy of accomplishing your goals. This voice is a liar, and it contributes to feelings of depression and anxiety. The sad thing about this voice is that it’s your own inner critic talking. If you want to move forward toward your self-development goals, you absolutely must watch out for negative self-talk. The tips you’ll read in this article will provide you with the tools you need to overcome this “stinking thinking” and turn it around to become a message to yourself that allows you to shine.
In order to break the habit of putting yourself down, you must first be aware of when you’re doing it and why. Try to pay attention to the times throughout the day when you feel badly due to a message you’ve delivered to yourself. You will usually be alerted to these instances by the way in which your body reacts. For example, some people feel muscle tension in their shoulders when they begin to feel angry or stressed. When you notice a symptom such as this, make an attempt to determine what you’re feeling and what has led to the feeling. In some cases, it may be an outside source such as a comment made by a colleague, but often the emotion could be caused or exacerbated by your own internal negative messaging and reaction to an outside event. Write these things down for at least a week, and then look for patterns such as triggers or situations surrounding your negative self-talk.
Advising you to take it easy on yourself may seem like simplistic advice, but you absolutely must start to cut yourself some slack if you want to overcome the toxic habit of delivering self-limiting messages. It might help if you consider whether the things you’re saying to yourself are words you would share with someone you love. Chances are pretty good that you never would do such a thing. You probably strive to be kind and supportive of the people in your life. Why not try the same strategy when talking to yourself?
It’s easy to convince ourselves we’re not worthwhile or that we have some fatal flaw. During times when you’re feeling especially down on yourself, reach out to friends or family for a reality check. Checking in with the people who care about you can remind you of all your positive qualities and that you’re simply having a fragile moment, which is a very human thing. Listen to what others say to you during these times without argument or objection. These people are in your life for a reason. If they didn’t think highly of you, they wouldn’t stick around. Trust their judgment.
Note the Positive
Everyone has good things about them. Yes, even you. Though you may be resistant, force yourself to write down at least ten positive traits, skills or characteristics about yourself. It can be a physical feature, a talent or something unique about your personality. Just keep going until you’ve developed a list of ten items. Refer to this list any time you’re feeling bad about yourself for a little pick-me-up when you need it most. Challenge yourself to add to your list regularly. If you do, it won’t be long before you may actually believe yourself.
Overcoming negative self-talk requires patience and dedication. It’s not easy to move past a lifetime of toxic messaging. It is, however, a much-needed step on your road to self-fulfillment.
A mentor is someone who possesses knowledge in a particular area and who wishes to share that information with someone else in order to help that person, or mentee, improve themselves. You can have a mentor in a career capacity or simply in your own self development. Having someone to learn from can be a tremendous help in reaching your potential. The right mentors can skyrocket your personal growth. Keep reading to discover the benefits of a mentoring relationship.
Get There Faster
While personal development isn’t a race and is best viewed as a lifelong pursuit, it can be truly beneficial to be able to learn from someone else’s journey. An adviser can give you a heads up and warn you when they see trouble ahead for you. The best kinds of mentoring relationships involve guidance from the mentor rather than instructions or commands; you’ll learn more effectively if you aren’t told exactly what to do and how to do it. Life’s lessons must be navigated on one’s own to be fully understood. However, with the help of a trusted guide, you can absorb these lessons in a more meaningful way and use them to your advantage.
See Your Blind Spots
Noting your own weaknesses is an incredibly tricky thing. Sometimes we’re aware of our flaws, but not willing to acknowledge them due to pride or some other self-serving reason. There are other instances in which we truly are blind to what others may perceive as a negative trait. Your mentor is someone you trust and look up to. Therefore, it is easier for this person to be truthful with you about the things that may be difficult for others to share. A trusted adviser can point you to areas in need of improvement in a way that is sensitive and kind in order to move you along your development.
Have a Cheerleader
We all could use someone to support and encourage us along our journey, no matter what that path may be. When trying to improve yourself for the better or to reach personal goals, having a cheerleader in your corner can make all the difference. A mentor can provide you with words of wisdom or motivation when you want to give up or when it seems impossible to overcome life’s obstacles. A mentor is different than a friend in that this trusted adviser can provide insight that is directly relevant to your goals and that comes from the perspective of someone who has already walked a similar path.
A mentoring relationship can provide you with insight in a number of ways. Hearing your mentor’s stories of their own self growth is often inspiring and can point you in the direction of some valuable resources you may not have otherwise known about. Much of personal development involves reading and discovering new ways of viewing the world and your movement within it. Your mentor may be able to recommend websites, blogs or books that contain relevant information to your particular interests. You can also gain valuable insight just by observing your guide as they conduct themselves in life’s interactions. Having a model to learn from is a benefit in and of itself.
So if you want to achieve the most from your personal growth pursuits, finding a mentor is a good step to take. Your adviser can be a trusted friend whom you know has been through their own enlightenment or a relative from whom you can learn. The important thing is that you feel comfortable with the person and that they possess adequate life experience to guide you along your way.