Personal development tools and techniques are the key to self improvement. They can help you take charge of your life by setting a positive direction.
Self improvement is an ongoing process of learning. You begin to understand and develop yourself to achieve your fullest potential. This may either apply to your career, personal life, education or all of these areas.
You are your greatest resource. If you invest time and effort in developing yourself, the rewards will be amazing. Take a look at these effective techniques and tools that can help you better yourselves and positively impact your life.
Personal Development Techniques
1. Know Yourself
Are you always running after goals that other people have set for you? Stop doing that immediately and take out time to get to know yourself, your qualities, your weaknesses, what you truly enjoy and what you want to be in life?
As Socrates said, “To know thyself is the beginning of wisdom”.
An effective way to do this is through journaling. There are a number of emotional and physical health benefits of expressive writing. It helps you stay connected with your inner self so that you don’t get distracted by all the external noise. They key is to be completely honest and vulnerable while penning down your feelings, your goals and objectives.
As you write and read about yourself regularly, the thoughts will become more strongly embedded in to your subconscious mind. This will help you focus on your goals, stay true to yourself, improve decision making and know when to say no!
2. Practice Gratitude
Being one of the positive psychology interventions, the benefits of having a gratitude mindset are endless. It’s vital for your well being. People who pause and take time to notice finer things, reflect upon them, are thankful, enjoy a more fulfilling life, good health and better sleep.
Gratitude also makes you more compassionate, kind and mindful. The idea is not to keep it reserved for special occasions or experiences. You should learn to be thankful for the smallest of things like, a delicious meal or a traffic free ride back home.
Every night take out time to go through your day and ponder over the things you’re truly thankful for. It’s really going to change your how you view your life and will help you block negative emotions.
3. Break Out of Your Comfort Zone
So many people start their days wondering why they’re stuck or why they haven’t been able to achieve greater dreams. In order to grow and get the very best out of life, you have to constantly keep challenging yourself.
It may seem extremely difficult at first, but you’ve got to gather the courage to take risks, face your fears and go for things that make you uneasy.
When you make up your mind to step out of your safe space, you will come across greater opportunities. It will incite your creativity and ideas will come easier.
Everything you are currently experiencing in your life, whether it’s your fitness routine (if there’s any!), your relationships, your current job, money status etc. all make up your comfort zone. The things you desire but don’t have are lying just outside the circle. You will have to push your boundaries to accomplish them.
4. Quit a Bad Habit
People put a lot of emphasis on external factors when viewing success such as luck, education, career etc. Although we don’t deny the importance of any of these, it’s equally necessary to look a bit deeper inside yourself. Your bad habits can be hurdles to your growth and development.
Oversleeping, overeating, smoking, being late, slouching, lying are some of the many bad habits you could totally drop!
To break a bad habit you need to understand how it’s formed in the first place. A habit loop or cycle has three components: the cue (or trigger), the routine (what follows the cue) and the reward (the positive response your mind identifies with when you carry out the routine).
Once these components are identified, you have to start isolating yourself from the cues or try to ignore them. Cues could be linked to events, locations, feelings, people or even an emotional state.
You can also try alternative routines and see how your brain responds to them for example if you are craving cookies, grab a handful of nuts instead.
You can also make your routines more difficult for example if you have a bad habit of turning off your alarm while still in bed, place your phone (or alarm clock) at a distance so that you have to get up from your bed when it rings in the morning.
5. Wake Up Early
Your daily productivity and quality of life is greatly influenced by your morning routine. Waking up early will allow you to give time to yourself. If you can start you day an hour early, you can go out for a jog, drink more water, prepare a healthy breakfast, meditate and even prep yourself for work.
Having an effective early morning routine is one of the habits of successful people. Early risers are at a clear advantage. Getting up early in the morning means that you will start going to bed on time and your entire day to day routine will fall in place. It will not just have tremendous improvement in your health, but you will also feel more positive and motivated.
Additionally, you will be able to accomplish more tasks each day and be more proactive. Students who are early birds are believed to have higher academic scores.
6. Eat Healthy and Start an Exercise Routine
A better version of you starts with taking care of your health. You have to put your health first if you’re on the road to self improvement. It’s the first step to reach excellence in all other areas of life.
It’s as simple as creating a daily diet and exercise plan. It doesn’t have to be anything too complex or difficult to keep up with.
Cut down on junk and processed food intake and substitute it with more healthy options including fresh fruits and vegetables. There are a number of online resources available if you’re looking for healthy recipes for your daily meals.
Set aside at least 35-45 minutes of your day to exercise. Simple workouts like daily walking can make a huge difference to your overall well being. For variety you may want to mix it up with cycling, gym sessions, swimming, yoga etc.
Self discipline is going to be really important in sticking to your daily fitness plans. With consistent effort, you will be able to achieve it.
7. Accept Responsibility for Your Mistakes
As humans, we’re all bound to make mistakes at every step and phase of our lives. There’s absolutely nothing wrong about that. But it’s how we deal with mistakes that makes all the difference.
You have to get out of the ‘fixed’ mindset which makes you believe that there is nothing wrong in you or there’s nothing wrong you could ever do. It will never allow you to grow. It can really damage your relationships, your personality and your life in general.
Whereas, admitting your mistakes and taking responsibility to correct them can open new doors of learning for you. Not just that, it will give you inner strength and make you feel good about yourself.
8. Stop Worrying About Things You Can’t Control
Even though there’s so much you can do to take control of your life and live better, you have to come to terms with the fact that no matter how much you want to exercise control over your life, there are certain things that are beyond anyone’s hold.
Natural disasters, diseases, death, people’s opinion of you and to some extent the longevity of certain relationships are a few examples of the things that you can neither gain charge of nor are you responsible for. So why worry about them?
Do yourself a favor and let go of what’s not in your hands. Worrying is never a solution to any problem, in fact it only worsens the situation. Excessive worrying can have detrimental effects on your health and your everyday life.
A lot of people also have the habit of living in the past or fretting too much about future. They always have ‘what could have been’ or ‘what if scenarios running in their minds and in doing so they ruin their present.
Learning to accept certain things as they are will lead to less negative emotions such as anger, disappointment, fear and anxiety.
9. Forgive for Your Own Good
Forgiveness does not erase the past but it puts an end to the feelings of resentment, anger and bitterness against the person who has wronged you. Once you’re able to let go of these feelings, you will start healing and find peace. So it’s actually you who benefits the most.
Forgiveness is also important if certain traumatic experiences are making you suffer from chronic mental illnesses like depression and anxiety. Toxic emotions hold the potential to completely destroy your mental well being. You have to cease the vicious cycle of constantly feeling resentment and sadness to end those bouts of depression.
Many a times, you will also find yourself to be shackled with guilt and shame. As much as it’s important to accept your fault and genuinely try to make amends, it’s equally crucial to learn to forgive yourself.
The cathartic release of emotional burden that comes with forgiving others and ourselves can dramatically improve us as persons and foster personal growth.
10. Ask for Feedback
It’s always a good idea to take a third person’s perspective when trying to work out problems, gaining better understanding of yourself and analyzing your situations. Taking feedback can greatly help you in both your personal and professional development.
This does not mean that you start asking every other person you know for their comments or opinion. Rather, take feedback from 3-5 close people who you feel have your best interest at heart and understand your circumstances and behaviors well. They should be able to give you a realistic picture without any personal biases.
You should be very specific about what you need to know and provide any details before the other person can judge the situation.
It’s also important how you take that feedback. If you’re serious about self improvement, you can use others’ feedback as a great way to look and understand things differently. You can identify your strengths and shortfalls and then use that information to develop and rectify yourself.
11. Ban Complaints and Excuses from Your Life – Get to Action!
Stop the habit of looking for excuses as to why you can’t do something or complaining about how your life is so difficult. Not only will people get sick of listening to your constant whining or excuses, you will end up making your life miserable. Nothing will work unless you do!
Self pity’s not cool at all. Avoid wallowing in your problems and start looking for ways to get out of them. If you don’t like your job, or if you are stuck in a bad relationship, get out of the whining mode and do something to find better solutions for it. No one but you have the capability to making your life better.
Similarly, don’t give yourself excuses for continuously failing to do something that’s important for you. If you need to lose weight, you will have to have a strict diet plan and hit the gym. Your tight work schedule or your uncontrollable cravings are no excuses for not doing what you have to do!
Break your seemingly large goals into smaller bits and work out a plan. Take baby steps but be consistent. Keep the end result in mind and stay focused on your efforts.
12. Deal With Negative People
In spite of how absolutely necessary it is to identify and eliminate toxic people from your life, you are bound to find negative people everywhere you go. Don’t let them drain your energy.
Now you can’t get a difficult coworker fired from your workplace, but you can surely learn ways to keep yourself as less affected by them as possible.
The first thing to keep in mind when dealing with negative people is to never get into any arguments with them. In fact, the minute you realize that the other person is incapable of understanding the concept of different perspectives, you should end the discussion right there. Keep your interaction limited and to the point or just stick to lighter topics.
Distance yourself with toxic people emotionally. There will be situations when you will have to work with them closely or even have to live with them. Establish a boundary and be conscious about it. Only respond to the facts and don’t get sucked into the emotional chaos in situations whenever you interact with them.
Ignore any unwarranted negative comments or sarcasm even if they are coming from people who are apparently close to you like relatives, friends etc. Don’t let negativity get to your head.
13. Take a Break
Giving yourself a break from the daily grind helps you recharge yourself and discover new interests. Failing to do so will erode your productivity and performance. Furthermore, it’s going to dampen your creativity and enjoyment and you’re eventually going to burn out.
Breaks are essential to keep you going. They will benefit you both in your professional as well as personal lives. Going on a solo road trip, taking the kids to the beach or travelling with friends to an exciting new part of the world takes off your stress and gives you a chance to rejuvenate yourself.
Personal Development Tools
1. TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design)
TED is a nonprofit website devoted to spreading ideas through short, powerful talks from some of the world’s most inspired and innovative leaders.
It’s now also available as an app which you can easily download on your smart phones or other devices and watch influential videos from expert speakers worldwide.
Lifetick is a web application that’s considered to be one of the most comprehensive self improvement tools. It helps you track your goals, encourage healthy habits and even gets you connected to life coaches. It offers a variety of plans available at different prices.
The status widgets, charts and reports make it an ideal app for all goal getters who have a thing for details.
It’s a great app for habit building and goal tracking. It helps you set positive daily routines and keep a track on your progress. After all, your habits are a large part of your life and your personality.
Another cool feature that the app offers is that of social integration. You can find or make friends on the app and then encourage each other as you achieve your goals.
Mindbloom life game is a web application that gives you a fun and interactive way to work on your goals and personal motivations.
When you play the game, you plant a tree that is representative of your life. The leaves of the tree symbolize different aspects of your life that are important to you like your family life, health, career, education etc.
To nurture the tree you have to come up with a specific agenda comprising of various activities for each area of your life that all combine to make your personal development plan. As you perform those activities in the real world, like eating healthy, going to the gym, calling your family etc. you earn points, badges and other in-game rewards that help your tree grow.
This is a brain training app that can improve memory, enhance focus and help your mind find peace. The exercises have been developed with the objective to challenge and improve the brain processing capacity.
The tests of cognitive abilities used by Lumosity are based on common neuropsychological tasks that are used by neuroscientists and researchers to assess brain performance and function. There is scientific evidence that Lumosity is a reliable tool for examining cognitive performance.
The app also introduced a Mindfulness category recently. It comprises of guided meditation sessions for focusing on breath and attention. The duration of these sessions can range from a minute to an hour or more.
It is an e-Learning platform that offers a wide variety of courses over a range of different topics. Their course structure is clean and classes are well organized. Additionally, the instructors at Udemy are top-level.
Regardless of the study you want help with, Udemy is probably going to offer at least one course in it. Some of the courses are free of cost too.
It doesn’t only offer academic or corporate learning courses, it has a number of personal development and self improvement ones too.
Reading books is an excellent way to feel inspired and healed. A few pages or a chapter from a good personal development book every day can make a huge difference to how you view your life.
Goodreads is an app that has some of the best and most authentic book reviews from all around the world. It doesn’t just help you find the right books for yourself but also connect you with thousands of readers to share your feelings and experiences with each other.
Are you a slug when it comes to going to the gym? Or does your monthly subscription fee for the gym go to waste?
Then here’s the app for you!
Gympact has taken an innovative and clever approach on keeping people motivated to attend their regular gym sessions. You set a monetary consequence for every time a workout is missed. So if you don’t follow your gym routine, you have to pay a fine.
It doesn’t just end there. If you’re good at keeping up with your weekly workout routine, you earn a share of all the lazybones’ fines that week.
9. Personal Development Blogs
Another way to help yourself set a positive direction for your life is to follow personal development blogs. Many of these are created by people who have been successful in this path. They have genuine advice that can help you take some inspiration.
Listening to self help podcasts while you’re on the go can keep you motivated to achieve your personal development goals. There’s a wide selection of great podcasts available in the self improvement arena.
Personal development is a continuous process that can help you reach your goals and grow with time. This list of personal development tools and techniques can help you get started with the journey towards self awareness and improvement.