Tips on Writing a Personal Development Plan

Updated July 18, 2017

Writing a personal development plan can be both overwhelming and therapeutic. By writing about your goals, your skills and the things in life that make you feel fulfilled, you may discover things about yourself that you never knew before. This can be invigorating. Writing a personal development plan requires you to form short-term and long-term goals. By writing down your goals and planning your future, you will become more confident.

Before Writing

The website Self Improvement Mentor recommends that you should wait to start writing a personal development plan until you are in a "strong state." That means, do not start writing if you are tired, irritated or feeling uninspired. Get yourself into the right mindset for considering how you want to improve your life. You should be thinking positive thoughts. Self Improvement Mentor recommends that you write these positive thoughts down before beginning your personal development plan.

Set a Long-Term Goal

Leadership and management development manager Dan McCarthy, writing on the website Great Leadership, recommends you always start your personal development plan with a goal. You should have something you want to develop or pursue, such as a new job, a promotion, writing a novel or climbing Mount Everest. Identify the three most important skills, areas of knowledge or attributes you will need to learn to achieve this goal. Consider the resources you will need to study and any classes you will have to take in order to learn these skills.

Plan Short-Term Goals

In addition to selecting a long-term goal, you should also plan out a variety of short-term goals that work as stepping stones to achieve that one significant long-term goal. Understand your reasoning for having those goals. Ethan Beh of Self Improvement Mentor writes that you should ask yourself these five questions before coming up with your goals: "Why do I want to achieve that? How does it help me? What can it give me? What can it prevent/stop? How does it impact my life and those around me?"

Assign a Schedule

Assign a schedule to your goals. Plan what you are going to achieve and when. If you want a promotion, then plan when you would like to receive that promotion. If you need to learn some more skills or acquire another college degree in order to earn that promotion, then sign up for online or night classes and plan out when you'd like to graduate and with what kind of marks. Talk to your boss about your desire for promotion and what skills he'd like for you to develop in order to earn that promotion. Set aside a time every week to work on your personal growth.

Review Your Plan

Keep checking in on your personal development plan even after you've finished writing it. Keep it in front of you at all times. Write down reminders so you can always see them and remind yourself of your goals. As you achieve your short-term and long-term goals, check them off a list. Reflect on what you've learnt from the experience.

Keep Planning

Remember that your personal development plan can never be finished. It is always a work-in-progress that you develop as you evolve, achieve old goals and set new goals.

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About the Author

Ashley Lorelle has been writing professionally since 2005. Her writing has appeared in "Lipstick Royalty Magazine," Copper-Moon Ezine and on her personal blog. She is currently the editor of the literary journal "Figment." Lorelle holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and journalism from the State University of New York at Albany.