Why do I need a personal development plan? Ever wonder what it’d be like to learn a new language? Or to travel the world? We'll show you how to plan for it.
You might be asking yourself; ‘Why do I need a personal development plan?’. Have you ever wonder what it’d be like to learn a new language? Or to travel the world?
If a goal is important to you, there’s always a way you can accomplish that dream.
If you’re lost about how you should go about accomplishing that dream, then don’t worry, the Upskill Coach is here to help.
In this post, we’ll tune up your planning skills so you can list, prioritise and, above all else, take action toward your goals in your personal life. Doing so will be an amazing step forward for feeling empowered, accomplishing more and staying on top of your own self-improvement.
What is a personal development plan?
The simplest way to describe a personal development plan is to think about the workplace. At your job, you probably have some sort of professional growth plan. It often includes things like upgrading your abilities or meeting certain business-related targets.
For example, if you’re a salesperson, your professional plan might include a number of sales targets that you hope to meet that year while it might also suggest that you attend a networking seminar to learn some new skills.
That same aspiration-based concept can be applied to personal and professional development.
So, ‘Why do I need a personal development plan?’. A personal plan acts the same way as it does in the workplace. You set targets and goals and then measure your progress toward them. The big difference is that the goals are your personal hopes and dreams rather than those of your career. You can read more about why personal development is important here.
Sound cheesy? Well, that’s okay. Your plan can include anything of importance in your life at home – whether it’s learning a new language, searching for a romantic partner or saving up some money to travel the world.
Why do I need a personal development plan?
Still not convinced?
If you struggle to get on board with making a tedious-sounding plan for your personal life, then consider the following.
A plan doesn’t have to be boring. For starters, a plan is all about you. It’s a great opportunity to take a moment to spend some time on yourself and give yourself the TLC that you need but don’t often get.
Secondly, there’s nothing boring about your own personal dreams! Your aspirations should get you excited. So sneak some time in your day to make a list of the things you want to do.
That list can be as wacky as you want. For instance, if you want to learn to ride a motorcycle, think of the mini-goals that can help you get there. You’ll have to shop for and purchase a motorcycle. You’ll have to watch an instructional video series? It’s also a good idea to work with a riding instructor and spend a few hours per week to practice. Eventually, by itemising your goals, you’ll be well on your way to hitting the open road. How cool is that?
Here are some of the benefits of making a plan in your personal life:
- Identify your goals;
- Understand your strengths and weaknesses;
- Divide your goals into manageable chunks;
- Avoid becoming inactive or complacent; and,
- Prioritise your time so you can stick to your plan.
Next, we’ll look at an example of two ladies with very different levels of organisation in their plan-setting. As you’ll see, the results of their goals differ greatly.
A tale of two language learners
Julia and Florence want to learn a new language. They’ve always thought that the French language is beautiful. By learning it, they hope to impress their loved ones, expand their knowledge and hopefully travel the world to practice their new abilities.
However, they have different levels of success for accomplishing their dream because they have very different planning abilities. Julia is a planner but unfortunately, Florence is not.
Before beginning her training, Julia takes a moment to assess her strengths and weaknesses. In particular, she knows that she gets frustrated easily and struggles to stay motivated when doing new things alone. She comes up with a great idea – to enlist the help of her old friend, Marc, who can speak French and give her guidance along the way.
Knowing that she’ll struggle to stay focused, Julia also makes an action plan. She focuses on a few important milestones. She needs to practice for two hours per week, take an online class, work with Marc and to book a holiday in a year’s time to Paris. The list helps her itemise her tasks and stay focused. Booking the big, aspirational vacation for the end of her learning gives her something to look forward to and keeps her motivated.
Florence, on the other hand, is stuck in a rut after a few months. To help her learn, she decided to download a language-learning app but is having a hard time understanding the grammar and pronunciation. She starts to get lazy and for weeks at a time she doesn’t even open her app! Without knowing it, she has become complacent about her dream and it quickly moves down on her priority list until she nearly forgets about it.
Florence struggles to find the time in her busy schedule to practice the new language. Since she hasn’t made it a priority in her life and set up bite-sized action items, she is overwhelmed with the task and finds it all too easy to set her homework aside in order to watch TV or go for coffee with a friend.
Julia, on the other hand, is making diligent progress toward her language learning plan because she is able to prioritise her time and stick to it. She finds that giving herself a checkmark after each new step is a powerful motivator. She finds the time to get out of the house by going for coffee with her friend Marc who can evaluate her progress and give her advice.
Are you starting to see the picture?
Hopefully, the tale of two language-learners helps you answer the question ‘why do I need a personal development plan?’. Even for a personal goal, can drastically help improve results, stay motivated and accomplish your dreams.
It’ll come as no surprise that, after 8 months of goal-setting, Julia has her plane ticket booked to Paris while Florence hasn’t quite figured out how to ask for directions to the bus station.
How can you make a personal development plan?
By now, we hope we’ve answered the question ‘why do I need a personal development plan?’. And you’re convinced that making a personal development plan is the most important step to accomplishing any kind of goal in your personal life.
Not sure where to begin? Here’s our favourite advice on how to set up your own plan. All you need is a pen, paper and some alone time to think. You can read about how to write a personal development plan in more detail.
- Discover your “why”: it’s your main driver for wanting to accomplish a new task. If you have a goal to strive for, then ask yourself a series of ‘why’ questions to help understand your deepest desire for wanting to take action in the first place. You can start with the question ‘Why do I need a personal development plan?’.
- Do a SWOT analysis: it’s an acronym meaning to make a list of your strengths and weaknesses, followed by a list of all the things that will make your goals easier (and harder) to accomplish.
- Develop SMART goals: a SMART goal is another acronym, simply meaning that your goals should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound.
- Update your plan: as your life progresses, be sure to periodically review and update your plan. The best way to do this is to build a pre-set review schedule into your planning right now (try every fourth to six months, for starters).
Hoof! That’s a lot to take in. I hope we’ve answered the question ‘why do I need a personal development plan?’ for you.
With some diligence and some hard work, you can make your own plan that will set you on the right track for accomplishing your wildest dreams.