“You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.”
– Abraham Lincoln

Do something about your personal development plan today. It’s going to take some time to achieve lasting change so you need to start now. You can build on what you do today, tomorrow. Don’t become a PRO at procrastination!

After being stuck at home for weeks with little to fill your time other than school assignments, you may well be beginning to slip into a state of existential angst and boredom.

To make a plan you need to include steps. Break a large goal into it’s smallest components. Keep the end result in mind as you focus on the smaller bite sized steps.

Develop your interests

Spending time on activities you enjoy or are good at does more than just make you feel good. It empowers you with a sense of freedom to express your emotions and motivates you to keep working on building your skills.

You should be careful and not push yourself too hard when pursuing your goals though, or you might lose interest in them, she adds.

Develop a growth mindset

The way you perceive your successes and failures can affect your well-being, which is why it’s important to develop a growth mindset. This is the belief that you’re capable of improving. One of the ways you can strengthen this mindset is by overcoming challenges. This isn’t always easy, but can be made easier if you anticipate these challenges as you set your goals and think of ways to overcome them ahead of time. You should also be ready to adjust your plan when an unexpected challenge arises.

Another key to having a growth mindset is being able to ask for help when you need it. Remember, you can’t do everything by yourself, you can gain from the success of other people and you can learn from their mistakes. Your own experience is a harsh teacher so learn from the mistakes of others. If you can find a mentor or coach your task will be easier. Read as many books as you can.

Set ‘smart’ goals

Having an aim does not only gives you a clear sense of direction in life, but also promises a sense of achievement each time you get closer to your goal.

These are goals that are concrete, sensible, and time-sensitive. She adds that thinking about the steps you need to take to reach your goal and writing them down, will help you achieve them.

Identify and use your strengths

While having to complete tasks you lack experience or skill in can be defeating, doing things you’re naturally good at can give you pleasure and satisfaction. You can use this to give you the confidence to tackle the task you were struggling with.

You are responsible for your own progress. You are responsible for what you are today and where you are today.

That means it’s your job to initiate the steps involved in your personal development plan. If you don’t bother, no one else will. It also means you own the result and no one else is to blame.

Look at failures from different perspectives

Failures, whether in exams or in friendships, can sometimes feel like the end of the world. People are likely to fall into the thinking trap of putting all the blame on themselves when they experience failure, she explains, when there are actually multiple factors that contribute to the situation.

When people or things fall short of your expectations, you can get overwhelmed with negative emotions, which can cloud your judgement. This is when you should challenge your thoughts.

Ask yourself if there are new ways to perceive the failure,” or invite a friend to share their views.

It is also helpful to remind yourself that the words ‘fail’ and ‘end’ can be seen as acronyms for “First Attempt in Learning” and “Effort Never Dies”.

Practise gratitude

When you’re knee-deep in work, it’s easy to forget to take some time to appreciate how much you have. A daily, simple practice of gratitude can keep you happy and healthy.

The process involves four parts of your body: your eyes, mind, hand and heart.

Your eyes are responsible for observing the people and things around you which you are grateful for, but might often take for granted.

Set aside some time every day to contemplate them. This is the second stage – using your mind to reflect on the important things in your life.

Your hands symbolize putting your gratitude into actions, whether it’s saying thank you, writing a thank you card, or preparing a gift to show your appreciation to someone. Sometimes we invite students to take a photo of one thing they are thankful for everyday, to remind themselves of the many [blessings] they have in life.

Focus on what you already have.  Think about how others benefit from what you do. If you improve yourself, those benefits will increase. Your personal development is for others, as well as for you.

Whatever you intend becomes your reality. Find your true intention before you resolve to do something and make sure you really want what you say you want. If your goal and your intention are not aligned, then you’ll think up lots of excuses and all sorts of situations to prevent your progress.

Lastly, life works in cycles and moves to a rhythm. You will have up and downs. When you hit a slow point or things don’t seem to be moving, don’t give up, keep going. There is no such thing as continual rapid advancement and that means your personal development plan needs to be achievable and balanced. Find your rhythm and go with the flow. There’s no such thing as finished personal self development. You can go on learning, changing and renewing for all of your life.

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