The Investment That keeps on Giving

Invest in Yourself and your Personal Development

When you invest in your personal development you take responsibility for your life, your circumstances and your happiness. You become the agent, the doer, and the effecter.

If, on the other hand, you sit back and don’t make the effort to take charge of your life you set yourself up for events to affect you. If you’re unprepared and not proactive you will end up reacting to, rather than affecting what is going on around you.

It would be like being on a boat that springs a leak. If you haven’t prepared for the possibility, you’ll be scrambling around bailing out water, panicking, and hoping you don’t sink. If, however, you had anticipated this could happen, you have the proper tools handy, you fix the leak, secure your vessel and proceed with your journey.

Two very different responses to the same obstacle.

So it is with life. Nothing is guaranteed or always goes smoothly as planned. Not your job, your relationships, your health or anything else. Given that uncertainty, in order to make your life work, you have to plan, set goals, prepare and bring your best game (the best you).

Where do you start?

Once again you start with yourself . You invest in your personal development and work on being the best that you can be.

When you do, everything else comes together in seemingly effortless fashion – your relationships, your work, your home life, and your over-all sense of well-being. This doesn’t mean that there aren’t challenges and obstacles. There always are. It just means that you are better equipped to handle them.

How do you go about it?

Devise an personal development action plan or checklist to follow. It can be flexible and serve as a guide or outline for what you want to accomplish. Write it in journal or chart format so you can monitor your progress.

For example:

Under Health
– Will incorporate a new exercise into routine. (If you don’t have a routine this     is a good time to start one.)
–  Will cut down on fat/food intake and try eating a new fruit or vegetable each     month.
–  Will drink an extra glass of water each day.
–  Will go to bed a half hour earlier.
–  Will cut down on junk food.

Under Intellectual Development
– Will read a new book each week (biweekly or monthly).
–  Will go to the art gallery, theatre or symphony/concert once a month.
–  Will listen to a new musical genre or artist.
–  Will read about a different philosopher or literary figure once a month.

Under Emotional and Spiritual
–  Will learn to meditate, or learn a relaxation or deep breathing technique.
–  Will take time for myself to rejuvenate, contemplate and connect.
–  Will make a point of spending some quality time for family and friends.
–  Will visualize and use affirmations to get into the positive thinking habit.

You can devise any kind of plan or schedule that suits your tastes and needs. The important part is to make a conscious decision to actively engage in personal development. Always be willing to stretch yourself, keep an open mind and learn new things.


Benefits of Investing in Your Personal Development

  • Will be proactive and affect change rather than merely react to or be at the mercy of it.
  • Enjoy a sense of mastery and accomplishment.
  • Be better able to maintain control of your reactions and emotions.
  • Better clarify and define your goals.
  • Live life more consciously, purposefully and deliberately.
  • Be more focused and centered.
  • Acquire more self-awareness, self-trust and self-confidence.
  • Be more genuine and true to yourself .

Take the time to invest in yourself by developing all aspects of your
being – physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. To be the best you can be is to live life to the fullest!




7 Simple Steps to Develop Great Habits

We humans are creatures of habit, therefore developing good habits should be simple – right! Well, not always.

The problem is that we get very comfortable doing things the same way each and every day. We often absentmindly stick to a daily routine without considering the consequence or effectiveness of it. Why change?

Unfortunately, not all of our habits are healthy, or good. If we are in the habit of coming home after work each day and reaching for an alcoholic drink to relax instead of getting on the treadmill to let off steam, it will adversely affect our health.

Or, if, while watching television in the evening we tend to snack on chips and drink soda pop instead of munching on veggies and sipping on fruit juice, it will ultimately lead to the consequence of poor health.

If we are in the habit of smoking to relieve stress/anxiety, or over-eating, or taking our frustrations out on others, we must recognize these as habits worth changing, or eliminating. So where do we begin?


7 Seven Simple Steps to Develop Good Habits

1. Identify the habit. As mentioned, most of the time we are no longer conscious of our habits, good or bad, so the first thing we need do is become aware. If that cough has been getting worse, or if we become winded after walking up a few stairs, it’s likely that a bad habit (smoking, sedentary lifestyle), or a lack of a good habit (exercise) is to blame. Maybe our finances are in disarray, which means that we’ve been in the bad habit of spending more than we earn, or not practicing the good habit of maintaining a budget and sticking to it. It’s time to examine our habits!

2. Make the decision, and then the commitment, to change. Of course, this is easier said than done. How many times have we said to ourselves, “Yes, I should exercise more and eat better. Not to worry, I’ll get around to it sooner or later?” Unfortunately, procrastinating just makes it harder to change a bad habit. The longer you put off taking action, especially where health is concerned, the unhealthier you, or the situation, will get. A conscious commitment is necessary because that’s what it takes to get the wheels of motion in action.

3. Discover your triggers and obstacles. If you don’t know what your triggers are, or if you are unprepared for the inevitable obstacles, you will set yourself up for failure. In order to develop good habits, we must be aware of what our habits are. All of us, in moments of weakness and vulnerability, need support or a release for our frustrations. Reaching for alcohol, drugs, over-eating, or over-medicating is not the answer. If an unpleasant incident takes place at work, or a messy traffic altercation occurs on the way home, you have to find a healthy alternative to your usual way of dealing with it. We all have bad days, but we need not resort to unhealthy habits to alleviate the stress. Likewise, we cannot let boredom, anger, or anxiety be triggers for bad habits either. Look for healthy ways of dealing with triggers and obstacles.

4. Devise a plan. Benjamin Franklin had a great plan for overcoming his bad habits and replacing them with good ones. He developed a process whereby he listed 13 virtues he felt were important in his life and then proceeded to work on them. He focused on one virtue per week for a 13 week period. By the end of each week he felt he had mastered the bad habit so he proceeded to the next one the following week.

During this process he kept a journal of his success with the virtues. Since some of the virtues helped facilitate the acquisition of others, he put them in a particular order beginning with temperance because “it tends to procure that coolness and clearness of head, which is so necessary where constant vigilance was to be kept up.”
This will work well for anyone who is trying to establish a new good habit – vigilance is indeed needed to make sure you stick with it! After temperance he worked on silence because knowledge could be best obtained “by the use of the ears than of the tongue.”

Franklin had rhyme, reason and purpose for every virtue. He figured that to develop good habits, keeping order would free him up for the things he really wanted to accomplish in life. His resolve, once it became habitual, would help him remain focused in order to implement all the other virtues. Here for the fun of it is Benjamin Franklin’s list of virtues. You can devise a similar list for yourself to help you incorporate good habits into your lifestyle.

The List of Virtues which Benjamin Franklin incorporated into his life:

  1. Temperance – Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation.
  2. Silence – Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation.
  3. Order – Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time.
  4. Resolution – Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.
  5. Frugality – Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; i.e., waste nothing.
  6. Industry – Lose no time; be always employ’d in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions.
  7. Sincerity – Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and, if you speak, speak accordingly.
  8. Justice – Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty.
  9. Moderation – Avoid extremes; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.
  10. Cleanliness – Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, clothes, or habitation.
  11. Tranquility – Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.
  12. Chastity – Rarely use venery but for health or offspring, never to dullness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another’s peace or reputation.
  13. Humility – Imitate Jesus and Socrates.

5. Employ visualization and affirmations. Visualization and affirmations are great for integrating the new habit into your routine. While visualization is a powerful motivational tool and energizer, affirmations program the subconscious with the right mindset for establishing a new habit. Together they allow you to feel and imagine yourself carrying out the correct behaviors making it easier to adopt the new habit. Certainly developing good habits is easier when employing visualization and affirmations.

6. Enlist support from family and friends. Let people know what you’re trying to accomplish. This way they will understand if you want to pass up the desert or go for a walk instead of stopping at the pub on the way home. When your friends know you are serious about changing a bad habit into a good one, not only will they help you steer away from temptations, they will cheer you on and give you moral support. We all need support in achieving our goals!

7. Find healthy ways to reward yourself. One of the reasons we develop many bad habits in the first place is because they make us feel good, even if it’s just temporarily. The experience of feeling good is meant to soothe or placate us when we’re stressed, dejected, or just plain out of sorts. For example, you might over-eat and feel really good while doing it, but then you feel twice as bad afterwards. The same goes for smoking or drinking too much. While you’re in the act you feel relaxed and trouble free, however, afterwards you feel remorse and vow to quit – soon. So, in order to minimize falling off the wagon and slipping back into old, detrimental habits, reward yourself when you’ve done well. Treat yourself to a new book, a movie, a concert, or new exercise equipment. If you’re short on cash, visit a friend you haven’t seen for a while, go to the downtown art gallery, or enjoy a skinny latte.

The wonderful benefit of developing good habits is that after doing them repeatedly, they soon become automatic. Anything you do for a long while and consistently enough eventually becomes a habit, and once it does, you no longer have to put much effort into it. Such is the beauty  of developing good habits!

Elements of A Productive Mindset

What is a productive mindset?

mindsetproductive mindset is one that makes the best use of your resources – your time, your energy and your efforts. It is not trying to do everything and be everything, or even doing it in the quickest way possible.

It is making the most and best of what you have while enjoying the process.

In order to make the most of who we are and what we have, there are certain qualities or characteristics that assist us in accomplishing that end.

Here are some of the elements of a productive mindset:

    • Curiosity – The willingness to seek, question, and explore new ideas and concepts. It is the willingness and desire to know and learn new things.


    • Desire or Motivation – Cultivate desire. Without desire or motivation there is nothing to drive us to make progress and improve. Inertia is the opposite of desire and a destroyer of progress.


    • Vision – To be able to visualize what you want helps you focus on it and gives you an idea of what the outcome would look like. Without that picture in your mind, it would be more difficult to strive for a goal. We’ve all read how men of ‘great vision’ have been able to accomplish the seemingly impossible.


    • Critical Thinking – Acquire the ability to assess a situation in an objective manner or to see it how it really is. Look at the pros and cons and be willing to make the appropriate adjustments.


    • Self-confidence – The faith and belief that you are fully capable and can do what you set out to. Without self-confidence and faith you cannot reach your full potential.


    • Persistence – Most things do not come easily. Be willing to overcome obstacles and adversity. Challenge yourself and persist in order to reach your goals. Do not let circumstances, the opinions of others, or setbacks, thwart your determination to succeed.


    • Positive attitude or outlook – Your attitude, be it positive or negative, can make, or break, you. Possessing a positive attitude allows for any possibility, while a negative one defeats you before you can even start.


    • Open-mindedness – There is nothing like an open-mind for generating new and innovative ideas. You become receptive to groundbreaking experiences when you are flexible and open-minded.


  • Balance – Ultimately, to function well and get the most from life, we must maintain balance. Working towards goals is important, but we must also take time to rejuvenate and recharge. Doing too much, or pushing too hard on any one thing, can lead to burnout and frustration.

By integrating the above elements into our though processes, we not only cultivate a productive mindset, we set ourselves up for reaching our goals more effectively, develop positive habits and we sharpen our minds to function at high levels.