At times it can be difficult to know where to begin with self-awareness. Would it be advisable for you to attempt to kill your shortcomings? Concentrate on your qualities and develop them considerably further? Accomplish something totally new? You may at this point be in a condition of ‘examination loss of motion’s and not in the least beyond any doubt what do to next.
- Planning Your Development
There is something about writing things down that makes the hyperbolic (exaggeration) look ridiculous, and the unrealistic stand out like a sore thumb. Making a plan for your personal development, which includes time limits and stages of development, will force you to be realistic about what you can achieve by when.
Of course writing it down does not bind you irrevocably. Everyone’s lives change, and your priorities may well alter after you have developed your plan. A written plan, however, gives you something to look back on and a way of keeping tabs on your goals, even formally altering them if necessary.
- Documenting Your Plans
Keeping detailed records may sound like something that you would prefer to avoid. But your personal development plans and activities, if documented carefully, not only enable you to review progress, but also provide a record of your thinking over time.
It is incredibly easy to forget how you felt about things at different stages, and even why you thought a particular goal was important. Carefully documenting your thinking will help to show you what works best, what you have enjoyed and disliked, and quite probably point you towards more suitable activities or areas for development.
Personal development is a lifelong process—which is why it is sometimes described as ‘lifelong learning’. In practice, although it can be hard to remember this, this means you do not have to do everything at once.
Use your personal vision to identify what really matters now — what you have to do first to achieve your vision — and concentrate on that. Only once you have achieved that, or at least made reasonable progress, should you move on. ‘Butterfly-style’ personal development, flitting from subject to subject, may keep you interested, but will probably be less satisfying or effective in the longer term.
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- Let Personal Development Evolve
Your priorities will change — and that’s OK, Few, if any, of us would say that we were exactly the same person at 35 that we were at 15, or even 25. As you grow and change, taking on new responsibilities in work or at home, so your priorities and goals will change.
The key is to recognise that this is fine. What matters is to ensure that your personal development activities continue to take you where you want to go. Regular review and revision of your personal development activities and plans will ensure that they change with your priorities, and remain relevant.