5 Simple Ways to Improve Your Personal and Professional Development

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In today’s fast-paced life, it can seem hard to find the time to step back and take a look at your goals. While many of us may set a New Year’s resolution, actually following through on personal and professional goals takes a consistency that can feel overwhelming.

Luckily, there are small things you can do every single day that will add up over time to make you stronger in your everyday life, both at work and outside of it. Whether you’re looking to grow in your career or simply expand your personal capabilities, here are five tips to start incorporating into your life that’ll make an impact.

Read a Little Bit Every Day

One of the best things you can do for both your personal life and professional is maintain your literary skills. This doesn’t have to be a daunting task — simply devote a small amount of time to reading every single day. The key is consistency, so that you form a habit.

Whether you spend fifteen minutes reading the newspaper with your breakfast each morning, or half an hour reading a novel before bed every night, reading regularly will give you plenty of benefits. It will make you a sharper and more efficient writer; it will expand your spoken vocabulary; and it will introduce you to new ideas beyond your day-to-day scope of thinking. 

Find Small Ways to Challenge Yourself

Odds are, you’ve settled comfortably into a routine, from your drive to work to your weekly meal plan. One of the best ways to expand your skills and remind yourself what you’re truly capable of is taking on a new challenge!

There are likely plenty of moments every day where you choose the easy option — so moving forward, face your fears and do something to challenge yourself. Perhaps it’s agreeing to be the person in your group project to present to the entire team, thus improving your public speaking skills. Maybe it’s cooking a new cuisine you’ve never tried before. It could even be as simple as taking a new route, rather than relying on the same directions you have memorized. 

Pushing your own boundaries will make you more likely to agree to future opportunities and will help you adapt to serious challenges when they arise. Plus, you’ll sharpen all types of skills on a daily basis without even realizing it.

Get to Know New People

In both your workplace and outside of it, there are tremendous benefits to exploring new perspectives. Whether it’s a small chat over coffee or sitting next to someone new at the conference table, make an effort to speak with people you don’t know as well.

When you surround yourself with the same people day after day, you may become guilty of creating an echo chamber of ideas. Fresh perspectives can give critical insight to your own thought patterns and provide constructive criticism you didn’t know you needed. Plus, there may be potential mentor/mentee relationships, or future networking opportunities!

Help Someone Else

While many of these tips are focused on ways to better yourself, it’s also important to consider how you can be helping others. Larger volunteer opportunities are an important aspect of professional and personal life, but you can think of general goodwill on a much smaller scale, too. 

Make a conscious effort every day to show generosity to others — it can be as simple as giving up your seat on transportation or holding the door open, or teaching someone else a skill you’ve learned. Building these habits will shape you into a happier version of yourself over time and help cement any skills you’re teaching yourself. A win-win for everyone!

Take Time to Reflect

As mentioned, it can be easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of everyday life, and this is often how we lose track of our broader goals. Make sure you’re setting time aside for yourself every single day to reflect on your dreams and your purpose. It doesn’t have to be a lot of time — even just five minutes will be worthwhile!

This exercise can be as simple as quiet meditation in the morning, or as detailed as an evening journal where you track your progress towards long- and short-term goals. The important part is that you form a daily habit of checking in with yourself and holding yourself accountable, because ultimately your internal and external growth starts with you.