Everyone goes through stages where they aren’t quite sure where to go next - and that is fine! However, it can be helpful to work out how you want to grow and what you want to achieve. And, that is just what you will do in a personal development plan.
What is a Personal Development Plan?
To put it simply, it is a written piece covering your action plan for the future with development goals. Reflecting on your goals (not football goals, we mean the serious real-life goals), you can work out the steps you need to take to get to your ideal position, and also things in which you need to change.
Why Do You Need a Personal Development Plan?
Whether you are creating it for your personal or professional use, the process gives you a benchmark to work out where you are headed and a guideline of how to get there.
Sometimes, you can get caught up everything that is happening at the moment, forgetting all your old plans and dreams.
By taking the time to sit down and think about your future, you can realise important factors that matter to you.
A personal development plan gives you a visual to see your progress and whether you are going in the right direction, making your decisions also feel more worthwhile!
As part of a job application, businesses may ask for a personal development plan as part of the application process. This helps the business understand more about yourself and whether you suit their environment. If you are completing business training, you may also be asked to complete a plan to see what you will achieve.
Some people also like to create a plan just for personal use; it is up to you whether you share it!
How to Create a Personal Development Plan
1. Set Your Goals
Where do you want to be in one year or even 5 years? Put yourself into your life at that point and think what would be the ideal position for you at that time? Just be sure to make it realistic; unfortunately, you’re probably not going to be an astronaut this time next year. Take time to establish and take into account your own values and the environment around you, whether it is work or your home life; you need to link it to your real situation to create sustainable development goals.
Your development needs may include changing a career, or being promoted; either way, you need to prepare to ensure you take this step.
2. Self-reflect Your Strengths and Weaknesses
After working out where you want to end up, the next stage is self-reflection. Identify the areas that you need to improve in; these are also learning opportunities!
Also, look at your strengths, how can you use these and make the most of them? Consider your learning style and also the options available for you, for example, do you have access to further education? By writing them out, you will get a visual understanding to see your strengths and weaknesses. SWOT analysis is very popular with businesses, so why not use it too? Plan out a table with Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats to get a complete overview to assess your personality.
Talking to others may also help you self reflect, as they will notice things that you may have not even realised.
3. Build Your Plan
Now it is time to put together the past 2 stages and write out your plan! For each of your skills and learning gaps, you can set objectives with SMART Goals. They are measurable, achievable, realistic and Timely. Each element makes your goals far more attainable and easier to understand. Make sure to also cover the, “What, Why and How” formula to know how you will achieve your goals.
4. Review and Adapt!
Once you have your personal development plan, that is great; however, you may still need to review and adapt it as things change. A good plan lets you grow, so understand that it is not a fixed plan as situations change; this helps you overcome and plan from unexpected events.
By keeping a record of your outcomes, this helps you understand when and how you reach each stage. If you plan to do another development plan, then this will definitely help you understand what was really achievable!
With this information, you should be well on your way to starting an amazing personal development plan. Good luck!