Stop Waiting for Retirement – Start Chasing Your Dreams
Tom Corley, the author of Rich Habits, found that 88 percent of wealthy people read more than 30 minutes daily and 63 percent listen to audiobooks while commuting. Where do they find the time? 66 percent watch less than one hour of TV daily and 63 percent spend less than one hour on websites that are not work related. The majority of wealthy people make conscious choices about what they feed their minds.
In the first post of this series, I introduced the framework my husband, Jer, and I used to stop waiting until we retire to chase our dreams. The first step to creating midlife change is to get your personal finances in order. The second step is to embrace your spiritual side. To stay on schedule for Make a Fortune Friday, we covered Career and Contribution next. We then covered the third pillar, Health and Wellness, followed by the power of positive relationships. The sixth pillar detailed how to create a social life that’s connected to hobbies and recreation. Today we’ll uncover the last pillar, Personal Development.
Personal Development may be the last pillar, but it starts to take hold the moment you decide to seek change. For example, the first two steps in the Personal Finance pillar are: change your money mindset and educate yourself. In each of the pillars, there is a direct connection between learning and achieving your goals.
Personal Development is a broad term. Many aspects of Personal Development are covered in other pillars. Personal Development involves using self-awareness to pursue growth through self-education, mentoring, and training. To put it simply – lifelong learning.
How Personal Development Ignites Change
Just as our bodies need healthy fuel and exercise to operate at peak performance, our minds need to be stimulated with positive information. The media we consume affects the way we speak, our vocabulary, the topics of conversation, and much more.
Being self-aware of what we are consuming is the first step toward change. Am I repeating the drama and negativity from the local “news?” Or am I spreading hope and new ideas from my daily readings? One will create positive change, the other will not.
I’m not saying that we should be oblivious to the world around us. Nor that entertainment is devoid of value. Laughing at a funny movie or comedic book creates joy. Engaging in a thought-provoking television series can generate new ideas and expand your perspective. A small dose of social media is a nice way to connect with people who are important to you.
The problem lies in the amount of time we spend on these activities. It is easy to get distracted and lose track of time. Data suggests that the average American watches over five hours of video daily. Add that up over seven days, and it’s a full-time job.
Decide Where to Focus Your Effort
Now that you’ve considered what you take in and found a few extra hours, let’s decide how you will use that time. No matter what you decide to focus on, it’s important to have a plan. For years, I had many interests but lacked expertise because I allowed my range of studies to become too broad.
One week I was reading a book on gardening, the next week something on spirituality, then I would research recipes, and how to refinish hardwood floors … I had to make a concerted effort to prioritize what was important and to cut back on what wasn’t. It was hard to cut back on activities I enjoyed, but I am loving the progress I’m making with my priorities. Here is the process I used.
- Determine you short and long-term goals. – Having a vision for our lives helps us to make better decisions and maintain focus.
- Prioritize what you need to learn to achieve your goals. – This changes as you transform. If your focus right now is on Personal Finance, you’ll need to identify the gaps in your knowledge. A year from now your focus may be on fitness, requiring different knowledge and skills. Adjust accordingly.
- Identify how you learn – reading, listening, doing. – Think about how you best learn new ideas but don’t neglect the other forms. I learn best from reading but often get the greatest creative spurts from listening. Doing connects the dots and reveals the bigger picture.
- Challenge yourself to step out of your comfort zone to improve your results. – In the Social and Hobbies post, I mentioned that I’m a huge introvert. Knowing this, I’ve been consciously stepping outside my comfort zone to pursue growth opportunities through seminars and events. Although it would be easier to stay home, learning from the perspective of others is priceless.
Creating Your Personal Development Plan
The previous steps addressed what you want to work on, now let’s talk about how to take action.
- Create a strategy that includes goals, plans, and deadlines. – One of my goals this year is to become a better writer. Although I was praised for this ability in high school and college, I have forgotten many of the rules and am generally out of practice. My improvement plan includes a variety of reading and practicing to be completed by the end of the year.
- Review and adjust frequently. – To get to where you need to be, you must know where you are. Check in monthly to assess your progress. Ask yourself what’s working and what you still need. Give yourself permission to let go of anything that isn’t helping you achieve your goals.
- Share your knowledge. – The path to proficiency is teaching others. The more you share your knowledge, the more deeply ingrained it becomes. Not to mention, there is a great deal of satisfaction that comes from serving your fellow man.
- Never stop learning. – I hope you are getting used to the idea that you have unlimited potential. I believe that every one of us is here for a reason. For most of us, that reason is rarely a crystal clear revelation. Clarity comes through continued learning and taking action.
The difference between where you are and where you can go lies in what you consume. Think about the types of media you are currently taking in. Consider how you can adjust your focus to give the world a better version of you. Most importantly, it’s a lifelong process, make sure you enjoy the ride.
How do you find the time to make personal development part of your life?
What best practices can you share with this community?
Share in the comments below.
Stop Waiting for Retirement – Start Chasing Your Dreams
Part I – The Framework
Part II – Personal Finance
Part III – Spirituality
Part IV – Career and Contribution
Part V – Health and Wellness
Part VI – Relationship and Family
Part VII – Social and Recreation
Part VIII – Personal Development
Part IX – 10 Principles of Prosperity
Part X – Life Change Strategy
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