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The Four Personal Development Goals that Changed My Life in an Hour a Day or Less

Updated: Dec 2, 2023

When it comes to personal development, there are countless topics and strategies out there to explore depending on the specific goals you set for your own life. There are amazing books, courses, and podcasts to choose from, which will be a topic for another day because I can go on forever on those.

No matter what topic or strategy you focus on, they all seem to relate to five major categories: mental, social, emotional, physical, and spiritual.

When I got to a point in my career where I was putting in 16 to 18 hours a day, including evenings and most weekends, consistently for several years; it was no surprise I was not at my best. I was severely compromised in all five categories.

Today, I want to share the personal development goals that I made part of my daily routine because they truly changed my life. I went from a career I loved with no life to a life I love that includes a career and two freelance businesses that make each day rewarding, fulfilling, and led to improve my relationships with family and friends. But the most important part to me is that these simple habits are setting an example I want my kids to witness and learn from.

If you find yourself stuck in an endless cycle of overworking and exhaustion, feeling like you can’t possibly fit any wellness and self-care into your day; I hope you give the four personal development strategies below a try. They will not only show you how prioritizing your own wellness and development is absolutely possible and necessary, but they just might help improve your work-life balance like they did mine.

This daily routine takes an hour or less of my day. Some days I do it all in one block of time, other days I get it in throughout the day. No matter how you approach it, the key to success is, you guessed it, to plan ahead.

One last thing to note is to not try to implement all of the at the same time. Start with one and then add others gradually as you build these daily habits into a beneficial routine.

15 Minutes to Learn

I start my days the same way each day. I read (or listen if it’s an audiobook or podcast) personal development content for 15 minutes. When I started this routine two and a half years ago, I desperately needed inspiration and strategies for changing the way I worked.

So, I started with the book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey. It’s a book I already owned because I had to read it back when I was in business school. It’s a fantastic book that you can refer back to over and over again and always learn something new you can implement.

Implementing just a few minutes of learning into my day had one surprising and unexpected benefit. It gave me a great deal of introspection into what I loved about my career, what I was naturally good at, what I needed to improve on, and, ultimately, the insight I needed for a successful career change at the age of 40.

Other resources I’ve loved throughout this journey are the podcast WorkLife by Adam Grant, the book The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson, and the book The One Thing by Gary W. Keller and Jay Papasan.

15 to 30 Minutes to Exercise

We all know the amazing benefits that come with moving your body. Yet, it is very easy to forget about them when we don’t prioritize exercise, or we fall off the wagon if we were exercising for a bit.

It is so easy to blame work, hectic days, and the daily responsibilities of our adult lives as the reasons why we skip workouts. But something I go back to often to remain motivated is the distinct impact I felt when I simply started to add a 15-minute walk/run around the block to my morning routine.

Prior to adding this activity to my morning, I would wake up with just enough time to get ready to run out the door for work. Most mornings I’d cut it so close, my morning was a hectic mess. By the time I was in front of my computer, I’d be in a mental fog that would take a good hour or longer to get out of.

It wasn’t the physical benefits that were loudly manifesting. It was the mental clarity that came with this habit when I was able to stick with it regularly that made a great impact in my workday. I was sharper, had way more energy, felt way more confident, and thought quicker on my feet.

Since then, I’ve graduated to a full variety of strength training workouts ranging anywhere from 20 to 45 minutes depending on the day. I either do it first thing in the morning when I have to go into the office or fit it in at lunchtime since I now work from home most days. No matter when it happens, I no longer can imagine my day without it.

When days get tough (because they will) I go back to basics and take that 15-minute walk around the block.

10 to 15 Minutes for Gratitude and Journaling

I’m sure you’re no stranger to the benefits of practicing gratitude. It has been highlighted and well documented, especially in recent years. It is as low hanging fruit as they come as far as healthy habits go and it’s said to decrease stress and increase self-esteem and overall happiness.

Journaling goes hand in hand since gratitude is one of the best things to journal about.

Other great things to journal about are your day to day, your vision for the future, and the most important things you want to accomplish today, this week, this month, this year… you get the idea.

If you don’t know where to start, there are a number of guided journals and a vast number of free resources to learn from. A good place to start is to write down one thing you’re grateful for each day and why. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at the introspection that comes from this simple habit and the impact it can have in your overall confidence.

Pay It Forward Any Chance I Get

I’ve been blessed with great role models in life and at work. From my parents to amazing bosses and colleagues, they all share one thing in common that I strive to always implement in my life.

They all set the example when it comes to helping others.

I love to take what I’ve learned from them and what I learn each day that contributes to my success, and make sure I share to contribute to someone else’s success.

From taking five minutes to highlight a colleague’s strengths as they knock a project out of the park, to sharing my wellness knowledge with my friends and family members, to mentoring someone through a task; there is no better feeling than knowing you’re making a positive impact in someone’s life, the way others made in your life.

Thank you so much for spending time here. I’ll see you next time! Until then, express gratitude often, pay it forward when you can, and be kind to everyone… especially yourself.

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