I’m guilty. I’ve written post after post talking about the value of reading or listening to material that improves the way you think and act. An enlightened mind takes your thoughts and actions to new, higher levels of achievement. And I’ve spent my time doing exactly that.
But recently I had a revelation. Personal development encompasses more than the way you think. It also encompasses other areas of your life.
- Your Physical Being. Being healthy is vital. If you feel sluggish, you act sluggishly. You certainly don’t want to read or listen to anything. Be sure to incorporate exercise into your day. You can start small by just adding more walking more during your day. Invest in a good pedometer to count your steps. Exercise reduces stress, and lowers blood pressure and cholesterol. Watch what you eat. A steady diet of fast food, skipped breakfasts and snack food can lead to deficiencies in the nutrients and vitamins that your body needs to function properly. Add more fruit, vegetables and water to your diet. You will feel great and have more energy!
- Your Finances. I don’t need to tell you how stressful dealing with money can be. You can relieve a lot of that stress and develop your muscle of self-control by making a spending plan (I don’t like the word “budget”) each month, deducting expenditures daily, creating a plan to reduce your debt and setting up a savings account to which you add a set amount (say, $5.00) every time you earn income. Create a Tax Drawer containing a folder for each month and put your receipts for tax-deductible items into folders as you get them. If you need to, hire a good financial planner who will teach you how to do these and other things to help you things. Don’t allow your finances control you; you control them!
- Your Relationship with Others. Unfortunately, we live in a world inhabited by people and you can’t get avoid them. You can, however, build relationships with people who encourage, support and add value to you. Stay away from emotional vampires who revel in gossip and 24/7 drama, and who drain your energy and self-esteem. Each day, focus on what you can do for someone else. It can be small like smiling at others, saying hello and opening doors. You can be a ray of sunshine to someone. Another side benefit – you’ll also like yourself more!
- Your Emotional State. Are you a touchy person? Do you fly off the handle easily? Do you live on an emotional roller coaster, up one minute and down the next? You weren’t designed to live this way. You’ll wear yourself out. Stop it! Develop your muscle of self-control. Breath and count to ten before you respond to someone. Repeat back to him or her what was said to make sure you understood correctly. When a problem arises, be still. A calm mind can find a good solution faster than an upset mind. And remember, sometimes a person doesn’t speak to you because or she just didn’t see you.
- Your Spiritual Relationship. I’m a Christian and I take time to develop a deeper relationship with God through reading and studying the Bible, and applying its principles in my life. The more I learn about God, the more calm and peaceful I become about people and situations in life. While my belief in God is unwavering, I understand your beliefs may rest elsewhere. Whatever your beliefs, nurture your understanding and awareness of those beliefs.
Develop strategies to improve the above areas in your life and you will reap the reward of being a healthier, well-rounded person with great friendships. There are apps available today to help you develop in each of these areas. My next post will focus on those apps for iPhone and Android devices.