How to review your personal development plan

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Schools and employers use personal development plans to help students or employees understand and achieve their goals. Alternatively, an individual may choose to create his own personal development plan to address problem areas in his life.

A personal development plan is a written document that usually includes goals, current and desired skills, and an action plan for reaching one's goals. To track progress towards achieving one's goals, an individual should review his personal development plan regularly.

Identify a mentor, coach or therapist to help you review your plan. A mentor could be a supervisor, colleague, or an acquaintance whom you admire. Instead of a mentor, consider hiring a professional life coach or therapist. A skilled mentor or coach can help you to identify blind spots or weak areas in your personal development plan and help you to address them.

Write down your five biggest goals, then compare them to the goals in your original personal development plan. If the goals match, you are on track. If they don't, talk to your mentor about why your goals now are different. Perhaps you have already met several of the old goals you set for yourself, or perhaps your interests have changed. Your personal development plan should reflect the goals in your life today, not the goals that were important to you three months ago.

Compare the skills you hoped to obtain when you first wrote the plan with the skills you currently possess. If you have not learnt the new skills necessary to meet your goals, talk to your mentor about factors that may be holding you back.

Write down what you have done to achieve the goals from your personal development plan. Try to understand why you have or haven't reached your goals. Perhaps your goals have changed, or perhaps you now have a more realistic perspective of what it takes to meet those goals.

Update your personal development plan to reflect any changes you've made since you last reviewed it. Commit to taking one step towards achieving one of the goals in the plan and share this commitment with your mentor.