Your personal life is as in much in need of a plan as your career or family life. Personal development planning is to your private life what a career development plan is for your work life: it’s a road map of where you want to go and how you plan to get there.
Why Do I Need a Personal Development Plan?
There are several reasons why everyone needs to plan out the wellness programs they intend to follow in order to achieve their fullest potential.
- So you don’t lose your way. When you’re in the middle of the stream and things seem overwhelming, it can be helpful to look at the plan you have and see that you’ve got a place to go.
- You make better decisions when you feel in control. Instead of reacting, you’re making proactive choices. That’s empowering.
- You have a better chance of getting where you’re going. It doesn’t matter what kind of plan you’re using; a plan always gives a better chance of reaching your goals.
What Should You Include?
What kinds of things should be included in your personal development plan? At a minimum, it should include stress management, weight loss and nutrition, and an exercise plan to increase fitness. It should include plans for travel, plans for keeping up with friends and family and repairing broken relationships, and positive ways of relating to money that keep you feeling in control.
Your personal development plan should also include measurable progress goals, a support system to keep you going, and goals for developing new skills in your personal life.
What Steps Should I Take in Planning?
- Set your goals
- Set your priorities
- Set your deadline
- Evaluate your strengths
- Develop new skills
- Get support
- Measure your progress
Define Your Goals
Here you want to determine what’s most important to you. But as you consider what’s important to you, you also want to consider what will make you happy. What do you dream about? What do you hope for when it comes to your career? Do you want to lose weight or master a new skill, like learning to speak a foreign language? Write it all down.
Set Your Priorities
You can’t accomplish all the goals simultaneously. Which one will you focus on first? It’s also important to consider whether any goals could help you achieve another one. For example, could learning a new language help you advance in your career? In that case, you should prioritize learning a foreign language.
Set Your Deadline
If you don’t set a deadline, the work will never happen. Be realistic about how long things will take, though. Taking the foreign language example again, you might be able to become fluent in Spanish within six months. That’s not going to happen with Mandarin Chinese.
Don’t be afraid to set milestones along the way, either. If you have a goal to double your income in a year, set yourself milestone markers to reach. That will encourage you along the way and help you evaluate whether your plan is realistic.
Evaluate Your Strengths
Once you know what these are, leverage them to achieve your goals. Build them into your plan. If you’ve not sure what your strengths are, be sure to ask your friends and family, or even seek professional help from a personal coach who can help you see things objectively.
Develop New Skills
Say you have a goal to lose a certain amount of weight. Your day is really full: where are you going to fit more time for exercise? What if you developed the skill of going to be earlier and getting up earlier? You’d be surprised at how much time you have in the day if you get up at five, and how much better you’ll feel from getting to sleep an hour earlier. Even if your day technically isn’t longer, you may find that you work more efficiently and can actually fit more into the day.
Whether it’s friends or family, a life coach or a fitness professional, get the active support you need to achieve your goals.
Measure Your Progress
To keep yourself motivated, be sure to measure your goals and celebrate milestones. Use this time to adjust your expectations if necessary.
What are you waiting for? Developing a personal development plan could be the best thing you ever do.