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Difference between Self Improvement, Personal Development and Personal Growth

Updated: Aug 6, 2021

We must have heard the following words: Self Improvement, Self Development, Personal Growth, Personal Development, Self Growth.

Are these words the same? Let's figure it out!

Self Improvement and Self Development means the same. These words can be used interchangeably. Similarly, Self Growth and Personal Growth can be used in each other place. Although Personal Development is a unique word.

Primarily Self Development and Personal Development both focus on the growth of an individual. But they are different from each other in some perspectives. Let's see how!

What is Self Improvement?

Self Improvement or Self Development is a process in which a human himself/ herself makes some conscious efforts to improve his or her life. The goal of self-development is to be the better and upgraded version of yourself. Broadly, self-improvement is a solo act that involves some intense tasks such as finding the weaknesses, figuring out the purpose of life, etc.

The self-improvement can mainly involve the following activities:

  • Learning a new skill to be updated according to the current world

  • Regularly keeping a check on long, medium and short term goals

  • Being mindful about the decisions

  • Learning how to manage time

  • Building focus to think positive

  • Searching solutions instead of looking at problems

  • Being confident enough to communicate and express your thoughts

  • Improving concentration through various activities like meditation

  • Being fit by doing exercises and yoga

  • Calming mind through reading and writing

  • Managing stress

  • Building new habits

  • Self-care through expressing gratitude and journaling

Since self-improvement is a solo act, it only requires personal attention. These activities can be done through self-help books. Also, these activities are not time defined. An individual can adjust the learning pace according to their goals.

For example: If we want to learn how to build new habits then books like Atomic habits, The one thing, The power of habit, etc can guide us.

What is Personal Development?

Self Improvement and Self Development is a process in which a human himself/ herself makes.

Sometimes the term personal development and self-development are used interchangeably but they are not the same. Personal Development usually requires the enthusiasm to upgrade ourselves. Unlike self-improvement, it usually requires someone's help. External guidance such as courses, webinars or even one-on-one mentors who have expertise in that field can help you in enhancing your pre-existing skills. Since these activities are dependent they can be time-bound and paid.

For example: If you know that you need to improve your communication and interpersonal skills, that realization can be counted in self-improvement. If you are trying to improve these parameters by your own efforts, then also it can be counted in self-improvement. Although if you are learning by yourselves it can take some time...

To save that time and get better guidance, you can take the help of communication coaches who can help you directly by their personalized mentorship programs or group coaching programs... This is the part of personal development where you are taking external help. Ideally, these courses/ sessions can be used to build expertise in a particular domain.

Personal Development may be an intense and time-consuming process but it has some really good advantages like:

  • Provides clarity to your thoughts and vision

  • Helps in building expertise

  • Helps you to build a clear roadmap for your learning and future journey

  • Boost confidence and awareness

  • Helps to see a bigger perspective through experts eyes

  • Higher satisfaction

  • Improves productivity which can further save time

What is Personal Growth?

Now when you already know the difference between self-improvement and personal development, you can say they go hand in hand with each other. Self-improvement helps you identify the why & what to do whereas personal development can help you in understanding the clear how!

Personal growth or Self Growth is a continuous process. The results we get from self-improvement and personal development activities together count as the personal growth of an individual. Personal growth can have its own advantages like:

  • Support you to do better at your workplace or study place

  • Guides you to make better decisions in your personal as well as professional relationships

  • Activities like meditation, exercising, yoga & a healthy diet lead you to gain spiritual and physical fitness

  • You learn to control & remove your negative thoughts and build positive perspectives in every situation

  • Helps you to be wealthy instead of rich

  • Leads you to achieve your own definition of success without feeling overwhelmed

Hoping the difference is clear! Thank you for reading! :)

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Self Improvement and Personal development are really important for everyone. if you want to learn more about how to develop soft skills, leadership skills, organizational skills. Please refer to

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