Personal development is a hot topic these days. With many people giving up on the same old same old and pursuing a better life, the supply of “how to” manuals on personal development can be overwhelming.

But before you dive in to the sea of personal development plans, there’s something very important you must consider—you!

There is no one personal development plan that fits everyone.

I can’t even begin to tell you the number of people who incorrectly believe they know themselves.

As a personal growth coach and a Christian counselor I’ve seen thousands of people and not one in my many years of practice actually knew herself well enough to build a solid foundation to live her dream life.

That’s why all of my sessions with my clients begin with a series of personality and temperament tests to help determine who they are, how they think, how they’re wired, how they communicate, what motivates them, and how they process information.

So before you set out to develop new habits, set new goals or develop a new plan, consider these three crucial areas to your success:

  • 1 - Temperament

    Did you know there are five basic temperament styles and they all differ in how they look at goals, tasks and habits? For example, you could be the temperament that is likely to use a ‘to do’ list for everything, in which case being told to be more free-spirited will likely cause you stress. If you are the temperament that likes to be in control of the outcome, then being told that you have to give responsibility over to others will likely test your patience. If you are the temperament that likes to think through things in solitude, then being told to develop a habit of collaboration will likely cause you to run to the doctor for anti-anxiety meds.

  • 2 - Learning style

    Your style of learning plays a big part in your goal setting process. There are temperaments that learn quickly and anyone slowing them down will cause them to quit, while others take a bit extra time to ‘get it’ but once they do, they are more solid than any of the others.

  • 3 - Introversion vs. extroversion

    Another factor to consider is whether you are an introvert or an extrovert. Our society praises extroversion and frowns upon introversion (except in the few cases of a tech guru creating the next Apple computer or Ben Franklin discovering electricity). But introverts and extroverts both have strengths and weaknesses. And if you are an introvert trying to be more outgoing you may be missing your strengths and exacerbating your weaknesses.

I could go on but you see how different each of us can be. You may be trying hard to be the next Tony Robbins when in fact you were more gifted to be the next Beethoven.

Once you have a solid understand of these key factors, then and only then can you begin to build your dream on a solid foundation. Otherwise you will likely be building on sinking sands because every new fad or technique that comes out will shift your foundation until it becomes so unstable that it can’t stand.