I want to give you my personal development cheat sheet. These are the simple habits I’ve put in place to help me with my personal development and I think you’re going to find it’s easy to inject some of these into your routine.
Each of these things fits into one of the categories of my body, mind, progress (BMP) routine.
1. Full-Body Workout
Every day, I try to do one exercise that is a full-body workout. An easy solution for this is to do kettlebell swings. If you aren’t familiar with a kettlebell, it’s a type of weight that has a u-shaped handle that attaches to a ball shape…like a bell. To do a kettlebell swing, you stand with your legs apart, hold the handle with both of your hands and swing it between your legs into the air. This exercise engages your entire core and gets your whole body working.
Another full-body workout would be burpees and mountain climbers. You can do those everywhere because they don’t require equipment. I’ve been adding these to my morning routine plus I add them in during the day. I like to break up my workday by doing 10 burpees and 50 mountain climbers. There’s no specific routine or pattern to when I do them…just when I’ve been sitting a while, I get up and do a set.
It’s so important to make walking outside and getting sunlight and breathing fresh air part of your daily routine. This gives you time to yourself…solitude is an opportunity to rest in your thoughts or listen to audible and learn something new. It’s almost meditative to an extent. I think that getting into the daily habit of walking has a lot of benefits aside from getting in more exercise.
3. Eat a Salad
Adding a salad to your daily meal schedule gives you a nutrition boost. Almost every day at lunch I have a hearty salad that has beans, kale, spinach, nuts, lemon juice, feta, and olive oil. It gives me a lot of good vitamins…and no carbs. It fills me up and I know that at least I have this meal in check. It helps that I like the way it tastes, so I encourage you to make salads that you actually want to eat.
4. Intermittent Fasting
I started intermittent fasting because it was a craze and I wanted to see how my body would handle it. I like that it gives my digestion a rest. There’s also a weight loss benefit. You’ll naturally restrict your calories because of intermittent fasting eating windows.
Another thing I have really liked about this is that it’s nice not thinking about what I’m going to eat for breakfast. It just removes one more decision from my day. Yes, I drink hazelnut coffee, but it’s not a decision I have to make…it’s a habit. I’m going to get up and make a cup of coffee and I don’t have to think about it.
Breathing is a great personal development hack, because it energizes you. It calms you and clears your mind. Whenever I feel anxious or stressed, I do a few rounds of a breathing exercise I’ve learned. I take two breaths in and one breath out. It puts me at ease, but energizes me at the same time.
4. Gratitude Practice
Gratitude practice rewires your brain to think of the positive. It really does work. It is crazy how simple it is..so I do it every morning. I spend about 30 seconds writing down three things I’m thankful for.
Since it’s had such an impact on my life, I’ve been doing this with my girls as part of their bedtime routine every night. At the beginning, I had to pull things out of them. Now they don’t think…it just comes out. I’ve seen it rewiring their brains to think positively and of the positives in life.
There’s just something about putting pen to paper. I heard on a podcast that you’re hand writes slower than your brain thinks and because of that, you slow down your thinking. By writing, you have to slow down your brain and it puts you in a calm state.
When I’m confused by something, I just write and see what comes out. It has been key in helping me solve a few things, come up with making a decision or getting my thoughts out. I’ve been thinking for a while about writing a book, so I’ve been jotting ideas out on that. It’s been nice to get my thoughts out on this.
Meditation doesn’t have to be complicated. It’s just training your brain to keep coming to your breath. Train your brain to slow down. Of course, you will have thoughts, but you keep telling your mind to focus on your breath. Because I’ve practiced this so much, my brain is less resistant to impulses and knee-jerk reactions.
Another benefit I’ve had with meditation is that thoughts pop into my head. I end up solving problems. Or, I have creative thoughts and think of things I haven’t thought of before.
7. Cold Showers
You can take a cold shower or anything that will get you out of your comfort zone. The goal is to add to your day anything that will push you out of your comfort zone. I’m not talking about doing something dangerous, such as walking around a bad neighborhood like you’re the new chief in town. Instead, I am saying that you should do something that is uncomfortable, but not life-threatening. This will help you to do bigger things that are uncomfortable.
It could be random conversations at the checkout line…public speaking…live social videos…or anything that you have a hard time doing. For me, it’s been to take cold showers. I start out the first part of my shower with lukewarm water and then turn it all the way cold for the last few minutes. Every time I go to turn the water cold, I have to overcome my mind telling me to stop. Because of this exercise, I’ve seen mindset gains in other areas of my life.
8. Set Goals
You need to know where you want to be to get there…not just wandering and being aimless in life. Darren Daily says goal setting is like putting together a puzzle. You already have a vision of what you’re trying to do and then you work on one piece at a time…doing baby steps to get there.
Just like putting together a puzzle…you work on the outside first, which is the foundational stuff. Get your foundation in order and then you can work on the other tasks. At some points during the process, you have to take a step back and look at the full picture.
9. Join a Mastermind
This might not be that simple of a personal development hack, but it’s really important. It does take time to find a group you can connect with and some of them are paid…so that means financial output. But, it could just be a group of 5 people that have the same goals as you. The idea is that you’ll get together with them on a regular basis and pour into each other’s lives.
In my mastermind, I’ve found that it’s easier to build relationships, get advice, and not put up walls because I know everyone else is there for the same reasons. It also got me out of my comfort zone. I had to get comfortable talking in front of the group and giving advice to others.
10. Pour Into Other People
Personal development naturally leads to recognizing other people and encouraging them. I think it feels good to motivate and encourage others. But, more than that, I’m also helping them and that creates a ripple effect. This is where real impact happens.
You have to figure out how to do that in your own life. For me, it’s been to blog here at the Morning Upgrade and create the Morning Upgrade Podcast. For you, it could be something at your job, church, or in your community.
I believe if you follow this personal development cheat sheet, you’ll show up as a different person. These may not all seem like they’ll create a big impact…but over time it has a compounding effect. If you do these personal development hacks over the next year, you’ll look back and see you’ve come a long way.
Like C.S. Lewis says:
Isn’t it funny how day by day nothing changes, but when you look back, everything is different…
- Take small steps every day towards personal development.
- Focus on healthy activities like full-body workouts and eating a salad.
- Invest in your mindset through meditation, gratitude practice, and journaling.
- Make progress by investing in others.
- Surround yourself with people that have a common goal.