Practicing Self-Development

Personal development activities improve awareness, identity, develop talents, enhance the quality of life, and bring you closer to your dreams. Honors Grad U is a big promoter of self-education and has provided tips below on how to be the best you:

Before we can accurately practice self-development, we need to assess ourselves. Taking stock of our current abilities will help us find the areas in which we can improve. Answering these questions with honesty is also imperative, because being honest with ourselves will help us achieve meaningful outcomes. Remember to keep a balance as well, because focusing all on your weaknesses is depressing and nonconstructive; similarly, focusing only on your strengths may mean you’re ignoring perfectly fixable problems!

Steps to Self-Assessment

  1. Write your weaknesses. Sit and think, and write down every weakness you can think of–in every area of your life. This might be depressing to think about, but think of it as constructive criticism.
  2. Assess each weakness for priority. The ones you want to fix the most go to the top of the list.
  3. Think of 2-3 ways you can improve per each weakness. Be as specific as possible. Check below for some of our ideas.
  4. Write your strengths. Same as with weaknesses, these can involve any or all aspects of your life. Try to come up with an equal or greater amount of strengths than were on your weaknesses list.
  5. Asses each strength for priority. The ones you want to continue to strengthen go to the top of the list. The strengths that don’t necessarily need development are a lower priority.
  6. Write 2-3 ways you can improve per each strength. Be as specific as possible. Check below for some of our ideas.
  7. Practice improving one strength and one weakness per certain time period. For example, a week. Different tasks may take different amounts of time, so it’s important to assess that with each strength or weakness.
  8. Record your results. Getting a journal to record your life is a good idea anyway, and adding a paragraph or two to track your progress will only help cement your results.
  9. Don’t stress. It’s easy to become overwhelmed, but answering the honest question “do I really want to improve” will help keep you working towards your goals.

Ways to Practice Self-Development

Depending on your strengths and weaknesses, the following ideas will either be developing a strength or improving a weak area. Take your pick from the list and use it to inspire ways you can improve an area of your life.

  • Read a book. E-books or audio books are great resources and are available in a variety of topics.
  • Create a network. This could mean book clubs, or anything that gives you and a group of people the opportunity to learn and grow. You could meet on Skype, in a coffee shop, or on a forum.
  • Don’t forget the power of social media. If you want to get better at following the news, get a Twitter account that follows news sources. If you want to be more creative, get a Pinterest to inspire new projects. You’ll get out of it what you put in!
  • Open yourself up. This could be in the form of a blog, or in a journal. Writing is a powerful tool for reflection.

The following ideas are taken from one of our previous posts. To see the whole thing, click here.

Learn geography! This is the best way to get your head out of the selfish mentality and learn about other cultures. Check out our previous article on the importance of learning about geography.

Watch TED talks. TED talks present novel ideas and intriguing ways to think about things. They have a huge variety of topics that will educate you, and open your mind to beyond your perception of the world.

Listen to the top stories. Yes, the news. So many people don’t like the news, but knowing what’s going on in the world is crucial for being able to connect with people on topics of importance.

Actually try to learn in classes, not just retain the information long enough to get an A, then move on. They teach you these things for a reason–and if you actually learn, you can add that information to what you already know, and use it again. They call it “wealth of knowledge” for a reason!

Read non-fiction. Of course any reading is great, but putting some effort into biographies, how-to & self-helps books, or opinion essays will improve your ability to understand complexity and make it easier to grasp difficult concepts.

Go to things. Go to conferences and cultural events. Force yourself out of your comfort zone and work on being well-rounded. Learn to appreciate music, dance, and politics. This also helps you meet people and make connections.


Do you have other suggestions for how to self-develop? Comment below!

Featured Image: Derek K. Miller

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