The fact that you want to create a personal development plan shows you are already working on you improving the quality of your life. If you are not familiar with what personal development is all about, I wrote all about it here. Personal development information can be overwhelming and you must be wondering where to start. There are so many personal development books, articles, and videos available and you can be buried in an avalanche of information. I think I can help.
Personal development involves developing different parts of our lives. It could be self-improvement on productivity, career, health and fitness or relationships. When creating a personal development plan therefore, you should create for each of the areas that you want to develop. If you want to improve different areas of your life, there is no harm in that.
A personal development plan is a guideline that helps you plan for your self-improvement in various areas.
Here is how to go about creating a personal development plan:
Set clear goals
What do you want to achieve? I used to roll my eyes when people talked of goal setting? Who needs those? I know what I want and I don’t have set goals and plans for it. After some time, and a lot of self-education, I learned that not having clear goals can have you working in circles. I mean, if you are really working hard, what are you working towards? So the first step in your personal development plan is setting clear goals.
Setting goals gives you a sense of direction. You can work on motivation but if you’re not clear on what you are working for, you might as well be spinning the wheel. Clear goals help you gain clarity on what you are working for, in the near and far future.
Here are examples of clear goals
- I want to write a book on productivity in one year
- I want that promotion to product manager on the next review
- I want to publish an article a week for my blog
- I want to improve my relationship with my parents
- I want to maintain my current weight/lose 5 kg in 3 months
If you note well, these goals have timelines or at least time guidelines. You can say you want to write a book on productivity but how long will it take? What if it takes 40 years? Also, goals can be big or small, or short term and long term. Publishing an article a week is a clearer, small, goal than improving a relationship with may be ambiguous and a bit long term. However, all goals are relevant to improving the quality of your life.
Identify the target areas to help you achieve your goals
You need to identify the areas you need to develop so as to achieve each specific goal. These detailed short term goals help you come up with strategies on how to achieve each of your goals. It breaks down the goals into bite-sized portions.
Goal: I want to write a book on productivity in 1 year
Action steps: I will improve my time management so that I get productive enough to finish a book that I started writing. This means my target will be to write 1,000 words a day for 4 days a week. I will also be reading books and listening to materials that will contribute to the topic I’m writing about. I will also make sure I motivate myself each morning to write my 1000 words before I get to my other activities.
Goal: I want to maintain my current weight/lose 5 kg in 3 months
Action steps. I will jog/walk for 6 km every morning, 3 days a week. This means every Monday, Wednesday and Friday I have to get up early and jog/walk before I start my day. I will also not eat junk food except on Sundays and on this day, I will eat junk with moderation.
Goal: I want to improve my relationship with my parents
Action steps: I will call my parents 3 times I week. I will visit them once a month and find ways to spend quality time with them. I will not carry my work when I go home to see them and will avoid my phone as much as possible so I can spend quality time with them.
Here is a template you can follow for breaking down your goals
|1.||a. Step 1
b. Step 2
c. Step 3
Conduct a personal SWOT analysis
Literally write down your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats
Here is an example of a personal SWOT analysis
I am good at creativity
I not a very good communicator
I have the chance to take up a personal development course at work
Some of my skills in this area could soon be obsolete. If I don’t work on them I will lag behind at work
A SWOT analysis helps you tailor your personal development plan from a point of understanding. So you are a creative person, how can you use this to achieve your goals? You are not a very good communicator and yet one of your goals is to improve your relationship with your parents. How can you do this? There is an opportunity to take up a course that can be useful for you at work, should you take advantage of this? One of your most important skill could become obsolete, how can you improve your skills so that you are still relevant at work? Does that mean one of your goals could be learning a new skill? Which skill should you learn and how should you go about it?
Create your own SWOT Analysis below
Understand your strengths and limitations
It’s good to know your strengths and limitations and create plans that are realistic. A SWOT analysis as above can help you know where your strengths lie and work in ways that utilize these strengths. For example, some people are productive late at night while others are productive early in the morning (like myself). While I may set my target to walk 6km in the morning and write 1000 words before I do anyone else, a night owl might find this unrealistic. If you are a night owl and prefer to work out in the evening and write when everyone has gone to sleep, adjust your goals accordingly.
|Strength/weakness/opportunity/threat||How to utilize it/what to do about it|
Form good habits
If you develop habits cantered around your goals, and stick to them, they become part of your life. At first, you may struggle to stick to your personal development plan. However, if you commit to it, you can develop good habits and if you stick to them they can improve the overall quality of your life. For example, if you make a habit of jogging 6km every morning, then writing 1000 words every morning, you will find yourself doing this as if on autopilot mode. You’ll automatically wake up, (have coffee), dress up and get out for your jog. Come back, (shower and breakfast), then sit at your computer and spew out 1000 words. When you make this a habit, you will find yourself thinking about what you are going to write during your jog.
Measure progress and adjust accordingly
Depending on the timelines you have set, you can measure progress and see where you have achieved and where you have fallen short. At the end of the month, for example, you can evaluate how many words you wrote, how many days a week you worked on your jogging. The more you are onto something, the better you get at it. soon, 1000 words will seem so easy that you’ll want to go to 1500 words. 6km jog will seem easy that you’ll want to add a km onto that.
By the time you have mastered a certain area of personal development, you may need to improve a different area. As a result, this may call for an all-new personal development plan for a different area of your life.
Write down what is working (accomplishments) and what you need to improve to get you closer to your goals.
|Goal||Achievements so far||Challenges||What to improve|