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I don’t think it’s fully registered for me that it’s summer right now. And it’s already August! Time is a weird thing. But you can still set and achieve goals, even if you don’t know what month it is! Today I’d like to share 10 ideas for personal development goals, as well as my goals for August 2020.
If your mental health hasn’t been great lately, I feel you, and I hope things get better soon. Maybe you’re not up for setting goals this month. Maybe just surviving is enough. Back in June, I talked about the importance of being gentle when it comes to setting goals.
If you’re up for the challenge or want to find out if I achieved my goals from July, then let’s keep going!
10 Personal Development Ideas
These are some actionable things you can do to get your life back on track. Who doesn’t want to grow and better themselves? I came up with a few broad topics. If something stands out to you, I encourage you to go deeper. Learn about how to implement that thing, set a goal, and get better at it.
Get your finances in order. I’m not even going to try to give advice for this one because I am so not qualified. But I do know that learning about personal finance was empowering, and it helped me feel better about money. I started to understand why I should or shouldn’t make certain financial choices instead of doing things blindly and hoping for the best.
Learn a new skill or hobby. A classic quarantine pastime. This can really be anything that seems fun to you. There are plenty of hobbies that are inexpensive to start, and there’s an abundance of tutorials for probably anything you could ever want to do. While it’s not a new hobby for me, I’ve been loving watercolor painting. So relaxing!
Learn to be proactive. If it doesn’t come naturally to you. By this, I mean staying on top of adult responsibilities and not putting off tasks because they are boring or uncomfortable. It can be helpful to have an organizational system, and there are a million different ways you can get organized. Do some research, and find a system that works for you.
Read personal development books. Makes sense as a personal development goal, right? There are many areas of self-help books that can help you in areas like productivity, confidence, positivity, and decision making. Choose an area and find a book on that topic. Some classic self-help books to start off with are You Are A Badass by Jen Sincero, The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz, and The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle.
Create a self-care routine. Part of becoming a better person is learning how to take care of yourself! Self-care is not just a trend. Take some time to practice different forms of self-care. Figure out what makes you feel the best, and create a routine that works for you. I have a whole post full of ideas for the perfect self-care day.
Strengthen your relationships. This can be any kind of relationship: romantic, professional, a friend, a family member, even a pet! Do something that makes the other person feel appreciated, and let them know how much they mean to you. I recommend looking into active listening skills and the 5 love languages (which I think can be applied to other relationships besides romantic ones!).
Re-evaluate your wardrobe. Do some reflecting. Are you really comfortable with the clothes you wear daily? Or is there something else you would rather be wearing? There are situations where it’s not appropriate to wear your comfiest sweats, but it’s important to wear clothes that are a reflection of you. If you’re looking for some new additions to your wardrobe, it’s great to think sustainably! My favorite place to thrift is thredup.com.
Start a daily gratitude practice. There are countless studies on the benefits of gratitude. If you find yourself constantly dwelling on the negative and every little thing that’s going wrong, a gratitude practice could be a big help! It doesn’t have to be a huge effort. Start by noting three things you’re grateful for at the end of every day.
Participate in volunteering or activism. There are so many ways to do this, especially right now. You can volunteer in person, by donating your money or time. Use your voice for important issues by voting, contacting representatives, and signing petitions. Basically, help people in any way that you can. It could be with crises happening globally or in a country, or with a local organization that directly benefits the people in your community.
Improve your sleep schedule. The quality of your sleep can affect the rest of your day. This is another topic you can research in detail, either with articles or books about sleep. Try some of the suggestions you find and develop a routine that works for you. My routine was so important in college when I was so busy all day. It was hard to wind down before bed, but the routine helped me overcome the anxiety I would get while trying to fall asleep. That isn’t to say that I never have trouble falling asleep anymore, but now I know how to help it.
July 2020 Reflection
Goal #1: Update my phone software
I did it! My phone is now running iOS 13.6. I wasn’t even sure what the selling points of the update were or what features I would get. I just knew it was time to update because it had been too long. It wasn’t a huge difference, which is great because I hate when the UI on my phone changes.
The most noticeable addition is dark mode! I was so happy about this one. I chose the option where it switches between light and dark modes at sunrise and sunset. I want to try that out for a few days at least, but I may change it to just be dark mode all the time.
Dark mode is really helpful because of how much time I spend looking at a screen. It helps when my headaches and migraines make me sensitive to light. Obviously, the best thing to do if I have a migraine is to just not look at my phone or any screen, but dark mode makes it more bearable.
If you’ve also been putting this off, take this as a sign to update your phone! There may be some cool features you’re missing out on.
Goal #2: Finish two books
I actually finished three books this month! I made time for this by cutting down on my YouTube watching time some days and choosing to read instead. I also read anytime I sat outside to get some sun and fresh air.
Biased: Uncovering the Hidden Prejudice That Shapes What We See, Think, and Do by Jennifer L. Eberhardt
An informative read that was a mix of the author’s personal experiences and the results of many, many studies done by her and other researchers. This was not a comfortable or fun book by any means, but it was a necessary one.
Dr. Eberhardt goes into detail about the ways that bias influences numerous facets of society, including police encounters, incarceration, opportunities for education, neighborhood segregation, and more. She explains that biased judgments are not by definition a bad thing, but she offers solutions for how we can all do better to not let those judgments control our actions. This was a very educational book, and I would definitely recommend it.
A Princess in Theory by Alyssa Cole
To make a hard pivot in the genre department, I also read A Princess in Theory by Alyssa Cole. This is the first book in the Reluctant Royals series, which are romance stories about women who unintentionally get involved with men of royalty (who could have guessed?). I heard about this series from Zoe at Zoe’s All Booked, and I don’t think she could stop talking about these books if she tried, lol. It lived up to the hype for me, the main character Naledi is realistic and likable, and the story instantly drew me into her budding romance with Prince Thabiso. I don’t want to give away too much (and I’m learning that I’m awkward at talking about romance books) but I enjoyed it, and you bet I’ve already ordered the other two books in the series.
The Guinea Pig Handbook by Sharon Lynn Vanderlip
I highly doubt that anyone who doesn’t have guinea pigs would have any interest in reading this. But I wanted to brush up on my guinea pig knowledge after bringing Timmy and Tommy home. I actually already owned this book, it was a part of my childhood animal book collection. My copy was published in 2003, so while I don’t think the information in it is necessarily wrong, I do think there are better resources available now. There are tons of forums out there, and my favorite reference website for anything guinea-pig related is Guinea Lynx.
Goal #3: Ab Challenge – Baby by Justin Bieber
A failed challenge this month! In case you missed it, I wanted to practice doing ab exercises to Baby by Justin Bieber. The idea was to do it every day until I was able to keep going for the entire length of the song without stopping. I did this for like a week and then flat-out forgot about it. I guess it was one of those things that seemed really fun at the time but not fun enough to motivate me for the whole month.
It’s not a big deal that I didn’t follow through with this, I guess the lesson here is to put a little more thought into things before you commit to them?
In the grand scheme of things, this really doesn’t matter. I’ve moved on to bigger and better things, I suppose. Like watching my guinea pigs’ every move and binging tv shows.
Goal #4: Grow my monthly Pinterest viewers
If we’re judging this goal based on the title of grow my monthly Pinterest viewers, then it was a success. If we’re going based on the 10k monthly viewer goal that I set, then it was a big fat fail.
I did hit 12k impressions, but my total monthly audience by the end of July was 6.5k. Which I’d say is still pretty good! This was a case of unrealistic expectations, and I should’ve known better than to think I could double the amount of Pinterest viewers I get in only a month.
I also mentioned that I had purchased Create and Go’s Pinterest Traffic Avalanche course, and I seemed to think that would be the secret to success. It still might be! But it’s too early to say because I haven’t actually finished the course yet. I’ve implemented some of the things I’ve learned, and I do plan to finish it. I don’t want to rush. It takes time to create a social media strategy, especially because I’ve never done it before, and it takes time to see if the strategies are working.
I will say that I do think I’ve learned a lot about how Pinterest works through the course, and that understanding has informed the way that I use the platform. So I think that part of the goal was a success at least! I’m going to hold off on setting any viewer goals this month. Instead, I’m going to focus on my strategies and improving the quality of my pins.
August 2020 Goals
Goal #1: Finish two books
This is the goal yet again! I’ve found that this is a manageable amount of reading for me to do in a month, so I’m sticking with it. I will definitely be finishing Green Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson because I have less than two hours left in the audiobook.
I want to finish Well-Read Black Girl, which is an anthology edited by Glory Edim. It is already proving to be an amazing collection of stories and a huge resource for other books by Black female authors. We must continue to buy and read books written by Black authors. This learning isn’t a box to be checked. As a white person, you’re not off the hook because you did one thing or read one book. Making this a priority is one of many things we must do to educate ourselves and fight for racial equality.
I also have an unused audiobook credit, so the possibilities are endless! I never thought that I would be an audiobook person, but I don’t know that I can call myself one just yet. My morning ‘getting ready’ time was filled with various podcasts for so long. It’s been a nice change to listen to an audiobook instead. (Plus it helps my Goodreads challenge!)
Goal #2: Finish the first season of Lost
This is really a self-care goal. It will force me to actually unwind a little and not spend all my free time blogging. For some context, I have a habit of getting so excited about a show, watching a good amount of it, and then getting busy and never going back to finish it! I do enjoy tv, but it has to be pretty specific and often something that I’ve already watched or am familiar with (just highly sensitive things). And I tend to prioritize other forms of entertainment over tv shows.
I had the idea to start watching Lost again. I was a bit young for the show when it was airing, but my mom loved it so I ended up watching a lot of it anyway. I remember the characters and most of the main plot points, enough that I can’t really be spoiled by seeing something online. Finishing the first season in a month seems like a reasonable goal.
I don’t know if this makes me a baby, but some parts of Lost are definitely scary to me. I hardly ever voluntarily watch scary things. This is an exception because I already know enough of the plot to know when certain things do or don’t end badly. It takes away some anticipation that can be so anxiety-inducing. Plus, closing my eyes is always an option too!
Goal #3: Set up my email list
I think it is time to figure out how the heck to have an email list. This is one of the top things that bloggers say they wish they had started sooner, so I think now is as good a time as any. There’s a lot to learn. I think I’ll need to write a welcome email sequence for new subscribers, and create an opt-in freebie as an incentive to sign up.
A big part is also biting the bullet and paying for ConvertKit. I’ve done some research in this department. There are several other email services that bloggers use. Some of them are free until you reach a certain number of subscribers. I could start with one of the free services, but I’ve heard over and over that ConvertKit is the best. I’d prefer to just pick one and stick to it rather than having to switch services sometime in the future.
This is a sign of commitment to this blog. In case you didn’t know, I’d say a ConvertKit membership is pretty freaking expensive for someone who has not made any money blogging so far. I am trying my best to believe in myself, as hard as that might be. I want to set myself up for success and make this work!
Goal #4: Enjoy my mini-vacation
I realize that I am not alone in having some plans canceled due to the pandemic, and for good reason, of course! I was really looking forward to a trip with my family, and my first couples vacation with my boyfriend, which were both planned for this summer.
My boyfriend and I have spent the majority of our time since March in our small apartment together. We still wanted to experience a tiny bit of a summer vacation, in the safest way that we can manage right now. So we booked a long weekend at a nearby cabin (no flying!) for a chance to spend some time in nature. Of course, we will be taking all the safety precautions and a supply of reusable face masks.
Pandemic discussions aside, as that’s not really the point of this, I am so glad that we are still able to take a vacation. I’m grateful that this is possible, and I want to enjoy every minute of it. This year has been incredibly draining in a lot of ways, and I think everyone deserves some time to recharge. I want to fully enjoy my weekend of being outside, reading, and relaxing. Even if it’s not a vacation, I sincerely hope that you have the opportunity to relax as well. Stay safe!
Goal #5: Daily gratitude lists
By now, I don’t think it’s a secret that practicing gratitude can be life-changing! Even as a chronic negative-thinker, I recognize that the simple feeling of gratitude is immensely powerful. The power comes from the repetition. It may boost your mood to think of a few good things on the spot, but the real magic starts when it becomes a habit. Instead of constantly focusing on the latest stressor (because there’s always something), you start to seek out the good stuff.
For me, this takes the form of daily lists of things that I am grateful for that day, as many as I can think of. It’s usually in a special notebook that I use exclusively for gratitude lists. But the medium isn’t important, it’s what you’re writing that matters. It could be a dedicated notebook, in your planner, in a note on your phone, or even on an app! I’ve never tried an app, but I found a list of 8 gratitude apps to help you get started. I can see the benefits of a digital list, it’s always accessible and you can set a reminder to help form that habit. It may be convenient, but personally, I don’t think anything beats the satisfaction of filling up a blank page.
I’ve had periods where I was super consistent with my gratitude lists, and inevitably I fall off the habit at some point. With all that’s going on in the world, on top of day-to-day stresses and personal stuff, it’s been way too easy to focus on the negatives. Negative thinking can become a habit, too! And it’s time for me to break that habit.
I plan to do this by adding it as a to-do in my planner every day in August so that I remember to cross it off. I bought a new notebook a few weeks ago, and I’ve decided the best thing I could do right now would be to fill it with good memories and things that I am grateful for.
If you want to start a gratitude practice, figure out the logistics. How are you going to record your thoughts? When are you going to do it? What can you do to make sure you remember to do it every day? Once your system is in place, let the gratitude start flowing!
So there are some ideas for personal development goals, as well as my goals for August 2020! I hope the month is off to a great start for you.
Let me know what your goals for August are by leaving a comment!