Think about an activity, day or vacation you took where you did no (or very little) planning. You think it’s going to be amazing, the joy of a spontaneous, adventurous trip. There’s a slight problem with that, you probably ended up frustrated because there is always some planning required. It’s difficult to enjoy something if you have to think about where to go, what to eat, and where to sleep on the hoof. That’s why we tend to build a big picture of a journey and have a basic idea of where to go and a rough plan of what to do. It’s even better when you have a detailed plan (no, we are not suggesting you plan each day down to the minute).
You plan for a trip, but you don’t plan for your life. Both are journeys, yet one carries more weight. Yet, here we are out in the world with no plan, just floating along, frustrated and wondering how on earth we ended up where we did. If you don’t want to end up frustrated with life and unhappy with your position, it’s important that you plan. A personal development plan is a perfect tool to aid you on your life’s path. So, how do we that? With these four simple steps.
1. Goal Definition
This is the first step and an important one. You should have short-term goals, as well as long-term ones. So, first, think about a goal you’d like to accomplish in the next month, another in the next three months, and longer-term in the next year and a five-year goal, too. Your shorter-term goals can be part of achieving those longer-term goals remember. For each of your goals, create a realistic time-frame to aim for. Your goals should also be realistic, don’t be afraid to dream, but a goal of “become a millionaire” isn’t going to cut it here. Just ensure you are being detailed.
2. SWOT Analysis
Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. You have probably completed this exercise in the workplace, now it’s time to turn the lens on yourself. So, what are your positive traits and how will they help you? What qualifications do you hold and what are you really good at? What about traits that may stand in your way, where can you improve, what qualifications are you missing? What about potential opportunities that you can benefit from and will help you achieve your goals? What threats stand in your way, obstacles that may prevent you from achieving your goals? How will you navigate those choppy waters?
3. Plan Creation
You have your goals, you know what it will take to achieve them, now put that plan together. It’s at this stage of the process that you will set specific goals and determine how you will achieve them. So, think about the resources required, who can help, how long it will take, and what the end result should look like.
4. Progress Tracking
There’s no point in doing all of the work above if you don’t plan to track your progress. You have milestones set, there are time-frames to follow, but remember, that isn’t set in stone. As you work towards your plan, you should always review how you’re progressing. Some things may move quicker than others. It’s important that you check in with yourself, though. Are you happy with your results thus far? If you aren’t, what changes can you make? What’s working and what isn’t? What requires more of your focus? These are the types of questions that will help you, especially if you need to alter your plan. If a goal is no longer serving you, don’t be scared to remove it from your plan.
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