When I was in high school I had quite a few friends, but looking back, I didn’t have much in common with a lot of them. Sure, the guys on the track team liked running and so did I, but for the most part finishing high school was the number one thing we had in common. Everyone’s main concern was earning our diplomas so we never had to go back to that place again. We basically wound up becoming friends because we all had to be there together. It didn’t matter if we were planning to head off to college, join the military or start working for a family business— we all wanted out.
It’s funny to think that the majority of teenagers have personal development plans—even if their main goal is to finish school, it’s still a plan in my book—but most adults do not. Do you know what you want to do with your life? Do you know where you’re headed? Not really? Then figuring out how to create a personal development plan is right up your alley.
Why Personal Development Plans are a Good Idea
I love setting goals and doing my best to achieve them. I’ve had some failures along the way but I’m successful a lot of the time, too. Based on my own experiences, I’ve realized that when I create a personal development plan, I know three things: what I’m trying to accomplish, why I’m trying to do those things, and how I plan to get to the end result.
All too often, people only focus on their professional life or their finances when it comes to planning things out, as in “I want to become a supervisor,” or “I want to be earning twenty thousand dollars a year more than I do now.” It’s great to have professional goals or goals related to your bank account, but you shouldn’t ignore the fact that you’re a human being—you have a personal life outside of work.
Is there a place you’ve always wanted to see, but never been? Is there a hobby you’ve been dying to pick up, “when you have more time?” If you’re single, do you want to meet someone? Ask yourself where you’d like to be … six months from now, a year from now, five years from now, ten years from now … if you know where you want to be and what you want to be doing, it’s going to be a whole lot easier to get there.
A personal development plan is a list of things you’d like to accomplish, with milestones or mini-goals to help you out along the way. It doesn’t have to be fancy, but it should be written out somewhere—a notebook, a journal, your computer. You might not finish writing it all in one sitting and that’s fine, but be sure to cover a few different aspects of your personal life when creating your personal development plan.
Aspects of Your Life to Include in Your Personal Development Plan
Here are some suggestions of things to cover in your personal development plan:
Whether you like it or not, relationships play a big part in all our lives. We have relationships with our spouses or partners, our families, our friends, our co-workers, and even people that we see out in public regularly even though we’re not close with them—baristas at Starbucks, waitresses at restaurants we frequent, etc.
Make it a point to improve all of your relationships. If you’re involved in a relationship that is one-sided or unhealthy, you should make a decision. Do you want to try and work things out? Do you want to end the relationship? Think of all the relationships that you have going on in your life right now. What do you want to improve or change? How are you going to go about making those changes?
Health and Exercise
Your overall health and well-being are important things to consider when creating a personal development plan because they can play a huge role in your mental health and your overall outlook on life. If you’re always eating poorly, getting little or no exercise and constantly getting sick, it may be time to take a look at the big picture.
Schedule a physical and find out what’s going on with your body. Stress can do a lot of damage to someone, and hearing what a medical professional has to say about the situation often acts as a wakeup call.
Start eating better and get off the couch and away from the computer—even if it’s just walking outside for twenty minutes a day. Create some small health goals to start. My guess is that you’ll feel a lot better rather quickly.
We all have our own skill sets. What do you think you’re good at? What skills do you have that can use improvement? Is there something that you’d like to learn? Public speaking is a skill that I’d like to improve upon, and I’m also interested in studying new languages—especially after travelling through Europe for the past few months.
If you want to improve on things or learn something new, join a group or take a class at a community college. Learning doesn’t have to be expensive, and if you’re studying something out of your own free will you’ll probably enjoy it a lot more than you would if you were being forced into it.
By the way, tutoring others is also a good way to improve your own skills. Music teachers have to stay on top of things because they explain concepts to other people, and teaching someone about blogging or computers means that you’ll have to really know what you’re talking about.
Hobbies and Fun
Don’t forget to leave time in your life for hobbies and fun things that you enjoy just for the sake of doing them. Reading, traveling, playing sports, doing crafts, cooking, hanging out with friends … whatever you like to do, include it in your personal development plan.
Ask yourself if there’s a way to turn your hobby into an income. A lot of people make a bit of extra cash by selling crafts or selling used books online after they’ve read them.
It might sound funny at first to create goals regarding your hobbies, but it’s not. All too often, they’re overlooked. That’s why people have boxes full of art supplies, books or sports equipment in their garage or attic. Stop overlooking your hobbies. They’re important.
If you consider yourself religious or spiritual, be sure to make room in your life for your beliefs. I know a lot of people that only attend church on religious holidays because they claim they’re “too busy” the rest of the time.
Spirituality can offer a sense of calmness or peace, which is why a lot of people find that it helps reduce stress and increase optimism and their outlook on life. If it’s important to you, don’t ignore your faith.
Final Thoughts on a Personal Development Plan
Setting goals and creating plans for your personal life is more important than most people realize. Hopefully these basic ideas will help you understand how to create a personal development plan and help you get a good start on the project. I update mine regularly and I get a pretty good feeling each time I accomplish something I set out to do.Take Action. Get Results.
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