6 Tips for a Great Personal Development Plan

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I think we all want to be the best that we can be and squeeze all the juice we can out of this one life and career that we’ve got. After five decades in the workplace, I know one thing for sure. That’s not going to happen without effort.

This really is one of those cases where you need to plan your work and work your plan. So, here are half dozen tips on how to do that well so that you live the best life that you can and become the best person you can be.

Tip #1: Have A Self-Development Plan

If you don’t make a conscious effort to manage your own development, not much will happen. The craziness and demands of your life at home and at work will conspire to claim your attention. That’s why the first, and probably the most important, tip about self-development is to have a self-development plan.

Tip #2: Write It Down

Putting your plan in writing forces you to pay attention to the details and the logic. Not only that, written plans will help you gauge your progress and stay on track.

If you’re looking for a template, I suggest Dan McCarthy’s “Free Individual Development Plan Template.” Dan’s template may be more complicated than the one you want to write but reviewing the questions he asks and suggestions he makes will make your plan better, even if you don’t use the whole template.

Tip #3: Consider Several Development Methods

There are lots of ways that you can get better. Try to make a broad list of possibilities, then pick the ones that are best for you. Consider classes, reading, coaching, experiences, and reflection.

Tip #4: Pictures Great and Small

When you put your plan together, consider the big picture and the smaller pictures. Think about how your plan supports your long-term life goals. Think about how your plan supports more intermediate and short-term goals. And, think about the kinds of things you’ll need to do to develop the way you want.

Tip #5: Track and Review Your Performance

Once you’ve identified the things you need to do, track your behavior. If you decide that you should read a half hour a day, track your reading time. Review your performance on key tasks weekly. Set goals for what you plan to do the following week. Coupling review with the habit of journaling can give you great insight and increase your performance.

Tip #6: Review and Revise Your Plan Every 90 Days

Wise people, including Peter Drucker and Jack Canfield, have identified 90 days as a good interval for performance review. 90 days is long enough for you to make significant progress. In 90 days, some of your circumstances may have changed. So, every 90 days, review how you’re doing and make any changes you need to make in your development plan.

Bottom Line

You’re more likely to become the kind of person you want to be and get the most out of your career and your life if you take control of your personal development. Develop a written self-development plan where you consider several options. Break your plan down to daily and weekly tasks and review your performance every week. Then, every 90 days, review your plan to see if it needs to be revised.

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