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Achieving Personal Development

By Elliot Caleira

The issue of personal development can easily become a prominent struggle. For most people, this focus is ongoing with no definite beginning or end. Although it may seem like a vague and terrifying topic, when you break it down, the goal of improving one’s personal development becomes much more attainable.

Increase Motivation
In any venture, the hardest part is starting the process. One of the most important skills that you can develop is the ability to motivate yourself. Why is it so difficult to increase motivation? Scientists have discovered that the level of dopamine in your brain is correlated to your motivation level. That is, the more dopamine, the more the brain associates a task with a “reward.” Therefore, the more likely it is that task will be completed. There are several ways to increase this response. By amending habits in small ways, an improved approach to motivation can be obtained. Taking a break to exercise or even meditate can increase dopamine levels and significantly increase motivation.

Set Goals
Of course, in order to increase your motivation, it becomes essential to first have a goal in mind to accomplish. Setting goals is an integral factor of personal development. Having an idea and plan of what you want to work toward in the future lends to the confidence and determination needed to develop yourself personally. Goals give you the ability to streamline your focus and energy towards specific outcomes. A helpful aid in developing goals is using the SMART goals. In this case, Specific, Measurable, Agreed upon, Realistic and Time-based goals are key. Assuring that all of these subsets can be met, you can proceed with your goals and transfer that aspiration into your future.

Develop Connections
On a similar note, stepping back and taking a break from stressors is a necessary step. Even venturing outside to remind yourself of the insignificance of certain situations can be beneficial to reset your thinking.

A related approach to improving mental wellbeing is currently in practice. Wilderness therapy is a new idea that involves personal development through experiencing outdoor environments. One can both develop confidence through independence and become more connected to the outside world through loss of connection to the world of modern technology. This process can be simplified by simply taking moments throughout the day to step outside or just decrease cell phone usage on a day to day basis.

Embrace Failure
Even with all of these components, failure is a given. In fact, it is a necessity. It is these moments of failure that increase personal development the most. When mistakes are made and you fall, it is the act of getting back up that is so essential to growth. It is imperative to be kind to yourself in situations of failure, and to learn and use those teachings in the future. “By paying attention to mistakes, we invest more time and effort to correct them,” states Jason Moser, PhD, director of the Clinical Psychophysiology Lab at Michigan State University.

In the ever increasing effort of personal development; creating a balance of motivation, determination and awareness is key. Developing these skills can allow personal improvement to grow and progress.

Elliot Caleira is a freelance writer in the self-mastery and health and wellness spaces. When he's not writing you'll find him cooking or teaching Portuguese classes. Twitter: @elliotcaleira.

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