I used to be one of the most cynical people you would ever meet about self development and self help. I think it was because I was terrified of admitting that there were things I wanted to change about myself and scared if I tried things they might fail. My relationship with self development is pretty new and it is something I wish I had nurtured years ago.
In some ways I have always been into improving myself through education. To me getting qualifications and working on accredited programs is a tried and tested approach to self development. Throughout my 20s and early 30s I completed my BA, PGCE and MA, however these were more as a means to an end – a better job, a career rather than something I saw as investing in myself (although on reflection education is one of the best ways to invest in yourself)
I was quite dismissive when people spoke about things like confidence workshops, happiness workshops or affirmations. It is very easy to be a skeptic especially when the image of self development doesn't always sit well with the typical British constitution and humour.
In the last three and a half years something changed in me. I realised that I wasn't exactly where I wanted to be in my life professionally and personally. I was acutely aware that there was only one person who was to blame – and that wasn't the boss who hadn't promoted me, or the boyfriend who had dumped me. It was me. I was the one who was making the wrong decisions and behaving in a way that meant I wasn't living the life I really wanted.
I knew that I wanted to change so I started to read lots of different books on self development. Some of them I didn't gel with but some of them were really good. I started to do online courses – not for career advancement but because they genuinely interested me, I wanted to find out more about nutrition and mindfulness to help me be a better parent and to be happier.
I now spend time on myself every day and it is this time that I think has had the most significant impact on my outlook (or in self development speak my mindset), my relationships and my business. What works for me is having a journal or a diary where I can reflect on what is working and isn't working for me.
I have created a vision of where I want to be in this diary in the next 3, 6 and 12 months. I revisited it last night and found that all of the things bar one that I had written down for the last 6 months I had achieved. Obviously I have no control to compare this to but I know that in the past when I have revisited the goals I have never got this close (for those of you that are noisy I didn't quite hit my weight goal although I am very happy with where I am 4 months after birth).
The thing that I have found really life-changing is affirmations. I won't lie to you they don't always feel like the most natural things to do at first but they do reprogram your brain. You have to do them every day and you have to believe them but they work!
My advise to anyone would be to give yourself time every day to invest in you, to build a positive mindset. Think about who you spend time with, are there people at work who always make you feel energised, are your friends the same? Choose to spend time with them. If you can avoid people who don't make you feel good about yourself.
If you have your own business look at what you do on your business and in your business. Working on your mindset – exercising, meditation, affirmations, confidence work etc all of this will help your business so make it a priority. Do something for yourself every day, make it as much part of your schedule as your other activities.
As a mum you are time poor and it can be difficult to eek out the time to do something for yourself. Even if you only have 10 or 15 minutes a day to focus on you, your mindset and how you are feeling the benefits will be significant. Trust me
Happy Sunday to you all xx