Processes of a Self Development Junkie
A few years back I was at a party and got a birth chart reading from an astrologer.
He told me, "You have the drive for self development on a personality level."
There have been few times in my life when someone breathed words into my world that were so utterly true they changed the way I saw myself. This was one of them.
While it probably stemmed from being a people-pleaser earlier in life, I've always been able to find my unpolished qualities and would ardently work to shine up those parts in pursuit of becoming a better version of myself. I hadn't seen this as a trait within myself until that moment with the astrologer.
I've spent my fair share of time inhaling all mediums of media across the self-development realm and have managed to whittle things down to a few processes that I regularly use to accomplish goals and overcome mental obstacles.
Below, I'm going to briefly cover the structures that work for me when I am looking to accomplish a specific goal. In the two posts that follow, I'll write about changing limiting beliefs and changing mindsets.
I write this, as I write everything on my blog, in the hope that someone who may be on a similar path as me will read this and derive something of value from it.
How I Goal Set
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A Clear Vision
I get clear with what I want: To publish a children's book. To get 100k followers on a social media platform. To deadlift 250lbs. Whatever it is I want, I identify it as a goal and decide I'm going to accomplish it.
Deciding is important. If you're not all-in with full certainty you're going to do it... it's probably not an important enough goal to even bother with. Or you need to do some work and look at any beliefs you may have that are blocking you from believing you can do it. More on that in an upcoming post.
Regardless, I always start by getting clear about my goal. I write it down. Then I put it somewhere I will read it every day. It's used as both a launchpad for my planning and a constant reminder for what I'm working toward.
Side bar: I'm also a believer in the Law of Attraction. It's worth a Google if you're curious about the idea of attracting what you desire through intentional thought and action.
I figure that, whatever my goal, someone else has probably accomplished it before. I'm not about reinventing the wheel. I use the wisdom and expertise of others to help me find a more direct path toward my objective.
Here is a list of different media options I like to use for gathering information (organized from quick and dirty to slow and deep):
Blog/Print or Web Articles (hi, hello, yes I'm talking to you)
Audiobooks (Librarian tip: See if your local library has Libby or Hoopla apps if you want your audio books for free)
The librarian in me also wants to remind you to make sure you're using quality sources... make sure whatever content you're consuming is from an expert in the field.
A Plan with Accountability
This is the juicy part.
Before I create the plan or the timeline, I break down the goal into smaller steps or waypoints that will help me accomplish my goal.
I usually do this in a notebook. Here's a peek at how these pages have looked in the past:
Goal 1: To eat more intuitively:
Stop eating when I feel full
Eat when I'm hungry
Pay attention to the times that I want to eat when I'm not hungry. Journal instead.
Chew food more slowly at meals
Goal 2: To grow my body of written work and grow my social media audience:
100 minutes of working on my books per week
1 blog post per week
3-5 TikTok posts per day
1-2 Instagram posts per week
Next I sketch out how these might fit on a timeline and come up with an plan for accountability.
For Goal 1: The listed items are to be worked on daily, so I might make a daily checklist or rating scale that I would reflect on every evening.
For Goal 2: The listed tasks must be accomplished weekly. I could either assign each item a specific day or create a general weekly check-list.
Finally, I turn the plan into an attractive tracking sheet. I'm talking about a Google Doc with color coding and a lovely font put onto a clipboard with a nice pen. I then put the clipboard in a place in my home that I will see regularly. Either the vanity where I start and end every day or on a table in the hallway I walk up and down 80 times every day.
The more I see it, the more I think about it. The more I think about it, the more I am likely to follow through with checking off those tasks.
With blogging, sometimes I'm in the headspace where can write three posts in a week and other times I can only manage write one post in three weeks.
While I stick to the basic structure of any plan I've created originally, I regularly tweak my plans as the need arises so long as I am still on the trajectory of success. Even if that means I'm moving at a slower pace.
By placing a higher value on preventing burnout than staying 100% faithful to a plan that is quite possibly imperfect, I have found I am more likely to stick to my plan and therefore accomplish my goals.
At the completion of a plan, I usually take some time to reflect and decide what's next.
At times this means moving the plan to a new phase (for example, once my body of written work is built up, I will turn my focus to finding a literary agent). Other times this might mean reflecting and taking a break to focus on another priority, or re-developing a plan as I continue to work toward success.
If you're familiar with the SMART Goal method I'm sure several parts of my process feel familiar. I have set SMART Goals on several occasions, but they always fell flat for me without a clearly outlined accountability component. I've learned that, for me, without a regular visual and the habit of physically marking the completion of tasks, my attempts at accomplishing my goals tend to fizzle out.
I would love to hear what strategies and structures you use to achieve your goals. Comment below!