The All-Encompassing Impact of Personal Development

Strategies for Effective Personal Development

Continuing with the theme of personal development, I want to discuss the single greatest roadblock on anyone’s journey: planning. When we draw up our New Year’s Resolutions, we have great intent to ‘do the thing’, maybe we even get started on it, but then, somewhere along the line, it quietly fizzles out.

Set yourself up for success by following these steps at the onset:

Ask Yourself ‘Why?’
As a coach, I sometimes spend almost half a coaching session helping someone to figure out what their goals are. Goals tend to be amorphous and vague – and sometimes we don’t even really seem to understand our own goals.

For example, let’s say you want to lose weight, but the question is ‘Why do I want to lose weight?’ Do I want to look better? Do I want to feel better about myself? Is it for health-related reasons? The answer to the ‘why’ will inform all of your decisions going forward, so it is important to figure it out.

Get Objective:
The next question to ask is ‘What does success look like?’ Continuing with the weight loss example; how much weight do you want to lose and over what period?

Once you are clear on the objective, you need to break it down into a series of smaller goals and manageable tasks. In this case, how much body fat do you want to lose and what will it take to do that? If your food intake needs to change, then how should it be adjusted? How much water do you need to drink? Shifting your diet takes a reasonably small amount of time to do, but ‘losing weight’ is something that can take a year or more.

Along the way, the progress may seem small, but without small shifts, there won’t be any progress at all – very rarely will something progress by leaps and bounds.

Build a Support System:
It doesn’t matter what your goal is, or how large or small it is, at some point, you are very likely going to need help. You may struggle with time management or accountability, or you may just be stuck in a rut. Figure out who your support is.

If you have a mentor, then you already have your support system in place – they can hold you accountable and provide advice and assistance as needed. You can also appoint an ‘accountability partner’, such as a coach, who you meet with regularly to assess your progress. If you fall behind, your accountability partner can help you find a way forward.

There is also ‘general support’; friends and family who are ready and willing to support you. If you were to start cycling or running, these are the people in your life who will readily drive behind you in a car just to make sure that you are safe, who will carry extra water for you, etc (cyclists will know these as ‘safety cars’).

Develop Resilience:
No one takes on any challenge or self-development goal and thinks that it will be quick and easy to achieve because if it were easy, it wouldn’t be the sort of thing you have to plan around. Achieving any given goal will take time, effort, and adjustments to your day-to-day life, and not all of these adjustments will be easy to make.

The biggest challenge at this stage is to develop resilience – to learn to fight against or work around setbacks. A good example would be during the COVID lockdowns; with everyone isolating, delivery services boomed, and remote work became the norm.

Time Management:
With a goal and milestones laid out, the one step many people seem to forget is time management. Whatever your goals are, the work required to achieve them is going to have to fit in with the rest of your life in some way. For weight loss; you may add an exercise regime. This could include visits to the gym or running at a local club. The time and logistics surrounding this need to be considered.

Life also has a way of ‘getting in the way’ of goals. There is a common tendency to put goals off simply because other things have gotten in the way – ‘I’ll do it tomorrow’ repeated several days in a row can eventually lead to falling behind by weeks, if not months.

Don’t let the dream die at the door. Set up your ‘ecosystem for success’, get to work, and you will soon achieve your goals.