How to create a personal development plan

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How to create a personal development plan 2019-01-21T16:45:37-04:00

Now that the New Year has begun, many take this time for serious introspection and to make resolutions for personal development. Unfortunately, many fail early on because they don’t know the best way to create a plan for their personal development. This is why I am going to take you, step by step, through the creation process. You will learn how to begin your journey and how to continue to succeed once your journey has begun. 

The first step towards your personal development plan

When creating your personal development plan, the first step should be to decide which goals are worth pursuing. Ask yourself where you want to be in six months, a year, or even five years from now. Find what drives you. Decide what it is that you want to pursue. It doesn’t matter if that goal seems entirely out of your reach. If it matters to you, you will want to work to achieve it. Think about that goal for a few minutes.

However, be advised that wasting time on goals that aren’t going to help you in the long-run will only lead to frustration. It might be nice to set a goal to move to somewhere tropical, but is that really a necessary part of your game-plan? Say, for example, that your primary goal is to run a marathon at the end of the year when you have trouble running a single mile. Setting goals outside of your path can be distracting and might even prevent you from attaining your goal. It is essential to be wary of distractions posing as goals.

Where are you limiting yourself?

Next, find out where you’re limiting yourself. This is where you need to take a good, long, honest look at yourself. What bad habits do you indulge in? What is keeping you stuck in this rut that you can’t quite seem to climb out of? This is a difficult step for anyone. Being critical of oneself in this way is painful, yet entirely necessary when creating a roadmap to your success. If you keep limiting yourself and holding on to these negative beliefs, you are sabotaging yourself before you even begin.

It is important not to be hypercritical of yourself and your present situation. You have made the decision to change by setting your goals. Embrace that fact. Don’t feel discouraged, because you are consciously looking at where you are in life, saying ‘no, thank you,’ and moving forward. Discover how to get yourself out of your bad habits and your comfort zone. It might seem difficult, but nothing in life worth having comes easily.

Finding your path in your personal development plan

Now that you’ve figured out your goals and have sat down with yourself in order to understand your self-imposed limitations, it’s time to figure out how to get from where you are to where you want to be. What should be your first step? What do you need to achieve in order to get to your larger goal? Be careful not to overwhelm yourself in this process. It is all too easy to feel like the list is just getting longer, and the temptation to give up before you begin might arise. Do not give in to that particular impulse. You’ve already made the most difficult, initial step simply by choosing to begin on your journey.

When planning your roadmap, make sure that you take small steps. Think daily, weekly, or even monthly. It is impossible to achieve and maintain significant life changes overnight. Even if these bullet points seem small and insignificant, they are stepping stones toward your larger goal. Make sure that you don’t lose sight of this fact. You are building yourself up from where you are, brick by brick. Don’t feel discouraged by these individual changes, even if they seem like they’re too small or if there seems to be too many of them. When these negative thoughts arise, take the time to see how far you’ve come since the first day.

The importance of reward

Remember to reward yourself. What you’re doing by starting out on your journey of self-improvement takes courage. Make sure that you praise yourself for your progress and that you continue to look forward to the future. You don’t want to stop where you are before you reach your goal. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that this is ‘good enough.’ Give yourself a pat on the back when you need to, to remind yourself that your journey is one worth taking. Continue to improve yourself, bit by bit every day. You will be astounded when, two or three months from now, you see just how far you have come by doing these seemingly insignificant things.

In a similar vein, it is necessary that you hold yourself accountable for reaching your goals. If you set up a timeline for yourself, it is your responsibility to stick to it. If you need help adhering to your roadmap, enlist the help of trusted friends or family, or seek out a coach. These people can be positive and reassuring cornerstones of your personal development. Yet, it is important to remember that these people are not responsible for your growth. The only person who can keep you on your path to success is you. 

That being said, don’t get down on yourself when you encounter difficulties in your roadmap. Maybe you have been running every day and hurt your ankle, making it impossible for you to run for a week. Things happen. Life happens. It’s important that you know how to assess, reevaluate, and adapt when unforeseen circumstances arise. These aren’t reasons to abandon your development goals altogether. Stick to your plan where you are able to do so and realign your plan where things have become a little unpredictable. 

Help to create a personal development plan

If you need more help coming up with a personal development plan, look into hiring a life coach to help you. These professionals are experts in helping you become the best person you can possibly be. Asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness or a lack of determination. Sometimes we need someone with an outside perspective to show us where we could be doing better or where we can improve. In addition, and as stated earlier, they can help hold you accountable to the plan you set for yourself in order to achieve your goals.

With these tools in your arsenal, you are now properly equipped to create a personal development plan that not only works for you but which also works in the long-term. Your goals can become a reality, no matter how far-fetched they might seem, if you create a roadmap and adhere to it by taking small steps every day toward the ‘you’ that you want to be.

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