How to improve yourself: a guide to starting your own personal development journey

ultimate guide to self improvement

I believe everyone loves progress– or at least I know I do. I love looking back and realizing that I am not where I used to be. I love progress because I know that that is how I get to reach my full potential.

However, I have realized that progress rarely happens on its own. And because most people are not intentional about improving themselves, they don’t realize their true potential.

I don’t want that for you. I want you to be one of the people who will realize their true potential. I want you to become who you were meant to be, a great person with so much to offer this world.

And in order for you to be that person, you need to start being proactive about self-improvement. You need to start your own personal development journey.

That is why in today’s post am sharing with you how you can start your own journey on personal development so that you create the progress you want in your life.

How to start your own personal development journey

1. Figure out your motivation and goals

ultimate guide to self improvement

The first step in starting a personal development journey is to figure out your motivation. Why are you thinking of embarking on a personal development journey? What do you wish to achieve? What are your dreams, goals? Write it down somewhere safe.

In the future when you feel like giving up, remember why you started this journey in the first place. There is nothing more motivating than a purpose. So before you start your personal development journey, make sure you are clear on why you are doing it.

2. Develop a personal development plan

After bring clear on your goals and motivation, it’s time to come up with your plan.

Most people skip the first step and come straight to this step. This is sad because you can’t effectively come up with a plan if you are not clear on your goals and motivation.

A personal development plan is a personal document that reflects who you are now, who you want to become or where you want to go from now, how you plan to get there, and the tools you intend to use to get there. In short, this document reflects your goal, skills, opportunities you intend to take advantage of, etc.

3. Do what works for you

ultimate guide to self improvement

I love reading books like the ‘Seven habits of highly effective people’. I love reading articles on the routines of successful people. And even though these give me an idea of what successful do with their time that helps them be successful, I don’t believe it is right for me to just copy and paste it to my own life. Some of the things they do wouldn’t work with me, because I am not them. Just because a certain routine worked for someone doesn’t mean it will work for you. Do what works for you.

For example, one thing that’s common amongst personal development gurus is waking up early. Some wake up as early as 4. I can tell you now that that would never work for me. I know myself; I am hardly productive if I woke up extremely early. So what I do get some things done the night before, so that I don’t have to wake up at 4 the next day. And that works for me.

You may want to read two chapters of a book a day, do an hour of workout, do some meditation, etc. but maybe that wouldn’t work for you because you have a busy schedule.

So don’t just do things because someone said it worked for them. Know yourself, know you’re your situation, know what works for you, and do only those things that work for you.

4. Don’t change everything at once

ultimate guide to self improvement

Does this sound familiar:

It’s New Year’s Eve and you’re thinking about becoming a better person in this New Year. So you take a notepad and a pen (or you sit in front of your computer) and you start writing New Year’s resolutions. Until you have something that looks like this:

  • Workout for an hour everyday
  • Eat more greens
  • Wake up at five everyday
  • Read four chapters of a book every night
  • Etc.

The first few days after that you are awake by five, you workout, you read your four chapters and you are doing all those things. But as January comes to an end, you can’t even remember what you wrote on your resolutions.

Does it sound familiar? For me, it does because it’s something I was guilty of doing for so long in my life. Until I realized why this way of doing things doesn’t work.

Changing everything at once is exhausting and counterproductive. Your brain can’t keep up with all the changes that are happening, which only makes it harder to sustain the changes you have made.

So instead, change a few things at a time. Instead of doing all the things on your list in one day, you could start with just waking up early and eating more healthily. When your body is used to the change, you can start reading those four chapters. Allow yourself time to adjust to the changes you are making in your life. That way you have a higher chance of sticking to your personal development journey.

5. Start with baby steps

It’s important to start with baby steps. Small wins are crucial when starting a self-improvement journey. Small wins act as motivation. Research conducted by Harvard discovered that making progress towards a goal can increase motivation, boost performance, and improve the ability to acquire and retain new skills.  So start with baby steps so that you can get the small wins.

Instead of starting with the most daunting thing on your list, start with the thing that is easy to accomplish e.g. reducing the time you spend in front of a TV. Start with something that you will easily achieve, something that you have full control over, then move on to the next easier thing till you get to the most daunting task. The key is to continue being motivated and committed to personal development, and these small wins do the trick.

They give you a sense of progress, and the motivation you need as you work on making the tougher changes.

6. Start now

Lastly, you want to start working on yourself. Start now.

I remember when I was a student, I loved starting things when it was something o’clock. For instance, I would want to start studying at 7:00 or 8:00 and not something past or to 7.  So if I am doing something and I finish at 7:05, I would wait till 8:00 before I start studying for that day.  

Looking back, I see how silly of me it was. But unfortunately, this is what most people do. They wait till the beginning of a new year, or a new month before they can start their personal development journey.

Don’t be one of them. Don’t dress up procrastination. If you keep waiting for the appropriate time before you start working on yourself, you will find out that the appropriate time never comes. There will always be another reason to wait. And if you are being honest with yourself, these reasons are just excuses. So I say ignore them and start now.

There is no better time than today. Start now


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