What Is A Personal Development Plan?

What is a personal development plan and how do you create one?

A personal development plan is like any plan - a series of steps laid out in a consistent and logical order with the aim of achieving one or more specific goals. In this case the focus of the plan is self improvement.

As with any endeavor, we need to establish our objectives in order to work towards them. And our own personal growth is no exception. What follows are some thoughts on how to approach this planning process.

Identify Your Goals:

Let's start at the beginning. What do we want to achieve? What do we want to change. What habits would we like to acquire and what habits would we like to lose? What do we like about ourselves and our lives and what would we like to change or improve?

This is a great opportunity for us all to take a step back and give serious consideration to where we are in our lives. As the days and weeks go past, it's easy for us to get so immersed in day to day activities that we lose sight of what's really important. But, by taking the time to consciously decide what it is that we want, we can re-focus our energy and efforts on what's really important to us.

Establish Priorities:

One of the dangers of personal development planning, or of any planning for that matter, is that of coming up with a wish list so long that we'll be overwhelmed. Many of us when faced with a lengthy to do list will get bogged down. Where do I start? How can I possibly get through all of this?

Sometimes we just end up back where started - or even worse off because we now have this extra list of things to do hanging over our heads.

So we need to establish priorities. What is most important to us? what needs to be done first? Is there a logical order we can establish.

One approach is to choose the top 3 things to work on and park the rest for the time being. Devote your energy to getting these things done before reviewing your goals again and choosing the next 3 highest priorities.

Another approach is to break your goals up into short medium and long term. The period is somewhat arbitrary, but short term might be within one year, medium term less than five years and long term being longer than that.

Set A Time Line To Reach Your Goals:

This leads neatly into setting time lines. Part of the planning process involves placing deadlines against tasks on the plan. And once again, planning for personal development is no exception.

Rather than just having a vague idea of what you want to do by when, give yourself a kick start by setting a due date. This will help you to get motivated. A self imposed deadline can be worthwhile if you hold yourself to it. And achieving that goal within that time-frame provides further motivation. You will feel better about yourself and be ready for the next challenge.

However, not all goals are well suited to setting completion dates. While you can give yourself a date by which you want to lose ten pounds, quitting smoking is a different proposition. Habit based goals are normally based on some sort of permanent change.

In this case, you might like to set duration based time-lines. What I mean by that is to establish a period of time over which you would like maintain a new habit. For example you might like to set yourself a goal of getting up one hour earlier everyday for the next 30 days. Once you've met that goal, you might like to extend it to 90 day or 180 days, although by then, hopefully the habit will have become permanent.

Be realistic:

While it's important to set aggressive goals, we don't want to make them so lofty that we have little chance of achieving them. Whether it's the size and scope of your goal or the time you've given yourself to achieve it, be realistic. Failing to achieve your goals can be a demotivating experience.

Take action:

It's all very well to sit down and formulate a plan, but you still need to do the work. Don't spend all of your time analyzing and planning. You will need to take action. Start at the beginning. It's amazing how motivating the feeling of making progress can be. You never know - you might enjoy it.

Review Your Plan:

The last step in the personal development planning process is to review your plan. Measure your progress against it. Anniversaries are a common time to undergo the review. It could be your birthday or the coming of a new year. These are times when we tend to be reflective anyway, so take the opportunity to review what you've achieved in the previous year and think about what you want out of the upcoming year.

Hopefully this article has given you some new ideas - or maybe reinforced some existing ones. Or at the least you will now be familiar with what a personal development plan is.


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Octavio Campo said...

Everyone needs to develop and improve their self to be a better person.

Personal Development