We all have areas where we want to improve; health, work, family, you name it. But reality sets in along with a busy schedule that doesn’t leave any space for quiet time, let alone individual development. We also rarely have the willpower we need to see it through. Or maybe we just don’t know where or how to start.
Not being able to define your own long-term goals will end up in a life that’s devoid of meaning or direction. You start losing that spark and the motivation to get up each morning wanes.
Experts define a personal growth plan as “the process of creating an action plan based on awareness, values, reflection, goal-setting, and planning for personal development within the context of a career, education, relationship or for self-improvement.”
An individualized growth plan can help you achieve the vision you have of yourself. It’s something we need to consciously think about and strive toward. If you don’t plan your own development and growth, no one else will.
Here are 4 steps you can take for a well-developed, easy-to-implement, personalized plan.
1. Know Thyself
In order to plan for the future, you have to reflect on your past experiences, weaknesses, and strengths; they’ve made you who you are today. You also have to clarify your own unique values, such as integrity, respect for others, leadership, honesty. Your values define your stance whether it’s at the workplace, with family and friends, or in your romantic relationships. Moreover, there are several important questions you have to ask yourself:
What do I want to become in life?
What are my achievements up until now?
What are my personal goals?
What are my career ambitions?
What steps have I taken to pursue these goals and ambitions?
2. Develop your vision
Once you’ve asked and answered these questions, you’ll have a clear vision of who you are and what you want out of life. This takes us to the second step; developing your vision. A smart tip is to provide yourself with several options to reach your next goal.
That way, if something goes wrong or you face an obstacle, you can switch to another path. Be flexible in your planning because usually people tend to underestimate how long a certain project will take.
Another point people tend to not pay attention to is what they don’t want to do. If you’re at work, you can make a list of what-not-to-do, for example:
Check emails as soon as they come in
Keep too many tabs open at once
Keep a cell phone on your desk
Check social media while you’re working
3. Assess your present-day situation
Implementing your plan can be difficult at first. But with dedication and an eye on the prize, you’ll soon find that it becomes a daily habit. It was Jim Ryun who said, “Motivation is what get you started. Habit is what keeps you going.”
Putting your strengths to good use will harness your energy levels so that it’s utilized efficiently. You can set up milestones along the way because smaller goals give you the motivation and drive you need to get to the big ones. And each time you reach a milestone or achieve one of the small goals, reward yourself for your hard work.
4. Review your progress
Each project needs to be reviewed and assess, and your exclusive growth plan is no different. You can do it on a monthly basis, or every couple of months, whatever feels comfortable for you. But it’s crucial that you take a step back and look at all the hard work you’ve accomplished.
Check to see if you’ve left anything out or missed any deadlines. Or maybe the mini-goals you set up last time don’t fit your criteria any longer, they need tweaking or readjusting. Reflect on your experience and consider everything you’ve learned. This will ensure that you keep moving forward according to your long-term plan and the vision you’ve set up for yourself.
On a final note, you can draw up the perfect plan but if you don’t follow through, you won’t get anywhere. Everyone needs practice to develop and grow, even if it means stepping out of your comfort zone. Having something to strive toward can renew your self-confidence and passion for life.