In a world that is over-loaded with advice on everything from time management, self confidence, self growth, and self image, it can be difficult to sift through what is not only authentic, but also what would work best for you in terms of developing your personal growth.

The concept of self development is as ancient as human history which can make trawling through the works of every self-help author rather daunting.

Your first step to self development training is to know exactly what you are aiming for.

Whether that is boosting your list of skills to make your CV look more impressive, or whether you are looking to improve self confidence, this article will provide tips on how to start a self development journey and advice on some of the resources that you can check out.

What is Personal Growth?

When it comes to self development it is certainly a subject that in more recent years has gained much attention in almost all spheres of society. There is no doubt that because of a general ‘spiritual awakening’ all around the world, people are placing an increased value on topics like positive thinking and personal growth.

In days gone by, personal growth was immediately equated with financial wealth. Today, however, this has changed and many people consider inner peace and a healthy self image to be as valuable, if not more valuable, than their material possessions!

One of the ways to understand the concept of personal growth is to actually look at the first rule of how to invest: invest in yourself first. Naturally, self development can take on a diverse range of activities aimed at investing in one’s self growth. Here are just a few:

  • Any type of skills training on topics where you have a passion
  • Leadership skills training
  • Personal philanthropic projects
  • Practising an exercise routine
  • Learning a new language

The basic idea behind personal growth is that not only will you spend your time doing things that make you happy, but you will also improve on, or add to, the skills you have.  All of this will improve self confidence, make you happier, and of course, contribute to your healthy self image.

woman in yoga pose with arms raised and hands in front of face
Personal growth spans from acquiring business skills to reaching health and wellness goals. | Source: Unsplash

Embarking on any kind of personal growth journey will upskill you, possibly make you more employable and definitely improve self confidence in all areas of your life.

Through the process of self growth, it is not uncommon for many people to land up changing career paths. And while the idea of personal growth may have originated for business purposes with employees taking up courses to improve their communication, and conflict resolution skills, today it includes everything that the exploding health and wellness industry has to offer.

There are two main routes that this can incorporate, fitness and meditation, or a combination of both such as the practice of yoga, martial arts and even long-distance running.

How to Start Practising Self Growth

There are many theories on personal development, the most famous of which is the psychology model established by Abraham Maslow.

Known as Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, the theory suggests a simple presentation in the shape of a pyramid of how humans grow in self development.

Maslow’s theory suggests that our self growth and self development are only free to progress once all of our basic physiological and safety necessities, such as food, shelter, and security, which are at the very bottom of the pyramid, have been met.

The next step on the pyramid deals with the issue of love and belonging. These concepts may not seem as concrete as a skill like language acquisition for instance, but they play an important role or stepping stone to personal growth. When we have a sense of belonging, whether that is to a group that is work-related, family, or social it will not only improve self confidence and self image but contribute to positive thinking.

five pebbles stacked on top of each other on sandy beach
Acccording to Maslow, we can only make progress with self development once our more basic needs are met. | Source: Unsplash

Next on Maslow’s hierarchy is the need for knowledge. It is truly in our human nature to want to learn, take courses, study, and acquire new skills. While many find satisfaction in group classes and courses, more and more people are interested in self-teaching or using life coaches and mentors to assist with their personal growth and self development.

The penultimate step is the need for aesthetics meaning the need for symmetry, order, and beauty. Actions such as setting up your home, office or personal space could be an important step in your self development plan and may significantly contribute to an increase in positive thinking.

The final step (the top of Maslow’s pyramid) is called self-actualisation which roughly translates to someone successfully accomplishing everything that they set out to be. Another school of thought is that personal growth is not a destination and that working on our self growth is something that we should implement every day of our lives.

Choose a Self Development Plan That’s Right for You

The first step to successfully implementing any self development plan is to take the time to do some goal setting.

Experts tell us to be specific about setting goals for self growth. They also tell us that the more difficult the goal, the more time and determination you will dedicate to it.

Your next step should be research. Begin by researching topics related to your goal. If you have the time to do this properly, the research will begin to reveal the steps you could take to realise your goal. You could also search for courses or group classes related to your goal, simply sign up, and let the self development begin!

Alternatively, you could search for a private tutor, mentor, or coach and really tailor-make your personal growth plan. If this sounds like you, check out the Superprof website for personal development tutors or life coaches. Having the opportunity to discuss your personal growth one-on-one, whether you choose to do that online or face to face will improve your self confidence and self development by leaps and bounds.

Personal Growth Through Goals and Planning

Whether you want a better self image for your own personal growth or want to improve self confidence in the workplace, all self growth starts with goal setting. These should be challenging, but also achievable.

Start by making a list of all the steps you think you will need to take in order to achieve your goals.

to do list handwritten in notebook
It is important to make a list of your goals, and all the steps needed to reach them. | Source: Unsplash

Maintain positive thinking throughout the process and be wary of talking yourself out of ideas that seem far-fetched. Remember that a big part of personal growth entails actually developing a healthy self image where you actually believe in yourself as well as your ideas!

Your list of steps should also include all the resources, support in terms of people as well as the budget that will be required to make your project a reality. Finally, make sure that you estimate the time you think will be required for each step.

Simply going through the planning process that is required to reach your self growth goals, is in fact personal growth in its own right.

Start Your Self Development Process

Of course, it is always helpful to have a mentor or coach in life to cheer you on, but this should not stop you from getting on the road to self growth.

Doing your own reading and research will immediately improve self confidence in the area of your interested subject matter. All the knowledge that you gain will help provide a framework for your personal growth plan and give you more content for discussion if you are able to invest in a coach or mentor.

The Power of Positive Thinking

This article would not be complete without a word about the power of positive thinking when it comes to any self development.

Remember our thoughts do become our actions and our actions do become our realities!

Having said this, positive thinking without action is lifeless!

Make sure that you are taking steps towards your self growth on a daily basis, even if those steps are small!

candle, mug, journal and cushion on windowsill
Make time to practise self-care rituals. | Source: Unsplash

Here are a few tips to action your positive thinking:

  • Create a vision board: visualising your dream is powerful, transferring this vision to something that is front of you every day, will kick start the self image you are dreaming about.
  • Develop self-care rituals: practise prioritising the steps that are part of your personal growth plan. Whether that’s meditation, fitness, or researching your subject matter of interest, making that time will feed a habit of positive thinking and improve self confidence in the area of your dream.
  • Journal: the action of daily journaling is extremely powerful when it comes to realising your potential and contributing to self growth. Begin each journal entry with at least three points of gratitude concerning the goals you have set. This will feed more positive thinking which cannot be underestimated in contributing to your self development.
  • Self-help materials: there are many free self-improvement materials available especially on social media channels like Instagram and Facebook. YouTube also offers a plethora of resources on every subject. Dive into the free resources until you have solidified your personal growth plan and then consider investing more seriously to help you make it a reality.

Finally, don’t forget to check out the Superprof website for personal development and life coaches all over South Africa. All the best for your self development journey, you can do it!

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Niki is a content writer from Cape Town, South Africa, who is passionate about words, strategic communication and using words to help create and maintain brand personas. Niki has a PR and marketing background, but her happiest place is when she is bringing a story to life on a page.