“What is your 5-year plan? What is your 10-year plan?” You’ve probably been asked these questions several times. You’ve also heard of the infamous quote “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” So, when you do not have a definite plan, the chances of success become slim.
We all have big dreams and ambitious goals – to graduate with a Doctorate Degree, to publish a book, or to have a successful career in music. There are also small goals like reading a book every month, sticking to your workout routine, or eating healthy meals.
Whatever it is, it requires that you set goals, set realistic deadlines, and measure your progress often. This post looks at what is a personal development plan and contains detailed info on how to create one. As a bonus, I will be gifting you with a FREE goal planner that you can download down below.
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What is personal development?
Personal development includes any skills or activities designed to develop a person’s capabilities, develop talents, build human capital, facilitate employability, enhance the quality of life and enable the realization of dreams and ambitions.
With personal development, you develop a sense of direction, self-awareness, motivation, and focus. It also increases your self-esteem and increases mental fitness.
In the long run, personal development helps you create positivity and channel positive thoughts into your life.
What is a personal development plan?
A personal development plan, commonly known as PDP, is a structured outline of your goals, how you are planning to achieve them, your strengths and weaknesses in each area. It is important to note that your PDP also includes a tracker that puts into record how far you have achieved and what you still need to do. Your personal development plan is personalized into your needs and time-line.
It is a continuous process of self improvement either in your professional or personal life.Self improvement can include learning new skills or getting physically fit.
For instance, you might be struggling with communication. Therefore, you would want to be communicate better within a span of 6 months. You have identified that you have a weakness in communication . Your strength might be in empathetic listening. Therefore, you will list down make a list of your goals on how you plan to achieve them.
What are the 5 areas of personal development?
- Social life
Are there benefits of having a personal development plan?
Most of us want(need) to experience growth and development throughout our lives. No one wants to remain the same after 5 years.
That’s why having a personal development plan is important. Below are some of the benefits of having a personal development plan. You gain:
- Knowledge– When you have a plan on the areas you want to improve, you also include additional learning that you need. For instance, you might need to learn how to drive in order to be a good driver. This means that your knowledge continuously increases.
- Happiness– How amazing would you feel planning for your future and knowing where you want to be in the next few years? Exactly! You feel HAPPY. This is because you are planning your future happiness by having a personal development plan.
- Motivation– Knowing where you are going, how you are going to get there and what steps you need to take motivates you to get into action. You are motivated to wake up early and get on that treadmill. Writing 1000 words daily for your upcoming book does not seem like a big deal. And whenever you feel like you are slacking on your motivation, all you need to do is take a look at your PDP to get your motivation going.
- Meaningful relationships – There is no way you can separate personal development with relationships. We are social creatures. Our friendships, family and romantic relationships are part of us. Therefore, your personal development ends up affecting your relationships one way or another. Knowing where you are going in life means that you are able to identify what you want from your relationships. The more you grow, the more you might improve and outgrow some relationships. Your PDP might also include improving your communication skills or anger management that might improve your relationships.
- Self esteem– Working on your self means that you are able to identify your weaknesses and work on them. This also includes areas where your self esteem might be lacking improving it which increases it.
- Other benefits of having a personal development plan are:
– It helps you become a master goal setter.
-Your confidence increases.
-It builds resilience within you.
-Your personal development plan empowers you by helping you recognize your strengths, weaknesses and talents and helps you use them appropriately.
-You are able to gain clarity on where you are going in life.
How do you create a personal development plan?
There are several key questions you need to answer as you put your personal development plan together. Note that it is important, to be honest, and realistic when you are developing a personal development plan.
While writing a personal development plan can be overwhelming and is not as easy as ABC, you must see it through to completion.
Once you create a personal growth plan, you start to clearly define who you are, the skills you wish to learn, and what you want to achieve. You also draft your long-term and short-term goals and set timelines.
Here are 5 steps to creating an efficient self-development plan:
What do you want to accomplish?
First, you need to figure out exactly what it is you wish to accomplish. Do you want to complete your Master’s thesis or learn to code? Figuring out what you want to do is usually the hardest part.
- S – Specific
- M – Measurable
- A – Achievable
- R – Realistic
- T – Time-bound
Your goals should be ambitious. They say to reach for the stars. So, they should be exactly that. And this might have you scared. But once, you have put down your big goals, then you can break them down into smaller steps that will help them seem manageable.
Why do you want to accomplish it?
What is the end goal? What do you intend to gain? What value does it add to you?
For instance, if you are working to get your Doctorate Degree, why is it important? Is it because you will finally get that professor job you always wanted or that it will allow you to fully branch out into the field of research?
Think of it this way, If you are moving to a different country or going on a journey by sea why are you doing so? Is it because of the views or because that’s home?
Knowing the reason why you want to accomplish a certain feat means you are being intentional about what you want. Being intentional helps you understand the importance of your vision, allows you to focus, and helps you direct your actions toward achieving your goals.
What steps will you take to accomplish it?
Now that you know what goals you want to accomplish and why you want to accomplish them, you can move on to the actualization of your vision.
Here are 3 simple steps you should take together with your personalized ones to help achieve your goals:
- Take the first step
- Come up with an action plan
- Build a success mindset
- Consider your talents and expertise, strengths and weaknesses
- See your goals to completion
What supportive habits will you adopt to accomplish it?
Your daily habits are an important determinant of whether you will accomplish your goals or not. They form an essential part of your personal development. It comes down to the simple things like your waking up time, your bedtime, what you eat, your exercise routine, and your reading habits.
When you set out to accomplish your long-term vision you might want to do a few things differently. For example, wake up at 6:00 a.m instead of 8:00 a.m or plan your tasks instead of going by your general mood for the day.
Depending on what you seek to achieve, you need to make a few adjustments to your everyday habits; especially the negative ones.
Here are a few positive habits you might consider adopting:
- Exercising or taking daily walks.
- Eating healthy meals and drinking lots of water.
- Getting enough sleep – at least 7 to 9 hours every night.
- Creating a daily to-do list.
- Reading books, research journals, newspapers, magazines, blog posts, and/or news posts.
- Meditating, doing yoga, or walking in nature to relax your mind and body.
- Avoiding time-wasters such as excessive social media.
- Spending time with your mentor or people who inspire you.
When will you accomplish it?
Finally, you need to set clear deadlines or a timeline within which you intend to achieve your goals. Deadlines help you answer the question, ‘When?’
Knowing when you want to achieve your vision helps you prioritize. They make you clearly define your goals and motivate you to achieve them. With deadlines, you can organize your work and complete your tasks on schedule.
Your deadlines need to be ambitious yet realistic. For example, you cannot learn how to play the piano in 2 months. You need about a year or two to get to a beginner pianist. To acquire a skill like this you need to start with the basics such as learning how to read music notes, playing simple one-octave scales, and basic pieces.
Write down your long-term goal then break it down into short-term goals. Then allocate deadlines for each small goal. Have rewards and penalties for meeting or missing deadlines. Be careful not to have too many deadlines. Also, don’t make non-urgent goals urgent.
Creating a personal development plan is a step in the right direction for your personal and career growth. A self-growth plan helps you define your short-term and long-term goals and map out a vision-oriented strategy.
Remember to track your progress, reward yourself and seek honest feedback from close friends and family. Throughout the process of personal development remember to be kind and patient with yourself.
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