Develop yourself this year and reap the rewards

Develop yourself this year and reap the rewards

What's one of the best thing you can do this year to help yourself be happier, more productive, more influential, more creative and even healthier?

According to research, the single action that can contribute most to all these things is to develop the habit of learning new skills.  Whether through reading a book, listening to a podcast, attending a conference, researching a topic, learning a new language, obtaining a new qualification,  signing up to a course - regular self development will enrich your mind, outlook and attitude.

Here are 3 of the benefits:

  • Become healthier.  Learning new things, stimulates our neural pathways and can reduce stress and even delay the onset of dementia.  The educationalist Carole Dweck's research established that those people with growth mindset were more adaptable and able to deal with stressful circumstances more effectively. 
  • Become sought after.  If you have broader skills, guess what....?  You become more marketable as you are able to contribute more widely.  You are able to offer opinions that are not just recycling the same old views and have a perspective that will be valued.  This is helpful for problem solving and innovation - 2 of the key skills that businesses are looking for from new recruits.
  • Become more optimistic.  The very act of developing the new habit of learning more, will help you recognise that the current parameters of your world are not fixed - you have the power to change them.  Learning new skills or developing new insights will help you make physical and mental connections, previously unknown. 

So the arguments for developing yourself are compelling but how practically do you develop the habit - one book doesn't make a library!  Again we know from research that a habit can be developed by repeated behaviours over 20 days or more.  To give yourself as chance - make sure you set yourself easily achievable targets - better to challenge yourself to listen to a podcast for 10 minutes a day rather than complete a whole book each week.  Be mindful of your schedule and your preferred learning styles - for example, if you dislike reading - look out for videos, podcasts or courses that you can sign up to.  Finally, although developing yourself is a reward in itself - start telling others as well so you share your insights and notice as your network starts to broaden.

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