How to Create A Personal Development Plan for Self Improvement

Personal Development Plan – The Start to A New You

All of us are mere mortals (or so we think; conspiracy theorists, enter here…), and as such, we only have so much time here on this earth.  There is a constant choice that we all experience in this life, and one that tends to dictate how we live out the “remainder of our days”.  That choice is this:

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  • Do we waste away the time we have left, living pointless lives with no purpose or meaning?
  • Or do we rise to the occasion and become men and women of value, honor, and having become the best self that we ever could have?

For those of you who want to “rise to the occasion”, this article is for you.  A personal development plan is the start to a new you.

What is a Personal Development Plan?

What is personal development, exactly?  First, it is a way to gauge your current skills and qualities and then to aim higher and maximize your true potential.  Second, it’s a lifelong process, and is something that all of us should be trying to do.

Thus, a simple personal development definition is that you want to progress and you are willing to spend the time and energy necessary to accomplishing that goal.

And true self development starts with putting a plan into place.

This is an action based plan on steroids, meant to take you from point A to point B; from your worst self to your best self.  It’s a plan that is created around goal-setting, understanding your strengths and weaknesses, and developing new skills for work, school, relationships with others, and ultimately for your own improvement.

Why is it Important?

A personal development plan is important because it’s designed to help you…

  • To harness self-empowerment in such a way that you can become your best self possible.
  • Discover weaknesses and turn them into strengths.
  • Build your confidence around who you are and what you can accomplish.
  • Find greater success and life fulfillment.

This plan doesn’t need to be complicated, but it does need to be focused and organized.  So, grab a piece of paper, or download our “Personal Development Plan – The Start to A New You” template, and let’s get started!

Create Your Development Plan

Creating your development plan is easier than you think.

Let’s Create Your Personal Development Plan!

In this section, we have provided some individual development plan ideas, and they are just that…ideas.  All of us are different; therefore, this plan can absolutely be altered and adjusted to account for how you work and operate.

Use the following steps to create your very own, unique “individual development plan”:

Step #1. Put a Few Goals into Play

Start by creating and defining a few personal development goals.  Ask yourself these questions and make some goals:

  1. What are the most important things to me?
  2. Are there any skills that I would like to master?
  3. Is there a future at my current job, or do I want to move to a new stage of my career?
  4. What dreams have I already accomplished, and what dreams have I yet to accomplish?
  5. Is there anything that I could be doing that would make me happier?
  6. Is there anything that is holding me back?

Make sure to follow S.M.A.R.T. when you create your goals (and write them down…or they are just wishes!)

S.M.A.R.T. Goals

S.M.A.R.T. Goals = Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time Oriented

Creating goals and putting them into play in your life will help you to be focused.  This focus will guide your thoughts and actions in the right direction, like how a highway guides cars in the right direction.

These goals can be related to…

  • Your Personal Life – Learning how to play the piano, managing stress, or managing anger.
  • Relationships with Others – How to better communicate or listening skills.
  • Your Career – A new job, better job, or a new work skill.
  • Or something else entirely.

Regardless, first start by making goals per S.M.A.R.T.  Doing so will help jump start your personal growth plan!

ACTION STEP:  Take a minute and fill out the goal section of your self-development plan, either with our template or your own.

2. Make Some Priorities

Next, do some more self-evaluation by choosing one or two goals that are more important above and beyond the rest.  Obviously, trying to tackle all your goals at once wouldn’t be very prudent.

Let’s take it one step at a time.

The ultimate goal of any personal growth and development plan is to build you, not tear you down.  By taking one goal at a time, you will be able to successfully build yourself, expand your knowledge, and ultimately help you develop new skills.

By improving the most important parts of your life first, you will feel successful and much more likely to continue this path of development.

ACTION STEP: Look at all your goals.  Which one stands out?  Which one or two goals would make the most difference in your life if you could accomplish them?  Those, the ones you keep staring at, are your first priority.

3. Create Deadlines

Following right in line with S.M.A.R.T. goals, there needs to be a time component to your goals.  The next step is to help you create a deadline to push and develop yourself as quickly as possible.

Sometimes it’s hard to decide when the deadline needs to be.  Remember, your deadline…

  • Can’t be so far down the road that you forget about it.
  • But it needs to stretch you.

Your deadline becomes the bulls-eye for your flying arrow (your goal).  Either you’ll hit it, or you won’t, but by creating the bulls-eye in the first place, at least you have somewhere to aim!

Commit to the time frame that you decide, and you will see results.

ACTION STEP: Look at your goals and attach a deadline to each of them.

4. Understand Your Strengths

Why would understanding your strengths be part of a development plan?  The reason is because it’s important to build confidence in yourself and what you are trying to accomplish here.

The other reason is that later on, we will be discussing about weaknesses.  Sometimes (we are all guilty of this) we misinterpret a strength as a weakness.  If you can discover what your strengths are first, then you will spend less time working on fake weaknesses (that were really strengths already) and more time working on true weaknesses.

Even if you don’t feel like you have musical talents or good communication skills, there is something(s) that you are phenomenal with.

The first step to tapping into your true strength is to understand what those strengths are.  To do that, consider these questions:

  • What am I good at?
  • What are my biggest strengths?
  • Is there someone close to me that I could ask what they think my strengths are?

Don’t forget to think positive here!  And there is no right or wrong answer.   You might be an effective listener, extremely outgoing, easy going, friendly, persistent with your goals and dreams, organized, brave, a fast learner, or incredibly patient.

Whatever your strengths are, embrace them.  Love those parts of you.

ACTION STEP: Consider what you are good at, then write those down within your personal development plan.

5. Development of Opportunities and Threats

Development of Opportunities

First, you need to consider opportunities for growth.  This implies your weaknesses.  All of us have them, do you know what yours are?

If your goal is to lost 50 pounds, and you have a constant desire to eat Twinkies, then you probably need to purge your pantry of those yellow, creamy never molding treats!  They are a weakness.  

Think about your goals.  What is stopping you from achieving them?  Whatever came to mind is a weakness.

Write those down, as they are opportunities for growth.  Those are things that you need to start improving on. 

Development of Potential Threats 

Right now, you have certain behaviors and habits that aren’t help you obtain your goals, and will ultimately deter you from achieving them.

Going back to the example before of losing 50 pounds.  If you always choose to watch TV over getting off the couch and moving around outside, then you won’t get your goal.  TV has become a bad habit. 

Think about your goals.  What behaviors and habits are causing you to not reach your goal?  Whatever came to mind is a threat.

Write those down, as they are threats that need to be exterminated, and you need to find a way to remove them from your life.  Those are things that you need to stop doing.  

ACTION STEP: Write down your opportunities, along with potential threats.  Start working on and acting on your opportunities.  Give up and get rid of your threats.

6. Get the “Feet Moving”

What is self-development all about?  It’s about developing.  Key word = developing.  That word is an action word, and implies that you need to get the “feet moving”, so to speak.

Stop meandering your way through life; start running!  Get up and start working towards your goals and dreams.

ACTION STEP: Get your “feet moving”!  Start running and make a goal to never just meander through life again!

7. Get Support

Sometimes, it’s hard to do things by yourself.  In addition, it’s often hard to see personal growth when you live with yourself 24/7.  Getting someone else on board is the quickest way to help you see progress and to help motivate you further.

Get support by pulling someone else into your plan.  For those of you who are married, getting your spouse on board is a MUST.  If this is a plan with an employer, then make sure your employer is fully supportive of your goals.

If you are purely working on fitness goals, then work closely with a fitness coach.  You get the idea.

Pull someone in with you and get the support that you need to follow through and actually achieve your goals.

ACTION STEP: No one likes to do things alone…Get support by pulling someone else into your journey with you.

8. Follow Up on Your Progress

Personal development skills aren’t going to come about on their own.  You need to create a plan of action, and then more importantly, follow up on your plan.  

Consider writing down and keeping track of your progress on a daily or weekly basis.  When something goes wrong, you’ll be able to correct it more quickly because you are following up on a regular basis.

If nothing else, remember this:

 Tracking = Improvement

ACTION STEP: Make a commitment to follow up on your personal development plan.  Then, do it!

Personal Development Tips & Advice

Personal development tips – start implementing these into your life.

Personality Development Tips

If you want to know how to improve yourself, start by implementing these self-improvement tips:

1. Become Confident

First, confidence can be a HUGE help when it comes to your personal development.  Check out our guide on how to build your confidence.

2. How You Dress

Second, the way you dress signifies to others how you feel about yourself.  It will also help you feel better about yourself.  Regardless if you’re a model or not, dressing appropriately will help you feel better about life and the situation you find yourself in.

3. The Way You Communicate

Next, communication is a big indicator to others about who you are and what you stand for.  Make sure that you are also friendly, sociable, and polite to others.  And make sure to think before you speak.  

4. Body Language

Fourth, our confidence and personality are being questioned frequently by others.  A large majority of communication occurs non-verbally, or through ones’ body language.  Try to be aware of what your body language is saying while interacting with others.

5. Social Skills

Fifth, the large majority of us are social, by nature; however, a few are intense introverts.  If that’s you, then consider trying to put yourself out there more when you feel up to it.  Make a friend and start spending more and more time with them when you can.

6. Develop Leadership Qualities

Next, consider improving your leadership qualities.  Good leaders are adaptable and can adjust quickly.  They can also sympathize with others.  Developing leadership qualities can provide ample experiences and opportunities for growth.

7. Be Optimistic

Another tip is to be more optimistic.  Pessimistic views can pull those around you down, which makes them not want to be around you.  Try to not talk about negative things, nor should you complain a lot.  Expect the best outcome of every situation.

8. Start Listening…Patiently

Next, start listening…patiently.  Good listeners are loved by all.  Look at the talkers’ eyes and make sure you are mentally there.  Active listening is an essential part of communication.

9. Learn Aggressively

Finally, learning never ceases; or at least it shouldn’t.  Those who learn, always have great opportunities that come their way, and it’s also a desirable skill.  Be enthusiastic and always want to learn!

ACTION STEP:  After looking at all of these tips, create a game plan to implement 1-3 of these tips (at first) into your life.  After you have mastered those, then move on to more!

Further Readings – Personal Development Plans

Final Thoughts on Personal Development Plans

If you want to know how to better yourself, start by putting a plan into place, and then acting on it.

Self growth only comes to those who want it.

This article provided several self-improvement ideas, but sometimes you need to pave your own way.  Consider what has worked, and what hasn’t and adjust your plans accordingly.

Just like the top image implies, creating a personal development plan will directly lead to a personal success story!

Learning how to implement a personal development plan is a key life skill that puts YOU in control…and once you have that control, then you truly have POWER OVER LIFE!

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How to Create A Personal Development Plan for Self Improvement
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How to Create A Personal Development Plan for Self Improvement
This article addressed the benefits of a Personal Development Plan, and how it helps to create A NEW YOU! Improve yourself with our insights along with tips and a templates to download.
Jacob Merkley
Power Over Life
Power Over Life
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