As if there was a race to achieving personal development. There’s not but it sounded good. I have a one percent rule. If I can go to bed at night knowing I have improved my life or those in my circle, like my friends and family, then I feel satisfied that I am growing.
Over achievers or those who have experienced abuse in some form will go all out to achieve personal development full-on as if to do it over night. It’s one thing to rapidly change a negative behavior in order to create a better life but in most cases personal development is a process and takes time.
Although I have been able to create lasting change in a client in just one single session, it’s just important to remember that continuing to work towards a life-long goal of personal development is a smart idea.
It’s no secret that we live in a fast-food type mentality. In our world, it’s all about getting things done quickly. Microwave ovens, streaming movies, and cell phones perpetuate this lifestyle.
Personal development is more effective when done slowly.
Huge changes require some serious energy. They can seem daunting; like too big a task to take on. Simply keep in mind that it’s about the journey that makes life-long changes really stick! Your adventure or process of changing your life itself can actually be more significant than the specific benefits of the change. This is what causes change to be lasting in us.
Why personal development takes time:
- Old habits die hard.
It’s not easy to quit smoking. Indulging in junk food can be just as addictive, too. Thinking negative thoughts, or learning to stop procrastinating are bad habits that aren’t very easy to resolve quickly for many people. Your current habits limit your life, enjoyment, and success. Even being completely aware of the negative effects of these bad habits, you’ll notice that it takes time to practice the new behavior.
- If it were quick and easy, everyone would be successful.
Sure, I can confidently say that I’ve provided an intervention to clients that resulted in immediate changes in their mindset. To have lasting changes in any area of life, though, you must have consistent effort. There are no shortcuts to achieving personal development. Self-improvement is an ongoing process that will continue for the rest of your life.
- New habits take time to form.
Studies vary regarding how long a new habit takes, some suggest that new habits require 21 days, 30 days, or 42 days. The truth is that it varies. Furthermore, unfortunately studies also show that for some people habits can take as long as 9 months to stick! It depends on the habit and the person. Real change requires the development of new, effective habits.
- Your desires will change.
When you’re hungry, all you want is food. When you’re lonely, you crave companionship. As your needs are met, your goals will change. It’s impossible to predict what you’ll want five years from now. Consider Maslow’s hierarchy of needs:
- Self-actualization – living your purpose, finding meaning in life
- Self-esteem – respect of others, confidence, achievement
- Love and belonging – friendship, family, intimacy
- Safety and security – health, career, personal property
- Physiological needs – food, water, clothing shelter
We all start at the bottom of this hierarchy, working our way up. Only when the needs of one level are met can the next level be addressed. Unknowingly, when you skip levels, your life becomes a hot mess.
You probably won’t have goals related to realizing your inner potential if you can’t feed your family. You simply won’t care! Increasing your social circle is the furthest thing from your mind if you recently lost your job.
Since you can’t predict what your future goals will be, your personal development will be a long-term process.
The personal development adventure all about the journey. Overcoming your fear of public speaking isn’t just about making more money at your profession. It’s about conquering perceived limitations.
I know this fact very well! If you could eliminate your fear by snapping your fingers, life would be too easy. Our individual challenges add variety to our lives. The success you’ll feel by overcoming them can’t be matched!
Repetition is often the most important component. Set a goal! Personal development is like getting in shape, I’ll use this as an example a lot here on my blog. There’s only so much change that can happen in one day so you need to be committed to practicing your new behavior regularly.
It’s when your efforts are repeated over the long-term that results happen. This is how I won first place in my last physique competition in the masters category only 18 months after having my last baby!
Brushing your teeth once doesn’t accomplish a lot. Not brushing your teeth one day doesn’t do much either. It’s only after repeated brushing or neglect that the results become obvious.
Crash dieting, winning the lottery, and studying all night for a semester exam you’ve procrastinated all week on are things that never result in lasting success. You’ve had similar experiences.
These are all simple examples of what’s NOT working for people who do not have any sort of commitment. Your personal development journey requires dedication to realize long-lasting results.
The personal development adventure isn’t for lazy people. Instead of looking for the quick fix, search for strategies that require effort and commitment in an effort to stretch yourself. After all, one of the 6 basic human needs is growth.
Relish the fact that you’re changing your life. Take pride in putting in the work to make it happen. Success is easier than you think! Sticking with it long enough to see progress will help motivate you to stay on the right path for life.
Win the personal development race by taking it slow and steady. Let’s expand the conversation. I invite you to leave your comments below.