ULTIMATE GUIDE To Personal Development | Tips & Info for My Clients

ULTIMATE GUIDE To Personal Development

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Today on the blog, I’m going to be sharing the ULTIMATE GUIDE to personal development. I have all of my coaching clients do 30 minutes of personal development a day, and I wanted to create a guide to help them [you] do your personal development.

It’s kind of frustrating when someone says, “Do X thing!”

But they don’t tell you HOW to do the thing?! They don’t share the specific steps and info?

Hate that. Not into it!

So, I’m getting specific!

ULTIMATE GUIDE To Personal Development

Personal Development How-To Guide

The impact of doing 30 minutes of personal development is INCREDIBLE. As a coach, I have a unique vantage point – it is literally my job to watch the progress of my clients.

And my clients who do personal development almost always are the ones who make the most progress.

My clients who do personal development almost always are the ones who make the most progress.

I’m writing the ultimate guide to personal development, because I know there are specific tips + actions that make personal development more impactful!

I have been doing personal development for 20+ years. As a kid, my mom had personal development tapes –  what we called “Talky Tapes” – going in the car while we were growing up because she’s a coaching consultant. But I know that this isn’t everyone’s experience – and they might not have that same sort of context around daily personal development habits.

Personal Development How-To Guide & Plan

Today I want to go into exactly what the heck I mean by saying to “Do 30 minutes of personal development a day.”

In this how-to guide to personal development, I’ll be talking about:

  • Part 1: What is personal development? How is it different from motivational speeches?
  • Part 2: Why I recommend listening to personal development over reading physical books
  • Part 3: My ~Personal Development Recommendations~
  • Part 4: How to include personal development into your daily life 
ULTIMATE GUIDE To Personal Development

Part 1: How do we define “personal development”? What is personal development?!

So what the heck is personal development?

What does [and doesn’t] count as personal development?

I define personal development as any material that helps you level up in life. 

I define personal development as material that helps you level up in life in specific and measurable ways

My definition:

Personal Development: A tool that you’re using to level up in your life; this means you’re taking in new information, new strategies, new systems and you’re implementing them into your life.

Oftentimes personal development can be found in bookstores, specifically in the Self-Help section and the Business & Career section. [Some folks make fun of “self help,” and, in my experience, those are the people who struggle to make big moves in their life.]

People who make fun of self-help also usually don’t make progress. Because they don’t believe in helping themselves.

Tip: Avoid Overwhelm With Personal Development

Note: Personal development is like… marinating food. At first it will be a bit overwhelming, and that’s ok! I don’t expect you to make big changes overnight!

A lot of times with personal development you first have to start by exposing yourself to those new ideas and then you end up taking action months and sometimes even years later. With personal development this is usually something that you have to think on for a while before you put it into action in your personal life.

Define Personal Development is Not JUST Motivation

Starting out this personal development how-to guide, I want to be clear that motivational or “rah rah!” speeches are NOT personal development.

“Rah Rah!” speeches are not personal development.

Personal development offers MORE than motivational speeches.

What do i mean by “motivational speeches”? For example, there are tons of clips on YouTube of motivational speeches and inspiring TedTalks – those are motivational speeches. They pump you out, and get you stoked about life – but they don’t go into the specific HOW you’re going to do something.

And while I do love being pumped up, especially when I’m not feeling motivated for something – just listening to motivational speeches will leave you gassed up – with nowhere to go!

Personal development goes a step further than *~*jazzy*~* motivation – personal development materials explain to you how to actually go and do something.

In order for personal development to be effective, it has to be both combined motivational speeches along with actual instruction.

Personal Development Isn’t Always Super Entertaining.

A lot of folks avoid doing personal development at first – because it’s uncomfortable.

Once you have new systems or tactics to test – it can be scary to realize your excuses aren’t as valid.


Personal Development Leads to New ways of Thinking

Personal development has to be equipping you with new ways of thinking and new approaches that ideally will get super granular and tell you how to do things.

ULTIMATE GUIDE To Personal Development

Part 2 Personal Development How-To Guide: *Listen* to Personal Development – Don’t READ!

I am an avid reader. I love books, and I was the kid who read at recess; growing up my librarians all knew me by name. In fact my mom would drop me off at Barnes and Noble and come pick me up 4-6 hours later when she would have business meetings; I love reading physical books and I love reading digital books.

I read over 400 fiction books in 2021 – although part of that was because of you know, the pantaloon, – I didn’t have a lot of other stuff I could do.

I love to read physical books, and I listen to almost all my personal development on *AUDIO*.

I have learned to listen to personal development because when I listen to it I can do other things.

It is much easier to follow your personal development plan if you can do *other things* while listening to personal development.

I’ve found that if I have to carve out time in your day to sit down with a book and read it – and then deal with new and uncomfortable ideas that put you out of your comfort zone – it’s not gonna happen consistently.

Reading personal development books every dat can can be really hard habit to build. This is why I often tell folks to listen first because you can listen to personal development in a bunch of different settings.

Key Takeaway: Almost 100% of my clients who regularly do their daily personal development do *NOT* read a physical book.

Almost 100% of my clients who regularly do their daily personal development do *NOT* read a physical book.

ULTIMATE GUIDE To Personal Development

Here’s a list of where you can listen to personal development

  • When you’re getting ready in the morning
    • You can listen to personal development while getting ready in the morning. After playing music that I dance to while in my shower, I will then switch the music to personal development to listen to while I get ready.
  • In the car during your commute
    • The second place you can listen to personal development is in the car. Choose one leg of the trip to dedicate to personal development, and the return journey can have music playing!
    • Or on your morning commute: I find that if you’re driving or commuting somewhere that time can actually be really effective personal development time!
  • While you’re at the gym
    • Some of my clients will listen to personal development at the gym. However this isn’t something that really works for me! I need Beyonce in my ear telling me that “Girls run the world.” If you have been going to the gym for years and you like to listen to audiobooks, this may be a perfect place for your personal development time.
  • While you walk your dog
    • You can listen to personal development while you go on neighborhood walks, while you walk your dog or cat, or when you just have to get out of the house.
  • During your night routine
    • Some of my clients use their nightly routine time as personal development time. They might spend 30 minutes picking up their home before going to bed.. As they tidy these spaces while they are listening to personal development.
  • While cooking a meal. like dinner
    • Other people may listen to personal development while making a meal. Some of my clients that really love to cook and may be having resistance to listening to personal development, may listen to that instead of a podcast or music while they cook in the kitchen. 

Personal Development Tip: Listen to a Book Multiple Times

When it comes to personal development time, I’m not sitting down in a special cross-legged position with candles going to avidly listen. Because I’m doing other stuff it is totally normal to tune in and out of personal development – that’s how our brains work.

For that reason, I’ll listen to a personal development book at least three times. Sometimes I listen to it 3 times in a row. With James Clear’s book, I listened to it twice in a row back to back, which I usually don’t do. Usually I’ll listen to one new personal development book and then I go back to a previous personal development book because switching up what you’re listening to can be really helpful.

I’ll listen to a personal development book at least three times

Part 3: Personal Development Recommendations

A good example of a fabulous personal development book is Jen Sincero’s book, “You are a Badass at Making Money” and James Clear’s book, “Atomic Habits.” These are examples of great personal development books that you could listen to on audiobook or read as a physical book or ebook.

Jen Sincero, “You are a Badass at Making Money

Jen Sincero’s book is a great personal development book because there are exercises at the end of each chapter.

Personal development blogger shares intro level book recommendations
I love this personal development book so much, I included it in a photoshoot!

Listen to the same personal development book – multiple times!

For personal development with Jen Sincero, I listened through the entire book on audio, and then I listened to it again and I implemented time every week to go in and do the exercises. I bought the physical copy as well in order to do the exercises along with listening to the audiobook. I loved the exercises in Jen Sincero’s book and have re-listened to it many times.

HOT Personal Development Tip: Personal development can be a tax write-off, so be sure to talk to your accountant about this!

ULTIMATE GUIDE To Personal Development

James Clear, “Atomic Habits

In “Atomic Habits”, James Clear doesn’t necessarily have exercises, but what he does have are super specific systems; he gets into the granular steps of how to do something. He has a lot of info on the nuts and bolts of different processes, so instead of telling you to do something generally he tells you how to do it very specifically.

Personal Development Tip: You won’t 100% agree with all personal development authors

One last note about personal development is that you’re not going to agree with it one hundred percent of the time and if you only gravitate towards content and books that you agree with 100% – you will likely miss out on a lot of great information.

I found that a lot of personal development books share libertarian ideas. I do not agree with these politics but I have learned helpful information from these people. I listen to their opinions because I’ve learned helpful information in those spaces and interestingly enough it’s also provided me with a lens of empathy through which to better understand their position –  and why I still don’t agree with it. This has also been helpful in political debates at family dinners so there’s a silver lining to all of this.

Podcasts as Personal Development – CAUTION

I do think that podcasts can count as personal development if you’re learning specific strategies or if you’re doing research on a person that you want to emulate.

For instance, I’m super fascinated by the beauty influencer and entrepreneur, Jackie Aina. Something that I’ve been doing is going through and listening to podcast interviews with her. I will literally just search her name on the podcast app and will listen to those interviews because I’m trying to glean information from her about her approach to her business and stuff that she doesn’t necessarily talk about to her fans on social media – I’m looking to learn more back office stuff about her entrepreneurial style and approach to business.

Podcasts can get folks into iffy waters, so if you’re listening to a podcast, ask yourself these questions after each episode!


  • What did I specifically learn how to do in this episode? Did the people on this podcast share specific steps for me to do?
  • How will I use this knowledge in my business or career?
  • Would Brianne Huntsman say this podcast is personal development? Or is it more fun and entertaining?

In my experience, podcasts can be a great source of personal development – especially podcasts on rapidly changing industries. For instance, in marketing, I rarely buy a book with step-by-step info – it’s usually out of date, as books can take 1-2 years to publish!

ULTIMATE GUIDE To Personal Development

Part 4: How to incorporate personal development into your daily life

But how do you incorporate personal development habits into your daily life? Ironically the James Clear book about forming habits called “Atomic Habits” which I recommend but there’s a lot of content warning there for exercise-related content, is very helpful with this.

Atomic Habits” teaches you how to do habit stacking to remind your brain to turn on your personal development so from the above where I shared the different places that you can do personal development, I’m going to share the specific things that trigger a prompt or nudge my brain to turn on Audible to listen to personal development.

Habit Stacking: Morning Routine

In the morning after I go to grab my towel, after stepping out of the shower I will grab the towel and holding that material then prompts my brain to switch over from music to personal development. Habit stacking is where you take something that you do naturally all the time anyways and then you add something new to it. This is so that when you do that thing, everyday when I grab the bath towel and I’m grabbing my bath towel then my brain is going to remember to start listening to personal development.

Habit Stacking: In the Car

When driving I always wear my seatbelt and so as soon as I click my seat belt in I turn on my personal development. That click sound my seat belt makes, tells me to turn on my personal development. I own multiple businesses, so I don’t have a regular commute so that is less applicable to me. 

In your own life, you could have a nudge to start your personal development when you wash your hands to cook dinner or at the start of your nightly routine; maybe when you brush your teeth and then before you pick up a few rooms for 30 minutes you are listening to personal development.

Bonus Section: Where to Get Personal Development Books

I have an audible subscription – I get a new credit every month. It usually takes me 2 weeks to get through a personal development book. Sometimes I buy credits in a package from audible. I use audible to listen to personal development.

Some clients use libby or libro.fm to check out audiobooks from their local library. This can be really important to support the local libraries – but if you struggle with returning things on time, this may not be a great option for you. Audiobooks are automatically returned- but just a heads up for my ADHD friends, you may benefit from buying the book.

I will also listen to podcasts, and re-listen to other books throughout the month.

How to track how much personal development your doing

I tell my clients all the time to “Test it, and track it – never assume you’re just going to remember to do it everyday!”

Here are a few ways to track your personal development habits

  • Use the Streaks App (iPhone) habit tracking app
  • Use a paper habit tracker – a printable PDF calendar that you can color in // use stickers for. Place it on the fridge or mirror to see it everyday.
  • Post on social media every time you’re listening to personal development (this might not work if you don’t like to post to social media very often) but this can help grow your professional brand online and serve as a way to track your personal development habits.

What personal development posts to read next —>

If you enjoyed this blog post on doing 30 mins of personal development everyday, here are few posts with specific recommendations to check out:

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