Over the past few times we’ve spoken, I’ve discussed the importance of wellbeing habits and personal development to grow our mental fitness. For our conclusion on this series, I’d like to talk a bit more about personal development and why it should be an important part of all of our lives.
To recap – personal development is the practices, learning and growth in an effort to realize your maximum self and to build a strong inner foundation. Personal development can also be a skill you can develop. By practicing how to reflect, learn how to learn from mistakes, set goals, and actively work on yourself you can get better at. And personal development is not a finite process. It is a lifelong practice to be your best self and there is always more to learn. All of that may sound daunting, but I think it is quite exciting!
We can make personal development a little less daunting by doing one of my favorite activities – breaking things into bite sized pieces – chunking! This is a great way to manage complicated, stressful or large things by making it easier to achieve it step by step instead of a single giant leap. It can help individuals track progress by seeing each part they achieve and can also help prioritize components of the larger task. When breaking personal development up into bite sized pieces, we can look at making shorter term goals that are focused on single areas of ourselves. For example, instead of aiming to be the wizened sage you want to be at 70 years young, we could start by working on stress management when driving (something any of us in big cities could need!), or perhaps instead of being the 100% honest 24/7 do-gooder, we can start by aiming to be more truthful in our family relationships and working up from there.
Personal development is also a wide topic that can cover many areas of life skills, personality and wellbeing. And it’s important to think of it as a continuous process of improvement, not necessarily something you work on and will one day complete. You will be better in some areas and weaker in others, and that isn’t something to be ashamed of or disappointed with. We are complex beings, and it’s okay to be aware of our own shortcomings, in fact it is important as once we are aware of where we could improve, we can start to work on that.
A wellbeing habit that I try to do regularly is personal reflection. I look back at interactions or moments where I was upset, afraid, anxious, or angry and try to work out why. The reason for doing this is so I can understand what made me feel those emotions and is there something I can work on to manage it in a better way. I think this skill is an important part of personal development, because without, it’s harder to be able to know what you can develop and helps quantify your improvement by being able to look back at where you’ve come from. Like being upset over a disagreement with a friend. Was it because they said something rude, or because you don’t like confrontation, or because it is hard to stand up for your own opinions? Whatever your feelings behind it, it is important to be able to reflect back on these things so that we can go “Ah! That’s why I was so upset!” and can help guide you in your personal development to work on that area of yourself. So in this example, perhaps it’s being open with your friends to call them out on poor behavior, or working on conflict resolution skills so you can be more comfortable in confrontation, or working on your own confidence to be able to stand up for yourself and your opinions.
So to recap, personal development is a vast lifelong pathway of improvement and new skills that can seem daunting. But, by using personal reflection and breaking it down into bite size pieces we can make it easier to improve ourselves bit by bit over time. And just think how exciting it is to know of all this potential you can tap into and the even more amazing person you can become! I look forward to seeing everyone flourish!