How To Create A Personal Development Plan
Do you sometimes daydream where you see yourself doing things you’d love to, achieving great things, being applauded for a job well done? Usually, these dreams show us heights we wished we had attained and places we hope to be soon.
Then there are the celebrities and top personalities with their near-perfect life. We definitely cannot go on any media without being bombarded with announcements of greatness. These A-listers can be found in every sector and different career paths.
Take the movie industry, for example, you would be surprised when to know the extent actors go to improve themselves and further their careers. Margot Robbie for her role as Harley Quinn in Suicide Squad talked about her preparation for her role, the level of research, and rehearsals. She’s not alone, sometimes they have to take language classes, fighting classes, dieting, and many others just for one movie.
So you see, when you see the glamour, there’s really no problem with wanting to be like them but when we only wish for these things without taking steps toward it, we pave a path to depression. You can do it too, what you need is to make a personal development plan.
Wikipedia defines personal development planning as the process of creating an action plan based on awareness, values, reflection, goal-setting, and planning for personal development within the context of a career, education, relationship, or self-improvement. Before you make your development plan, two things must always be at the front of your mind.
The first is the need for education. How much do you know? People move up because of the value they can give to others. Make sure you can do the same. You can never stop learning. You can’t come to a stage where you no longer need a personal development plan. You should always be ready to upgrade by whatever means available to you, learning from others, taking online classes, YouTube courses, etc.
Second, never settle for average. As tough or overwhelming as your dream may be, don’t try to cut it in half because of doubt. You need to want it badly if you will ever be able to achieve it. Feeling inferior to others won’t help but if you take baby steps you’ll soon find yourself right where you want to be.
Areas Your Personal Development Plan Should Cover.
- Physical: Everything to do with your physical being falls under this area. Eating healthy meals, taking care of your skin, exercising, going for regular check-ups, and treating issues while they are still mild and many other ways to improve your physical body.
- Social: The social area of your life is very important. Before you start saying how you already have lots of friends and you are loved by all, you should know that social area is more than having friends but being the best of yourself and helping others get to the best of themselves too. Do you need to work more on your communication skills, on your family, children, your listening skills, etc?
- Mental: Under this category, anything that helps your mind improve falls here. Education, understanding, your discernment. The books you read, movies you watch, programs you subscribe to, and courses you take, make this list too.
- Emotional: According to a survey adapted for the San Diego City College MESA program from a model by Paul Mohapel, emotional intelligence was divided into four other parts namely, emotional awareness (how in-tune you are to your emotions) emotional management (how you handle these emotions you have become aware of), social-emotional awareness (how aware you are to the emotions of others) and relationship management (how do you handle these relationships around you).
As we go ahead on how to make this personal development plan, you’ll need to check these areas and find places you are lacking and wish to improve. Also, you must keep in mind that you are not wasting your time by following a personal development plan. It helps you stay on track, keeps you moving toward your goal, motivates you, and gives you better time management.
How To Make a Personal Development Plan.
Step 1. Set goals.
Before you take a step, you need to have a destination in mind to avoid aimlessness and errors. To help you get the best of your brainstorming and goal-setting time, we recommend you use the 5ws and H formula as a guide.
What are the 5ws and H?
The 5ws and H are used in communication as the basics of information gathering. Using this formula will help you better understand yourself and to make a good personal development plan for you. They are the who, what, when, why, where, and how.
- What: first of all is the question, “what do I want to do?”. What’s that deep or secret desire you may or may not have told anyone. It could be that thing that when you hear others have achieved or are a step closer to doing, it makes you feel envious, impatient, or sad.
It could range from owning your own business, having your Ph.D., writing your novel, exercising, losing weight, getting a gold medal, or anything at all. Write down these goals as succinctly as possible, arranging them into categories or areas as mentioned above.
Note: Ensure that no area (social, physical, etc) is left blank.
- Why: Immediately after you have answered your “what” question, you need a reason to pursue this goal of yours. Your why will serve as your fuel. It is what will keep you going, something you can always return to when the going gets tough.
Another reason to get this right is to check if the goal you’ve set is worth it. Sometimes, deep down, we want things for silly reasons. An exemplary reason for why you might want to start your photography studio should not be because a friend owns a photography studio. Some better reasons can be to secure your future, increase your income to help the family, put your love for photography into good use, to feel good and confident about yourself.
We say this now because if your reason is not good enough, it may not be strong enough to keep you going the long distance. Even if it is strong enough, its achievement may not still give you fulfillment. Why go all the way to find out you made a mistake when you can get it now early in the process?
- When: By what time would you love to have achieved these things? You need to put a time frame to every single goal. It comes right next to your what. It will help you keep track of and measure your progress. For example, I want to launch my photography studio by December next year.
- Who: Who are the key or minor players in this dream of yours. Who are the persons that can help you meet this dream or you’ll need to interact with to get there? An example can be your spouse, a co-owner. It could be entities like landowners, institutions, certifications, etc.
- Where: Your dream has to have a location to be established. It could be your own home, local like a Nollywood producer, national like a member of the legislating house of your country, or international like an Olympic medal.
- How: This is right where we were heading all along. What steps do you need to take to get to that dream of yours? We will explain this as you read on.
Step 2. Expose Your Weakness.
If you did not have any areas of weakness, you will not be needing the personal development plan in the first place. For every goal written, think about and write the threats to them. They could be distractions, ideologies, friends, finances whatever. This is planning so when you get there you will be ready to overcome them.
Once you’ve figured out the weakness, the next step is to create solutions to these threats. If a threat to your achieving an international medal is an injury, then a solution could be to book a session with a physiotherapist.
Step 3. Break Down the Steps
This is the fastest way to achieve your goal. Write short goals that will lead to the achievement of the main goals. Looking at your goal in all its Glory can be very daunting and discouraging so instead focus on the smaller goals. Here’s an example of Mary’s goal to – get closer to my friends by the end of this year.
- Set reminders for all my friend’s birthdays and important days 3days early without postponing.
- Buy a gift.
- Write birthday notes carefully and sincerely instead of the internet cliches.
- Give Jessica a hand with her baby every weekend.
- Write down the recipes Treasure asked for his get-together by 14th September.
- Initiate girlfriend’s getaway.
- Fix date (December 20)
- Share responsibilities for the getaway over lunch at my house.
The list could go on and on, down to minute details. As Mary ticks her baby goals she will realize by December that she’s being able to bring her friends together, they are closer and find time for each other beyond work and new family stress that was an obstacle before.
Step 4: Measure Your Progress
There’s no assignment without grades. It’s the same here only that since it’s a self-given assignment your grades will be self-given too. You must be honest with yourself. Be able to make yourself carry over tasks you failed in until you do well in them.
Do not bypass steps because you think they are too difficult. Don’t pretend to know how poorly you have done in an area. If you can keep this up, as you get better and faster in achieving those baby goals of yours, the closer you get to your dreams.