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5 Simple Steps to Writing a Personal Growth Plan



What is Personal Growth?

Personal growth is the process of self-improvement, which focuses on building up your own awareness, knowledge and skills, as well as an overall sense of identity.

Although early life development and early formative experiences within the family, at school, etc. can help to shape us as adults, personal development should not stop later in life.

Any kind of positive development is a vital part of an individual’s personal growth and progression. By allowing yourself to explore key areas of self-improvement, you’re more likely to feel fulfilled in all areas of your life.

When thinking about your own self development, typical areas and activities you could look at might include anything from developing a talent or fulfilling personal aspirations, through to improving your health and lifestyle or learning a new skill.


Personal Growth Plan

Do you feel you’re not really getting anywhere? When you look back over the last year does it seem like you haven’t changed in the directions that you wanted to? Then, in that case, it’s time to consider creating a personal development plan, to give you the purpose, drive, and direction that you’ve been missing.

A personal development plan will help you decide where you want to go and that is not something that should be overlooked.


So how do you make a personal development plan? Here are 5 tips to get you started:


  1. Brainstorming

The first step is to write down everything that you would like to accomplish in your life. It doesn’t matter how crazy it is, it all goes on the page. Do not let the ‘no’s’ in your head dictate what does and doesn’t go on the page. Self-editing can come later. For now, just write and write.


  1. Group Things Into Categories

After you’ve written down everything that you want to accomplish, it’s time to group things into different areas of your life. Some might be career oriented, some might be love oriented, others might be in terms of intellectual development. It doesn’t matter what your categories are, as long as you can make some.


  1. Figure Out What is Needed to Get You From Here to There

Now that you’ve got categories, start constructing the sub-goals that lie in between where you are and where you want to be. These are like your stepping stones to get you across the chasm that separates you from what you want.

It’s a good idea to create a detailed, yet flexible plan. The interesting thing is that quite often if you did the abstraction correctly, in the above step, you’ll see that to some extent you actually already have one.

Once you’ve got the sub-goals, you break it down even further. What do you need to accomplish to get those things done? You can only quit your job if you have either enough savings or another source of income to tide you over. Also, be sure to note the big obstacles in your way and find ways to overcome those.

  1. Remember to be SMART

Your goals need to be SMART:

  • Specific – as in they’re clear and you know what you need to improve.
  • Measurable – there has to be some way that you know that you’ve achieved your goal and can move on to the next one.
  • Achievable – if you can’t achieve them then they’re dreams, not goals.
  • Realistic – You can’t fly unless you have an airplane and if you’re 30 you’re not going to win the Olympic 100 metre sprint
  • Time-related – ‘somewhere in the future’ is not good enough. Put up a time frame for when you want to complete the goal.

Once you’ve done all that, then it’s simply a matter of starting on the first step in your plan in the different fields.  


  1. Remember They’re Goals, Not Chains

Remember that as you’re pursuing your goals, you make certain that you allow space for the situation on the ground to weigh in. No, ‘I don’t want to get up today and work on my plan’ is not a good excuse for not pursuing your development goals. If you get sick, however, or your boss promotes you, then you should be willing to adapt.

Note that I said ‘adapt’, not ‘abandon’. Rework your plan to take into consideration the new developments and see what you have to change to get where you want to go.

Finally, make certain that at least once a year you sit down and consider if the goals on paper still reflect the goals in your head. It is important that you do not end up steering yourself down a road that you no longer want to follow.

The best strategy is to begin by brainstorming what you want again and then comparing what you wrote down this time with what you wrote down last time. Then, if you’re finding that your goals are shifting, allow your plan to shift as well.


The Benefits of Personal Growth

Working on your personal development is not only essential for your own self-improvement but can also help you thrive professionally too.

Here are some of the key benefits of personal development:

 You’ll figure out what you want to do

By carrying out ongoing personal development, you’ll be learning more about your abilities and aspirations. You’ll figure out where your values, beliefs, and values lie, not to mention uncovering a clearer purpose for what you’re doing – both on a personal and professional level.

 You’ll be able to make clear goals

By figuring out more about yourself, you’ll be able to set clear and well-informed goals.  Whether it’s taking a course to help you realise what career you’d like to pursue, or learning a new language to make you want to travel – expanding your knowledge is a great way to help you make good decisions about your future.

Not only will you realise what you do want to do, you’ll also be able to rule out paths that might not suit you as much as you thought. 

You’ll be motivated

With clear and achievable targets, you’ll be more motivated to actually fulfil them, especially if you have a personal development plan to track your progress.

This means you’ll be more productive in carrying out the tasks you set yourself (whether it’s at work, study, or home) – and you’ll be more likely to complete them to a high standard.

 You’ll get a better work-life balance

If you’re not feeling fulfilled in your current job, allowing yourself some personal development time is a great way to improve your work life balance.

By carrying out your own learning and development, you’ll not only be improving your morale, confidence, and knowledge, you could also be improving your career prospects – whether it’s to gain a promotion new job, or a total career change. 

Doing something you love and boosting your CV at the same time? It’s basically a no-brainer.

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