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We are halfway through our eight-piece series of how to keep thriving during lockdown, and this week we’re looking into the effect that personal development can have on making us feel better about ourselves and keep us focused.

My name’s Zach Berwick, and after ten years working in the health and fitness industry to help people improve their wellbeing, I wrote this book to put down on paper what I’ve learned to share with others. In this article, I’m pulling out information from the ‘Improve your Personal Development’ chapter.

We are all going through a different experience through this pandemic, and it has affected people more than it has others. The emotions we are feeling at the moment are totally acceptable. There will be days when you feel great, and there will be days when you feel like you can’t get out of bed. What can help during these times is the ability to work on ourselves because that is entirely in our control, in a world where there are lots of things we cant.

Without self-improvement, we’d just drift along with wherever the current takes us, and the lucky few might end up where they want, but the majority of us wouldn’t. For most, we need to continually reassess our lives and keep kicking in the direction we want to go. It is like a business; if they don’t update their products to keep up with market trends and technology, their products will become outdated, and no one would buy them.

This article will explore five compelling reasons why personal development can help you during these times. Remember that our lives are a journey, and that journey doesn’t have to stop just because we are in lockdown.


1. It enhances your ability to handle stress


When you start to improve yourself, you will also begin to understand what type of person you are. You will come to the realisation that you, and only you, are responsible for what happens in your life. The simple realisation that you’re in complete control of your life is the foundation of all stress management. Managing your stress at the moment is all about taking charge of your thoughts, your emotions, your schedule, and the way you deal with problems. When you focus on self-improvement, there is a bigger meaning to your life than the issues you face, and you meet them with more optimism. You give yourself the freedom to not worry about things that are not in your control because you’re too busy trying to reach your own end destination and not somebody else’s.


2. It teaches you to build better relationships


Just because we are in lockdown doesn’t mean we cannot work on our relationships with friends, family, and colleagues. People are pining for more connection at the moment, so now is actually the perfect time to reach out and connect with people. The better you understand yourself and know where you’re going, the more your relationships will flourish.

Personal development builds your confidence, and this will help you improve the relationships you have. Creating a loving and accepting connection with yourself first allows you to look deeper into what you believe about yourself. Relationships are like mirrors; when you have a loving relationship with yourself, the reflection will always be the strong, healthy, loving relationships you deserve. This comes from being confident that you are the right person today to serve all of your needs throughout your life.


3. Improved focus and effectiveness


Through every development journey that you have embarked on, there is always one important thing to maintain: clarity. When you feel in control, you are clear about what you want to achieve. This doesn’t stop just because of a lockdown. It actually enhances because you are spending more time with yourself. We need to complete so many tasks during the day, and it is very easy to get bogged down with these. We come up with lots of excuses, such as ‘I just don’t have the time’, but the fact is, we have more than enough time; we just need to prioritise and become more focused.

As our personal development improves, prioritisation becomes easier. You are more apparent on your objectives, and you can quickly identify which of your tasks will give you the best result with the resources you have available to you. Procrastination and distractions happen because you don’t see the significant difference between the benefit you will derive from the task you should be doing and the one you’re distracting yourself with. Personal development allows you to see each of your tasks, projects, and activities for their actual value, making it easier to prioritise daily.


4. Increase your motivation


There’s no denying that motivation has taken a hit during the lockdown. A staggering 46% of adults are getting less exercise, but there are ways we can keep our motivation levels up by clearly defining what we want to achieve during these times. When you have defined goals, it is easier to complete your daily actions to move closer to achieving them. With healthy personal development, anyone can develop the necessary will, and when they need to finish something, they will not let a lockdown hold them back.

Motivation comes and goes, and not everybody is perfect. There will be many off days, but the key is finding some consistency with your motivation to keep you on track. To ensure you complete everything you set out to do in the day, keep reminding yourself of the reasons for starting, and use that as a driver to fulfil your tasks, even when you don’t want to.


5. Improve your self-awareness


The more you understand who you are as a person, and the direction you want to go in, the clearer your values, beliefs and purposes are. Your values shouldn’t change in times of hardship. True fulfilment can never come from chasing other people’s dreams, and it is a gift to improve ourselves. When we increase our self-awareness through personal development, it puts us in a position to identify the weaknesses and get to work on improving them.

Achieving lasting happiness is designing your life based on who you are, and self-awareness is the first step in the personal development process. Each day we connect with many different things, some good and some bad, but the key is to try and minimise the number of bad things happening in your life on a day-to-day basis. Being aware of what’s not right for you is the key to becoming a better person.

If watching the news is not serving your day is a positive manner, turn it off. If you keep eating junk food to make yourself feel better, don’t buy it at the supermarket. If you are oversleeping due to motivation, find something that will excite you to wake up in the morning. Be aware of your surroundings and use them to have consistent great days, and then see the snowball effect come into play.