5 Important Steps Toward Self-Development
Happy June! This month is always my absolute favorite because there’s just so much to celebrate – my boyfriend and I are both Gemini’s with June birthdays just 8 days apart and so many people I love were born in this month, making it the best time of the whole year!
Call me crazy, but I’ve always personally viewed birthdays as more of a ‘new year’ than the actual new year on January 1st. There’s something so significant about adding another year to our lives, so I’ve always found it important to set some goals for myself to accomplish before my next birthday.
These can be as simple as sticking to a great skincare routine and learning a new hobby, or greater goals such as reading one chapter of a book each night or exercising four days a week. No matter how simple or complex my birthday goals end up being, I always keep one thing in mind while thinking them through, and that one thing is what this month on Kaptivating Thoughts is all about: self-development.
What I mean by this is rather than simply setting the goal of exercising four days a week, I spend time reflecting on how exactly this goal will help me develop into my best self: it’ll teach me discipline, it’ll keep me healthy, it’ll give me time to reflect and clear my head and it’ll help me create a strong routine.
Thinking the self-development aspect of goal-setting through before setting the goals helps us to solidify why they are so important AND helps bring us closer to the versions of ourselves we hope to become.
“This journey [of self-development] is you exploring and developing who you truly are. It explores identity, talents and potential, as well as dreams and aspirations. It develops you physically, mentally, spiritually and intellectually.” – Huffington Post
Throughout this month, I’ll be covering a few topics that all relate to self-development, and why it’s important to thoroughly think through your skills, dreams, and identity as you set goals for yourself. After all, setting mindless goals that don’t truly relate to the person we want to become someday will just set us up to fail at accomplishing them.
SO, let’s dive in to what today is all about: the important steps you should take toward self-development right now!
5 Important Steps Toward Self-Development
1. Look inward
The first step toward self-development is always to look inward and reflect on what’s currently going on with your emotions, your passions, your goals, relationships, career, finances and anything else under the sun that you can think of.
You don’t have to do anything major here – if you’re into meditation, then by all means, spend some time meditating and see what comes up when you set your intentions on self-development.
If meditation isn’t your thing, that’s totally fine – just set aside a half hour or so to sit and reflect on what’s going on in your life lately and begin to consider the areas you may want to improve a bit.
2. Life audit
Don’t freak out over this phrase because it’s not as scary as it sounds! A life audit will simply help you determine the areas of your life that you are absolutely ROCKING right now, and the areas that you can mayybbbee do a bit better in.
This will totally help set you up for success by showing you two types of goals you can set for yourself:
The goals that will probably be easy for you to accomplish because you can simply build on the things you’re already doing great at
The more difficult goals that may take a bit more work and effort on your part, and may require a bit more focus and nurturing throughout the process. Allow yourself to start small with these goals, because they may not come as naturally.
Check back in later this month for more on what the heck a life audit is, how to successfully conduct one for yourself and where to go from there!
3. Set those goals
Once you've figured out what goals you'd like to set for yourself, take the time to write them down. I like to keep a notebook that's solely dedicated to my goals and my progress, and I encourage you to do the same!
Start by writing out each of your goals, making them as specific as possible – include the month you hope to accomplish them by and how you'll measure success with this goal.
Then, dedicate one page in your notebook to each goal and write out WHY this goal is important to you, what you hope to gain from it (What will you learn? How will you feel? How will this help positively develop your life/your situation/your mood?) and what specific steps you'll take to get there. If it's a BIG goal, break it down into smaller goals you can accomplish each month; if it's a totally do-able goal, figure out how you'll track your progress and stay on track each month.
4. Find your inspiration
Have those goals written down? Good! Now it's time for the fun part – finding your inspiration! Head over to Barnes & Noble to pick up a few books that relate to your goals, create a Pinterest board full of motivating quotes and good reads about the topic, or start up an Instagram account solely dedicated to your new goals and follow some inspiring accounts.
The simple part of self-development and goal-setting is the beginning; we feel inspired, motivated and ready to crush it. But as the days go by, the initial dedication may begin to wear off. Make inspiration as accessible and easy to find as you possibly can, and be ready to turn to those sources the minute you start to feel less motivated.
5. Implement, check in and adjust
Once you start to implement your new goals, you may find a few things that are working great and some things that may not be serving you as well as you'd hoped. And that's okay! If these goals aren't helping you to develop and bringing you closer to the future you, simply reassess and adjust accordingly.
It's important to take time to check in with ourselves during this journey; go back to your goal notebook and look over WHY you set these goals in the first place. If you don't feel like you're getting there after a few weeks or months, then consider what other routes you can take to make it happen. And keep in mind that by doing so, you're already proving how much you've grown, simply by allowing yourself to change course rather than giving up.