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3 Keys to Personal Development: Decisions, Expectations and Values

When I think of all of the people who have been able to gain some type of transformation in their life and looked at their common denominators, I created an acronym system on the word DEVELOPMENT. This post talks about the first 3 keys, the first 3 letters of the word, Decisions, Expectations and Values.


Before you proceed, read this post about why personal development is important in life and recovery.




If you want to grow in life, if you want to personally develop in life, if you want to go from where you are to where you want to go in life, you must make a decision and decide. I just did this group for a few group members a few days ago and I taught them this and it resonated with them so I want to say it to you so it resonates with you. 


What does it mean to make a decision and decide to change your life? What does it mean to decide? Well, let’s look at the word Decide. It’s spelled D-E-C-I-D-E. What other words do you know of in the English language that end with CIDE? Homicide, suicide, genocide, pesticide. Homicide means to kill off another person. Suicide means to kill off self. Genocide means to kill off a group or a race of people. Pesticide means to kill off bugs, insects, and rodents. So when you make a decision and decide to change your life around you kill off the previous version. You kill off the other options. You kill off the other choices. 


But what do people do? They decide to do something only when it’s convenient, only when it’s comfortable, and as soon as they start to feel their emotions dysregulated, as soon as they start to feel a little anxiety, a little bit of fear, a little discomfort, they go back to their old way again. It’s not a decision. You haven’t decided until you kill off the previous version. If someone decides to get sober that means you kill off the option of drinking and using it no longer exists, but what happens to them as soon as they get triggered somewhere, as soon as they get dysregulated somewhere, they go right back to the drink. Man, you never made a decision. You never decided. You just temporarily halted something. 


And the same thing goes to personal development. If you want to become a different version of yourself you have to decide to kill off the old version of life. Some people do and some people don’t. I got out of the business of trying to find out why. None of my business.



If you want your life to develop and you want to grow in different areas of your life you must learn how to curb your expectations


Expectations are the root of all heartbreak. 

-William Shakespeare


I’m gonna say that one again. So if you are trying to develop in life and you are trying to become a different version of yourself you must learn how to manage your expectations. William Shakespeare, a pretty famous poet, has the following statement. He says that expectations are the root of all heartbreak. And many people that come into this recovery world, this healing world, this transformation world, they have unrealistic false expectations, that by walking on this path and this journey for 30-60-90 days, that their life is going to all of a sudden magically get better. Don’t lie to yourself, my friends. The only thing that gets better when we discontinue the use of drugs and alcohol is the problems related to drugs and alcohol go away but every other challenge and problem and obstacle that you have in your life or have had in your life that you’re trying to overcome will be right there glaring you in your eyes. They don’t go away until we work on them, until we address them and that’s what it is. 


Sometimes family members come in, their kid gets sober, they’re like, “Alright, everything’s good now.” No, it’s not – their inability to manage their emotions, their inability to communicate properly, their inability to follow through with goals and expectations, their inability to become self-sufficient and manageable and reliable in their own life, that’s not all of a sudden going to change. It can change, it will change, if we curb our expectations and realize it takes time. It takes time to build new skills, to build new habits, to build a new way of life. Be careful of your expectations. 


Expectations can kill your peace and serenity. Not just reduce them, but kill them. And you know, they say that our expectations and our level of serenity are a zero sum. So what is a zero sum? A zero sum means that let’s say two things cannot be more than 100. So if our expectations are 80 our serenity can only be 20. If our expectations are 50 our serenity can be 50. If our expectations are 20 our serenity could be 80 and if you got no expectations in life you can be blissfully living in peace. 


Consistency is the key. Consistency over time is the key because people can be consistent for 30-60-90 days, consistent like machines, and then all of a sudden they put their foot off the gas and they start to relax and before you know it they’re right back to living the way they used to live, doing the things they used to do, engaging in things they used to engage in. So that part of time consistency over time is where the magic happens. And that time is different for everybody based on how long you’ve been experiencing life, based on how long you’ve been experiencing life. 


Commitment is a key. It’s probably the key. Let’s say if you want to develop in life, personal development, and I’m giving you this acronym system, let’s say all of this stuff is inside this box. The key to open the box up in the first place is being committed. But what do we do? Most people don’t want to be committed in life. Repetition, repetition, repetition. Repetition is the master of all skills. Doing something over and over again polishes our skill set. You know some of you have been on record telling me, “Hey, how are you such a good speaker? How do you speak so well?” I promise you, the first time I did a speech in class I was drenched in sweat. My jaws clenched. I blacked out. A five minute speech was a minute and a half, and I ran out of things to say. Well, right now I can speak for five marathon days and I won’t run out of things to say. Repetition, repetition, repetition. It is the mother of all skills. 


Amateurs do something until they get it right. Professionals do something until they can’t get it wrong. 


How many people do something just to be able to do it. If you really want to level up you got to do it till the point that you can’t do it wrong. That’s powerful. And that comes from commitment, consistency and repetition to put everything together. 


Align with your VALUES

Our values are our guiding light in life. Our values allow us to experience a life that aligns with our truest self but here’s the thing. If you don’t know what your values are you will never have the opportunity to experience that. If you’ve never sat down to identify what your values are in life you will never experience a relationship that is abundant of those values. If you’ve never sat down to realize what is important in your life you will have a life full of things that are not important. 


Sit down for 5 or 10 minutes and write down your values. And when you have that list make sure and ensure that everything you do in life aligns with those values. When we live by our values we are our strongest self. We are full of life, full of vitality, full of creation. If you say my value in life is honesty, my value in life is respect and my value in life is health, and you live a life that aligns and is congruent with those values, at the end of the day you will feel good. If your value is honesty and you’re honest to yourself and honest to others you can look at yourself in the mirror, be proud of the reflection. If you say your value is respect and you respect yourself and respect others you look at the mirror at the end of the night and you like your reflection. If you say your value is health and you live a life that is mentally, emotionally, physically, spiritually, healthy you will look at yourself in the mirror and be happy with the reflection. 


But if you lie, cheat and steal and live a dishonest life, if you disrespect yourself and disrespect the world, and you live a life that is not only in line with health but the exact opposite of it, self-sabotage and destruction of self, you will look in the mirror and feel lost. People don’t even know their values in relationships and they put up with anything and everything. We only get in life what we’re willing to tolerate. You only get in life what you’re willing to tolerate. If you tolerate a specific toxic human being in your life and you’re pissed and annoyed and frustrated that person keeps treating you a certain way it’s not about them – it’s about what you have been willing to tolerate in your life. Because the moment you say, “This does not align with my values I will no longer tolerate this,” you just free yourself of everything that human being says and does. People don’t do it sometimes unfortunately. 


Whatever it takes to maintain my peace and serenity takes a lot of work but worth it. The number one thing we got in life is peace and serenity. Number one thing. You know, I could be happy as a clam as long as I got peace and serenity or I could be stressed out, annoyed, frustrated. No serenity, no peace, and just hoping and searching for it. So sad that people just don’t understand how simple this is.

Kelsey Gearhart

Director of Business Development

Kelsey carries multiple years of experience working in the substance abuse and mental health treatment field. Her passion for this field comes from her personally knowing recovery from addiction.

Prior to Buckeye she held titles of Recovery Coach, Operations Director, and Admissions Director. Kelsey was brought on at Buckeye Recovery as the Director of Business Development. She has a passion for ensuring every individual gets the help that they need, and does so by developing relationships with other providers.

Kelsey also oversees our women’s sober living environments – The Chadwick House for Women. She is committed to creating a safe, nurturing, and conducive environment for all women that walk through the doors of Chadwick.