Do people ever really change? On the one hand, of course we do! We grow and mature, we learn new skills, and our perspective and lifestyles change over time. But, on the other hand, intentionally deciding to change habitual behavior can be extraodinarily difficult. How many times have we tried to change our way of handling stress or our bad eating habits? Old habits die hard, while new patterns can be difficult to master. Did you know that you have to repeat a new habit for at least 21 days before it really takes hold? If you miss a day you have to start over!
Unfortunately, the knowledge, skills, habits, friends and patterns that got you where you are will also keep you where you are today. But each one of us can learn and grow more. We can use the knowledge, skill, habits, friends and patterns to develop and learn more if we choose. No one should die with their talents, abilities and dreams undeveloped. So how do we develop ourselves?
1. Personal development must be intentional. As humans we need to make a choice to grow and develop. It’s easy to settle into a rut and stay in our comfort zone. But we will never grow unless we push ourselves. Decide to grow!
2. Personal development requires investment. It requires the time, effort and belief that we can learn, grow, master new skills, and transform our lives. We have to decide it’s worth it and that we are not going to “settle”.
3. Personal development requires a plan. Generally, luck doesn’t happen. Personal development requires commitment to a specific outcome, not depending on chance and impulsiveness. Growth is about developing a natural gift, pursuing a specific dream or goal with persistance and commitment.
4. Personal development requires learning. Before we are good at something, we must be willing to be bad at it; be a beginner. Think about learning to ride a bike or swim well. It took a lot of practice and help from others. We must be willing to learn and be taught, to read the books, take the classes, do the lessons, get the coaching. We must be with people who can help us. As adults that’s uncomfortable, but it’s how we grow.
5. Personal development requires daily action. Every day, do something to get to your goal or dream; read, attend a lecture or take a class. Think about what you are learning in life. Each day learn and try and push the limit just a bit.
Personal development doesn’t end until your last breath, but it starts right now. Notice what works in life and think about what’s important and where you want to go in life. Do what blesses and nourishes you each day.