Developing your self in 2020

Many of us will be considering how we might develop and improve ourselves in the year ahead. How we might achieve more, become better versions of ourselves.

Our ambitions can vary greatly; a desire for a bigger job, more money, a better education, more relaxation, a larger social circle, better fitness, a richer empathic relationship… the list is infinite as each and every one of us is unique. Most animals possess the basic drive ‘to maintain’ (keep what you’ve got); we humans have got a very strong drive ‘to enhance’ (get more). 

As you contemplate what you would like to achieve in 2020, try and think laterally and conceptually about how you want to change and how this will add to a positive balance in your life. From the onset, I’d like to make it absolutely clear that I’m not advocating that you place yourself under any unnecessary and unwanted pressure. Rather, you should pace yourself suitably according to your own unique balance – be gentle with yourself whilst moving forward. 

Ask yourself: 

  • What is my goal? 
  • How do I want to grow?
  • How do I lay good foundations for my individual growth?
  • What are my strengths? What are my weaknesses?
  • Do I want to develop personally? Professionally? Both?

Most of us will have comfort zones and ingrained habits which colour our behaviour and thought processes – some good for our wellbeing, some bad - they may keep you protected and often at times, fixed and stuck. I took the plunge and educated myself in my fifties and radically changed my way of being. My only regret is that I didn’t do it sooner. 

If you have a goal, have with it a steady, gradual plan. Take small steps, methodically unfolding yourself over a measured manageable timescale. It’s not about massive leaps and bounds but allowing yourself to make small changes and try new things a little bit at a time.  

“If I can suggest one thing, it is that whatever you decide to work upon this year, make a start. Don’t overthink it, don’t talk incessantly about it… do it. Go through the door, step over the line, cross the Rubicon, get started. ”

Prepare yourself for setbacks and challenges, because they will occur, and then strive to continually review and revise your process until you feel that you are heading in the right direction to achieve your goals and satisfaction.  

Allowing yourself to have an authentic belief in yourself will help, so don’t distort how poor you are or how wonderful you are. When I was going through this process, I “Stripped myself bare and cut out all the bulls**t - no facades, no pretence.” 

By acknowledging yourself as who you truly are and accepting the positive characteristics about yourself and achievements in your life, small or large, you’ll be better able to move towards personal growth.

In any case, in the words of Henry Ford: “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right.” 

Shane Lutkin is lead Therapist at Emotionalskills. If you’re struggling with emotional issues, call 07986 488690 or email

Sign up to our newsletter

Keep up to date with news and tips for managing emotional tension and guidance on ways to lead a fulfilling life.
View our latest newsletter here.