After the fifth time of pulling my hair out, I stepped away from my computer. I’d been staring at the screen for what felt like days on end but in reality had only probably been a minute or two.
I was looking at my calendar. It looked empty. But I knew it wasn’t. I knew that each day would get filled and I’d run around like I always do.
And to make matters worse, I had no idea how to stop it. I couldn’t stop that feeling of complete lack of control and needing to figure things out all the time.
What should I focus on today? I have a spare hour. Should I spend it cleaning? What about trying to finish that chapter of my book? Or there’s that craft project I started three years ago I’ve been itching to get back into.
I felt like a mess. A complete and total mess. And honestly? I was tired of feeling that way.
The more people I chat with, the more I’m learning that so many of us moms need help with focus. You know you have a lot of things you should be doing, but you’re not sure exactly where to start or where to focus.
We need to figure out how to find that focus with clear action steps the whole way.
To start, do you understand what the term personal development really means? Don’t worry if have no idea what I’m talking about, a lot of people don’t.
Half of you are probably shrugging, disinterested in the entire subject while the other half of you are leaning forward reading, wondering what knowledge you’re going to gain.
Even if you don’t think you’re interested in personal development, the truth is that you are – who wouldn’t be? You’re probably unconsciously doing things to improve yourself, not realizing that it counts toward personal development.
I always love when I find out I’m already started on a project even though I wasn’t doing it intentionally. It makes me feel like I’m on top of my stuff!
There are six key areas of personal development; these are the most common areas where people look to make improvements. Improving these areas can help you reach your “full potential” as your high school coach would say!
By identifying areas for self-development, we can figure out our focus because we’re all multidimensional people. We need to have a clear understanding of all areas before we can decide what we need to focus on the most.
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I intentionally put this one first because it might seem as though it has little to do with personal development – the truth is it has a lot to do with it.
Every relationship you have, whether it’s with your partner, children, neighbors, friends, co-workers or parents, falls under this umbrella. You’re part of these relationships, therefore, who you are as a person influences how they operate.
So, if you tend to have a lot of relationship issues across the board then you may need to take a long look within yourself to understand what is causing you to stumble in so many relationships. What’s the common denominator here?
Could you work on your communication skills? Could you be better at listening to others?
You can start thinking about what you can bring to each of these relationships and what steps you need to take to improve them.
I come from a huge family. I loved growing up that way and it gave me a lot of insight as to how relationships work.
I didn’t just have my parents’ marriage to look to as an example, I had grandparents, aunts and uncles, and then cousins to see examples of what marriage can look like. Because they were all family, I saw a bit more than what the “public” might see.
I learned that there’s so many different ways marriages can operate. There isn’t just one way. I’ve taken this lesson to heart when it comes to my own marriage and my own relationships.
There’s more than one way to do things and if you’re struggling in this area, it’s time to take a look at other ways and try to do something different to have better relationships.
I briefly referenced the overlap between self-esteem and self-respect. Self-esteem, though, is a reflection of how much value you place on yourself.
It is your attitude towards you as a person. It covers beliefs like I am good enough. It also includes emotions like shame, triumph, pride, and even despair.
It’s our self-concept. How do you view yourself? Is it positive? Is it negative? This is your self-esteem.
Why is self-esteem so important?
It is believed to influence the outcome of your career, your happiness, your relationships, and beyond.
There have been times in my personal life when I’ve felt like I’ve been kicked to the ground. Looking back on them in reflection, I realize that when I’ve been at my lowest, it’s affected all the other things around me.
My relationships suffered based on how I felt about myself. My job productivity lagged. I wasn’t happy and it showed in all areas of my life.
Having high self-esteem can elevate everything like a rising tide. Having low self-esteem can drag everything down. This is a great area to focus on if you’re having trouble with your self-image.
And yet another thing to think about is the fact that your children are watching you. In their eyes, you are a superhero. When their superhero doesn’t think much of themselves, it impacts how they see themselves and the world around them.
Instead we can turn this around and give them a great example of having self-esteem!
Do you struggle with forming habits that will bring you higher self-esteem? Here’s a great free habit tracker you can use to make sure you’re doing things every day to improve your self-esteem and feelings of self-worth.
I can’t stand it when people tell me they aren’t spiritual because they don’t go to church.
Did you know that your spirituality doesn’t need to be related to religion? There are plenty of people who want to get in touch with their spirituality and use meditation to do so, instead of church.
There are different ways you can help develop your spirituality – if you are religious then consider what steps you can take to improve that.
The most obvious steps would be to attend church more often, to spend more time in prayer, and perhaps to delve deeper into your holy text.
For those who are spiritual, but not religious, you can meditate regularly and find a community of like-minded people to commune with.
What are your personal goals for your spirituality? How can you reach that goal?
Another thing to consider: how are you sharing your spirituality with your children? They are looking to you for guidance.
We’ve been working on meditation in our house and learning to feel connected with the world around us. We focus on mindfulness these days as a family and have a lot of conversations about being in the here and now.
Because we are also religious, we attend church as a family and talk about our religion at home in age appropriate terms. This isn’t something that comes natural to me, but it’s important that my daughter grow up understanding our religion so I’m learning how to approach it better.
I’ve recently discovered Guided Meditation and Hypnosis Audios. They have a free trial for 24 hours and you can listen to any of their guided meditations to see if they are right for you. I took a meditation class a few years back and my favorite form is guided meditation so I’m a big fan!
There’s nothing quite like getting laid off when you’re not really sure where you’re heading next. That being said, the experience forced me to dig deep to find what I wanted from my career. And gave me the time to go for it.
Do you have a five-year plan for your career or perhaps just a one year plan? What are you doing to develop your career?
If you’ve been waiting for a promotion that seems to never come it’s time to ask yourself why. What are you doing to improve your chances?
Talk to your boss about what other steps you can take to improve your working life. Remember, your career is what drives your financial situation, too, so if you want to develop it you need to work harder on improving your career chances.
Do you work for yourself? What areas of your business could do with some improvement?
Even entrepreneurs need to keep learning and growing. Business changes constantly and you need to grow with your industry rather than lagging behind.
Do you stay at home without bringing in an extra paycheck? If so, you’re value isn’t measured by income, but instead what you bring to the table that you couldn’t if you were working.
How efficiently are you running your home? Are there areas you could improve that could save you money or save you time?
As for me, I’ve been focused on my online business and building up my freelance business.
It’s not the most traditional approach, but sometimes taking a step back lets you see all the benefits and how each piece of the puzzle fits with the rest.
“Coloring again?” My husband smiled as I sat down on the couch, clipboard in hand with my bag of “adult markers” (as in if my kid gets into that bag I’m NOT going to be happy so it lives in a secret place).
“I need some creativity in my life” I tell him, turning back to my bag to pick the next color for my bird. I wanted him to be bright and happy.
Every single person has some type of creativity in them. It’s all about getting in touch with what allows us to express ourselves most accurately.
Maybe you play the piano. Or you might write. You might be a crafty person. Maybe you enjoy dancing.
It doesn’t matter what you do that makes you feel creative. What matters the most is that you stretch yourself and engage with these activities.
I can hear some of you know. “But I don’t have time for hobbies!”
I hear you. I get you. I see you.
We tend to put things like creativity on the back burner when everything else gets to be overwhelming. I’ve been there myself.
Do you know what it costs us?
By not taking the time to nurture our creative muscles, they can actually atrophy. And we need creativity in our lives.
Think about it. Every time you face a problem in your life, you have to come up with solutions. Sometimes simple solutions work. But other times, you need to be more creative.
When we regularly exercise our creativity, those creative solutions come to us more readily. We might even solve our problems in ways that we couldn’t if we weren’t being creative every day.
So you can’t afford to push this area of your life off. It’s time to see the value in being creative and find a way to work it into your day. Everything else will benefit from it.
If I ever want to make my husband laugh, I say “What have we got for snacks?” I used to ask him that multiple times a day when I was pregnant.
Now it gets a good chuckle, but the snacks we keep in the house are much different. I know that if I buy junk, I’ll eat it. So I started buying fruits and veggies instead.
How healthy are you? Do you eat potato chips at lunch and enjoy a dinner of sugary cereal? Do you enjoy multiple glasses of wine before bed?
It’s time to take your health and wellness seriously – so create a plan to improve your diet and exercise regularly.
If you struggle with healthy eating, Active.com has a fantastic resource called 6 Ways to Develop Healthy Eating Habits.
Start with a 12-week plan and grow into a six month and annual plan. You won’t be sorry you chose to develop your health as it plays a role in everything else listed above.
If you need help setting these 12-week goals, I wrote a post on how to set goals and achieve them.
I’ll admit this is an area that I need to focus on this year. We’ve made it a priority to eat more healthy meals and to add more veggies to our diets.
One easy way that I’ve gotten more good stuff in our bodies has been focusing on smoothies. I make them myself at home and make sure we’re packing in the good stuff.
It’s amazing how once you start eating the right stuff and cut the bad, you start to feel amazing in just a few days!
To Wrap It All Up…
The purpose of personal development isn’t merely to live or even to thrive, it’s to strive. You should always be pushing yourself grow a little bit more.
While there is nothing wrong with being happy with where you are in life, there are always different areas where you can make an improvement, even if they seem small.
It’s a great idea to add personal development goals to your life. Afterall, isn’t a sign of emotional intelligence to have meaningful goals for yourself?
You’ll never regret the time that you spend on personal growth. Coming up with a personal development plan means that you make time to work on you and become an even better version of yourself.
You’d be amazed at how small improvements can make a huge impact on everything in your life.