Personal Development Checkpoint: Taking a Look Back

23 05 2007

by Aaron Potts

Have you ever stopped, turned around, and just looked back on your life to see what you have accomplished? This isn’t in reference to the constant “hum” of memories that make up our past experience and that power our day to day lives in the present. No, this is more about stopping the presses and actually taking a measurement of where you are now vs. where you were in the past.
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As human beings, we all go through life with goals, or at least with a general picture in our minds of where we would like to be in the future. For some people their vision of the future is very specific, whereas other people just have a general concept of what they want their future to look like.

Regardless of which camp you personally fall into, it is imperative that you stop and turn around every now and then to see if you are even headed in the right direction!

If 5 years ago you said that you wanted to lose some weight and start enjoying the many benefits of living a healthier and more confident lifestyle, it should go without saying that no matter how overweight you used to be, in 5 years time you should have been able to accomplish that goal.

Use the same time period to measure your financial success. Even if you were working at a minimum wage job 5 years ago and you could barely afford to eat, plenty of time has elapsed since then during which you should have made some significant improvements.

Even without getting any formal education, a person with a high work ethic and a decent understanding of responsibility could have been promoted to a job with decent pay. Even if they worked at a fast food restaurant, a department store, or in a factory or other industrial profession that some would consider to not have much growth potential – there is always growth potential.

What about relationships? Do you think over the course of 5 years that it would be possible for you to at least become confident and secure about who you are as an individual, even if you didn’t actually find someone else to share your time with?

You could not have a relationship for 5 years, yet still retain the ability – indeed, the responsibility – of making promises to yourself about who you are, and what type of experiences you are willing or not willing to have in your life.

In each of the examples that were given above, no consideration was given to any “strokes of luck” or other points in the favor of the people in those hypothetical situations. Over the course of the imaginary 5 years, each of those individuals needed to do nothing more specific or more heroic than consistently applying themselves to the same course of action day after day, week after week, and year after year.

If you have had occasion while reading this article to consider where you are right now as opposed to where you were 5 years ago, have you accomplished everything that was on your goal list? If not, that is okay. However, if you have not accomplished everything that you had wanted to, ask yourself this question:

“Have I honestly made any significant progress towards any of my goals in the last 5 years?”

Be sure to remember the “honestly” part, because no one wants to come to terms with the fact that they may have squandered 5 years worth of learning opportunities and personal growth experiences.

Make note of the “significant progress” part of that question as well. If you set out to lose 50 pounds 5 years ago and you’ve only lost 5, is that significant progress?

If you were complaining about your minimum wage job 5 years ago, yet to date you are only marginally better off financially (cost of living factored in) than you were then, do you really consider that significant progress?

If 5 years ago you were heart-broken, lonely, and your self-esteem was at an all-time low, do you really think the fact that you have grown a thick skin when it comes to dealing with relationships is a significant step in the right direction?

These examples are not meant to deflate your ego or your self-confidence in any way, but rather to make you realize the fact that taking a good, hard look at the progress of your life over the course of time is the only way to determine if your life is headed in the direction that you want it to go!

If you have spent the last 5 years accomplishing less than what you are capable of, now is not the time to start drowning in self-pity, and lamenting about your less-then stellar progress. If you do that, where do you think you will be 5 years from now?

Every single day of your life is a brand-new opportunity for you to start all over again. You can make honest and consistent efforts when it comes to your weight loss goals. You can work ethically and honestly at your job, no matter what kind of job you have, and even if your hard work entails leaving that job behind. You can practice personal development and become confident and happy with who you are as an individual, rather than allowing what happens with others to dictate your level of happiness.

Get a copy of this article and put it somewhere in a safe place. Then, start applying these types of principles to your life today – right now, at this very moment. Then, in 5 years come back and read this article again.

There is a pretty safe bet that the person who is reading this article 5 years from now will be amazed at the person they have become, and how it all happened as a result of consistently taking one small step at a time.

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2 responses to “Personal Development Checkpoint: Taking a Look Back”

24 05 2007
Howie (01:00:58) :

That’s a good idea. We can look back in our past to compare our life with the present. We can use our accomplishments as a reference based on how good we were and what we can handle.

24 05 2007
Charlie (22:43:43) :

I agree that we need to look back. Our lives would be better if we have something to compare our accomplishments. It would be a good way of motivating us.

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