- Where am I in my personal life now?
- How’s my career going?
- Where do I see myself in 5, 10 or 15 years?
- How do I plan on getting there?
- What do I need to achieve my goals?
- Who do I know that can help me get there or at least point me in the right direction?
If you’ve asked yourself any of these questions, then guess what – you’re well on your way to developing your personal development plan.
So, what is a personal development plan?
It is essentially an action plan that helps you figure out where you’re headed, along with specific details on how to get there.
You wouldn’t build a house without a plan, would you? So why go through life without a plan?
A personal development plan makes achieving your goals so much easier. When we have our goals and how we plan to accomplish them written down we make more of a concerted effort towards achieving them.
Why is it Important to Have a Personal Development Plan and How it Can Help You?
When we are not focused on achieving our goals, we tend to focus our energy on trivial or less important things. We may become engrossed in reality TV, social media or partying. None of these will help to get us to where we want to be unless of course, that’s the life we want to live. But let’s face it, for most of us our life goals are a bit more ambitious and fulfilling.
Writing out a personal development plan helps us develop a plan for our lives, because, let’s be honest, anything that is done without prior planning usually ends up in disaster. Nobody wants their life to be a disaster. Planning how we hope to accomplish our goals is very important.
A personal development plan is our life guide. By having one we gain a greater sense of control over our lives and by extension make better decisions in our lives.
Other benefits of a personal development plan include:
- Keeping track of our progress
- Achieving our goals
- Improving and updating our skills
- Boosting our confidence
- Showcasing our achievements
Now that you know why it’s important, you may be wondering how you can get started. Let’s get to it.
Step-By-Step Guide to Creating Your Own Personal Development Plan
Now that we know what a personal development plan is and why it is important, we will focus on how to make one.
There are several steps involved in the process. Let’s take a detailed look at each one.
1. Define Your Goals
This is a very important step. You need to know what you want to do and where you want to be. Set milestones/timeframes. These can be long-term (one year, five years) or short-term (one month, six months). However, they should make sense to you. For example, a 20 to 30-year-old’s plan could go as far as five years. A 10 to 15-year plan may be more appropriate if you’re above that age range. It’s all down to the individual, what you want to achieve, and defining a realistic goal and timeframe that is achievable for you.
Be as detailed as possible.
2. Perform a SWOT Analysis
Once you have set your sight on the things that you want to achieve, you should focus on how you are going to achieve them. This is where the SWOT Analysis comes in. SWOT stands for:
Strengths – Take note of your positive qualities and how they can help you along your journey. What are you good at? What qualifications do you possess?
Weaknesses – What traits do you have that can prevent you from achieving your goals? What do you need to improve? What qualifications do you lack? What brings out those negative traits? What qualities do you lack?
Opportunities – What opportunities are available to you that can help you achieve your goals? How can you benefit from them?
Threats – What factors will affect your ability to achieve your goals? How are you going to address any factors that pose a threat to you achieving your goals? What is your contingency plan?
3. Create Your Plan
Now that you’ve determined what your goals are and the factors (internal and external) that will help you to achieve them, you will now put your plan together.
At this stage, you will set up specific goals and how you will attain them. Take note of:
- Who can help you to achieve your goals
- The resources you will need
- How long you expect to take to achieve each goal
- What you expect the end results to look like
4. Track Your Progress
In as much as you have set milestones/timeframes, nothing is set in stone.
As you progress through your plan be sure to regularly review what you have done. Are you satisfied with your results? If not, what can you do differently? What strategies worked for you and which ones didn’t? What do you need to focus on more?
These are some questions that can help you redesign your plan if necessary. If you find that certain goals no longer serve you, don’t be afraid to remove them from the plan.
You are now better equipped to put some of your goals into action. What are you waiting for? Formulate that plan to lose that extra 10 pounds or to get that new promotion. Whatever your dream may be, start planning NOW!