How to Create a Top-Notch Personal Growth Plan
We cannot choose our external circumstances, but we can always choose how we respond to them.
~Epictetus – Enchiridion
Have you ever thought of “bettering” yourself? If so, a personal development plan is an easy way to accomplish this goal. What is a personal development plan? Well, a personal development plan is a step-by-step instructional guide that helps you set goals, fulfill your dreams, and improve yourself. This self-improvement plan is “perfect” for people, who need direction in their lives. In other words, a personal development plan is most beneficial for those, who have mixed feelings about what they want to do with their lives. This type of plan is a life map. It helps you decide what steps to take to accomplish your goals and improve yourself. It is kind of like a beacon of light at the end of a tunnel.
Although it may sound complicated, creating a top-notch personal development plan can be quite easy. Moreover, it can help you identify your goals, needs, wants, pet peeves, desires, preferences, strengths, and weaknesses. More specifically, it can help you gain a deeper insight into who you really are, and who you want to be. If you’re wondering how to create a top-notch personal development plan, you have come to the right place. This article will teach you how to develop an easy, realistic personal development plan that will get you on the right path to happiness and success.
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Identify Your Strongest Personality Traits
One of the first steps you will want to do when creating a top-notch personal development plan is identify your strongest personality traits. A personal development plan should be custom-tailored to who you are at the current time, not what you would like to be or who you think you should be. It’s important to be honest when determining your personality traits. Truth-be-told, everyone has a unique personality, and while some personalities are suited to certain jobs and people, others may not be. For instance, most people prefer to be around other people, who exhibit positivity, happiness, and optimism. These individuals tend to be outgoing dynamos.
On the other hand, people tend to shy away from or avoid people, who are always negative, critical, and/or angry. These individuals tend to be pessimistic “loners.” Perhaps, you are an artist or a brilliant, introverted scientist or mathematician. Or, maybe you are a productive realist, who accomplishes tasks with little-to-no effort, or perhaps, you are an analytical thinker, who is quick to solve problems. Write down your personality traits on a sheet of paper, regardless of whether you think they are strong or weak. Then, circle the traits that you consider “strong.” Your strongest personality traits will help you decide what type of personal development plan you need to create.
Develop Achievable Goals
Next, you will want to develop achievable goals. These goals should help you become the person you want to be. It’s important to develop realistic goals that you know that you will be able to accomplish. In other words, do not develop goals that are unattainable and/or unrealistic because you will fail. Your goals should “fit” with your personality traits. For example, if you are introverted (i.e. shy, reclusive, quiet, reserved, timid or reserved), you probably should refrain from developing goals that have to do with speaking in crowds and/or working with large groups of people. As an introvert, you would most likely excel at jobs that are more secluded such as: accounting, writing, court reporting, archiving, researching, managing social media sites, and/or caring for animals (Adams, 2014).
You should probably stay away from social/outgoing jobs such as: entertaining (i.e. singing, acting or dancing), public speaking, group counseling, sales managing, physical therapy, medical care (i.e. EMT, doctors or nurses), social work, mediating, advocating, teaching, etc.) (Dizik, 2015). Why? Well, because these jobs are more suited for extroverts (i.e. outgoing/social people). If you try to pretend that you are something that you are not, it will backfire on you. It will also drain the life out of you over time. Most of all, it may be permanently damaging to your self-esteem and self-confidence. Set goals (short-term and long-term) that you know you will be able to achieve.
Create a Mission Statement
After you have identified your strong personality traits, and developed your short-term and long-term goals, you will be ready to create your inspiring, life-altering mission statement. The purpose of the mission statement is to motivate you to accomplish your goals and improve your life. It is an essential part of any personal development plan, so it is important that you put a lot of thought and effort into it. Your mission statement should be short and easy. In other words, it should only consist of 3 or 4 sentences, at most. Included in the statement should be who you are, and what your purpose is in life. More specifically, it should include where you would like to be in the future (i.e. 5, 10, 15, and/or 20 years).
You may also want to add your values into your statement. For example, a mission statement might look like this: “My ultimate goal is to help people, who are suffering from mental illness, physical ailments, debt, and emotional distress. I want to make the world a safer and better place for future generations. I strongly believe that everyone can make a difference in this world, simply by taking that first step to help someone in need. Everyone deserves to be happy, and my plan is to help them achieve this goal.” Or, “My goal is to contribute to the field of pediatric Lupus research because I truly believe that all children deserve a happy life - free of limitations and restrictions. My goal is to make a difference in the lives of children suffering from lupus.”
Develop a Realistic Plan
Once you have taken the previous steps, you’ll be ready to develop a realistic plan to achieve your goals. Your personal development plan should first consist of your personality strengths, followed by your goals (i.e. short-term and long-term), and your mission statement (i.e. values, aspirations, morals, etc.). You will need to break down your larger and/or complex goals into smaller, more manageable tasks. Moreover, this plan should consist of step-by-step, detailed instructions on how to achieve your goals. You can break your tasks down into daily, weekly, monthly and/or yearly steps.
The key is to be realistic when developing your plan. For instance, if you want to be a psychologist, you will need to research that field’s educational requirements. You will then need to enroll in college (i.e. undergraduate psychology program, graduate psychology program or a doctoral psychology program). Once you have earned the appropriate psychology degrees, and obtained a psychology license in your state, you will be able to practice as a psychologist. Breaking down your goals into more manageable tasks will help you improve yourself, and fulfill your dreams.
If you want to create a top-notch personal development plan, you will need to reward yourself. Reward myself? Yes, sometimes it is important that you will reward yourself when you complete one of your tasks. For smaller, easier goals, reward yourself with a small treat (i.e. an ice cream cone, a slice or two of pizza, a book/magazine, a bubble bath, or a massage). As you complete more complicated and/or challenging tasks, reward yourself with bigger treats (i.e. a mini-vacation, movie and/or dinner with a friend or companion, a trip to the beauty salon for a new haircut and/or manicure/pedicure, or a day off from work to do whatever you want to do). Purchase a daily planner, and track your progress.
Tweak Your Plan
Lastly, tweak your personal development plan, from time-to-time. Why? Well, because things change. In other words, you may have an unexpected delay that causes you to re-evaluate your personal development plan. More specifically, your plans may change, depending on what is happening in your life at that time. In other words, what you once thought was an achievable goal may not be so realistic anymore. Re-evaluating your plan is not only a normal part of the personal development process, it is essential, if you want to accomplish your goals, and “better” yourself. For instance, when you first developed your personal development plan, returning to school may have been priority; however, if you work schedule changes, it will alter the order of your goals.
- Dr. R. Y. Langham
Adams, S. (2014). The 10 best jobs for introverts. Forbes. Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/sites/susanadams/2014/03/04/the-10-best-jobs-for-introverts/
Anonymous. (2014). 10 personal development quotes to motivate you! Retrieved from http://buildingabrandonline.com/10-personal-development-quotes-to-motivate-you/
Dizik, A. (2015). 10 jobs for extroverts. CareerBuilder. Retrieved from http://www.careerbuilder.com/Article/CB-2413-Job-Info-Trends-10-jobs-for-extroverts/
Turak, A. (2014). What every leader must know about personal development. Forbes. Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/sites/augustturak/2014/01/10/what-every-leader-must-know-about-personal-development/
Uncommon Knowledge. (2015). Personal development plan template. Retrieved from http://www.uncommon-knowledge.co.uk/personal_development/template.html
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