Six Ways To Facilitate Greater Personal Development
If you want to fulfill your potential and reach your goals, it is vital to spend time getting to know yourself better. Undertaking self-reflective and exploratory tasks can help you to discover your real needs and uncover aspects of your mindset that you want to change. Here are six unique and enjoyable ways to enhance self-knowledge and facilitate personal growth.
1. Take A Critical Look At How You Spend Your Time
One surprisingly powerful exercise involves contrasting your core values with how you actually live. On one side of a piece of paper, write down the ten things that you think are most important in life. For example, you might include certain hobbies, relationships, intellectual goals or emotional experiences. Take your time when writing, making sure that your list accurately reflects your passions and convictions. Next, turn to the opposite side of the paper and write down the ten things you think you spend most time doing or pursuing. What do you notice when you compare the two lists? If there is a noticeable gap between what you value and how you spend your time, why do you think this gap has appeared? Even more importantly, what can you do to make sure that you allocate more resources to the things you have identified as truly important?
2. Keep A Journal
Writing in a journal (or a dream journal) can be an excellent way to develop a greater sense of self, but only if you commit to using this journal regularly. You can get the most out of the process if you write an entry on a daily basis. If you find it difficult to begin your entries, you might try using prompts that inspire you. Some people find it helpful to list three challenges they experienced that day and five experiences that brought them happiness or pleasure. Others decide to dedicate at least one full page to describing a meaningful encounter from their day, encouraging mindfulness and an appreciation of the present moment. However you choose to use your journal, the book should provide a private space in which you can explore questions about yourself, work through puzzles about your emotional reactions, and chronicle all the exciting dreams that you might be too shy to discuss with others.
3. Do Things That Scare You
Deliberately undertaking challenges and trying new things can lead to dramatic personal development. For example, starting a new class on a whim can teach you that you have a real talent for something you had always avoided, and facing a great fear can show you the true strength of your willpower. Even if you try something that does not go particularly well or you realize that you do not enjoy that activity after all, you have still uncovered valuable information about yourself. Many of your ideas about your limits will be based on the negative voice of your inner critic, and you can start to develop a much more positive mindset if work to you regularly prove to yourself that you have the ability to overcome anxieties and obstacles.
4. Question Your Assumptions
Everyone carries certain key messages from childhood into adulthood, but many of these messages stay in the subconscious part of your mind and are never made explicit. Even if you never consider these messages, they can be harmful or destructive to your relationships and your goals. Consequently, examining these types of assumptions can help you learn a lot about yourself and help you see things that might be holding you back from achieving your goals. You can begin thinking about family messages by writing down ten lessons you learned about how to be happy when you were a child, ten ‘facts' you were told about relationships and ten emotions or actions that you were told you were unacceptable. Looking at these lists, consider how family messages might have influenced your life choices and interfered with your personal development. Which of these messages do you truly agree with, and which do you want to reject once and for all? When you contemplate the messages you want to reject, how do you think you might approach excising them from your everyday thinking?
5. Expose Your Mind To Other Cultures
While traveling to other countries may be the best way of exposing your mind to other cultures, your career obligations or financial situation may well make extensive travel impractical. If you cannot hop on a plane any time soon, consider broadening your horizons by reading some of the best literature by writers from outside your country or watching documentaries on other cultures. It is well worth giving some serious thought to what you might learn from these different approaches. Reflecting on cultural diversity increases your sensitivity to the worth of contrasting perspectives and can also change the way you look at your own choices. Each time you learn about a new culture, consider what aspect of that culture you would like to incorporate into your life.
6. Be More Creative
Many people quickly dismiss the idea that they should try to create art, claiming that they lack artistic skills or can't draw. However, you do not need to be a great artist to benefit from trying new creative activities. In fact, art therapists prompt clients of all ages to express their problems in a visual way and report that this method is very good at accessing memories that predate the ability to verbalize. You can play with the idea of being creative in all sorts of different ways, each of which comes with its own possibilities for personal development. One exercise involves painting an abstract representation of a feeling that you find hard to express, such as the purity of your love for a child or the resentment you feel towards a significant figure from the past. While the latter choice may sound negative in theory, it can actually help you to externalize your emotions in a way that facilitates letting go and moving on.