Habits in connection with personal development refer to behaviors that are repeatedly assimilated over time and can either be good or bad (O’ Neil 2015 (a)). They are, usually, seven in number; habits of being proactive, beginning with the end in mind, prioritizing first things first, win-win situations, seeking to understand and to be understood, synergizing and sharpening the saw (Covey 1999).
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New habits are only created through the acquisition of specific skills, having ideas or knowledge of their existence, and having the motivation to develop them. Being proactive, putting first things first, and sharpening the saw are some of the areas I have intensively captured in my personal development, and in this paper, I am going to discuss my experience with them (Covey 1999).
This habit entails planning for something before its occurrence or before it gets out of hand (O’ Neil 2015 (a)). I am glad to have developed this habit. I remember that in the past before I read articles and attended lectures about being proactive, I used to be so negative. A situation would come up only for me to start blaming others and avoid taking responsibility for it. Anger took the better part of me, and I would react to a situation without thinking about the impacts my actions would bring. Before I got the concept of being proactive, I got easily irritated and used to complain about every issue that went wrong.
Knowing how to be proactive has extensively developed me. I can reason positively and also believe in myself. I am able to handle challenges that surround me, and this is as a result of being able to control situations before they happen. The gradual development of this habit has molded me from being a person that acted without thinking to a person that engages reason before taking any action. I also take responsibility for every step I take. I find ways of taking care of situations that I was unable to control. My choices are basically determined by morals and nothing else.
First Things First
This entails considering the most crucial things first before others (O’ Neil 2015 (a)). The process may consider time, what to purchase, and who to attend to first. This habit has developed me positively. Hence, I can attend to everything at the right time, give it sufficient attention, and ignore the unnecessary issues. Inputting first things first, I make my priorities right. I arrange each thing according to its importance. When prioritizing, I consider factors such as the importance of something and urgency. I always divide the things I should do into four:
- Quadrant of demand- these are important and very urgent matters (O’ Neil 2015 (a)). Therefore, I have to deal with them in a short period. They include; finishing an assignment due in one hour, taking a sick child to the hospital, and purchasing food, among others.
- Quadrant of the zone- this entails prioritizing issues that are very important yet not very urgent (O’ Neil 2015 (a)). These issues include building relationships. I always give priority to enhancing my relationships with my parents by visiting them and calling to check on them. Similarly, visiting my fiancée and spending time with him builds our relationship. I also create time for my friends. Another example of an important but not urgent issue is leisure and recreation. Leisure and recreation usually have a long-term effect on my life. Through recreation, I can exercise, keep fit, refresh, relax, and even get motivated to work. Completing a project due in one month’s time is an important priority that I must achieve within the same month.
- Quadrant of illusion- involves things not important yet urgent (O’ Neil 2015 (a)). Things are made to appear to be urgent from the outside demand and poor judgments, yet they are not. They include interruptions that may arise from friends visiting and gossiping, insignificant phone calls, petty problems faced by friends and relatives, and even peer influence. I totally give no room for such things. I prefer avoiding unimportant calls. I do not invite friends to my place when I am busy, which reduces interruptions.
- Quadrant of escape-is a group of unimportant and not urgent things (O’ Neil 2015 (a)). Therefore, for my success in other things, I have to do away with them. These things include excessively playing internet games. It has come to my realization that these games hinder my success and prevent me from meeting my priorities. Hence, I avoid internet subscriptions and access. Another issue is chatting with friends on social media. They are neither urgent nor important. Therefore, I ignore them when I am busy. Excessive watching of television is another example. I always switch off the television when I do not need it.
Among the quadrants, I only look forward to satisfying important and urgent issues because they help me grow and develop the right way. I always try my best to eliminate things that tend to be urgent yet not important, and those that are neither important nor urgent. In deciding what to be put first, I use charts, time management matrices, and daily planners in order to achieve effective and proper planning. They help make me look organized.
Sharpening the Saw
This habit refers to the preparations one makes with the view of achieving success (O’ Neil 2015 (a)). It involves believing in oneself and eliminating all obstacles and factors that may stand in his or her way to success. This can be achieved by reinforcing certain four areas: the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual elements of an individual (O’ Neil 2015 (a)). Through exercise, good eating habits, and relaxing, I have been able to enhance myself physically. On the other hand, my spiritual growth has been facilitated by being prayerful. It has also been enhanced by offering services such as visiting the sick, taking part in community cleaning ups and music. I listen to songs and participate in singing while in the church. Through drawing and adventuring, I am usually uplifted spiritually.
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My emotional and social growth has also grown over the years. Making good relationships with others is healthy as it has greatly developed me by helping me acquire enormous amounts of knowledge from people.
Lastly, my mental aspects have developed due to reading, writing, listening, and even speaking to people (O’Neil 2015 (b)). I read many novels, articles, journals, magazines, and newspapers.
Sharpening the saw also entails self-renewal, which keeps me refreshed and helps me handle challenging situations. In addition, it helps me balance work and recreation and makes me highly motivated. The lack of renewal makes someone insensitive to both too simple concepts and complex ones. It also makes one selfish as he or she lacks proper interaction with other people. Inadequate renewal also weakens people’s bodies due to the deprivation of the time meant for rest and relaxation.
I have used the principles I acquired to develop my life skills. These days I know how to take precautions, make priorities, and work on my strengths and weaknesses with the view of reaching self-actualization. These achievements have been possible through being proactive, good social skills, and learning through reading and experience.
Covey, S 1999, Living the seven habits, Simon & Schuster: New York.
O’ Neil, T 2015 (a), Principle of personal development planning, PowerPoint file.
O’Neil, T 2015 (b), Understanding personal performance, PowerPoint file.