Personal Development

A Beginner’s Guide to Personal Development

Want to start your own personal development journey? In this blog post, I share everything you need to know and how to create an effective personal development plan.

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Are you satisfied with your own personal development? If not, why haven’t you reached those goals already? One thing that you can count on for sure is that creating and implementing a personal development plan will change your life. You’ll learn more about yourself. You’ll become more aware of your actions, as well as how your action choices affect your success.

These will give you a new appreciation for where you are now, at this point in time, and how far you can go in the future. Implementing your plan will change things even more.

So, what are you waiting for?

Personal Development Made Simple

Today is the perfect day to start living your dreams. – UnknownClick To Tweet

Your PDP is essentially a documented action plan that includes the daily actions you’ll take to achieve your goals – known and unknown. To create the plan, you’ll need to identify your strengths, weaknesses, and ambitions in all areas of your life. Then you’ll need to set goals and build an action plan that allows you to take advantage of your superior knowledge or resources in all areas of your life.

Build An Action Plan

For a personal development plan to be effective, you’ll need to:

  • Discard preconceived notions – Everyone grows up with ideas and beliefs passed down from generations before that are no longer factual. They were promising ideas (maybe) at some point, but now they are known to be either dangerous or not to work. For example, we now know that putting butter on burns worsens and increases the opportunity for infection.
  • Challenge your limited belief system – It’s easy to put yourself and even everyone else around you into a space that they can never seem to break free from. But you really can let go of limiting beliefs that are holding you back from success. You are not “always” anything unless you want to be.
  • Set SMART goals – Learning to set SMART goals is one of the most basic life skills because when you make choices based on a plan instead of winging it as you go, you’ll be much more likely to meet your destination intact and within a timely and budget-friendly manner.
  • Take data-driven action – Don’t forget that the plan’s most important part is the plan. The plan you create describes your activities on any given Tuesday at 3 PM. Knowing the steps, you’ll take and monitoring the results will ensure your success more than anything else.

Be Realistic

Your personal development plan will eliminate any questions about whether or not you can. Because your PDP is not about dreaming about an unrealistic lifestyle, it’s about dreaming of a realistic lifestyle within your ability to achieve in a reasonable amount of time.

For example, if you are currently in midlife and want to become an astronaut, this may not be something you can do traditionally, but who’s to say there isn’t another way? Look at what happened to Captain Kurk. The main benefit of having a personal development plan is that it allows you to set goals that you really can achieve by helping you to act with specific, realistic, habit-making steps every day until you reach your destination.

There is nothing magical about personal development. Personal development can help you make every part of your life better. Even if you figure out that you’ll never be an astronaut, maybe you’ll write a novel about astronauts instead, or perhaps you’ll program something they use in space – who knows where your life will lead but you?

Why You Should Care About Personal Development

A personal development plan assists you in finding your purpose and developing your strengths. It also gives you the confidence needed to get out of your comfort zone. A good personal development plan will also help you improve your self-awareness. This combination will ensure that you know your potential and live up to it with intention.

Discover Your Purpose

On the road to self-discovery, most people want to know why they are here. If you want to know your purpose in life, focus on your personal development and create a written personal development plan to help you find it.

As you discover what makes you think the way you do, challenge your thoughts, and decide what facts you’ll use to make sound decisions. When you do this, you may come across additional information that will lead you to closer to your purpose. You are more likely to feel good about the ideas you have and actions you take each day because you know they will have a particular impact.

Develop Your Strengths

Until a person can say deeply and honestly, “I am what I am today because of the choices I made yesterday,” that person cannot say, “I choose otherwise.” – Stephen R. CoveyClick To Tweet

Once you discover your strengths as you study yourself and pay close attention to how you feel about your actions, you’ll know what to develop. Focusing on what you are already good at is always preferable to focus on where you are lacking.

Getting additional training, practicing, and learning from others regarding the things you’re already good at doing is a much more pleasurable and successful way to approach your life. You’re naturally good at something that gives you joy and makes you better. So, you may as well use your natural gifts.

Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

While you do want to focus on what you are already good at doing, sometimes it takes time to see what that is. Getting out of your comfort zone has nothing to do with forcing yourself to focus on things you aren’t good at doing. Instead, it may mean simply showing someone else what you’re good at.

Boost Your Confidence

What holds most people back isn’t the quality of their ideas, but their lack of faith in themselves. - Russell SimmonsClick To Tweet

As you develop yourself, you’ll start experiencing success, and that experience will boost your confidence exponentially. Part of personal development is focusing on learning to have a positive mindset, taking the best care of yourself, and reveling in your skills and experience. When your confidence is strong, you’ll free yourself from paralyzing self-doubt and negative thoughts and emotions. You can’t help but become strong when you craft and follow a plan based on self-discovery and your goals.

Improve Your Self-Awareness

Since personal development is all about you, getting to know who you are is especially important. Knowing who you allow you to know and lead with your strengths so that you can cope with your weaknesses realistically and kindly without lying to yourself or others about who you are. Self-awareness is the ultimate precursor to authenticity.

You also need a personal development plan because you’re much more likely to succeed at anything when you have a plan. A personal development plan is a documented set of facts and information to help guide and direct you through the actions and habits that make up your life. For example, if you want to succeed at any dream, it starts with a goal. Then, through smart goal setting, your goals become a plan that you can follow, track, and even change throughout your life while remaining focused on your ultimate dreams and goals.

Are You Ready to Move Forward with Your Life?

Every day of your life is a new opportunity. Whether you’re going through an upheaval, merely surviving, or you’re just bored, moving forward with your life is much more satisfying than simply “moving on.” So, if you’re ready to move forward with your life, follow these steps.

Stop Expecting Easy

What we call our destiny is truly our character and that character can be altered. - Anais NinClick To Tweet

You may have heard the saying, “If it were easy, everyone would do it.” Unfortunately, many things in life are daunting. Self-development is one of those things. This is because there is a learning curve and there may be challenges concerning maintaining steady progress, especially if you’re just getting started.

It’s not always easy to get to know who you are. Examine past traumas and experiences. Weed through your inner conflicts, and fight to become who you want to be. While this is not easy, it is a straightforward process that can lead you to succeed.

Stop Living in The Past

You cannot always be strong, but you can always be brave. -Beau TaplinClick To Tweet

While you want to understand why you think and do certain things, avoid living in the past. Address the past by accepting that it happened. Work through your past by getting treatment for things that negatively affect your current situation. However, don’t allow yourself to live in the past because the contentment you seek is in the here and now.

When you focus on the present and learn from the past, you ensure that you’re well cared for. And when you do that, your future is almost certainly taken care of too. After all, the actions you take today inform your future. All you can get from the past is a list of actions you took that worked versus actions you took that did not. Let the rest go.

Stop Waiting for Perfection

If you’ve heard yourself described as a perfectionist, don’t take it as a compliment. It’s not. The best time to begin your next goal is now. There is no perfect outcome even if you follow your plans to a T. There is no time like now for getting started on anything you want to do.

Instead of thinking thoughts like, “I’ll be happy when I reach my weight loss goal.” Or “I’ll start my business when my child is older.” Anytime you start a thought with “I’ll do this when…” stop yourself because most of the time, there is no real reason for putting your goals off.

Stop Doubting

One way to squash doubt is to do your due diligence regarding research for all your goals. Here’s the thing, if it’s possible for someone, it’s probably also possible for you. There are very few cases where only one person can do something. You can learn anything you want to learn and do whatever you want to do or at least something close to it.

Start Planning and Doing

What you do every day matters more than what you do once in a while - Gretchen RubinClick To Tweet

Once you let go of the fact that life can be hard, and the past harmed you, and perfection and release yourself from doubt, you can start planning by learning how to set goals in a way that leaves you with an innovative action plan that gets results. Then, use that plan to start the most critical thing in your life, the doing. Doing will move you forward more than anything else.

After you let go of expectations and stop focusing on the impossible, you’ll see success. Once you create specific goals and follow your plan, you’ll finally start experiencing success. But don’t skip the very last step. You really must “do” to move forward in your life.

Nine Myths About Personal Development

When you repeat a mistake, it's no longer a mistake. It's a decision - Paulo CoelhoClick To Tweet

When some people hear the phrase “personal development,” they immediately start thinking about the new age “law of attraction,” or worse, about a bored wealthy person with nothing better to do than focus on “self-care” and other selfish pursuits. However, the truth is, personal development is none of that and is indeed an essential process from which everyone can benefit.

  1. Personal Development is Selfish – Working on yourself to become a better person cannot be selfish. Mastering your emotions, taking care of your health, and acting with impact in mind are all important concepts you’ll learn as you embark on self-improvement that will inform decision-making and thus improve your life.
  2. Personal Development is “Just Fancy Positive Thinking” – There is positive thinking involved in mindset work as you create your personal development plan, but the act of thinking positively is just part of your mental and emotional growth and not the entire picture.
  3. Personal Development is For Rich People – Contrary to widespread belief, it’s not expensive to grow personally. Sure, you can spend money on personal development, but it’s not required. You can find everything you need at the public library and on the internet for free. While that is an added barrier for a person without many resources, it’s not the roadblock you may think it is.
  4. Personal Development is Temporary – Personal development is a process that will become part of your life forever. The best personal development plans can change – whether from data or desire – but they will last a lifetime.
  5. Personal Development Requires Willpower – Absolutely no willpower is needed to develop or follow a personal development plan. Instead, personal development focuses on enhancing self-control by focusing on what you’re already good at doing while developing good habits.
  6. Personal Development is For the Ambitious – You don’t need to desire top billing to embark on a personal development journey in any area of your life. All you need is a desire to grow in any or all five areas of personal development.
  7. Personal Development Demands Too Much Changing – The thing you can count on in life more than anything else, as you know, is change. Change is going to happen no matter what. Whether you plan for and prepare for change or not, it’s coming, but it’s also just part of your entire plan.
  8. Personal Development Requires Peak Performance – You can achieve excellent results by doing the minimum necessary. So, if it takes walking fast 30 minutes a day to maintain your cardiovascular health according to science unless you want to be an athlete, why do more? So, if anything, proper personal development lets you slack off in areas that aren’t as important to you, allowing you to do the minimum for maximum results.
  9. Personal Development Entails Focus on Your Weaknesses — An accurate personal development plan will improve your strengths while learning to mitigate your weaknesses. In some cases, you may learn more to make awakens a strength. In others, it may require skipping it or outsourcing it.
You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream. – C.S. LewisClick To Tweet

Do you have some personal development thoughts that may not be accurate? Are they harming your chance for self-improvement? If you do, take the time to acknowledge your thoughts and challenge yourself to prove the facts to move forward with your life.

Benefits of Personal Development

You are essentially who you create yourself to be and all that occurs in your life is the result of your own making. – Stephen RichardsClick To Tweet

Personal development is all about discovering and using your potential. One of the most significant benefits of meeting your potential is that you’ll experience a much more stable life. Living a stable life brings a lot more contentment and happiness to not just you but your family and your community. Personal development helps you become more stable.

Additionally, personal development is vital for building healthy outcomes in all areas of your life, whether mental, social, spiritual, emotional, or physical.

  • Healthier Relationships – When you know who you are and what your morals, principles, and values are, it’s much simpler to not only create healthy relationships from the start but to build even healthier relationships as you learn more about yourself and the world.
  • Lower Stress – It’s a fact that if you have plans to deal with issues as they pop up, the stress you feel will be significantly reduced. This is one of the reasons to have a fire drill or conduct other safety planning. Lowering your stress through personal development occurs because you will foresee potential problems and plan for them.
  • Improve Health – A good personal development plan will not allow you to ignore your health in favor of self-pleasuring with too much food and a lack of exercise. Instead, it will highlight your actual needs so you can fill them.
  • Increase Productivity – Since your self-development plan encompasses all areas of your life, it’s natural that your productivity will explode when you’re healthier, more energetic, and better organized.
  • Better Self-Control – It’s a lot easier saying no to something that you’ve already decided is not a viable choice. As you track and measure your success, willpower becomes automated as you see your success taking an upward turn.
  • More Success – When you start doing the stuff you know needs to be done to meet your goals, success starts raining down on you. Of course, it won’t all be perfect, and sometimes you’ll still fail. But you will learn, and you will feel successful.
  • Peace of Mind – One thing a personal development plan does well is that it gives you hope and security that your goals will be realized. It’s like looking at a map before traveling cross-country – it just feels good to know where you’re going and how you’ll get there.
  • More Resilience – The next best thing your personal development plan will do for you is make it so that you can quickly bounce back after a misstep, roadblock, or fall. Part of future planning involved with goal setting requires you to note potential roadblocks, bottlenecks, and life events that may cause you to make different choices. Thinking about these in advance makes changing so much easier in the moment.

All these benefits make it clear that personal development can help you achieve a much happier life in all areas. The main reason is that personal development includes life planning. Life planning includes doing. When you take positive action towards your goals, you naturally become more successful and happier.

Why Personal Development Plans Fail

Most people fail at personal development or never even try at all. However, some people think they must be perfect in all areas of their lives to be involved with personal development, so they figure why try? Knowing why people fail and how to ensure you don’t is a great first step if you want to succeed.

  • You’re Fine With The Status Quo – It can be hard to admit that you’re okay with how things are right now. But if you’re unwilling to devote time to your personal development plans, your action demonstrates acceptance. When you’re ready for change and become dissatisfied enough, you’ll implement the plan. So why not go ahead and start creating it just in case?
  • Your Plan is An After Thought – Taking the development of your personal growth plan seriously takes time and attention. Plus, the plan does need to be “down on paper” or “in the cloud” somewhere you can follow, update, monitor, and track your efforts.
  • Your Plan is Too Difficult – You can make a plan that is too simple. And no plan at all. You can accidentally create a plan that is far too difficult and not based on reality. You must start with where you are and what you have right now. If your plan requires inputs that you do not have, it will not work.
  • Your Plan is Incomplete – As you develop your plan, work very hard on defining your goals and objectives. Loosely defined objectives aren’t really easy to follow. It’s like saying, “I’m going out West” without having any idea what that means and where you’ll stop. Be detailed about what you want and how you’ll achieve it.
  • You’re Focusing on Too Much at Once – While there are five areas of self-development and growth and many other areas of life you can apply them to, you don’t have to focus on everything at once. Instead, you can choose to place your focus on one area at a time so that you can get clearer in your mind on what you want moving forward.
  • You Need Goal-Setting Help – If your objectives aren’t tight, it’s hard to know what action to take. Ensure you learn how to create goals and develop action plans from those goals so that you can succeed with your personal development plan creation and implementation. It would be best to define the who, what, when, where, how, and why of every goal you have.
  • You’re Expecting Perfection – It’s always best to take imperfect action than none at all, so don’t get too tied up in getting it all right before you start. However, if you’re not experiencing the results, you desire to start with the goal setting to ensure you didn’t skip part of the process.
  • You’re In the Wrong Environment – Sometimes, you may want to work on something and not realize that you can’t due to being in the wrong environment. For example, if you’re going back to college to get your law degree, but your spouse and kids won’t honor your boundaries so that you can study. Because of this, you cannot study. Now you feel resentful.

Sometimes it’s hard to accept that the only person you can control is yourself, but when a personal development plan fails, that’s usually what went wrong. The plans were contingent on someone else. Craft your plans according to what you want, need, and believe. This will enable you to succeed.

Taking Charge of Your Life

Your life belongs to you, and you can avoid letting others control it with some careful planning and the courage of your convictions.

Doing what others want you to do with your life robs you of the success, fulfillment, and happiness you deserve. Stand by what you really want to do and go for it with all your heart and you’ll achieve what you desire.

Are you a people-pleaser that tries to make everyone else happy instead of focusing on your own needs? Finding a balance is important, and it’s within your reach. You can begin taking charge of your life, right now, by remembering some simple rules and making a few choices about the direction you want to take.

Convert Challenges Into Opportunities

Do you hide when you see a challenge coming up? Instead, you can take that challenge and make it into a great opportunity to do something important. Challenges help to shape who you are and what you do with your life, so face them and get through them to experience the truly fulfilling life you crave.

You’ll be a stronger person for taking charge of your life. Prove to yourself that all you really need is your abilities, as they’re sufficient for the task. You can face and conquer anything, provided you refuse to give up. Even when things don’t go your way, you can learn from the experience and still press forward toward your victory.

Ways to Take Control of Your Life

Try these techniques to help you become truly in charge of your life:

  1. Learn how to say ‘no’ to people. This can take some practice, but it’s important that you realize it’s okay to say no when someone wants you to take on too much or do something that you aren’t comfortable with.
  2. Take time to focus on your goals. If you’re unclear about what you’re doing or where you’re going, how can you have control over your life? Decide on a direction and take it. You can change directions later if you find that you’re not following the path of your heart.
  3. Enlist help. Taking control of your life means drawing strength from the support of those you love. Advice from a neutral party can be very helpful. Just remember to take it only as advice. Trust your heart and give yourself permission to go against the advice you receive. However, seeking wise counsel will speed you toward your goals.

If you follow your heart and take steps toward what you want, taking charge of where you’re going will be easier than you think. Acquiring this control may take time, but you can start working on it right away.

When you begin taking charge of your life, people may disagree with you and challenge your direction. Remind yourself that you have the right to your own life, without interference from others, even if they mean well.

Show those who challenge your new direction your happiness and love. When they see the smile on your face and the spring in your step, they’ll know that you’re following your heart and chasing after the dreams that matter to you.

Create Your Personal Development Plan

It’s one thing read a blog post like this and feel all inspired to change your life, but it’s another thing to actually change it. So, what one small step will you take now? What one thing can you do this week to help improve your life?

What one thing did you do last week to improve your life? What result(s) do you want to achieve? What would you like to do more of? What can you do to make that happen?

I encourage you to speak to those you admire. Ask them for advice on whatever qualities they have that you want more of. Spend time creating new, positive habits. These habits will be the foundation of your success.

Your life does not get better by chance. It gets better by change - Jim RohnClick To Tweet

Strengthen your mind and improve your analytic skills by playing strategy games. You’ll be smart to surround yourself with positive people who have similar goals as you. Be intentional about tapping into new wisdom every day. Read a book. Listen to a podcast. Watch a video.

To get another perspective, ask for feedback from friends and family. When you find yourself losing focus, ask yourself “why?”. Once you know, you can improve your strategy. Write to yourself to help overcome any lingering doubts or issues you’re still holding on to. You cannot avoid difficult people but you can learn to deal with them.

Take some people management training if necessary. Realize that your environment impacts your mood. Additionally, consider creating an inspirational area where you spend most of your time.

Listen, to truly become successful, you have to dig deep into your mind to determine exactly what it is that will make you feel as if you lived a life worth living. While you may end up someplace excellent without any planning at all, it’s not likely. The sad truth is most people never break out of the circumstances in which they are born. But it’s not because it’s impossible. It’s because they didn’t know. But you know how now.

Lastly, if you haven’t already, make sure you listen to the podcast episode and download the workbook because they will help you put everything you’ve learned into action!

Further Reading

31 Jim Rohn Quotes About Personal Development

About The Author

About The Author

Ricardo is a successful Real Estate Investor, Entrepreneur and Blogger, with over 25 years of customer service experience. The bold & visionary founder of Funntripps and, he teaches busy entrepreneurs and bloggers how to successfully build and grow their business whilst having fun and living the maximized life. He enjoys spending time with his family, multi-family real estate investing and surprise get-a-way trips with his wife.

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The Productive Solopreneur

After spending most of my life believing that I was not enough, I realized that I needed to adopt a growth mindset as well as acquire all the skills and abilities I needed to thrive.  In this resource, I share how to create goals and the structure to work toward the ultimate work/life balance. I’m on a mission to change the world by helping aspiring entrepreneurs go from Side-Hustle to Boss. Steal my secrets to successful solopreneurship and living the maximized life. Learn more about it in my ebook/mini-course and receive a truckload of bonuses.

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