Focus on improving one personal development skill each week for fifteen weeks. As each new skill is introduced it is defined along with an assignment for the week.
Focus your personal growth and development on one skill each week for the next fifteen weeks. Each skill builds upon a separate aspect of growth, accumulating to give you a significant personal development growth spurt.
Week 1: Growth
Growth means to spring up, to mature, to get larger. In a Personal Development framework growth implies moving toward your best; not necessarily more of any trait or skill, but better than before.
This Week: This week write down your vision for your future in all aspects of your life. Request the Pillars of a Balanced Life form here, which I’ll send at no charge. Filling out this form takes just a few minutes and will give you a current snapshot of your life.
Week 2: Meditation
Meditation takes many forms, but the end goal of all meditation techniques is a quiet, focused mind. When the mind is quiet, the inner wisdom we each have surfaces to help us resolve life problems. Meditation reduces stress, energizes, and is helpful in treating many physical and mental problems when done in conjunction with standard medical practices.
This Week: Set aside 15 minutes just before bedtime to sit quietly by yourself and practice meditation. Start with a basic meditation technique here. Experiment with other forms of meditation until you find one or two that are effective for you. There are some suggestions here.
Week 3: The Present Moment, Now
Life takes place in the present moment, yet many of us spend our time and energy on the past and future. Life is more satisfying when we live each moment fully.
This Week: Read Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now.
Week 4: Beliefs
A belief is a thought we hold in our minds about something. The word belief is usually reserved for those things we hold sacred and true. We seldom question our beliefs and therein lies the opportunity for personal growth.
This Week: Catch yourself automatically stereotyping someone this week. This is your clue that you have a belief about a certain type of person or behavior. Where did you get that belief? Is it really true all the time? Look for instances that disprove it and be open to other conclusions.
Week 5: Awareness
Awareness implies vigilance in observing some thing or experience and alertness in drawing inferences from what one observes.
This Week: Be aware of your emotions. Several times a day take note of how you’re feeling. Your emotions are unfailing indicators of whether you’re being true to yourself.
Week 6: Being
Being is a state of existence, a sometimes temporary role a person displays based on emotion and feeling. In a single day most people will exhibit many states of being.
This Week: Using the skill of awareness be conscious of who you are being. Set aside a small part of yourself to observe who you are being as you go about your life.
Week 7: Behavior
Behavior is a person’s action or reaction to some situation or stimulus. We don’t often think about our behaviors because so many are automatic. Without even being aware of it, we look into our memory banks for similar situations and react as we did in the past.
This Week: Pay special attention to everything you do and say. Ask yourself why you’re doing and saying what you are. Reflect on these situations for the insight and personal growth opportunity within.
Week 8: Commitment
Commitment is a strong word, declaring more than intent and much, much more than to try. Commitment is a dedication to do or achieve something.
This Week: Answer the question: To What Am I Committed? Write down your commitments. Are you really committed? Are these non-negotiable? Is your list inspiring and energizing?
Week 9: Biofeedback
Biofeedback is the conscious control of a bodily function.
This Week: When you feel stress or anger this week, consciously turn your attention to your blood pressure. Imagine that you have a pressure monitoring kit in place while you take very deep and slow breaths.
Breath in, hold it for a count of five, and breath out slowly while counting to five. Repeat this while imagining your blood pressure readings going down. Continue this for 30 to 60 seconds or until you feel more relaxed and calm. Repeat as necessary.
Week 10: Listen
Listening is more than hearing. Listening is hearing and understanding. The trait often quoted as most admired by others is listening. Nothing will enhance a relationship more than listening carefully, generously, and completely.
This Week: Listen to everyone with your total attention. Avoid choosing a response. Listen.
Week 11: Self-Care
Self-care is an important skill of personal development, being responsible for and actively engaged in care for one’s health, welfare, and personal growth.
This Week: Evaluate your lifestyle for areas for improved self-care.
Week 12: Savor
To savor is to delight in a pleasant experience of the senses. We can enhance and extend the enjoyable moments of life by mentally savoring them.
This Week: Pick one pleasant moment each day and savor it. Drink it in and roll it around your mind, enjoying the pleasant sensations it brings you. Notice how this elevates your mood. Savor that too.
Week 13: Serenity
Serenity is a state of utter calm, refusal to be anxious, angry, or annoyed. Enjoy the peace and calm of being serene and the knowledge that serenity not only feels good but is good for your health too.
This Week: Accept the challenge of remaining serene regardless of the chaos that might surround you. If you feel yourself getting caught up in a drama at home or work, remember to take deep, slow breaths, expelling anxiety and anger with each breath. Remember, this too shall pass.
Week 14: Say No
Practice saying no to requests for your time and energy that are not consistent with your values, passions, and strengths.
This Week: Before taking on any task or responsibility of an ongoing or lengthy duration, ask yourself these questions:
1. Will this responsibility be in conflict with my values?
2. Am I passionate about this responsibility?
3. Which of my core strengths will I be using in this responsibility?
If the answers to 1. and 2. are yes, and if you can readily identify one or more of your core strengths utilized by this responsibility, accept it eagerly. Otherwise, say no graciously.
Week 15: Apologize
To apologize is to make an admission of wrong-doing and expression of regret.
This Week: Seek out someone whose feelings you may have hurt in the past, even if you believe the event has been forgotten. Express your apology sincerely and without an underlying defensiveness.
Re-visit the growth plan you wrote in week 1. Notice your progress and re-dedicate yourself to growth. Repeat weeks 1 through 15 for further growth.