5 Rules to Help You Begin Your Self-Development Journey

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You are a mess and you know it. You have been wanting to change yourself, and become a better version of yourself. But you don’t know what to do or where to start.


So how to know? Your search ” how to become the best version of yourself” online . You are bombarded with many answers.


Some web pages ask you to start a morning routine. Yeah, right as if that’s the easiest thing, to begin with. Then you read that you need to have a night routine in the first place. Because that will help to begin your morning routine.


So, you begin to think should I start a morning routine or a night routine?


You search more but nobody gives a clear answer about the first steps you need to take for your self-development journey.


You are as confused as ever. Is it setting goals, developing new habits, or making principles – what is it?


Sounds relatable?


I have felt the exact same way. I was as confused as ever too.


Nobody tells you how to begin or what you should do in the beginning.


So, in this post, I am gonna share the initial steps I took to begin my self-development process.

How to Start Your Self Development Journey

5 simple rules for life

Yup. This is how I began. Well, I began the 100th time.

A little backstory.

I have been trying to become a better version of myself for years. You read that right, years.

Every new year and birthday I set resolutions and goals and whatnot. I haven’t achieved any single one of them to date.

I have tried everything. Setting goals and building new habits and routines.

None of them worked.

I tried everything and exhausted myself. That’s when I got the idea of setting rules for myself.

Then what. I surfed the net ‘simple rules for life’. Again bombarded with many answers. 

Out of the many that I saw, I decided to stick to 5 simple rules.

This has been such a game-changer.

These simple rules that I have set for myself are the starting point or first step to becoming a better person process.

Why Setting Rules Help

You cannot become a better person within a day or a week. It requires a lot of effort and determination.


Setting simple rules and following them helps you with a small yet good start.


It sets momentum.


Making small changes has a huge positive effect. Rules help you to make those small changes.


These will also help you to build your habits and achieve your goals in the future.


Here are the 5 rules that I set for myself which have helped me immensely.


I am not a dear diary person, I can’t journal in the morning, and I can’t journal every day – before you dismiss journaling with these excuses hear me out.


Journaling helps to give you clarity.


Before you begin your becoming a better version of yourself journey, write a journal entry on why you want to change yourself. How your current habits and lifestyle are affecting you, what changes you would like to see in yourself and why.


This simple journal entry will help you understand yourself better. This will help you to set a realistic goal for yourself and choose a set of habits that you want to develop for yourself.


Whenever you stumble on your self-development process or lose sight of why you started this journey, reading that journal entry will help you get back on track. 


It helps you remind yourself why you began in the first place.


Journal to document your successes and failures. Use your journal as a record of your progress, as a daily review.


Using your journal to track your habits and goals is a way of self-accountability.


If you are not self-accountable, if you don’t keep a track of your progress you will lose sight after a few days.


Journaling helps you understand where you are going wrong and how to correct those mistakes.


Also, it acts as visual feedback for your self-development journey. This will motivate you further to stay on track.


If you are a beginner, I would suggest starting journaling for just 5 minutes a day. Using prompts will make it easier.


Still not convinced to journal? Keep an open mind and give it a try.


5 minutes and a few sentences per day do make a hell lot of a difference. Start small and see the difference for yourself.


Are you struggling to deal with procrastination? Are your simple tasks piling up and becoming a huge mess?


How to deal with this problem?


The 2-minute rule is the answer.


The 2-minute rule was given by David Allen in his famous book Getting Things Done.


The 2-minute rule states that “If an action will take less than two minutes, it should be done at the moment it’s defined.”


It is so simple. That’s why it’s overlooked too.


This is a simple yet powerful rule that will help you beat procrastination.


How is it powerful?


We often ignore the small tasks and procrastinate on completing them. And at the end of the day, a series of these small tasks pile up to become one huge mess.


So how can you use the 2-minute rule in action? Here are some examples.


  1. Clean up your workspace
  2. Declutter your email
  3. Declutter your phone
  4. Make your bed
  5. Send quick, short messages to your loved ones

These seem almost insignificant. But if you do it day after day, it adds up to making big changes in your life.


Doing such small tasks creates momentum. 


It will help you get started.


 It will help to break that initial friction that you experience before beginning a task.


A clean workspace motivates you to work on your project.


A decluttered and organized phone helps you to find your photos and files faster.


These small things matter. 2-minute rules help to achieve these small yet powerful and significant things.


This rule also helps to beat procrastination and to get started. It is a powerful rule that helps you to develop new habits.


The 5-minute rule is simple.


It’s a hack to convince yourself to get started. After all, after 5 minutes you are allowed to stop.


This rule helps to get started with tasks. And once you start, chances are that you will continue.


Why? Because the momentum has begun, the friction is reduced.


Starting a task is the difficult part. Continuing is way much easier.


After all, it’s the first few steps that are always the hardest.


If you want to build a new habit, you can use the 5-minute rule there also.


Suppose you want to develop a habit of reading every night before you go to sleep.


Start by doing this for 5 minutes. Increase the time slowly and steadily once you are sure that reading for 5 minutes has become a habit.


Showing up is an important part of habit-building.


And the 5-minute rule helps with that.


This is a rule I made for myself. And I will admit, this is the one I struggle to follow.


If you have 5 minutes or less free time, don’t use social media or get on the internet to entertain yourself.


In simpler words, don’t use your phone when you feel bored.


It’s a simple, powerful and difficult one.


So, why shouldn’t you use your phone whenever you get a small amount of free time? Or to kill boredom every now and then?


I made this rule after reading DEEP WORK by CAL NEWPORT.

If every moment of potential boredom in your life – say having to wait for five minutes in line or sit alone in a restaurant until a friend arrives – is relieved with a quick glance at your smartphone, then your brain has likely been rewired to a point where, like the mental wrecks in Nass’s research it’s not ready for deep work – even if you regularly schedule time to practice this concentration.

Every time we use our smartphone to entertain ourselves when we are bored, it rewires our brains. It makes us difficult to concentrate for a longer period of time.

Cal Newport further explains:

The use of a distracting service does not, by itself, reduce your brain’s ability to focus. It’s instead the constant switching from low-stimuli/high-value activities to high stimuli/low-value activities, at the slightest hint of boredom or cognitive challenge, that teaches your mind to never tolerate an absence of novelty. This constant switching can be understood analogously as weakening the mental muscles responsible for organizing the many sources vying for your attention. By segregating Internet use (and therefore segregating distractions) you’re minimizing the number of times you give in to distraction, and by doing so you let these attention-selecting muscles strengthen.

So, the next time when you start to feel bored, do not use your phone.


Instead, be present or let your thoughts wander.


A bit of boredom is actually good.


How so? Watch this TED talk to find out more.


Perfectionism is one major roadblock in the process of developing new habits.


How many times have you felt disheartened if you missed one day of not doing a new habit that you are trying to develop?


Have you ever felt that you are a failure because you missed one day? Does it cause you to abandon the whole process of developing a new habit?


After all, consistency is the key to success, and missing a day is just the opposite of being consistent, isn’t it?




Missing one day is fine.


Why? Because we are humans. Humans aren’t perfect. We tend to make mistakes.


Also, in the initial days, it is difficult to make changes.


Missing two days in a row is the bigger problem.


Why? Because it tends to become a pattern. You will keep on missing and it will become difficult to get back on track.


If you miss one day try to understand why it happened.


This is where rule 1 comes in. Journaling for a few minutes will help you understand what went wrong and how to deal with it the next day.


When you try to get back on track the second day, after missing for one day, you are trying. When you do this every time you miss a day, you are consistently trying to become better.


And that is the consistency that matters. Because this acknowledges the fact that perfectionism isn’t the way to self-development.


To make it easier to not miss two days in a row, use a habit tracker.


This will help you track your habits and give visual feedback about how good you are doing. The continuous streaks will motivate you to be on track.


simple rules

Becoming a better version of yourself is not an easy task. Because growth isn’t linear. As I said before, it takes time, effort, and patience.


It is incredibly difficult to make changes to yourself. To eliminate bad habits and develop new ones.


That’s why you should start slow.


Use these rules as the foundation for your self-development journey.


If you trying to develop a new habit, use the 5-minute rule and never miss two days in a row rule. These rules will help you to stick to the new habit that you are trying to develop.


These rules might sound simple, but they are powerful and will help you go a long way in your self-development journey.


You are gonna forget these rules too within a few days. If you don’t remember, you will not follow.


So, make sure to remind yourself of these rules every day.


Write it on a post-it note and stick it in a place where you will see it every time. It can be on your fridge or on the mirror or on the wall of your workspace.


Make sure that these rules are drilled into your brain so that you follow them every single day.


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