Hey you! Yes, you. Give yourself a pat on the back. You’ve come so far. Sure, you’ve accumulated a few scars, made a few bad decisions, but you’re here to tell the tale. And might we compliment you on your oratorical prowess, cause you’re telling it beautifully? 

Life is, of course, about the journey and the lessons learned along the way, and the power to improve your life and change for the better never stops. It’s an ongoing, lifelong process, this, and we’re walking this path together. Here are 7 IDEAL steps to greater personal growth and development.

KNOW YOURSELF

Running through the six with my….oh, forget it.

Getting to know yourself is one of the most important and challenging aspects of self-development. Some people assume self-knowledge is innate. Because, you should know yourself better than anyone, right? Let’s just put it this way; introspection isn’t exactly everyone’s strong point. You might know your characteristics, but you must also understand where your behaviours come from, why you like or dislike certain things, and what motivates that behaviour in order to really know who you are. 

You won’t know what you need to change or how to fix what’s broken if you don’t understand what you’re dealing with in the first place. Even if there’s no fix to a certain issue, being aware of yourself can still help you be more mindful and live a happier life. 

PRACTICE SELF-LOVE

Speaking of being mindful; it’s crucial to contentment and growth to accept and love yourself just the way you are, flaws and all. It’s normal to look up to people you admire and respect, but that shouldn’t dictate your life or the relationship you have with yourself. Constantly comparing yourself to others and putting yourself down when you don’t meet certain social standards is a recipe for disaster. 

Plough your own furrow; you don’t have to think, look or act like anyone else except yourself. All your characteristics, the good and the bad, are what make you truly unique and you should value this uniqueness – exploit it, even – instead of trying to blend in. As Mae West once so beautifully put; ‘it’s better to be looked over than overlooked’. 

KEEP LEARNING

Self-development continues for as long as we live. Nope, education certainly doesn’t stop when you finish academia, and as such, you should take any and everything opportunity to learn new things and broaden your horizons as your life progresses. 

If you’ve always wanted to learn a foreign language or play guitar, or if you’ve always had a passion for science and you would like to learn chemistry, it’s never too late to develop a new skill or focus on your talents. Instead of neglecting your natural interests, try to cultivate them, because gaining new knowledge and skills will help you boost your confidence and grow as an individual.

EAT HEALTHILY

A healthy body leads to a healthy mind and as such, to a more fulfilling life, too. It’s clear that if you want to focus on personal development, you shouldn’t neglect your biological requirements. You’ve probably noticed that when you pay attention to what you eat and prioritise healthy foods, your mood improves and your overall sense of wellbeing is enhanced.  

You can make that feeling linger for longer if you decide to be more mindful about what you put on your plate. We’re all well aware of every doctor’s recommendations to avoid sugar, alcohol and processed food, eat more fruits and vegetables, nutrient-rich foods and the rest. Well, now’s the right time to follow this advice and start eating healthier to nurture both body and soul.

STAY ACTIVE

It’s been scientifically proven, time and time again, that exercise increases the production and release of serotonin and endorphins in the brain and body, which can help relieve depression and promote positive feelings. Don’t worry; you don’t have to set up camp in the gym to be in good physical shape. Indeed, it’s enough to create a decent workout routine and stick to it. Even this sense of accomplishment, of setting goals and striving for them, can do wonders for your wellbeing too.

SET CLEAR GOALS

Did someone mention goals? Nope, not the squad ones, though socialising is great for you, too. But what we’re trying to say is that growth always starts with concise, clear planning. What, you thought this thing happened at random? You don’t necessarily have to make a list with each and every step laid out to achieve a certain goal, but it is crucial to have something tangible to focus on in the future.

Sometimes the hardest part of all is succinctly expressing your needs and desires. But if you are bold enough to dream big and envision your goals with clarity, you’ll find, somewhere, the resources to accomplish them.

LEAVE BAD HABITS IN THE PAST

Quitting a bad habit is easier said than done and we’re all guilty of falling into the hands of unhealthy indiscretion from time to time. Sometimes, development and growth are hindered because you become a prisoner of your own bad habits and can’t break the cycle. But as we said before, it’s all part of the process. After all, you learn much more from dusting yourself off and getting back up again than you do from being on cruise control.

Hey, we’re not saying that life should be totally centred around growth, productivity and catering to capitalism. Instead, try these; our tips on how to achieve a better work-life balance.