A personal development plan is an important tool that can help you achieve the life that you desire. It is amazing to find that the majority of people I meet do not have a personal development plan, yet many complain that they are not satisfied in life and that their life is meandering without progress or achievement. A successful personal development plan can take you from where you are now to where you want to be by filling the gaps in your journey. To develop a successful personal development plan you need the following:
- A vision
- A positive attitude
I have used a simple three-step process in developing my personal development plan that I would like to share with you:
- Identify where you are now. What have been your significant achievements? What have been your disappointments? What are your strengths and weaknesses? Do you know what is holding you back in grasping new opportunities in life?
- Determine where you want to be. What do you need to do to get to the next level i.e. your purpose, goals and objectives in your personal and working life? What are the weaknesses you need to address and the priority areas to focus?
- Develop a personal development plan. What are the actions you will need to take, when are you going to achieve them, and how will you achieve them? What resources and assistance will you require?
A personal development plan can include a number of different elements based on your specific needs. It can be a specific plan focusing on the important goals and objectives you want to achieve, or it could be a more detailed life plan that includes the following elements:
- Your life purpose or vision
- Your dreams and desires
- Your values and beliefs
- Your achievements and disappointments
- Your short, medium and long-term goals and objectives
- Your personal education plan
- Your action plan
To develop your personal development plan the following steps provide a good framework:
Step 1 Brainstorm your life purpose and your goals and objectives
- Take a sheet of paper or use a journal determine your life purpose or vision. List all your goals and objectives. They could also include your dreams and desires in life and a vision of the “Ideal You”.
- Some people have suggested you list 100 goals for this step, but if you can’t get to 100 don’t worry
- Once you have your list then prioritize and label each as follows: 1 = goals to be achieved in one year or less, 3 = goals that are two to three years out, 5 = goals that will take about five years to achieve, and 10 = your ten-year goals and dreams.
Step 2 Focus on your One Year goals
- Ensure your goals satisfy the SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Time-based) criteria and rewrite if required.
- Group your goals under the following categories:
- Financial/Material Goals
- Business/Career Goals
- Personal Relationship/Social Goals
- Health & Recreational Goals
- Personal Development & Growth Goals
- Further prioritize your goals under each category. I usually have 4 – 5 goals for each category and I prioritize further by asking what are the more important goals that will have the biggest impact in my life.
Step 3 Develop Action Plans for each goal
- Write each goal at the top of a fresh page and develop the details of your plan.
- Break down the plan into workable individual tasks. Assign a completion date for each task.
- Some goals may require the assistance of other people. You will need to assign specific tasks to the individual people identified who can assist you with your plan.
Step 4 Repeat Steps 2 and 3 above for your 3, 5 and 10 year goals
- Some of your longer term goals may be dreams or desires. You will need to convert these dreams and desires into specific and defined individual goals with timeframes. The individual goals together with their specific tasks and actions, collectively will achieve your overall dreams.
- Long term goals require periodic review to ensure you are on track to achieving the outcomes that you have documented in your plan.
- You may need to revise your plans if you discover that you are not progressing as originally planned.
Step 5 Take Action
- You now have the winning combination of a goal with a plan.
- Take action immediately with the highest priority goals.
- Commitment and self-discipline will be needed to work on your goals and plans every day. Do something every day, no matter how small, to move towards achieving your goals.
- Document your progress in a journal or diary and make any adjustments, if required.
- Celebrate your success and achievements by rewarding yourself.
You can use the attached Personal Development Plan Template as a guide to assist you in starting and further developing your own plan.
Dr John Kapeleris