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Last Updated on September 4, 2019

10 Personal Development Goals for Success and Happiness

10 Personal Development Goals for Success and Happiness

Success is like an elusive rainbow that we chase our whole lives. Every time we get close, it appears to fade into the distant horizon. After numerous futile attempts, we begin to wonder, will we ever get there?

But this doesn’t have to be the case.

Author and motivation speaker, Jim Rohn, once said,

“Success is nothing more than a few simple disciplines, practiced every day.”

By aspiring towards these 10 simple personal development goals and consistently working on them, you’ll be well on your way towards a life of success and happiness:

1. Be Committed to Growth, Learning and Improvement

Whether you want to create an ideal relationship, build a successful business or master a new skill, you’ll need to be open to learning and expanding your knowledge to further your progress.

Just as your body needs a healthy food diet, your mind needs a wholesome information diet.

To evolve as an individual, feeding your mind with new ideas and information is essential. Every day, dedicate at least 15 to 30 minutes to reading material that enlightens and enhances your knowledge.

Don’t read just to be entertained, read to stay informed and broaden your horizons. Consume content that is actionable and directly relates to your goals and aspirations.

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Your reading material could include books, magazines, newspapers, journals, and online publications. You may also listen to podcasts and audio books if you prefer to learn aurally.

2. Engage in the Practice of Goal Setting

You can’t achieve success without knowing your destination. Having a vision of where you want to go makes it easier to create a road map and develop a plan for focused action.

If a lifetime vision plan does not seem feasible, break it down to a 10-year, 5-year, or 1-year plan – whatever time frame you’re comfortable with.

Based on your vision, create long term goals and short term goals. Ensure that they are meaningful goals that inspire to think big and build your commitment to stay on course no matter what obstacles you face along the way.

3. Build Realistic Strategies

To manifest your goals on the material plane, you need to be strategic about allocating your resources such as time, money, effort, and connections. Your strategy should include a comprehensive pre-assessment of what really goes into realizing your goals.

Outline a plan based on your assessment, as well as a strategy for execution. Getting a realistic overview of what’s needed to accomplish your targets will give clarity on the amount of effort required.

Without having this estimation, you can easily underestimate how much work and resources will be needed, and fail.

4. Be Flexible and Patient

While it’s important to stay focused on your personal growth and progress, you’ll also have to prepare yourself for unforeseen changes.

Always keep the end goal in mind, but stay flexible about how and when you’re going to get there. You have to lower your expectations of how your path will look, because there will be many twists and turns along the way.

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When you let go of your rigid outlook, you release yourself from the anxiety, worry, and disappointment that occur every time you hit a curveball.

The best practices that have made it easier for me to go with the flow is mindfulness, deep breathing techniques, staying in the present moment, and having a sense of humor.

5. Make Your Physical Wellbeing a Priority

Your body is your vehicle for your life. It will be challenging to reach you full potential if you’re perpetually unhealthy and unwell.

A lot of ailments, sickness, mood disorders and lack of energy are a direct result of a poorly managed lifestyle. Science has proven that our intellectual capacity and emotional wellbeing are strongly related to the state of our physical wellbeing.[1]

Make sure that you’re following the basic tenets of healthy living such as eating healthy and nourishing foods, getting enough sleep and and living an active lifestyle that keeps you fit and strong.

6. Breathe

In our hectic and fast-paced world, it’s essential that we make time during our days to pause and take a breather. We can center ourselves by bringing awareness to your breath.

Most of us don’t realize that whenever we are stressed out, we have a strong tendency to hold our breath and have shallow breathing.

By directing our attention to our breath, we not only take in more air, which relaxes our minds, but we bring our focus to living in the here and now.

There are several exercises that can help us bring focus to our breath, such as certain breathing exercises, meditation practices and yoga.

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7. Take ‘Time-Outs’ to Relax and Rejuvenate

If your thoughts are getting too overwhelming to handle, it may be best to step away and take time out to unwind and get into a calmer state of being.

In addition to bringing more awareness to your breath, you can engage in relaxing activities such as meditation, yoga, tai chi, nature walks, listening to soothing music, gardening, drinking calming herbal teas, lighting candles with aromatherapeutic properties, reading a novel, or anything else that brings your pulse down.

Avoid being in noisy and crowded environments, or consuming stimulants such as caffeine.

8. Build a Reliable Support System

Success is not a one-man journey. You’ll need the help of a trusted team of advisers, mentors, friends, and skilled professionals to facilitate you.

Seek out friends and partners who support and encourage you in your endeavors.

You can find these individuals anywhere but there’s a higher chance of meeting them at certain types of groups and organizations that generally attract people with high self-awareness, strong value systems and conscience, such as volunteer groups, animal shelters, self-enrichment courses/workshops and spiritual or religious oriented organizations.

9. Cultivate Gratitude and Simplicity

Sometimes we may not like what’s going on in our present life and we’ll be tempted to give in to unhealthy forms of escapism. We can steer ourselves from this by cultivating an attitude of gratitude and simplicity.

There’s been so much written about the power of gratitude and how it can instantly raise our personal vibration. The mere act of appreciating the simple things that we normally take for granted can instantly shift our perspective on our life and uplift us in the process.

A warm cup of hot cocoa on a winter’s day or your loyal pet who’s always by your side, especially after rough days, or your healthy body that allows you to stay active are all simple yet profoundly blessed realities that we can appreciate.

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10. Embrace the Unknown and Let Go of Expectations

Most of us have an instinctive dislike of the unknown. We’re uncomfortable with uncertain outcomes and not knowing what lies ahead of us. But trying to get insights and clarity about an unknown future is a recipe for mental anguish.

As spiritual leader Deepak Chopra says,

“those who seek security in the exterior world chase it for a lifetime. By letting go of your attachment to the illusion of security, which is really an attachment to the known, you step into the field of all possibilities. This is where you will find true happiness, abundance, and fulfillment.”

When we let go and trust in what we cannot see, we open the doorway for abundance.

According to a study done by nurses who spent time with dying patients, the number one regret of the dying was wishing that they had the courage to live a life true to themselves and not what others expected of them.[2]

Bottom Line

Let this inspire you to take hold of the wheel and steer your life in the direction that will bring you the joy that you seek. Because, this is your life, and only you can make it as spectacular as possible!

More About Goals

Featured photo credit: Cristian Escobar via unsplash.com

Reference

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Seline Shenoy

A passionate author, podcast host, and coach who focuses on personal empowerment, self-esteem, productivity, and wellness.

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Last Updated on October 21, 2019

How to Be a Good Leader and Lead Effectively

How to Be a Good Leader and Lead Effectively

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a contender for the 2020 Democratic nomination, is a reminder of why I am so drawn to leadership as a topic. Whenever I think it is impossible for me to be more impressed with her, she proves me wrong.

Earlier this week, a former marine suggested that he had been in a long-term sexual relationship with the Senator. She flipped the narrative and used the term “Cougar,” a term used to describe older women who date younger men, to reference her alma mater.

Rather than calling the young man a liar, or responding to the accusations in kind, she re-focused the conversation back to her message of college affordability and lifted up that “Cougar” was the mascot for her alma mater. She went on to note that tuition at her school was just $50 per semester when she was a student. Class act.

But by the end of the week, news broke that U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, another contender for the presidency, had a heart attack. Warren not only wished Sanders a speedy recovery but her campaign sent a meal to his staff. She knew that the hopes of staff, donors and supporters were with the Senator from Vermont and showed genuine compassion and empathy.

To me, she has proven time and time again that she is more than a presidential candidate: she belongs in a leadership hall of fame.

What makes some people excel as leaders is fascinating. You can read about leadership, research it and talk about it, yet the interest in leadership alone will not make you a better leader.

You will have more information than the average person, but becoming a good leader is lifelong work. It requires experience – and lots of it. Most importantly, it requires observation and a commitment to action. Warren observed what was happening with Sen. Sanders, empathized with his team and then took action. Regardless of the outcome of this election, Sanders’ staff will likely never forget her gesture.

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You would have had to work on a political campaign in order to appreciate the stress and anxiety that comes with it. In this moment, staff may not remember everything that Warren said throughout the lengthy campaign, but they will remember what she did during an unforgettable time during the campaign.

If this model of leadership is appealing, and if you are searching for how to up your own leadership game, read on for six characteristics that good leaders share:

1. Good leaders are devoted to the success of the people around them.

Good leaders are not self-interested. Sure, they want to succeed, but they also want others to succeed.

Good leaders see investing in others just as important as they see investing in themselves. They understand that their success is closely tied to the people around them, and they work to ensure that their peers, employees, friends and family have paths for growth and development.

While the leaders may be the people in the spotlight, they are quick to point to the people around them who helped them (the leaders) enter that spotlight. Their willingness to lift others inspires their colleagues’ and friends’ devotion and loyalty.

2. Good leaders are not overly dependent on others’ approval.

It is important for managers to express their support for their teams; good leaders must be independent of the approval of others. I explained in an article for The Chronicle of Philanthropy, that:[1]

“While a desire to be loved is natural, managers who prioritize approval from subordinates will become ineffective supervisors who may do employees harm. For example, a manager driven by a need for approval may shy away from delivering constructive feedback that could help an employee improve. A manager fearful of upsetting someone may tolerate behavior that degrades the work environment and culture.”

In yet another example, a manager who is dependent on the approval of others may not make decisions that could be deemed unpopular in the short run but necessary in the long run.

Think of the coaches who integrated their sporting teams. Their decision to do so, may have seemed odd, and even wrong, in the moment, but time has proven that those leaders were on the right side of history.

3. Good leaders have the capacity to share the spotlight.

Attention is nice, but it is not the prime motivator for good leaders. Doing a good job is.

For this reason, good leaders are willing to share the spotlight. They aren’t threatened by a lack of attention, and they do not need credit for every accomplishment. They are too focused on their goal and too focused on the urgency of their work.

4. Good leaders are students.

In the same way that human beings are constantly evolving, so too are leaders. As long as you are living, you have the potential to learn. It doesn’t matter how much knowledge you think you have; you can always learn something new.

I have the experience of thinking I was doing everything right as a manager, only to receive conflicting feedback from my team. Perhaps my approach was not working for my team, and I had to be willing to hear their feedback to improve.

Good leaders understand that their secret sauce is their willingness to keep receiving information and keep learning. They aren’t intimidated by what they do not know: As long as they maintain a willingness to keep growing, they believe they can overcome any obstacle they face.

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As both masters and students, good leaders read, listen and study to grow. They consume content for information, not just entertainment purposes. They aren’t impressed with their knowledge; they are impressed with the learning journey.

5. Good leaders view vulnerability as a superpower.

It means “replacing ‘professional distance and cool,’ with uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure,” said Emma Sappala in a Dec. 11, 2014, article, “What Bosses Gain by being Vulnerable” for Harvard Business Journal.[2] She went on to note the importance of human connection, which she asserts is often missing at work.

“As leaders and employees, we are often taught to keep a distance and project a certain image. An image of confidence, competence and authority. We may disclose our vulnerability to a spouse or close friend behind closed doors at night but we would never show it elsewhere during the day, let alone at work.”

This rings so true for me as a woman leader. I was raised believing that any show of emotion in the workplace could be used against me. I was raised believing that it was best for women leaders to be stoic and to “never let ‘em see you sweat.” This may have prevented me from connecting with employees and colleagues on a deeper, more personal level.

6. Good leaders understand themselves.

I am a huge fan of life coach and spiritual teacher Iyanla Vanzant. In addition to her hit show on the OWN network, Vanzant has authored dozens of books. In her books and teachings, she underscores the importance of knowing ourselves fully. She argues that we must know what makes us tick, what makes us happy and what makes us angry.

Self-awareness enables us to put ourselves in situations where we can thrive, and it also enables us to have compassion when we fall short of the goals and expectations we have for ourselves. Relatedly, understanding ourselves will allow us to know our strength. When we know our strengths, we will be able to put people around us who compliment our strengths and fill the gaps in our leadership.

Final Thoughts

Being a good leader, first and foremost, is an inside job. You must focus on growing as a person regardless of the leadership title that you hold. You cannot take others where you yourself have not been. So focusing on yourself, regardless of your time or where you are in your career will have long term benefits for you and the people around you.

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Further, if you want to become a good leader, you should start by setting the intention to do so. What you focus on grows. If you focus on becoming a better leader, you will research and invest in things that help you to fulfill this intention. You will also view the good and bad leadership experiences as steppingstones that hone your character and help you improve.

After you set the intention, get really clear on what a good leader looks like to you. Each of us has a different understanding of leadership. Is a good leader someone who takes risk? Is a good leader, in your estimation, someone who develops other leaders? Whatever it is, know what you’re shooting for. Once you define what it means to be a good leader, look for people who exemplify your vision. Watch and engage with them if you can.

Finally, understand that becoming a good leader doesn’t happen overnight. You must continually work at improving, investing in yourself and reflecting on what is going well and what you must improve. In this way, every experience is an opportunity to grow and a chance to ask: ‘What is this experience trying to teach me?’ or ‘what action is necessary based on this situation?’

If you are committed to questioning, evaluating and acting, you are that much closer to becoming a better leader.

More About Effective Leadership

Featured photo credit: Sam Power via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] The Chronicle of Philanthropy: Why Good Managers Overcome the Desire to Be Liked
[2] Harvard Business Journal: What Bosses Gain by being Vulnerable

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