Do you understand what the term personal development really means? Don't worry if you're silently shaking your head in wonderment, a lot of people don't. Half of you are probably shrugging, disinterested in the entire subject while the other half of you are keenly reading, wondering what knowledge you're going to gain. Even if you don't think you're interested in personal development, the truth is that you are – who wouldn't be? You're probably unconsciously doing things to improve yourself, not realizing that it counts toward personal development.
We've put together a list of the 6 key areas of personal development, these are the most common areas where people look to make improvements.
We have intentionally put this one first because it might seem as though it has little to do with personal development – the truth is it has a lot to do with it. Every relationship you have, whether it's with your partner, children, neighbors, friends, co-workers or parents, falls under this umbrella. You're part of these relationships, therefore, who you are as a person influences how they operate. So, if you tend to have a lot of relationship issues across the board then you may need to take a long look within yourself to understand what is causing you to stumble in so many relationships. Start thinking about what you can bring to each of these relationships and what steps you need to take to improve them.
2. Self Esteem
We briefly referenced the overlap between self-esteem and self-respect. Self-esteem, though, is a reflection of how much value you place on yourself. It is your attitude towards you as a person. It covers beliefs like I am good enough. It also includes emotions like shame, triumph, pride, and even despair. It's our self-concept. How do you view yourself? Is it positive? Is it negative? This is your self-esteem. It is believed to influence the outcome of your career, your happiness, your relationships, and beyond.
Your spirituality doesn't need to be related to religion – there are plenty of people who want to get in touch with their spirituality and use meditation to do so, instead of church. There are different ways you can help develop your spirituality – if you are religious then consider what steps you can take to improve that. The most obvious steps would be to attend church more often, to spend more time in prayer, and perhaps to delve deeper into your holy text. For those who are spiritual, but not religious, you can meditate regularly and find a community of like-minded people to commune with. What are your goals for your spirit? How can you reach that goal?
Do you have a five-year plan for your career or perhaps just a one year plan? What are you doing to develop your career? If you've been waiting for a promotion that seems to never come it's time to ask yourself why. What are you doing to improve your chances? Talk to your boss about what other steps you can take to improve your working life. Remember, your career is what drives your financial situation, too, so if you want to develop it you need to work harder on improving your career chances.
We all have some type of creativity flowing through our veins – it's all about getting in touch with what art allows us to express ourselves most accurately – that could be playing the piano, it could be writing, it might be cross stitching, painting, dancing, or even basket weaving. It doesn't matter what makes you feel creative, it matters that you stretch yourself and engage in those activities regularly.
How healthy are you? Do you eat potato chips at lunch and enjoy a dinner of sugary cereal? Do you smoke between meals, top up your whiskey one more time before bed? It's time to take your health and wellness seriously – so create a plan to improve your diet and exercise regularly. Start with a three-month plan and grow into a six month and annual plan. You won't be sorry you chose to develop your health, it plays a role in everything else listed above.
The purpose of personal development isn't merely to live or even to thrive, it's to strive – you should always be pushing yourself grow a little bit more. While there is nothing wrong with being happy with your lot in life, there are always different areas where you can make an improvement, even if they seem small.
Herb Sennett writes about life and how to enjoy it more.