In today’s post we’re gonna talk about starting a personal development routine — what it takes, what it means practically and what it’s supposed to be like. 

Personally, I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t decided to start a personal development journey. Seriously. I wouldn’t be writing this post because I wouldn’t have had the courage to put myself out there like this. I would have never wrapped my head around the thought of sharing my ideas publicly, imagine having multiple blog posts online available for anyone to read. 

I do realize starting is no joke. If anything, it’s the hardest step, and I definitely would have wanted someone to outline the first steps for me, to pave the way, so to speak. To tell me what’s normal and what’s not, and the mistakes I might have run into. I had to discover it on my own, and I’m still trying to figure some things out, as I always will, so it seemed a pretty good idea to do it for someone that might be starting right now, or even considering to start. 

1. Choose One Specific Area to Work On 

Procrasti-learning is probably the easiest trap to fall into when you’re starting a personal development routine. And it’s also one of the trickiest. For some time, I really thought I was being productive and that I was doing so much progress when in reality, I was just consuming hours and hours of content everyday. Under every format, from podcast episodes, to books, to youtube videos. You name it, I probably gave a look to it. 

It all felt so good and inspiring, but I was just avoiding the work. It became clear something was off when I realized my procrastination and self-sabotaging weren’t getting any better. I procrastinated on re-branding my website for 5 good months, and in the end it only took me one week to get it all done. 

That’s why it’s crucial that you start by focusing on one thing, one issue that you’d like to work on because that work will also show in other areas of your life as well.

In fact,

How you do one thing is how you do everything.

Just like I was procrastinating on working on my website, I was behind on my writing schedule, I was overlooking my health and so on.

Also, putting too much on your plate to handle can be another form of self-sabotage and procrastination. It becomes an excuse not to see progress. Think about it. Now you can tell yourself you didn’t get any results on thing A because you were too busy working on thing B, and you didn’t get results on thing B because you were definitely too busy working on thing C etc.

2. Find a Teacher, or a Mentor, Or One Person of Reference 

The second step in your personal development routine would be to find a teacher or a person to use as reference. Possibly someone you admire and look up to. 

Now, it really depends on how much you want to invest in your personal development journey. You have a wide range of options from online courses to free podcasts, to having a personal coach. Go with what you feel most confident in, but it’s important that you choose one mentor and one mentor only. The same reasons and concepts we mentioned in step one apply here as well. 

Having too many sources of information means you might hear contradicting thoughts and that’s not an ideal scenario, especially in the beginning when you’re supposed to channel all your energy and efforts into establishing a routine.

Also, relying on one person/resource only will be a further step to avoid procrasti-learning and make sure you’re not consuming too much content without acting on it. 

3. Select a Few Specific Habits to Perform Everyday 

Personally I structured my routine to be 80/20. I consume content for 20% of the time and then for the 80% of the time I apply what I’ve learned (which usually consists in journaling or doing specific suggested exercises). Of course this is not a specific measure, and it’s not meant to be. For instance, it might mean reading a book for two weeks and then eight doing the suggested journaling exercises. 

But you don’t have to start with this, in fact I haven’t. You can start with as little as 5 minutes a day or 30 minutes every 2–3 times a week. And the consuming/applying ratio doesn’t have to be 80/20, you could do 50/50. 

I actually think it’s important to set low expectations in the beginning because they’re easy to exceed and build up that confidence that’s extremely helpful to motivate yourself to show up long enough to form the habit. 

One Last Thought

One thing I would have really wanted to hear when I was getting started with all of this is: it’s gonna feel messy, and it’s meant to be. Make your peace with it. Look at this journey with curiosity rather than the obsession to do everything perfectly. And accepting that messiness will reward you in the long run. 

I’m not saying this to discourage you, but to push you to keep going nevertheless. Personal growth is not supposed to feel inspiring and motivating all the time. Actually, quite the opposite. It’ll feel challenging and tiring and uncomfortable most of the time. Don’t worry, it means it’s working. That’s why they’re called growing pains. 

With all that being said, you’re now ready to go and conquer your own inner world. Best of luck starting this challenging yet rewarding journey, I’m available in the comments section down below to answer any other question you might have or listen to your thoughts, goals and ideas, so feel free to share! 

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