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This is a guest post from Alison at AlisonNotebook.com.
There are 5 myths to personal development that people commonly believe. Clearing up these personal development myths allows you to move closer to your goals and remain positive and self-affirming during the growth process.
But first…what is personal development?
Personal development is the lifelong process of improving yourself. This includes any habits you want to create or change, attributes in yourself you’re trying to develop, life changes you want to see. We grow up learning certain things and becoming a certain way through our experiences and circumstances.
Personal development empowers you to make proactive changes in your life that you want to see. Below are 5 myths about personal development that should serve to both encourage you and empower you in your personal development process.
If you’d like to follow along with an action plan for note-taking, download this free personal development plan guide.
Myth #1: True New Habits Are Formed in 30 Days
Practicing something for 30 days provides a great opportunity for incorporating it into your routine, but may not lead to a truly formed habit. A book I mention a lot, the “Habits of a Happy Brain”, recommends 45 days for forming new habits.
True formed habits become a part of your subconscious and might take more than 30 days. Additionally, forming a habit using 5 minutes a day versus 30 minutes a day is extremely different.
The article “How Long It Takes to Form a Habit”, describes a study where participants chose a habit to focus on. The study spanned the course of 84 days, but using projections, they showed that some people take as long as 264 days to form new habits!
One interesting metric of the study included not only measuring whether or not the new habit was performed each day, but how automatic the behavior felt. The notion of acting without thinking turned out to be a huge deciding factor in whether or not the habit was formed.
Another myth surrounding habits is that once they’re formed, they stick around. And that is unfortunately not always the case. Creating and maintaining any habits requires continued effort. Sure—forming the habit initially requires much more effort than maintaining it. But you’ve still gotta use it or lose it 🙂
Myth #2: If You’re Not Changing, You’re Not Succeeding in Personal Development
Instead of focusing on constant change, focus on growth.
The problem with expecting constant change involves your need to absorb new habits and new information. Allow yourself time for reflection and don’t be afraid to take things slow.
Above, I mentioned that some people can take as long as 264 days to form a new habit. This should be encouraging, not disheartening, because it gives you the patience to check in with yourself. Habits need time to percolate and assimilate, and this will give them the best chance for sticking-power.
Personal development does involve change, but it should also involve periods without transformation, and periods dedicated to rest. Allow yourself to experience phases of change, rather than focusing on constant change.
Myth #3: Anything is Achievable if You Want it Bad Enough
Another myth of personal development involves the idea that anything is achievable if you want it bad enough. And while it’s true that mindset is a component of change, it isn’t the end-all-be-all.
Action is required in order to learn and implement new things.
I’m not a law-of-attraction guru by any means, but even if you are, that still requires action. It requires you to focus on and visualize what you want daily. You have to spend time focusing on it.
Change and personal development requires time and dedication towards whatever it is you want to achieve. If its financial freedom—you’re generally going to have to spend less and make more.
Mindset will make this easier, and focusing on it will bring things to your attention that you’ve never noticed. I’m not saying the universe won’t surprise you with huge gifts sometimes, but for the most part, you’ve got to work.
Myth #4: Personal Development Involves Only Positive Thinking
Positive think is definitely a component of personal development, but its not the end all be all.
Optimism plays a crucial role when we’re learning new habits and life skills. If I think the world is out to get mem or that my problems are permanent, it’s going to be incredibly difficult to change them.
Understanding that you CAN make any change you want, and also being patient with the process give you the attitude you need for change.
But, there is another significant component to personal development besides positivity, and that involves creating goals for yourself and following at least a loose plan of how you plan to achieve them.
Personal development does involve positivity, but it must be followed with action or you’re never going to create real change in your life.
Myth #5: You Need a Coach in Order to Succeed in Your Goals
Another myth of personal development is that you need a coach in order to reach your goals or implement a personal development plan.
If that were true…no one would ever make a change!
Anyone can practice personal development without a coach. While a coach isn’t necessary for implementing a plan, having *support* is—but support can manifest in several ways.
For example, if you’re trying to meditate every single day and create a habit out of it, you probably don’t need a coach. But you DO need accountability and you may need a mentor—someone more experienced in meditation—to help you understand how to gain the most benefit from practicing and how to make it easier.
If you’re looking for a new job, a career coach may help. But you can also find support through professional family and friends willing to give advice and feedback on your resume, and personal presentation of yourself.
Having someone show you the way can help expedite the process of reaching your goals, but many resources exist online and in your life for you to take advantage of.
Personal development is not a straightforward, linear subject. Each individual has their own upbringing, internal thoughts and outward experiences and a personal development plan should be flexible.
If you’re looking to begin your own personal development journey, you can check out this free personal development guide plan to empower yourself on your own growth process.
Alison runs Alison’s Notebook as a platform to explore the awkward art of self improvement—in other words, a resource for average people looking to find more happiness and contentment in day-day life. Her hair says “I’m up for whatever,” but her glasses say, “Only if I’m home by 10.”
She’s been a professional Marketing Strategist and blogger for over 10 years, and aims for her site to be entertaining, helpful, inspirational and for the most part light-hearted. But every now and then things get really real—and that’s just how life is.
Follow her blog and embrace your awkward self.