What Should a Personal Development Plan Contain?

by Andrew Atkins

Together with the recent rise in the popularity of life coaches has come a rise in the popularity of personal development plans. And though I believe that there is a lot of hype surrounding such plans at the moment, in their simplest form, they can be an incredibly useful structure through which you can plan to reach your goals. I will now outline both what a personal development plan is, why you may want to create one and how you can go about doing so if you so wish. A personal development plan in its simplest form is simply a statement of where and who you want to be within a certain amount of time and how this can best be achieved. The advantages of having such a plan at your disposal are:

Clarity

Both the plan and the actual development of it lead to a better understanding of exactly what it is that you want from your life. Even incredibly hard working and driven people are not entirely sure of what it is that they are really aiming for. Having a clear statement of an exact goal will allow you to concentrate and focus solely on that goal and not waste time working for other more obscure things that you may not even want all that much. For me this clarity has lead to both increased direction and much higher levels of motivation in my life.

Personal Development What Should a Personal Development Plan Contain?

Direction

When you are not entirely sure of what it is that you want it is difficult to establish to most efficient route towards achieving it and therefore a lot of time is wasted, perhaps not going in circles but certainly semi circles. By having a specific and measurable objective, the fastest means of achieving it is generally far easier to see. And once seen it is far easier to implement.

Motivation

A personal development plan can be a great way to keep your goal in mind and it can therefore be a lot easier to motivate yourself to do things that you do not want. Procrastination is a very large obstacle for many to overcome and having a specific and clear goal whose achievement will only be the result of your hard work enables you to understand at all times just why it is important that certain things get done.

What Should a Personal Development Plan Include?

There are two primary things to remember when developing a personal development plan. The first is that in order to achieve the above mentioned clarity, you need to include both what you want to achieve and how you intend on achieving it. The second is that a personal development plan is developed with only you in mind. There is no specific template to follow and no standards to conform to. After all who else is going to read it but you? You should include what ever you believe will offer yourself the most clarity, direction and motivation. In order to offer you some inspiration, here are the two sections of my personal development plan that I feel have helped me the most.

Short, Medium and Long Term Goals

I find that a mix of such goals is very much advantageous. Long term goals offer direction that short term goals never will however they are also much easier to procrastinate with. I generally try to have at least one or two goals that can be completed within the short term which I define as less than three months. My long term goals on the other hand are those that will take years to complete but which are often completed in portions through my short term goals.

Personal Development 1 What Should a Personal Development Plan Contain?Mistakes and Lessons Learnt

Though at first this may not seem very motivational but to purpose is not to dwell on my mistakes but to focus on them in a positive manner. I feel that it is important to not immediately forget your mistakes but to identify both what they were and what can be learnt from them. To do so is in my opinion the easiest means of learning from them and by documenting them I am given an occasional reminder of how to ensure that such mistakes are not made again.

In conclusion, though I don’t feel that they should be paid for nor a specific format subscribed to, a personal development plan that is individually constructed can be the ideal means of not only understanding what you want from your life but also how to get it.

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