Note: This post is written by Norman Arvidsson
Personal development is simply the set of actions that you take to make yourself a better person. While there is no one-size-fits-all roadmap to personal development, there are certainly widely agreed-upon traits that people who have made an effort to undergo personal development possess.
- Being well-educated and inquisitive – This can include formal education, but it is not limited to that. Well-developed people have knowledge on a variety of topics that impact them and the society they live in, and a desire to expand that knowledge.
- Being cultured and well-rounded – People with highly developed personalities understand the value of culture to society. They also pursue a variety of interests making them well-rounded and interesting people.
- Being an asset in relationships – Being self-aware, empathetic, and having excellent communications skills are a few of the traits people develop when they take the time to work on improving themselves.
- Possessing good physical and mental health – Maintaining and improving physical and mental health is a very important part of self improvement.
- Being a concerned and active citizen – Personal development is not complete unless the person taking action to improve themselves is aware of issues impacting society and wishes to participate in improving the world around them.
- Being a productive member of society – Individuals who are interested in improving themselves have a desire to contribute to the world around them.
As you read the list above, you may be realizing that you have a lot of work to do, or you may only see one or two areas that need improvement. In either case, you still have work to do. Your next dilemma is figuring where to start.
If you are unsure of where or how to begin, the following 7 personal development tips may help you get started.
1. Commit to Taking One Step Each Month to Improve Your Relationships
One of the most important things about your self-development journey is sustainability. If you try to do too much at once, you will likely experience burn out. Then, you will stop making progress altogether.
One area where you always want to make forward progress is with your relationships with others. You may be tempted to make sweeping life changes in order to improve and prioritize your relationships. Instead of doing that, commit to one simple but meaningful action that you will take each month.
For example, you could send a weekly email to friends or family members who you do not contact as much as you should. You could also make it a priority to meet with your subordinates once a week to discuss their progress and career goals.
2. Select a Single Issue Impacting Your Community, Learn About It and Help Out
When it comes to social issues, it is tempting to ignore them altogether, or to simply donate a bit of money to a cause and do nothing further. However, if that was all anybody ever did, no progress would ever get made on any issue.
One thing that you can do to become a better-educated, more-informed citizen, who makes a real contribution is to find an issue that is local to you, and find out how you can take action to help. You will get to know other people in your community who are civic-minded and who care about the world around them. This is also a great opportunity to expand your social horizons.
3. Do One Thing Each Month Involving Art Music or Dance
If you are a busy person, as most people are, it can be easy to go through your daily motions without putting much importance on the role of art, music, or dance in your life. After all, you can certainly survive without art in your life.
However, if you want to be a well-rounded, cultured person, it is difficult to do that without the arts being part of your life in some way. Try to commit to spending an evening or afternoon a month attending a concert, going to a play, walking through a museum, or enjoying another type of performance. Remember that people who give art a role in their lives are generally happier than those who do not.
4. Give Your Education at Least One Hour a Week
If you want to be a more educated person, and you should, you have to make learning a priority. You can start by simply giving yourself an hour or more each week to learn about any topic of your choosing. Whatever you choose can be related to your career, or something completely different.
The point is to keep your mind active, and to develop your own sense of curiosity. The more varied your knowledge is, the better conversationalist you will be, and that in turn will make your relationships and social interactions better.
5. Start a Journal
Being aware of your own thoughts and feelings, and having the willingness to explore them are both key to maintaining good mental health.
If you keep a journal, you can get great insight into the things that stress you out, what makes you happy, and how other people impact your mood. The more you understand your moods, behavior patterns, and triggers, the better able you are to regulate your emotions and even relate to difficult people.
6. Create a Health Plan and Stick to it
If you aren’t completely happy with your physical health, start today by creating a health plan that works for you. Then, as you become more fit, adjust your plan so that it results in even more improved health.
7. Regularly Take an Analysis of Yourself and Your Progress
A plan for self-development isn’t something that you create once, and then continue with forever. As you grow and change, you will need to make adjustments so that your personal development journey continues on the right path.
Norman Arvidsson is a freelance web developer with more than two years of experience and also a contributing blogger. Interest in such areas as web-design, development, motivation, eLearning and self-improvement. You can contact him through his Twitter or visit his professional blog, where he writes about education and productivity.