How to start your personal development?
It happens every so often that I get an inquiry that reads:
“Hi Tomas, I’m stuck. My life is not the way I want it. I know I can do so much better. There are many areas I need to work on and improve, but I have no idea how to start. Can you help me?”
While you can always reach out to me and we can work on this together, in this article, I want to give you guidance on how to kick your personal development on your own.
Improving yourself and your life is one of the most exciting journeys you can embark on. It’s a journey of never-ending improvement.
Working on the areas, I’ll share with you helped me to go from a low paid job and party mindset to completing university degree and building a six-figure business. Your starting and end points are probably different than mine. However, the areas you need to work on don’t change.
These are the fundamentals of building the best version of your self and creating the life you want.
If the foundation is not rock solid, anything you build on it will crumble at some point.
Let’s not let that happen.
Explore who you are
This is a neverending journey as there is always something to learn about yourself. It’s exciting to explore who you are, understanding your attitudes, beliefs, fear and frustrations, wants and desires.
Without knowing yourself at least to the point where there is no confusion, you’ll be choosing your life directions blindfolded.
But how do you start?
Think about it this way; how would you get to know someone else?
You’d ask them a lot of questions and listen to their answers.
You’d watch their reactions in various situations and maybe even ask them why they reacted the way they did.
Getting to know yourself is just like that.
The best and easiest way to start is to regularly sit down with a pen and paper and ask yourself a question you’d ask someone if you wanted to get to know them. In this case, you.
It may be as simple as; what’s your favourite pizza, and why?
Or as deep as; What do you think about death, and why?
Write your question on the top of the page, and for at least ten minutes, uninterrupted, write as much as you can to answer the question. This technique is called free writing. Don’t worry about grammar and whether the sentences flow well. Nobody is going to read it. Let your thoughts flow freely and just capture them. It may take a page for you to catch a good wave but when your mind gets going you’ll be amazed what will reveal.
When you’re done, reflect on what you wrote and possibly highlight some juicy parts. You just identified one corner of the maze called you.
The process of writing will keep your mind focused on the topic.
Mere thinking doesn’t work so don’t even think you’d take that shortcut.
It’s a small price to pay for the benefit.
Positive mental attitude
I’ve written A LOT on how to be more positive about life and people in my recent article: 10 ways to be less negative and judgemental. For a wide range of tips, I highly recommend reading it.
In a nutshell;
Your life can be only as good as your attitude.
It’s easy to be grumpy and miserable. It takes no effort.
But it leads to an unhappy life.
Practice finding a positive angle to every situation.
“How is this good? How is this beneficial to me?”
Practice finding opportunities to learn from every situation.
“What opportunity can I find in this? What can I learn from this?”
Too simple to be effective?
Practice it for some time and let’s speak then.
When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.
Refine your social circle
Distance yourself from everybody who is bringing you down, is keeping you from becoming the version of yourself you want to be. Sometimes this may include people you’ve been connected with for a long time, that doesn’t oblige you to stick around. If you want to grow, you must put yourself first.
Find people and communities that will inspire you and help you grow faster because of the motivation, knowledge, support, and energy they provide. It may be online or face to face. Engage with them, learn from them, give back, tap into the knowledge and potential that is out there in the minds and hearts of other people.
Get used to reading books. I’m a slow reader myself, but I make sure I read for at least 30 minutes every day.
Buy a few books on the topic that interests you (maybe even personal development) and read ten pages every day. That way you’ll read a book each month. That’s 12 books a year!
Think about this. Someone took the time to gather their best knowledge and idea, took hours and hours to write it all down into a comprehensible form. All you need to do is to pick it up and read it. Realise that books are concentrated knowledge of others. If you were ever looking for a shortcut, this is it. Books will open your mind to the world of possibilities. It’s no coincidence that the most successful people read a lot.
Strengthen your self-discipline
Achieving anything requires self-discipline. If you don’t have it you’ll always quit because nothing worthy comes easily. Self-discipline is a matter of personal standards. The best way to start strengthening your self-discipline is to pay attention to where you cut corners in your everyday life, where you do things to 90%. You know the feeling when you think; I’ll get away with this, it’s almost perfect, I’ll do it later, this is OK (OK is NOT enough!!!!) and so on.
Take pride in doing things properly. Take pride in doing things right. When you can develop this mindset, your self-discipline will be rock solid!
Learn money management
Have you ever had too much month and the end of the money?
If you don’t know how to manage your money, you’ll always be broke or just about getting by. Learn how to save – aim to have six months worth of living in your savings at least. If you don’t, stop blowing money until you do.
Learn what the difference between spending and investing is.
The money you invest will help you make even more money.
You may invest in yourself (skills and education), or you invest in assets.
I highly recommend a famous book Rich Dad, Poor Dad to get started.
It’s a laughable investment (less than $5) for what you’ll get.
Find your labour of love
Unless you do what you love for a living then keep searching within yourself and explore new things until you find it. We spend at least half of our waking life working (for most people a lot more) so the idea of doing something you don’t love is crazy! You’re never too old for this.
You’re not supposed to know what your ideal career is.
You’re supposed to figure it out.
Use the process to explore yourself I described earlier.
Search for a little spark such as “oh, this seems interesting” and massage it further. Find blogs, articles and videos about it. Talk to people who do it or know something about it. It’s a detective work of discovery, rarely a lightbulb moment.
Rather than a specific job or role, search for values, principles, settings, and situations you like. Then think of industries and roles that would fulfil that.
Care about your health
If you’re not dealing with a major health complication, it’s very likely that you are taking your health for granted. It’s not granted in the slightest.
It can be taken away from you in the blink of an eye.
Poor health could complicate your progress because you’ll have to deal with it. So make sure you keep your body healthy and strong.
The absolute basics are:
Drink plenty of water.
At least 2 litres a day. Never wait until you’re thirsty. By the time you feel thirsty, you’re already dehydrated.
Ideally, get your butt to the gym three times a week. If you cannot do that (I’m sure you can) there are many ways to exercise at home like yoga or body weight workouts. You don’t need any equipment or much space. The only reason to not exercise is laziness.
Maintain a healthy diet.
Educate yourself on healthy eating habits. There are thousands of books, blogs, and youtube videos where you can learn about what’s good for you and what you should avoid at all cost. Find a healthy way of eating that can become a lifestyle, not a two months torture diet.
These are the fundamental areas of your life you should focus on first.
If you’ve read the whole article and think, “yea, but I already know all this”, then ask yourself whether all these areas are in great shape.
If so, amazing! Now it’s time to take it up a notch.
If not, then you’re probably not working on it. Knowing is pointless without applying it.
If you need the support of a life coach, you’re always welcome to contact me and let’s find out if we’d be the right match.
BOOK YOUR FREE Discovery session
In this initial Discovery Session, we’ll discuss what your goals are, changes you want to make, what’s standing in the way, and how I could help you with it. It’s time for us to determine if we’re the right match. If so, we can discuss the next steps. There’s no hard-sell.