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What is Personal Development?

by Sammy Nickalls

If you’re someone who’s into health and wellness, you probably read up on your stuff (good for you!). And in your reading, you’ve probably come across a certain phrase quite a few times. A phrase that sounds nice, sounds inspiring, but many people don’t know the meaning of.

For goodness sake, what is personal development?!

To answer that question, sure, you could break down the word: improving (developing) you (personally). So it’s simple: improving yourself. But like many things in life, that’s much easier said than done.

So what is personal development, really? In order to truly define this term, it’s important to divide it into three main sections: body, mind, and soul. These three are interconnected and intertwined, so if you neglect one, your efforts to improve yourself will be lopsided; it’s important to tend to each equally.

How do I do that?

Well, let’s see…

what is personal development

What is Personal Development?

1. Body

This is the aspect that many think of when they think of developing themselves: improving the body. Though the body is only one aspect of the equation, it is an important one, as you need a healthy vessel to live your life within.

Developing the body means continuously trying to eat better, learn more about nutrition, and keep junk out of your body.

It also means continuously trying to get stronger by exercising regularly. However, developing your body goes far beyond that. Eating nutritiously and working out is great, but it’s important to focus on your bodily organs and functions.

Continuously striving to keep your blood pressure down, your heart healthy, and your “bad” cholesterol low is essential when considering how to improve your body.

Related: 8 Things Healthy People Do

2. Mind

Okay, obviously it has to do with being healthy and well. But if that’s not all, what is personal development?

Many don’t consider the mind when they think about improving themselves. However, the mind is absolutely essential. Constantly learning new things is essential to personal development, because if you do not learn, how will you grow?

Constantly reading (even if it’s fiction!) is important to feed your mind. However, improving the mind isn’t only about learning concrete information. It’s also essential to constantly work towards thinking positively.

In order to improve yourself, you need to have a positive outlook, or you will find it incredibly difficult to find the willpower and motivation to keep on going and get to the gym every day. (Starting to see how everything’s connected here?)

Related: The Power of Positive Thinking

3. Soul

Whenever I’m stressed, my friends tell me to have some chocolate, drink some wine, read, or go on a run, because these things “soothe the soul.” But what does that mean?

You’ve likely heard the quote “You do not have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body.” Strictly speaking about personal development, the soul is who you are and what makes you truly happy. You can work on building your body and mind as much as you like, but if you aren’t working on listening and tending to your soul, you aren’t tending to your happiness—the key of personal development.

Think about it: what would make your soul happy? What would make you feel like you’re fulfilling your purpose? This could mean changing your career path or simply spending some more time doing things you love.

In the quest to improve’ self, many forget about their soul—and then wonder why they feel empty.

Related: 4 Easy Steps to Happiness

The Takeaway

What is personal development? Though it has a simple definition, it’s not so simple to carry out. When considering how to improve yourself, it’s, of course, important to tend to your body by eating well, working out, and considering important processes such as blood pressure and the heart.

However, it’s equally important to enrich the mind through learning and positive thinking, as well as the soul by doing what truly makes you feel happy and full of purpose. Enrich your mind, body, and soul, and be the best ‘you can be.


sammy nickallsSammy Nickalls is the Content Manager at She is an avid health nut and a lover of all things avocado. Follow her on Twitter or Pinterest.

Photo by AmyFlorence

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