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Personal growth, also known as self-development, involves the enhancement of all aspects of an individual. The most important realization we can make in our quest for personal growth and achievement is that there is more than one formula that defines our path to success. Each person has different goals as part of their personal story and plan. But sometimes goals have to change, or our perspective on ourselves has to change. Sometimes, hitting the wall over and over can actually be a good thing if it helps you change directions and find a new path to meet a goal.
I have personally hit the wall many times. I am defining hitting the wall as doing the same action over and over but expecting a different result. I can give many examples of learning some lessons the hard way simply due to having a fixed mindset of what I thought defined personal success.
For example, in college, my goal was originally to get a business degree. The first flag that this might not be a good route was disliking many of my classes. This made it hard to go to class and do homework. Then I barely squeaked by in economics. Finally, I failed Calculus, I just couldn’t get myself to work on this subject. I thought I was done and didn’t know what to do. I just knew my goal of a business degree was in jeopardy. Finally, my advisor suggested I may want to change course. I remember feeling like a failure but in the end, I chose a major I loved, and still do, psychology. The odd part of this story is that I started my own psychology business. I would never have predicted this when I stopped my pursuit of a business degree.
I see athletes and business people having incredible persistence and drive toward reaching their goals. But having a flexible or growth mindset while striving for their goals might help them from hitting the wall multiple times prior to changing course.
I think the lesson is that sometimes tremendous personal growth can happen when we feel we are in a stuck place. We just have to bend.
A Closer Look At Personal Development
First, what is it? Personal development is the lifelong process through which individuals assess their skills and qualities, and set goals and aims in life as a means to live a satisfying and productive life.
More than often we make personal growth and development a key factor in our lives after suffering problems in our personal or professional life. It seems setbacks and hitting walls can be helpful sometimes.
The main ingredients for a successful and satisfying life usually fall into the categories of self-image, intimacy, friends, family, society, workplace, leisure, spirituality/religion.
How to Create a Personal Growth Plan
As with any other aspect of our lives, having a plan for personal growth can be a smart move. Athletes develop training plans to reach competitive goals. Business leaders develop strategic plans to be successful. So there is some logic in creating a personal development plan. But there is still room for being spontaneous and adventuresome, it just means we have to know when to bend or be flexible to heed the signs that our plan might need some tweaking.
A growth plan aids in structuring your thinking. It is the process through which you can define what is most important to you, what you are hoping to achieve, the skills that you already have and can help you reach your goals, and what it is that you have to improve or develop from scratch to become the better you.
Here are the important steps to consider when designing your very own self-development plan:
- Define goals
- Understand your abilities
- Develop new skills
- Get support
- Reflect and assess your progress
Defining your goals is seems straightforward – what’s most important to you? What would make you happier than anything? Move forward in your sports career, travel the world, find a suitable partner, get a better job? Think carefully and write down the top five goals, for starters.
Back to me hitting the wall with school. I realized a big goal for me was I wanted to work with people and a business degree was just one route to get there. I learned there were other ways to make this happen. So, maybe first think about some bigger concept goal as part of your goal setting and know that it is okay if goals need some revising. This is where abilities and goals intersect.
Everyone is good at something, and it is important you understand your abilities, the above-average skills you might have. What you may lack in some aspects of life, will most likely compensate through others. You may not be a talented singer, but you just might write great lyrics.
Once you have figured out what you most desire in life and if you have what it takes to start working towards your dreams, it is time to prioritize. Which of your goals is most important? Although it can be tough to choose, it is helpful to start with a more singular focus. Otherwise, you might just find yourself struggling with several goals and not being able to achieve at least one or having a feeling of being overwhelmed. Maybe set a realistic timeframe as one way to not sabotage yourself.
We all have strengths that define us, but there is always room for improvement. Developing new skills can be part of the self-development plan. Learning and doing things that are new is also a great way to build confidence.
Write down the things you are most good at, then think about the crucial skills that are missing. Afterward, look into ways you can gain that knowledge or certain skills.
Humans are not solitary creatures, and for the most part, we greatly rely on others for help and guidance. Get support whenever you feel like you can’t make it all on your own. It could mean hiring a personal development coach, career advisor, even a psychologist, but it could very well mean seeking advice from your friends and family. We need other perspectives from time to time, as a means to help us change our perspective.
Measuring your progress in pursuing your personal development goals will not only provide you with a clear picture of where it is that you are standing but also act as a motivator. Even seeing how you achieved the tiniest progress will motivate you to remain persistent. But if you feel stuck or like you are hitting a wall, take it as a sign that something must be changed or improved. You will either stick to your strategy or change it to a more efficient one. As always, write everything down.
Personal growth and learning go hand in hand, and there are many ways you can obtain knowledge. Personal growth books, movies, blogs, guides – these are just some of the many resources you can either purchase or benefit freely.
Quotes also deliver a strong message and might just very well act as an eye-opener. Quotes on personal growth encourage us to become a better person and to live to the fullest.
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover”