10 Principles and 1 Practice that Can Change Your Life
“To be what we are, and to become what we are capable of becoming, is the only end in life.” – Robert Louis Stevenson
It took me a long time to realize that I didn’t want to be a personal development coach. At first it seemed to be a perfect fit. I was obsessed with personal development as a topic, and I had a sincere desire to help people change their lives for the better. Over time, though, I realized that I didn’t have what it takes to be a coach – I didn’t have that drive and passion to help people achieve the goals they wanted to achieve (usually to lose weight or make more money).
I had other goals in mind, but they weren’t the type of goals that people pay a coach to help them achieve. These were “character goals” – goals that are designed to help people become better individuals. So I gave up coaching and devoted myself to writing, hoping that my message would find a receptive audience.
10 Principles of Personal Development
As I mentioned before, I am obsessed with the topic of personal development. I’ve spent a great deal of time, effort, and energy learning all I can about how to optimize the human experience. As I’ve read and listened to the words of the most influential people in the field, I’ve identified 10 common principles that all of these men and women espouse. I call them The Ten Principles of Personal Development. Here they are, in no particular order:
- I will be loving towards all whom I meet.
- I will forgive all who attempt to harm me.
- I become what I think; therefore, I will think only thoughts of greatness.
- I will look for ways to strengthen those who have less than I.
- I will always seek knowledge and truth.
- I will always be honest.
- I will never waste what I am given.
- I will be grateful for all that I have.
- I will develop a spirit of optimism.
- I will have faith in something greater than myself.
After I had identified these ten principles, the next question was how to make them a part of my life. As I studied more and more, I saw another common theme running through the literature I was reading. All of the people that I was studying were saying things like:
“Goals are the fuel in the furnace of achievement.” – Brian Tracy, Eat that Frog
“Life can be pulled by goals just as surely as it can be pushed by drives.” – Viktor Frankl
“An average person with average talents and ambition and average education, can outstrip the most brilliant genius in our society, if that person has clear, focused goals.” – Mary Kay Ash
Over and over again, the topic of goal setting appeared. So I decided to learn everything I could about goal setting. The good news was there was lots of information on how to set goals. The bad news was that there was very little information on how to achieve those goals once they were set. Finally I decided to quit looking outside myself for answers and to come up with my own ideas. Here’s what I came up with.
The EASIER Method of Goal Achievement
Once you’ve set a proper goal (and if you’d like to learn how to set a proper goal just Google “SMART goals”) all you have to do to achieve it is the following:
- Envision – spend time each and every day envisioning your life as it will look after you have achieved your goal.
- Assess – create an honest assessment of where you stand at this moment in regards to your goal.
- Strategize – create a strategy that will get you from where you are to where you want to be.
- Implement your strategy.
- Evaluate your progress (or lack thereof) regularly. Tweak your assessment and strategy as necessary.
- Report your progress to someone you love or trust.
Now that I knew the principles I wanted to incorporate into my life, and I had a method whereby I could do so, I began my personal development journey in earnest. Every month I choose a new principle and set a goal to live it to the best of my ability. For example, this month I’m working on being more honest.
Every morning, again during my lunch break, and right before I go to bed I spend time envisioning myself in situations where it might be difficult for me to be honest. In my mind I see myself doing the right thing, being honest no matter what the consequences might be. Interestingly, I often feel much better about myself after this exercise even though I’ve only *imagined* myself being honest!
I’ve created an assessment of where I stand in relation to my goal (a somewhat painful exercise) and created a strategy that will help me be honest at all times and in all places. Each day I implement my strategy and evaluate my progress at the end of the day. I personally report my progress to my wife, as she is familiar with the program I am using. All in all, I’m happy to say that the program has been a huge success!
What About You?
Are you interested developing good character? Why don’t you choose one of the Ten Principles of Personal Development and set a goal to live it to the best of your ability for the next day, week, or month? Use the EASIER Method of Goal Achievement to help you achieve your goal, and see if this program works as well for you as it has for me!
Photo by white ribbons