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6 steps to creating a personal development plan

6 Steps to Creating a Personal Development Plan

If you want to progress in your career and achieve personal goals, it’s important to have a personal development plan. After all, those who fail to plan, plan to fail!

It’s been proven that those who write down their goals are more successful. In a study, reported by Forbes, only 3% of Harvard graduates wrote down their goals. This 3% was found to earn, on average, 10 times as much as the other 97 percent of the class combined.


What is a Personal Development Plan?

A personal development plan is a document that considers your current skills and strengths and also the areas you need to develop in your personal life, career or education.

The personal development plan should include personal, career or educational goals that you want to achieve and include ways to move towards these goals in a set time, whether it’s weeks, months or years.

When you develop a plan for your future you’ll realise your natural strengths, weaknesses, as well as any opportunities and threats that will help you create a plan that helps you meet goals that are important to your self-development and life plan.


Signs You Need to Focus on Personal Development

We should all set goals for our personal and professional development, but there are times in everyone’s life when a personal development plan is critical. The following are signs that you need to focus on creating a personal development plan.

You can’t stand your job

If you’re unhappy in your job most of the time it’s a definite sign it’s time to start planning your personal development. There’s nothing more energy-sapping than spending the majority of your time – let’s face it we’re at work a lot – at a job that doesn’t fulfil or motivate you.

You may be able to move into a completely new career by investing in self-development courses in an area or industry that’s of interest to you personally or professionally.

You’re stuck in a rut

If you’ve been working towards something, whether in your personal or professional life, and you can’t seem to get past a certain point, you’re stuck in a rut. Ruts are difficult to pull yourself out of, as it means your motivation and energy are stuck on low gear. This is another opportunity to re-evaluate your goals or projects to discover if this is where your energy is best spent.

You feel unhappy in a relationship or in your personal life

The people we surround ourselves with are the biggest influence on our mood. If you are surrounded by people who don’t support you or make you feel uninspired, depressed or stressed it’s time to plan. A personal development plan will help give you the motivation to put space between yourself and those who are zapping your confidence or ambition.

You feel lonely or isolated

If you’re feeling lonely, it’s a sign that the people in your life and/or your life purpose is lacking. It’s time to focus on ways to keep you involved socially and professionally. A personal development plan can give you the practical solutions to lead a more fulfilling, social and meaningful life.

You are often sick or lack energy

If you feel unwell more than most people and lack the energy or motivation to do the things that make you feel happy and accomplished it’s a sign you need to plan to focus more on your health and wellbeing. This doesn’t mean you have to rush and join a gym or jump on the next diet craze heading your way, but it does require you to be mindful of finding ways to focus more of your energy on health and wellbeing. A personal development plan will give you direction and a purpose to work towards feeling healthier and more energetic.


How to Create a Personal Development Plan?

Emma McQueen, Executive Coach and HR Professional, says that throughout life, we are constantly learning and having a personal development plan puts thoughts into action.

“There is something about committing goals to paper that makes it real enough to hold you accountable. The best plans are well-rounded, incorporating career, health and social.”

So, how do you create your personal development plan? The following tips will help you create a practical personal development plan.

  1. Brainstorm: Write out what you want to accomplish or do better. It may help to separate your goals into categories, including career, relationships and health. At this point try not to sensor yourself or worry about spelling, grammar or presentation of your personal development plan – it’s about getting all your ideas and dreams on paper/screen.


  1. Break big goals down into smaller actionable steps: McQueen advises that a big goal should be broken down into smaller steps, making it as practical as possible to achieve the overall goal.


  1. Make goals that are S.M.A.R.T: If you are to set and achieve goals, they need to be SMART:


Specific: State specifically what you want to achieve. Use the five w’s (what, when, where, who, why)?


Measurable: You should be able to determine if your goal is on track.  If it’s a goal that’s going to take months to complete, set milestones by breaking it down into specific tasks to accomplish.


Achievable: Do you have the tools, skills, knowledge and financial means to bring the goal to fruition? Are there any self-development courses you need to take before you can achieve your goal? You need to feel motivated and inspired by the goal, not overwhelmed or discouraged. So, make sure the goals you set in your personal development plan are achievable.


Relevant: Consider if the goal is relevant to your overall personal development plan. How will achieving this goal bring you closer to achieving the overarching goal.


Time-sensitive: Think about the timeline for achieving your goal/s. If the goal or project will take weeks or months to achieve it’s helpful to break the goal timeline into what should be achieved at the halfway point. Setting time constraints creates an important sense of urgency.


  1. Make it visible

So that you don’t forget about your goal, put it somewhere visible. A successful business person once said that he writes his goal multiple times a day because it is the password to his computer!


  1. Review Often, to Make Sure You’re on Course

McQueen says that reviewing your plan often is important. Depending on your life circumstances, goals and aspirations change. Maybe you’ve had a family or developed an interest or a new hobby.


  1. Celebrate Big and Small Successes

Giving yourself a reward for your hard work in achieving the steps you’re taking in achieving your big goals is a great motivator.


McQueen adds that to achieve goals you need to favour progress over perfectionism. “Just keep moving, it doesn’t need to be perfect. You just need to keep making the steps.” She also says it’s vital to review your personal development plan often.


Invest in Your Greatest Resource

Personal development means setting effective goals that inspire and motivate you towards a fulfilling future. It’s about taking time and making a commitment to investing in your greatest resource – you! The most successful people in the world have already figured this out. So, what are you waiting for?


Australian Online Courses

If you’re looking for quality self-development courses enrol with Australian Online Courses. A private training organisation, Australian Online Courses offers unique personal and professional development programs that are flexible in delivery. A state-of-the-art e-Learning platform ensures your education fits with your lifestyle and commitments.

To find out more, or to enrol in self-development courses, call one of our friendly Learning Consultants on 1300 762 221 today.