Creating a Plan for Personal Development
Developing your personal skills, talents, and qualities can help make you a more competitive applicant on the job market. Although most people are interested in self-development, it is not uncommon to be unsure of where to begin. Creating a personal development plan can help you formulate precise goals for yourself and keep you on the right track for meeting those goals. The steps below offer suggestions for planning and implementing strategies for personal development.
Step 1: Brainstorm
Consider how satisfied you are with your performance in your current job and what you would like to improve upon. If you are currently unemployed, you may want to reflect upon past jobs or the credentials you will need to be hired for your dream job. List ideas of what you can do, such as attending classes or taking on a new project, to help you reach your goals. You may also want to reflect upon your short-term and long-term goals so that you can align your plan with practical, achievable steppingstones.
You may find it practical to use the SMART technique to help define your goals. SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. These constraints are helpful for making your goals easier to define and for developing a plan to meet them within a reasonable amount of time. Measurable milestones provide a tangible way to keep up with your progress; many people feel encouraged after reaching a milestone, and this type of encouragement may keep you from giving up on your long-term goals.
Step 2: Make Connections
After you have thought about your wants and needs for self-development, you may find it helpful to organize your ideas on paper. How do the activities and strategies you brainstormed connect with one another? Consider the order in which you will address each of your ideas and how they should be organised to be maximally effective. Having a written plan may help to solidify your goals and can serve as a reminder of the different milestones you wish to reach. Your strategies should align with your goals; if you find that they don’t, you may want to return to the brainstorming stage. If you haven’t already done so, begin establishing networks that will help support you and your development.
Step 3: Implementation
Once you have mapped out your goals and the steps you need to take to reach them, it is time to begin implementation. Use your written plan as a guide, but don’t be afraid to adjust it if you find it necessary or optimal to do so. Taking the next step may include actions such as signing up for a class, speaking to your boss, or conducting research on your own. The action is truly dependent on the nature of your goals.
Creating a plan for personal development is helpful for keeping yourself on track and monitoring your progress toward your goals. The act of putting these ideas into writing solidifies your intentions and even serves as a first step toward your future. Growing as a professional and an individual is likely to increase your opportunities later in life.