How to Create a Personal Development Plan: 3 Examples

Personal Development Plan

For successful change, it is vital that the client remains engaged, recognizing and identifying with the goals captured inside and outside sessions. A personal development plan (PDP) creates a focus for development while offering a guide for life and future success (Starr, 2021).

This article introduces and explores the value of personal development plans, offering tools, worksheets, and approaches to boost self-reflection and self-improvement.

Before you continue, we thought you might like to download our three Goal Achievement Exercises for free . These detailed, science-based exercises will help you or your clients create actionable goals and master techniques to create lasting behavior change.

This Article Contains

What is personal development 7 theories, coaching in personal development and growth, how to create a personal development plan, 3 examples of personal development plans, defining goals and objectives: 10 tips and tools, fostering personal development skills, 3 inspiring books to read on the topic, resources from positivepsychology.com, a take-home message, frequently asked questions.

Personal development is a fundamental concept in psychology and encompasses the lifelong process of self-improvement, self-awareness, and personal growth. Crucial to coaching and counseling, it aims to enhance various aspects of clients’ lives, including their emotional wellbeing, relationships, careers, and overall happiness (Cox, 2018; Starr, 2021).

Several psychological models underpin and support transformation. Together, they help us understand personal development in our clients and the mechanisms and approaches available to make positive life changes (Cox, 2018; Passmore, 2021).

The following psychological theories and frameworks underpin and influence the approach a mental health professional adopts.

1. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs

As a proponent of the humanistic or person-centered approach to helping people, Abraham Maslow (1970) suggested that individuals have a hierarchy of needs. Simply put, they begin with basic physiological and safety needs and progress through psychological and self-fulfillment needs.

Personal development is often found in or recognized by the pursuit of higher-level needs, such as self-esteem and self-actualization (Cox, 2018).

2. Erikson’s psychosocial development

Erik Erikson (1963) mapped out a series of eight psychosocial development stages that individuals go through across their lifespan.

Each one involves challenges and crises that once successfully navigated, contribute to personal growth and identity development.

3. Piaget’s cognitive development

The biologist and epistemologist Jean Piaget (1959) focused on cognitive development in children and how they construct their understanding of the world.

We can draw on insights from Piaget’s stages of cognitive development, including intellectual growth and adaptability, to inform our own and others’ personal development (Illeris, 2018).

4. Bandura’s social cognitive theory

Albert Bandura’s (1977) theory highlights the role of social learning and self-efficacy in personal development. It emphasizes that individuals can learn and grow through observation, imitation, and belief in their ability to effect change.

5. Self-determination theory

Ryan and Deci’s (2018) motivational self-determination theory recognizes the importance of autonomy, competence, and relatedness in personal development.

Their approach suggests that individuals are more likely to experience growth and wellbeing when such basic psychological needs are met.

6. Positive psychology

Positive psychology , developed by Martin Seligman (2011) and others, focuses on strengths, wellbeing, and the pursuit of happiness.

Seligman’s PERMA model offers a framework for personal development that emphasizes identifying and using our strengths while cultivating positive emotions and experiences (Lomas et al., 2014).

7. Cognitive-Behavioral Theory (CBT)

Developed by Aaron Beck (Beck & Haigh, 2014) and Albert Ellis (2000), CBT explores the relationship between thoughts, emotions, and behavior.

As such, the theory provides practical techniques for personal development, helping individuals identify and challenge negative thought patterns and behaviors (Beck, 2011).

Theories like the seven mentioned above offer valuable insights into many of the psychological processes underlying personal development. They provide a sound foundation for coaches and counselors to support their clients and help them better understand themselves, their motivations, and the paths they can take to foster positive change in their lives (Cox, 2018).

Coaching in Personal Development

The client–coach relationship is significant to successful growth and goal achievement.

Typically, the coach will focus on the following (Cox, 2018):

  • Actualizing tendency This supports a “universal human motivation resulting in growth, development and autonomy of the individual” (Cox, 2018, p. 53).
  • Building a relationship facilitating change Trust clients to find their own way while displaying empathy, congruence, and unconditional positive regard . The coach’s “outward responses consistently match their inner feelings towards a client,” and they display a warm acceptance that they are being how they need to be (Passmore, 2021, p. 162).
  • Adopting a positive psychological stance Recognize that the client has the potential and wish to become fully functioning (Cox, 2018).

Effective coaching for personal growth involves adopting and committing to a series of beliefs that remind the coach that the “coachee is responsible for the results they create” (Starr, 2021, p. 18) and help them recognize when they may be avoiding this idea.

The following principles are, therefore, helpful for coaching personal development and growth (Starr, 2021).

  • Stay committed to supporting the client. While initially strong, you may experience factors that reduce your sense of support for the individual’s challenges.
  • Coach nonjudgmentally. Our job is not to adopt a stance based on personal beliefs or judgment of others, but to help our clients form connections between behavior and results.
  • Maintain integrity, openness, and trust. The client must feel safe in your company and freely able to express themselves.
  • Responsibility does not equal blame. Clients who take on blame rather than responsibility will likely feel worse about something without acknowledging their influence on the situation.
  • The client can achieve better results. The client is always capable of doing and achieving more, especially in relation to their goals.
  • Focus on clients’ thoughts and experiences. Collaborative coaching is about supporting the growth and development of the client, getting them to where they want to go.
  • Clients can arrive at perfect solutions. “As a coach, you win when someone else does” (Starr, 2021, p. 34). The solution needs to be the client’s, not yours.
  • Coach as an equal partnership. Explore the way forward together collaboratively rather than from a parental or advisory perspective.

Creating a supportive and nonjudgmental environment helps clients explore their thoughts, feelings, and goals, creating an environment for personal development and flourishing (Passmore, 2021).

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A personal development plan is a powerful document “to create mutual clarity of the aims and focus of a coaching assignment” (Starr, 2021, p. 291). While it is valuable during coaching, it can also capture a client’s way forward once sessions have ended.

Crucially, it should have the following characteristics (Starr, 2021):

  • Short and succinct
  • Providing a quick reference or point of discussion
  • Current and fresh, regularly revised and updated

Key elements of a personal development plan include the following (Starr, 2021):

  • Area of development This is the general skill or competence to be worked on.
  • Development objectives or goals What does the client want to do? Examples might include reducing stress levels, improving diet, or managing work–life balance .
  • Behaviors to develop These comprise what the client will probably do more of when meeting their objectives, for example, practicing better coping mechanisms, eating more healthily, and better managing their day.
  • Actions to create progress What must the client do to action their objectives? For example, arrange a date to meet with their manager, sign up for a fitness class, or meet with a nutritionist.
  • Date to complete or review the objective Capture the dates for completing actions, meeting objectives, and checking progress.

Check out Lindsey Cooper’s excellent video for helpful guidance on action planning within personal development.

We can write and complete personal development plans in many ways. Ultimately, they should meet the needs of the client and leave them with a sense of connection to and ownership of their journey ahead (Starr, 2021).

  • Personal Development Plan – Areas of Development In this PDP , we draw on guidance from Starr (2021) to capture development opportunities and the behaviors and actions needed to achieve them.
  • Personal Development Plan – Opportunities for Development This template combines short- and long-term goal setting with a self-assessment of strengths, weaknesses, and development opportunities.
  • Personal Development Plan – Ideal Self In this PDP template , we focus on our vision of how our ideal self looks and setting goals to get there.
“The setting of a goal becomes the catalyst that drives the remainder of the coaching conversation.”

Passmore, 2021, p. 80

Defining goals and objectives is crucial to many coaching conversations and is usually seen as essential for personal development.

Check out this video on how you can design your life with your personal goals in mind.

The following coaching templates are helpful, containing a series of questions to complete Whitmore’s (2009) GROW model :

  • G stands for Goal : Where do you want to be?
  • R stands for Reality : Where are you right now with this goal?
  • O stands for Options : What are some options for reaching your goal?
  • W stands for Way forward : What is your first step forward?

Goal setting creates both direction and motivation for clients to work toward achieving something and meeting their objectives (Passmore, 2021).

The SMART goal-setting framework is another popular tool inside coaching and elsewhere.

S = Specific M = Measurable A = Attainable/ or Agreed upon R = Realistic T = Timely – allowing enough time for achievement

The SMART+ Goals Worksheet contains a series of prompts and spaces for answers to define goals and capture the steps toward achieving them.

We can summarize the five principles of goal setting (Passmore, 2021) as follows:

  • Goals must be clear and not open to interpretation.
  • Goals should be stretching yet achievable.
  • Clients must buy in to the goal from the outset.
  • Feedback is essential to keep the client on track.
  • Goals should be relatively straightforward. We can break down complex ones into manageable subgoals.

The following insightful articles are also helpful for setting and working toward goals.

  • What Is Goal Setting and How to Do it Well
  • The Science & Psychology of Goal-Setting 101

Fostering Personal Development Skills

1. People skills

Improving how we work with others benefits confidence, and with other’s support, we are more likely to achieve our objectives and goals. The following people skills can all be improved upon:

  • Developing rapport
  • Assertiveness and negotiation
  • Giving and receiving constructive criticism

2. Managing tasks and problem-solving

Inevitably, we encounter challenges on our path to development and growth. Managing our activities and time and solving issues as they surface are paramount.

Here are a few guidelines to help you manage:

  • Organize time and tasks effectively.
  • Learn fundamental problem-solving strategies.
  • Select and apply problem-solving strategies to tackle more complex tasks and challenges.
  • Develop planning skills, including identifying priorities, setting achievable targets, and finding practical solutions.
  • Acquire skills relevant to project management.
  • Familiarize yourself with concepts such as performance indicators and benchmarking.
  • Conduct self-audits to assess and enhance your personal competitiveness.

3. Cultivate confidence in your creative abilities

Confidence energizes our performance. Knowing we can perform creatively encourages us to develop novel solutions and be motivated to transform.

Consider the following:

  • Understand the fundamentals of how the mind works to enhance your thinking skills.
  • Explore a variety of activities to sharpen your creative thinking.
  • Embrace the belief that creativity is not limited to artists and performers but is crucial for problem-solving and task completion.
  • Learn to ignite the spark of creativity that helps generate innovative ideas when needed.
  • Apply creative thinking techniques to enhance your problem-solving and task completion abilities.
  • Recognize the role of creative thinking in finding the right ideas at the right time.

To aid you in building your confidence, we have a whole category of articles focused on Optimism and Mindset . Be sure to browse it for confidence-building inspiration.

With new techniques and technology, our understanding of the human brain continues to evolve. Identifying the vital elements involved in learning and connecting with others offers deep insights into how we function and develop as social beings. We handpicked a small but unique selection of books we believe you will enjoy.

1. The Coaching Manual: The Definitive Guide to the Process, Principles and Skills of Personal Coaching – Julie Starr

The Coaching Manual

This insightful book explores and explains the coaching journey from start to finish.

Starr’s book offers a range of free resources and gives clear guidance to support new and existing coaches in providing practical help to their clients.

Find the book on Amazon .

2. The Big Leap: Conquer Your Hidden Fear and Take Life to the Next Level – Gay Hendricks

The Big Leap

Delving into the “zone of genius” and the “zone of excellence,” Hendricks examines personal growth and our path to personal success.

This valuable book explores how we eliminate the barriers to reaching our goals that arise from false beliefs and fears.

3. The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are – Brené Brown

The Gifts of Imperfection

Brown, a leading expert on shame, vulnerability, and authenticity, examines how we can engage with the world from a place of worthiness.

Use this book to learn how to build courage and compassion and realize the behaviors, skills, and mindset that lead to personal development.

We have many resources available for fostering personal development and supporting client transformation and growth.

Our free resources include:

  • Goal Planning and Achievement Tracker This is a valuable worksheet for capturing and reflecting on weekly goals while tracking emotions that surface.
  • Adopt a Growth Mindset Successful change is often accompanied by replacing a fixed mindset with a growth one .
  • FIRST Framework Questions Understanding a client’s developmental stage can help offer the most appropriate support for a career change.

More extensive versions of the following tools are available with a subscription to the Positive Psychology Toolkit© , but they are described briefly below:

  • Backward Goal Planning

Setting goals can build confidence and the skills for ongoing personal development.

Backward goal planning helps focus on the end goal, prevent procrastination, and decrease stress by ensuring we have enough time to complete each task.

Try out the following four simple steps:

  • Step one – Identify and visualize your end goal.
  • Step two – Reflect on and capture the steps required to reach the goal.
  • Step three – Focus on each step one by one.
  • Step four – Take action and record progress.
  • Boosting Motivation by Celebrating Micro Successes

Celebrating the small successes on our journey toward our goals is motivating and confidence building.

Practice the following:

  • Step one – Reflect momentarily on the goal you are working toward.
  • Step two – Consider each action being taken to reach that goal.
  • Step three – Record the completion of each action as a success.
  • Step four – Choose how to celebrate each success.

If you’re looking for more science-based ways to help others reach their goals, check out this collection of 17 validated motivation & goal achievement tools for practitioners . Use them to help others turn their dreams into reality by applying the latest science-based behavioral change techniques.

Personal development has a rich and long history. It is underpinned by various psychological theories and remains a vital aspect of creating fulfilling lives inside and outside coaching and counseling.

For many of us, self-improvement, self-awareness, and personal growth are vital aspects of who we are. Coaching can provide a vehicle to help clients along their journey, supporting their sense of autonomy and confidence and highlighting their potential (Cox, 2018).

Working with clients, therefore, requires an open, honest, and supportive relationship. The coach or counselor must believe the client can achieve better results and view them nonjudgmentally as equal partners.

Personal development plans become essential to that relationship and the overall coaching process. They capture areas for development, skills and behaviors required, and goals and objectives to work toward.

Use this article to recognize theoretical elements from psychology that underpin the process and use the skills, guidance, and worksheets to support personal development in clients, helping them remove obstacles along the way.

Ultimately, personal development is a lifelong process that boosts wellbeing and flourishing and creates a richer, more engaging environment for the individual and those around them.

We hope you enjoyed reading this article. Don’t forget to download our three Goal Achievement Exercises for free .

Personal development is vital, as it enables individuals to enhance various aspects of their lives, including emotional wellbeing, relationships, careers, and overall happiness.

It promotes self-awareness, self-improvement, and personal growth, helping individuals reach their full potential and lead fulfilling lives (Passmore, 2021; Starr, 2021).

Personal development is the journey we take to improve ourselves through conscious habits and activities and focusing on the goals that are important to us.

Personal development goals are specific objectives individuals set to improve themselves and their lives. Goals can encompass various areas, such as emotional intelligence, skill development, health, and career advancement, providing direction and motivation for personal growth (Cox, 2018; Starr, 2021).

A personal development plan typically comprises defining the area of development, setting development objectives, identifying behaviors to develop, planning actions for progress, and establishing completion dates. These five stages help individuals clarify their goals and track their progress (Starr, 2021).

  • Bandura, A. (1977). Social learning theory . Prentice-Hall.
  • Beck, A. T., & Haigh, E. P. (2014). Advances in cognitive therapy and therapy: The generic cognitive model. Annual Review of Clinical Psychology , 10 , 1–24.
  • Beck, J. S. (2011). Cognitive behavior therapy: Basics and beyond . Guilford Press.
  • Cottrell, S. (2015). Skills for success: Personal development and employability . Bloomsbury Academic.
  • Cox, E. (2018). The complete handbook of coaching . SAGE.
  • Ellis, A. (2000). Can rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT) be effectively used with people who have devout beliefs in God and religion? Professional Psychology-Research and Practice , 31 (1), 29–33.
  • Erikson, E. H. (1963). Youth: Change and challenge . Basic Books.
  • Illeris, K. (2018). An overview of the history of learning theory. European Journal of Education , 53 (1), 86–101.
  • Lomas, T., Hefferon, K., & Ivtzan, I. (2014). Applied positive psychology: Integrated positive practice . SAGE.
  • Maslow, A. H. (1970). Motivation and personalit y (2nd ed.). Harper & Row.
  • Passmore, J. (Ed.). (2021). The coaches’ handbook: The complete practitioner guide for professional coaches . Routledge.
  • Piaget, J. (1959): The Psychology of intelligence . Routledge.
  • Rose, C. (2018). The personal development group: The students’ guide . Routledge.
  • Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. (2018). Self-determination theory: Basic psychological needs in motivation, development, and wellness . Guilford Press.
  • Seligman, M. E. (2011). Authentic happiness using the new positive psychology to realize your potential for lasting fulfillment . Nicholas Brealey.
  • Starr, J. (2021). The coaching manual: The definitive guide to the process, principles and skills of personal coaching . Harlow: Pearson Education.
  • Whitmore, J. (2009). Coaching for performance . Nicholas Brealey.

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Essay on a Personal Development Plan

Introduction

A personal development plan is one of the most effective tools for students and professionals who want to achieve excellence in their respective fields. It uses the concept of reflection to enable one keep track of the steps he has made towards acquiring skills and knowledge. It enables one to monitor the life changes required to be made and the weak spots required to be improved. The plan provides a gauge for a person to see their progress, and determine the skills to be achieved in the future. It aids in the achievement of personal and professional development goals. This is because success requires planning and goal setting. The goals set in the plan have to be clear and measurable.

Review of the initial PDP

According to my initial PDP, communication and social skills acquisition was the main goal for the semester. I had planned to communicate more with my instructors in the areas of my weaknesses. The utilization of the instructors’ office hours and the taking of extra time to get in touch with them enabled deeper understanding of the concepts taught in class. This was the main change that I had to make. During this semester, I have been able to increase the amount of time spent with instructors on learning after classes and ensured that I went over everything I learned in class. If there was a point or an idea that needed clarification, I have left it to myself to talk to the teacher in order to understand the concept before the next class.

Interpersonal skills

Social development was also a significant part of my PDP. I discovered that I lacked soft skills in relation to other people. The importance of these skills in the workplace is significant, and I required developing them in order to avoid the skill mismatch in the workplace (Zenger and Folkman, 2009, p. 137). The improvement of interaction with other people was one of the main goals of my PDP. During this semester, I have changed how I related to people by leaving more time for the interaction with them. I was able to achieve this by seeking an elective post as a representative in one of the professional clubs at the school. Acquiring this leadership position was important for my development of leadership skills. The acquisition of this post has also helped me develop communication skills since I had to communicate the needs and issues of the club members to the club leaders. It has also made me a good listener and a more focused person due to having other responsibilities besides schoolwork.

Extra-curricular activities

I also intended to improve my social interactions inside and outside the campus. One effective way that I chose to achieve this goal was getting involved in extra-curricular activities. Choosing a sport or a club was not easy because I am not too athletic. However, I knew the importance of this and thus decided to join the badminton team and have become an active and competent badminton player over time. Having an extra-curricular activity and a social group outside of classroom has enabled me to deal with stress more effectively. It has also allowed me to relax actively and to live a more productive life. Joining the badminton team has proved to be helpful and beneficial in many ways.

Time management

On the issue of time management, I planned a weekly schedule of the things I would be doing every week in order to make sure that I was not falling behind on time. The weekly schedules have been effective but I have had problems achieving some of the overall goals set for the semester. The time schedule has been a difficult one to follow due to overcrowding and poor execution. Some of the milestones that had to be achieved by the end of the semester such as reading inspirational books have not been completed. The schedule made for the reading of inspirational literature has been too overcrowded, and I have only achieved half of what I had planned. According to Zenger and Folkman (2009), inspirational literature is very important for motivation (p. 24). My inability to finish the reading plan is bothering and discouraging. This highlights a time management problem that I have to take into account in the next personal development plan .

A reflection on my performance

My academic performance during the semester has been at par with other semesters. There has not been any considerable difference in my performance, which is not satisfactory. I intended to improve my GPA performance every semester in order to graduate with honors. Therefore, more needs to be done and dedicating more time to studying is necessary. According to my PDP, I required to achieve an average of 70% in all the tests and assignments before the end of the semester. The more time spent consulting the lecturers and instructors has only had a marginal effect on my performance. This implies that more time should be spent on doing so in order to achieve the desired results. One of my instructors said that what I needed was more practice as opposed to theory. Changes in the amount of practice required have not been implemented effectively since the results have not been satisfactory.

Gaining hands-on experience in the field has been an important factor and determinant of success. I intended to work part time during my free time to gain experience and practice in the field to aid the theory learned in class. This step has only been partially achieved because I could not secure employment in my field of specialization. The job I acquired was in car sales, which is not what I consider perfect for the practicing of the skills learned in my course of study. I actually spent more time than the experience I gained was worth. Yet in my next PDP I will surely include more time for finding suitable work to ensure that experience is gained in the perfect field and the perfect job.

Overall, I have learned that I have potential I have not been using. Previously, I could not find time to engage in other activities besides class work, yet I did not perform exceptionally well. I have discovered that I can live a more holistic life without compromising the time spent on studies. Planning has enabled me to visualize what needs to be achieved and decide how to achieve it. I learned that my poor performance in school has been the result of little or no practice. It has also shown me that personal skills are important, and they are not as difficult to learn as I thought earlier.

PDP for the next four semesters

My current performance level is average and needs to be improved by the end of the semester to ensure that I graduate with honors. Therefore, more time will have to be spent on activities that improve the amount of knowledge gained during class time and outside of class. Practice is also required; therefore, the time spent practicing the learned skills will have to be increased over the next four semesters. My academic performance is the most important aspect of my studies, thus more time will be dedicated to it alongside the inclusion of other activities such as sports. I will keep a record of the activities that I am involved in concerning work experience, personal character development, and other life experiences. The main aim of the plan will be to achieve the knowledge and skills that will match the market requirements (Fry, 2009, p. 120).

Personal development

The plan will also integrate academic development with personal development. Personal learning activities such as spending more time in the library conducting research on some important aspects of my professional field will also be considered. This means that I will require dedicating more time to find work that is in line with my field. This learning experience will be aimed at learning from other people and encompassing the learned ideas and methods into my skill set (Niven, 2006, p. 295). Developmental changes are necessary to ensure improvements in the overall well-being of my career prospects. I will undertake more involvement in social activities and situations to develop confidence. The goal is to attend at least one social event every two weeks. In addition, acquisition of leadership and interpersonal skills will be given proper attention since these skills are what the professional world requires.

Learning habits

Establishment of learning habits will become a major part of the plan since life is all about continuous learning (Fry, 2009, p. 124). Motivational literature will form a significant part of my learning culture and habits. I will improve my time management skills to ensure that I read two or more motivational books every month. In order to improve my employment prospects and recognize the weak points I need to work on, I will ask one teacher to become my mentor. I will then make sure that I meet with the teacher at least once a semester. During these meetings with the teacher, I will ask for feedback on my career prospects in the field and the type of skills I need to work on. I will also ensure that the teacher gets a chance to criticize my efforts and improvements, and suggest areas for improvement.

Financial independence

Another important aspect of life that has to be included in the development plan is the achievement of financial goals. This is one of my main weaknesses and it was not included in the previous PDP. The goal is to achieve financial freedom and independence by the end of the four semesters. This will be achieved by ensuring that I obtain the habit of saving money. I will save half of the money that I earn during holidays. Doing so I aim to save at least $ 5,000 every year. These savings will be used to cover living expenses upon completion of my course of study until I get a permanent job. This goal will be achieved by ensuring that I change my spending habits to only spend on the necessary things. Avoidance of unnecessary and non-value adding activities will be the main weapon against excessive expenditures.

The personal development plan is very important in enabling the tracking of developmental changes that are necessary for the achievement of set goals. Planning is very important since it provides a medium for a person to set goals and decide how they will have to be achieved.

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Personal Development Plan Examples & Templates for Success

Did you know you can make your dreams and aspirations a reality by focusing on your own individual personal development plan ?

Your potential is limitless, and investing in personal development is a way to harness your many talents.

Establishing goals for what you want to achieve — where you would like to go in the short term or long term — can improve your personal development.

In this guide, I’ll help you understand what personal development means and its importance, what a personal development plan is and why you should make one, and how to write a personal development plan. 

I’ll also share with you my personal development plan template to get you started on your path to reach your personal development goals, complete with helpful examples and resources to support you.

Table of Contents

  • What is a Personal Development Plan (PDP)

The 7 Categories of Personal Development

  • Why Make a Personal Development Plan

How to Set Personal Development Goals

Personal development plan template, personal development courses and programs, what is a personal development plan (pdp).

A personal development plan is a guideline for your life and your future success.

Personal development is the process of improving oneself through conscious habits and activities. It is the pursuit of personal growth to enhance your quality of life and to achieve your dreams and aspirations.

When you create a personal development plan, you start to define the kind of person you want to be, skills you want to have, and accomplishments you want to achieve. And then you map out your long-term and short-term goals to realize these aspirations and set timelines for when you want to reach them.

Many people underachieve in their careers because they do not realize the areas of personal development that can help achieve mastery in any field.

Effective leaders focus on continual self-improvement and know there is no substitute for hard work.

When you practice self-discipline by setting a goal, making a plan, and working on it every day, you will see personal development and progress within your career.

The Importance of Personal Development

Most of the time, what you think about is what you become. From the moment you wake until the moment you close your eyes at the end of the day, everything you experience plays a factor in your development.

When you take greater control over your experiences, you are able to guide your personal development and accelerate toward what you want to become instead of leaving it to chance.

Setting, striving for, and meeting personal development goals opens up a world of new possibilities for you to increase your quality of life.

For example, as a result of creating and following your personal development plan, you may gain more responsibility for work and open up opportunities for higher pay. This growth could qualify you for a better career trajectory to increase your overall happiness, job satisfaction, and ability to provide for the life you want for you and your family.

Focusing on your personal development also gives you better decision-making abilities so you can avoid problems that may have plagued you in the past or are holding you back now.

At the end of the day, personal development helps you create more positivity and harness the power of positive thoughts , which can transform your life. 

When you give time to yourself by focusing on your professional and personal growth, you are better able to achieve your version of success because of personal development.

Personal Development vs Self-Improvement

Recognizing the difference between self-improvement and personal development can be a little tricky.

While they are similar in that they are both very instrumental in achieving your goals and improving yourself, there are key differences between a self-improvement plan and a personal development plan.

Personal development is the work you are putting in to transform yourself on a daily basis. It’s the efforts you’re making to advance in your work, lifestyle, attitude, physique, and sociability.

Setting personal development goals and creating a plan helps you take full advantage of any opportunity that may come your way and make the most of your potential.

Self-improvement is an inner transformation. It is a self-motivated study to improve one’s character, status, or knowledge by their own efforts. 

Self-improvement is a lifelong process of constantly searching for ways to change your habits so you can reach your fullest potential.

The specific efforts you put into personal development lead to self-improvement.

Start Achieving All of Your Goals Today! Download my FREE Personal Development Plan Template

Focusing on personal development categories such as personal skills, personal growth, and personal power can create habits for personal improvement.

Personal growth is founded on education and skill. Through education and experience, you increase your skill level and your ability to succeed in your field.

There are seven main categories of personal development.

Personal Skills

Personal skills can be ones you were born with as well as skills gained through deliberate practice. They’re often referred to as soft skills. 

Examples of personal skills are decision-making, teamwork, organization, and communication.

If you’re interested in growing your skills at work, try working on your personal skills. The highest-paid, top individuals in their field are the ones that focus on growing their personal skills. 

Knowing what areas you excel in and which need development is very useful in your personal and professional life.

Personal Growth

Having a personal growth plan is one of the first steps toward bettering yourself and stepping out of your comfort zone.

Humans and the human mind are constantly evolving. Think about it: you are not the same person you were a year ago. You’ve learned more, grown in many different ways, and have experienced more life events to further shape your personality, beliefs, and world outlook.

In order to experience personal development and growth, strive to be a better version of yourself today than you were yesterday.

Personal Power

Personal power is the authority others believe you to have in certain situations and is fueled by your contacts, knowledge, and financial status.

Developing an ever-widening circle of contacts, seeking to learn more, and growing financially increases the number of doors that others will leave open for you to step into.

Expanding your network, knowledge base and financial status will also allow you to help others do the same, further increasing your personal power and opportunities for personal development and growth.

Personal Improvement

Personal improvement stems from good work habits and having a positive mental attitude. 

Thinking before you act is critical to developing a strong amount of personal improvement. To help you think first, try to set priorities on a list and consider the likely consequences before beginning. 

Working on personal improvement and generating a positive mental attitude will also reduce the amount of time that it takes you to achieve your goals.

Personal Empowerment

Personal empowerment is similar to Personal Power, except empowerment is the power you see within yourself, instead of how others view you.

Promoting a positive image and adopting creativity within your daily life can speed up the time it takes to achieve personal empowerment and your goals.

To help you increase your personal empowerment, consider looking for new, creative ways to finish a project in a faster, easier or cheaper way without compromising the end result.

Personal Analysis

It is very important to be conscious of areas in which you are naturally gifted as well as analyze areas in which you need improvement. This is called personal analysis.

Being truthful about where you currently stand is the first step to moving forward. You should be constantly evaluating where you are in relation to achieving your goals and ambitions.

Personal Objectives

Ambition goes to waste when there are no clear goals in sight. Developing short-term and long-term goals is a pivotal step in actually accomplishing them and growing as a person.

Having a set plan will help you have a clear understanding of which strategies are necessary in order to reach your desired destination.

Why Make a Personal Development Plan?

The reason you need a personal development plan is that making a plan will help guide you to better decision-making and remind yourself of where you want to go.

In other words, good preparation increases the probability of success and decreases the risk of things going wrong along the way.

Creating a plan for personal development helps you get a better sense of control over your life and will make you better prepared for whatever comes your way.

Consider these benefits to having a personal development plan:

  • It brings your vision to reality. 
  • It ensures you take appropriate and logically planned action.
  • It helps you improve your time management skills so you can achieve your goals. 
  • It’s a plan to keep track of progress, which serves to motivate you when you want to give up.
  • It’s been proven to reduce stress, improve balance in life, and increase self-confidence.

Developing personal development goals for work can make the difference between success and failure. Creating a self-growth plan for your personal life can mean the difference between life-long happiness and regret.

Skills & Objectives

The objectives of personal development are continuous personal growth, increased potential for success, and capitalizing on potential opportunities.

You can practice your personal development skills by setting aside time for the important people in your life, performing action exercises that force you to perform at the highest level, and studying growth performances to help ensure you continue to climb the ladder of success.

An action plan has to include measurable objectives so you know the exact steps it will take to reach your goals. Objectives break your larger personal developments goals into bite-sized pieces so you are able to know where you are headed and check off your progress along the way.

There are no limits except for the limits you place on yourself with your thinking.

Commit yourself to a life of constant learning. Even if you are at the top of your field, there is always something to learn. 

Once you have mastered a new skill, move on to learning another one. Constantly learning new skills keeps your mind fresh and active and opens doors that would otherwise be closed to you.

You will become unstoppable and you will see your entire future open up in front of you if you live a goal and growth-oriented life.

Before you can set up a plan, you need to do some self-reflecting and answer personal goal questions.

A few questions you should develop before laying out a specific plan of action are:

  • What do I want to make out of my life?
  • What are my goals and ambitions?
  • What is currently standing in my way of achieving these goals?

After answering those questions, you can create a personal plan that contains a few key components.

The key components you should focus on are having a specific outcome that you are constantly working towards, planning and paving a path towards achieving it, being mindful of the obstacles, and understanding the bigger motivation behind your actions.

When developing a personal development plan for work, you should focus on SMART goals. SMART stands for “Specific”, “Measurable”, “Achievable”, “Relevant”, and “Time-Bound.”

By following this easy-to-remember acronym when goal setting , you can improve both your personal and professional life:

  • Specific: Write goals that are detailed and clear instead of broad and general.
  • Measurable: Set milestones that will let you know you are achieving your goal.
  • Achievable: Make goals that are challenging yet can realistically be achieved.
  • Relevant: Align your goals with your personal self-improvement plan.
  • Time-Bound: Pick an end date by which you want to achieve your goal.

Set Goals for Professional Life

In order to make progress that you can see and track in your professional life, you need to document a detailed plan of action for your personal development.

Some personal development plan examples for work include answering the following questions:

  • What do I want to learn?
  • What do I have to do?
  • What support and resources will I need?
  • How will I measure success?

Be as specific with your answers as possible. The more precise, the easier it is to track your progress.

Seeing how far you have come and how your hard work is paying off will give you a boost of confidence and provide a sense of accomplishment.

Some examples of personal development goals for work include the Golden Hour and the 21-Day Mental Diet.

The Golden Hour Rule

The Golden Hour Rule steers the trajectory of your day.

Beginning your day early and investing your first hour in yourself will make a tremendous difference in the way you feel, and you will begin to see positive results in your day.

You will begin to see yourself in a more positive light and improve on your personal development.

The 21-Day Mental Diet

The 21-Day Mental Diet personal leadership plan example means waking up early and investing at least the first two hours of your day in yourself.

With this extra time, set clear goals you can work to achieve in the workplace. This can be improving your productivity and efficiency to help you get that promotion or earn a raise.

Your goals may also include education. You need to learn more to earn more.

Try setting a goal to read something educational, motivational, or inspirational every day before you go to work.

Set Goals in Your Daily Life

Outside of the workspace, it is important to be focusing on some personal goals as well. Similar to the work plan, the personal plan requires you to focus on key points in order to achieve your goals.

Here is a personal development plan example:

  • What are the important goals that you want to achieve?
  • When is your set deadline?
  • What are your biggest strengths?
  • Who or what are your biggest threats?

There are several aspects of personal development disciplines that will make achieving success possible if developed correctly.

A few of these disciplines include goal setting, planning and organizing, and concentrating on your high-value activities.

Goal Setting

Goal setting can be done in the early morning and take only a few minutes of your day.

It can be as simple as purchasing a spiral notebook and writing out your ten goals at the beginning of each day. This will program them deep into your subconscious mind and help you actually follow through on accomplishing them.

Planning Your Day

Planning and organizing at the end of the day can help you better prepare for the coming day.

When you plan out your day, putting it down on paper, you can begin to visualize your important tasks and make sure you are working to complete them throughout the day.

Concentrating On Your High-Value Activities

High-value activities are the things you choose to do throughout the day that will give you the biggest return on your efforts to get you closer to your goals.

Concentrating on your high-value activities will help keep you focused and contribute to your success as much as any other discipline you can develop.

Promoting the highest value activities will make a powerful difference in how quickly you achieve them and the goals they relate to.

Creating a plan for personal development will help you get a better sense of control over your life and your goals…and it doesn’t have to be a daunting task!

Follow this template for writing a personal development plan to get started in achieving your goals.

There are six core steps in this template that will help you take action and measure your progress.

Step 1: Set Your Goals

Write a list of the top 10 most important goals you would like to achieve. I encourage you to really write them down somewhere — on paper or on your computer — instead of just keeping them in your head. 

People who write their goals and have a clear plan are 30% more likely to achieve their goals.

Search deep within yourself and identify the things you really want out of life. Do not be hindered by thoughts of roadblocks that may get in your way. Open yourself up to all the possibilities that would make you truly happy in life.

These are life goals. Life goals are meant to be challenging, so they may seem huge, overwhelming, or even scary. But that’s why they will be broken down into digestible and manageable smaller goals. 

For example, providing for your family is an important long-term goal, but figuring out the steps to get there is the challenge. Your smaller personal development plan objectives will help you identify those steps so you have a clear road map to follow.

With each of the 10 goals you identify, also define your “why:” Why do you want to achieve this goal? What will it mean for your personal life, your career, your health, your loved ones?

Knowing your why will help set you up for success. It will keep you motivated to continue progressing forward until you have achieved what you want to.

Step 2: Prioritize Your Goals

Once you have identified your top 10 goals, write which of those 10 is the most important to you and why.

Starting with your highest priority goal, identify the short-term goals and steps that are needed to achieve your long-term goals.

What needs to happen today so you can move on to tomorrow?

This may require some research on your part, depending on your goal.

For example, say your goal is to become a leader in your field. Some of the short-term goals you will prioritize to reach this personal leadership plan example may include the following:

  • Choose a topic or niche in your industry that you want to specialize in. 
  • Learn everything you can about the issue by talking to people in your industry, reading about your topic, attending seminars and webinars, and so on.
  • Educate others by writing regular blog posts.
  • Start a podcast and offer valuable information.
  • Give interviews on podcasts, local radio and TV stations, and news outlets.
  • Write a book and get it published.
  • Become a public speaker at industry conferences or hold your own conference.

Step 3: Create a Timeline for Achieving Your Goals

Setting deadlines in your personal development plan template is crucial. Without them, your goals can get lost in the everyday chaos of life or forgotten completely.

Write down a specific timeline for achieving each of your goals, but be realistic in your timing and know the likelihood ahead of time of achieving your goal within a certain timeline to avoid discouragement.

While you may want to become debt-free by next year, you will first need to do what is necessary to earn more income or reduce your expenses. This could involve getting more education, finding a better job, or making major life changes, which could take more than 365 days.

Once you assign a due date to each of your short-term goals, tackle the hardest goal first . This will help you realize you can actually achieve your goals faster and give you the motivation you need to propel yourself forward.

If you’re unsure of the timeline you should set for accomplishing your goals, speaking to other people who have achieved the goal you are striving for will help you set a realistic deadline. 

Conducting online research could also help in defining a timeline to accomplish your goals. 

Knowing that it takes four to five years to earn a Ph.D. in business lets you know how long it will likely take you. If you can only attend school part-time, you know it will take longer, perhaps twice as long.

Step 4: Analyze Your Strengths and Weaknesses

Write down your strengths and weakness. Remember that skills like perseverance, positive attitude, and creativity are strengths and weaknesses as much as educational level, experience, and having a strong network of professional contacts.  

Focus on the attributes that are needed to achieve your goal. Then, write how your strengths can help you achieve this goal and how you plan to overcome those weaknesses.

Use a SWOT analysis to organize your thoughts and develop a strong strategy for achieving your goal. SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. 

Ask yourself questions similar to these to help you develop each part of a SWOT analysis:

  • What sets you apart from your peers?
  • What is your competitive advantage?
  • What do others regularly praise you for?
  • What do people ask you to help them with?
  • What parts of yourself are you confident about?
  • What values are important to you?
  • What do you usually avoid doing because you don’t think you can?
  • What kind of tasks do you procrastinate?
  • Where are you lacking in skills, experience, or education?
  • What resources do you lack?
  • What areas do you feel you need improvement?
  • What gets in the way of your work performance or relationships with others?

Opportunities

  • What technology can help you achieve your goal?
  • What promotions or financial incentives are available at work?
  • Who can help you reach your goal?
  • What changes are happening or are projected to happen in your industry or personal life?
  • What conferences, classes, or networking events are available to you?
  • What are your competitors failing at that you can learn from and improve on?
  • What obstacles do you face that may hinder your progress?
  • Which of your weaknesses could lead to threats?
  • Who is trying to achieve the same goal that may get in your way?

Step 5: Write an Action Plan

Write actions that you need to take in order to achieve your goal. These can be things you need to add to your daily routine as well as things you need to eliminate from it in order to achieve the success in life that you are looking for.

Doing this will help you to achieve each goal faster.

Whether you use a notebook or your computer, just make sure you’re also physically writing down your plan so you can see it every day and hold yourself accountable.

Step 6: Measure Your Progress

The final step in your personal development plan template is to mark your progress.

Write down what has been working well, what you have accomplished, what you still need to improve, and what skills or knowledge you have gained along the way.

People who set up a system to report on their goals weekly achieve 40% more than people who do not. 

To help you in this final step, consider using a tracker to take notes, measure progress, and be analytical about what works and what does not.

Sometimes it is necessary to change courses midstream or add a step that you were not initially aware of. That doesn’t mean you should abandon your goal out of discouragement. It just means you need to adapt, and this is where a tracker can help you determine if it’s time to pivot.

Remember it’s okay to be flexible. Doing so will allow you to make changes when needed that will propel you toward your goal more efficiently.

This could be a good opportunity to use another piece of data about how people who write things down/journal are much more likely to be successful. 

Personal development courses, coaches, and programs can also help you hit your goals.

A personal development program accompanied by a personal development coach helps to keep you disciplined and moving forward.

If you are looking to transform your life, check out these courses and programs that include all of my knowledge, distilled into powerful lessons to help you achieve immediate success in your own life. They will teach you how to stop worrying and stressing out and how to take control of your life, forever.

Power of Personal Achievement

Learn the right way to visualize your ideal future. This course will teach you how to set your goals and methodically achieve them with more efficiency than ever before.

This program will teach you how to ditch the negative emotions that have been hindering your success as well as how to redirect your energy and resources towards your personal mission. 

The Science of Self Confidence

In this course, you’ll learn just about everything I’ve learned about self-confidence during the past four decades.

I reveal the secret of the four Cs that teach you how to escape the endless loop of failure. You will find your true self and, as a result, finally feel truly confident.

Maximum Productivity

This course will equip you with the skills to discover your special calling. You will learn everything you need in order to know how to take the shortest, fastest route possible to your destination.

Ultimate success is achievable when you know how to dramatically improve your productivity.

Create Your Personal Development Plan Today

Don’t wait to start improving your life.

Follow a personal development plan for work and your personal life or use a template to start accomplishing your goals and improving your life.

For the easiest way to get started, download my free Personal Development Plan Template to organize your goals over the next few months and years and optimize your success.

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Home — Essay Samples — Psychology — Developmental Psychology — Personal Development Planning

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A Personal Development Plan (PDP) Guide & Template

What is a personal development plan.

Personal development is an ongoing process that drives you to improve your knowledge, skills and experience, so that you can achieve your goals. A personal development plan (or PDP) is a method of focussing your goals into achievable steps, which helps you keep track of your personal development.

Download Free PDP Example/Template

Why Should I Create a Personal Development Plan?

Your plan may be aimed at your education, career or personal goal, or a mixture of all three – that is up to you to determine. Whatever the case may be, a good plan will provide you with a clear sense of focus. It helps you map out a path towards your goals, strategise a plan to achieve them, record the actionable steps you will take, and set a timeframe for completing them. Focussing your goals into a PDP helps you maintain your vision, keep on track to achieve your targets, and reflect on your progress.

Simply put, a PDP can help you build a clear understanding of what you want to achieve and how you are going to achieve it.

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A clear plan can also support your positive mental wellbeing and improve your level of satisfaction. It can provide a sense of direction, purposefulness and a feeling of success as you start to fulfil your potential. All of these can have very positive impacts on your mental health. 

Therefore, discovering what your goals are, getting organised and giving yourself a sense of direction can be incredibly beneficial. This article will give you an understanding of how to write a personal development plan, as well as provide you with a handy template to support your development journey.

How to Write a Personal Development Plan

There are seven steps to writing a PDP:

  • Set yourself goals.
  • Prioritise those goals.
  • Set yourself deadlines for when you want to achieve them.
  • Recognise threats and opportunities.
  • Develop your skills or increase your knowledge.
  • Use your support network.
  • Measure your progress.

person filling in PDP diary progress

1. Set Yourself Goals

The first step is to set yourself goals . Think about what you want to achieve, whether that’s within a few weeks, within a year, or over your lifetime.

Deciding what you want is not only the first step in planning, it’s also the hardest. Once you’ve figured out what you want to do, that goal will provide clear direction and a structure for your resulting plan.

At this stage, your goals will feel big. You might be wondering how you are ever going to achieve them. Don’t worry – the next step is to prioritise and turn those goals into smaller, actionable steps that will support you on your way to achieving them.

2. Prioritising Your Goals

Now that you have your goals, the next stage is to break them down into smaller steps. When doing this, it’s important that your goals are SMART:

  • Specific. Avoid large, ambiguous steps. These won’t support you on your way to achieving your goals. Insted, make sure that your goals are specific and clearly highlight the skill, knowledge or experience you want to develop.
  • Measureable. You need to be able to monitor and reflect on your progress. Therefore, your goals need to be measurable, such as by setting a goal to develop your SEO knowledge with a measurable target of growing your website traffic by a set, defined percentage.
  • Attainable. Your goals need to be achievable and realistic. You need to think about if it is something you can realistically achieve with the time and resources you have. If not, you will likely be setting yourself up for failure. 
  • Relevant. It’s important to keep your overall goal in mind and make sure that every step you take is supporting you to achieve it. You don’t want to be spending time doing things that don’t get you where you want to go.
  • Time-bound. Set yourself key targets to achieve and deadlines in which to achieve them. This will help you stay focussed on achieving your goals. However, it’s important to make sure you are realistic in what you can achieve in any given period. Don’t try to achieve everything all at once. It’s unrealistic and you won’t be setting yourself up well to achieve them. Remember that personal development is a journey – your PD plan can continue to grow and develop as you take those steps towards your goals.

Once you have your goals, you’ll need to prioritise them. 

In your PDP, you should be setting yourself mini goals to make the big ones happen.

For example, if you wish to pursue a career in academia as a senior lecturer and then a professor, a necessary step to succeeding in this goal is to achieve a PhD. So that would be one of your long-term goals. You then need to break it down into steps, such as:

  • Learn about the PhD application process.
  • Find a suitable university and supervisor for a PhD.
  • Look at routes for funding.
  • Find studentships to apply for or apply to your university of choice.
  • Write and submit your PhD application.

3. Set Yourself Deadlines

Knowing when you want to achieve a goal is crucial, and picturing your future is an important source of motivation and inspiration.

Having goals and a set deadline will drive your motivation to achieve them. For example, if your goal is to buy a home, knowing when you want to achieve it will help you calculate exactly how much money you need to save each year in order to get your deposit. The same is true for your skills, knowledge and experience development. As mentioned above, setting realistic and time-bound goals are essential to achieving them. 

One good way to understand more about achieving your goals is to speak to those who have previously trodden a similar path. Learning about  their experiences can help you understand key barriers to, or methods of, success that may also be applicable to your PDP.

typing up a personal development plan

4. Recognise Threats and Opportunities

When considering your goals, you should identify your own strengths, consider areas of weakness you can develop, look at the opportunities available to support you in achieving your goals, and any threats that may hinder you in your progress. This is called a SWOT analysis. Note that these threats may be external or they may be core skills that you can develop as part of your PDP.

For example, a lack of motivation could hinder your plans to apply for a PhD. However, once you’ve identified your tendency to procrastinate or lose focus, you can put in place methods that will keep you motivated.

There are also going to be things that you could do, and connections with people or resources you could take advantage of, that will help you on your way. These are your opportunities that you should commit to doing.

For example, if there’s a conference coming up, take advantage of that. Go along and network, stay up to date on the latest knowledge, or even present a paper. These are all opportunities that could help you achieve your goals.

5. Develop Yourself

Once you have an idea of what could help or hinder you, this is when you can capitalise on those opportunities you recognised. Make an action plan about how you’ll make that progress.

Whatever it is that hinders you, there’s a way to stop it. Your plan is the first step to making sure you stay on track. 

So, why not take a look at how to upskill yourself , develop transferable skills in today’s rapidly changing jobs market, or even discover an online learning opportunity .

6. Use Your Support Network

The next thing you need to realise is that:

You don’t have to do everything by yourself.

And you shouldn’t. The support network around you is a valuable asset, so use it and don’t underestimate it.

In your PDP, list the people who can help you. This could be a financial advisor, a friend, or a colleague. People are often so happy to help you, more than you might realise.

friends supporting PDP

7. Measure Progress

After you’ve achieved some progress, whether it’s big or small, take time to reflect on how far you’ve come.

Recognising what has gone well is an effective way to bolster your motivation and remain dedicated.

And after a setback, this is another time to take stock.

Wallowing – briefly – is a good way to feel what you need to without holding on to it. Holding onto sadness, anger or frustration, however, will only deter you. These emotions will take you nowhere and will only hinder you.

You should also spend a little time figuring out why it went wrong. Can you identify a skills or knowledge gap? 

 If you can, then you can get yourself back on track by focussing on your next step. This will reignite your sense of purpose and help you regain control, which is integral to making progress.

Continue to reflect on your progress. You can gain significant insight from your reflections and this can help you grow. Remember that you should update your plan where necessary. Don’t overload it at any one time but, once you have achieved your small steps, reflect and then update your plan to focus on your next move.

Free Personal Development Plan Example & Template

In this article, we have discussed how you can create your own personal development plan, so you should now feel ready to start considering your goals and developing your own plan. To help you produce an effective personal development plan, we have created an editable template that you can use. Take a look at our example PDP, and download your free template below:

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Personal Development Plan for Goal-Setting College Students 

Personal Development Plan

If you’re here to read this, you’re probably the type of college student who enjoys walking the path to self-improvement. You recognize the advantages personal development offers both professionally and personally. A well-structured personal development plan can help you set and achieve meaningful goals, both in your academic life and beyond. In this blog post, we’ll guide you through the steps of building a robust personal development plan, covering the five key areas of growth, and emphasizing its crucial role in career advancement. 

female college student happy with her personal development plan

The Five Key Areas of Growth 

Before diving into the steps of creating a personal development plan, it’s essential to understand the five key areas of growth. Let’s take a look! 

1. Intellectual Growth 

This encompasses expanding knowledge, critical thinking skills, and intellectual pursuits. It involves setting academic goals, exploring new subjects, and seeking out opportunities for intellectual stimulation. Remember, this doesn’t mean you have to be enrolled in school or pursuing a degree (although it certainly helps!). Just reading books or watching educational videos on YouTube can help develop intellectual growth.  

2. Emotional and Social Growth 

Developing emotional intelligence, communication skills, and building strong relationships fall under this category. Including this in your personal development plan is a great way to maintain a work/life balance. And college is an ideal environment for this, even an online college like University of the People. At UoPeople, your peers come from all over the world. This makes for a great opportunity to enhance your emotional and social skills and well-being.  

3. Physical and Health Growth 

Taking care of your physical well-being is crucial for maintaining a healthy and balanced lifestyle. Don’t worry, this doesn’t mean hours at the gym. Setting simple fitness goals, adopting a nutritious diet, and establishing home routines for exercise and self-care all contribute to this growth area. 

4. Career Growth 

Preparing for your future career starts now. This involves setting career goals, gaining relevant experiences through internships or part-time jobs, and seeking mentorship and guidance from professors and professionals in your field. Use the internet to your advantage here and don’t stick to networks within your borders. Enroll in a flexible online program of your choice if you are working or too busy with family responsibilities. Earning a college degree can surely jumpstart your career.  At UoPeople, our asynchronous learning model is helping learners from around the world live their dreams.    

5. Personal Fulfillment and Hobbies 

Pursuing passions and hobbies not only provides personal satisfaction but also contributes to a well-rounded and balanced life. It’s crucial to allocate time for activities that bring you joy and fulfillment. Giving your mind something else to focus on will help you return to your studies refreshed and ready to work.  

Building a Strong Personal Development Plan 

Taking the time to lay out a well-thought-out plan is the first step toward any endeavor. It gives you the best chance at success so don’t skip it! 

Set Clear, Specific Goals: Begin by identifying what you want to achieve in each of the five areas of growth. Set aside time in a quiet place to really think about what you want for yourself. Make sure your goals are S.M.A.R.T., that is, specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound.  

Self-Assessment: Reflect on your current strengths and areas that need improvement within each category. Be honest with yourself and consider asking for the opinion of someone you trust. Practicing this type of openness and self-awareness will guide you in creating realistic and tailored objectives.  

Create Actionable Steps: Break down your goals into smaller, actionable tasks. For each goal, start with a single action you can take today to start your progress. This makes the process more manageable and provides a clear roadmap for your development. 

Establish a Timeline: Assign specific deadlines to each task or milestone. Be realistic here, but don’t be afraid to feel a sense of urgency. Striking this balance helps maintain focus and motivation throughout the process. 

Regularly Review and Adjust: Periodically evaluate your progress and adjust your plan as needed. Schedule a time every Sunday (or whatever day works best for you) to sit down with a cup of coffee/tea and review your progress for the week. Flexibility is key, as your circumstances may change, and new opportunities may arise. 

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Personal Development and Career Growth 

Your personal development plan is intricately linked to your career aspirations. Here’s how: 

1. Skill Acquisition and Enhancement 

The skills you develop through personal growth directly impact your career prospects. For example, improved communication skills can enhance your ability to collaborate in a professional setting. 

2. Confidence and Self-Efficacy 

As you achieve personal development goals, you’ll gain confidence in your abilities and your future. This self-assuredness is invaluable in job interviews, networking events, and workplace interactions. 

3. Adaptability and Resilience 

Personal development cultivates adaptability and resilience, crucial traits in today’s rapidly changing job market. By challenging yourself you’ll discover a renewed ability to navigate challenges and seize opportunities. 

4. Networking and Relationship Building 

Strengthening your social and emotional intelligence through personal development helps you foster meaningful connections when you meet new people. These connections can lead to mentorship opportunities and professional growth. 

5. Leadership and Initiative 

Setting and achieving personal goals demonstrates initiative and self-leadership. These are the skills you learn while developing other skills. These qualities are highly valued by employers and can lead to leadership roles in your future career.  

A well-structured personal development plan is a powerful tool for goal-setting college students. It provides a clear path for growth across five key areas, ultimately contributing to your academic success and future career advancement. By dedicating time and effort to your personal development, you’re not only investing in your present but also in your future success. 

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Personal Development: 9 Skills, Tips, and Examples

Why personal development is so important and how to improve yourself..

Posted June 7, 2020 | Reviewed by Gary Drevitch

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I am obsessed with personal development because it's helped me completely change my life. Only 10 years ago, I had no connections, no money, and worked a minimum wage retail job. Now, I have a Ph.D. from Berkeley, am the author of a book on how to generate happiness in the technology age , and have created a variety of well-being-boosting programs . And it's all because I worked on developing myself. So how do you make personal development work for you?

Personal development can include any skill that you build to improve yourself—your emotions, thoughts, or behaviors. It doesn't really matter which skills you want to improve; the key to personal development is taking the right steps—steps that help ensure that you reach whatever goal you are pursuing.

Learn more from the video below:

What are the most important personal development skills? It really depends on what you're trying to achieve. But here are 9 that I have found to be important to successful personal development.

1. Start by figuring out which personal development skills you need to build. The first step in any personal development strategy is to figure out how to best use your time. It makes little sense to learn how to code if you don't plan to be a coder or to bench press 400 pounds if you don't plan to be a weight lifter. These can be hobbies, but personal development is more about building skills to reach your personal goals . So it's good to take some time to self-reflect. (If well-being is a goal of yours, take this well-being quiz to see which skills you need to build.)

2. Develop entrepreneurial thinking. Everyone can benefit from learning how to think like an entrepreneur, regardless of whether or not you are one. Why? Because entrepreneurs are innovative, good at planning for all possible outcomes, and skilled at getting others to buy into their vision or dream. And perhaps more importantly for personal development, they tend to be adaptable to all sorts of situations.

By developing entrepreneurial thinking, you better adapt to whatever your circumstances are so you can more easily achieve your goals, whether those goals are to start a business that makes a positive impact in the world , to set yourself up for an early retirement , or climb Mount Everest.

3. Develop a growth mindset . If we have a “fixed mindset,” we may shy away from challenges that could help us grow. But this can be problematic because our fear of making mistakes can lead us to avoid challenges and new experiences—experiences which would help us grow, improve ourselves in important ways, and create the life we desire.

If we have a “ growth mindset ” we seek out challenges because we value learning and growth more than we value feeling smart or knowing what we’re doing. That's why those with a growth mindset often build new skills more easily: They believe they can and so they really work at it.

4. Develop your self-soothing mechanism. High levels of stress are not only bad for our health and well-being, they can prevent us from effectively pursuing and achieving our self-development goals. By learning effective, long-lasting relaxation techniques , your body and mind will be more equipped to handle the inevitable challenges that arise when you're trying to develop yourself.

5. Develop resilience . Resilience is that super-important skill that helps you bounce back quickly after being knocked down. This is one of the most important skills for success because none of us will achieve anything if we don't keep trying when we fail. We can build resilience by improving skills like emotion-regulation , mindfulness , and positivity.

6. Develop your value compass. It's not always easy to live by our core values . But when we go through life without following our personal values, we can easily get lost. We may suddenly "wake up" and realize that we are not who we want to be or where we want to be. This is why it's so important to stay in alignment with our personal values.

What are your values? Perhaps: kindness, curiosity, creativity , hard work, or personal relationships. Define your personal values so you know which actions are in alignment with those values.

7. Create a personal development plan. A good personal development plan takes all these factors into consideration—the WHAT, the HOW, the WHY, and the WHEN. And it focuses on long-term goals . So ask yourself:

personal development plan example for students essay

  • What skills will you build?
  • How will you build them?
  • Why will you build them?
  • And when will you build them?

It can be helpful to create a 10-year plan to map out how you'll reach these goals.

8. Record your progress towards personal development. Keeping track of our progress as we move toward our personal development goals is key to making sure we're on the right track. Then we can pause and take a different direction if we've gone off course. By maintaining self-awareness and frequently checking in with ourselves, we can identify things that we need to devote more attention to. As a result, we can make better progress toward our personal development.

9. Keep developing yourself in new ways. The science is clear: The more ways we develop ourselves, the broader our skillset, and the more success we tend to have. So try learning some new emotional skills or do some activities to build new skills. You just might learn something that changes your life.

Facebook /LinkedIn images: GaudiLab/Shutterstock

Tchiki Davis, Ph.D.

Tchiki Davis, Ph.D. , is a consultant, writer, and expert on well-being technology.

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Personal and Professional Development Plan Self Evaluation Essay

People admire living a healthy and happy life despite the challenges that experience. They work hard to achieve their dreams, even though sometimes it becomes difficult to meet some targets. The desire to accomplish personal and professional goals pushes people to invest their time and money in various issues like education, training, health and research (Driessen and Tartwijk 196). This paper outlines my personal and professional development plan.

Strengths and Weaknesses

I am hardworking and believe in the possibility of achieving my dreams. I aspire to be a nurse leader and invest my time, money, body and skills to benefit all nursing stakeholders. Moreover, I plan my schedule properly to avoid lateness and ensure work is delivered before the deadline expiry. I do not postpone my responsibilities and believe that all work should be done at the correct time and place. My team leading skills, teamwork and cooperation enables me to work in diverse environments with partners from different backgrounds. I believe that research and additional training are necessary to expand my knowledge regarding leadership in nursing and that is why online and physical libraries have become my companions. However, I am very impatient and like things being done as soon as possible. I do not believe any person can outdo me in anything. Corrections and reprimands discourage me from doing my work properly. It is not easy to persuade me to change my mind once I am set to achieve a goal. Sometimes I overwork and this reduces my efficiency.

Identification and explanation of Resources to Be Used to Achieve My Plans

I have registered for personality development part-time classes to learn how to work with others without feeling offended when reprimanded. These classes are planned to help me manage organizational conflicts that occur when leaders have conflicting opinions. Part-time classes are scheduled to meet the specific needs of individuals and this means that I will learn how to develop my personality by knowing how to work with others (Hadar and Brody 154). Moreover, it will shape my perception towards corrections and reprimands and this will make me a better administrator. I am doing a lot of online research (journals and websites) on personality development to identify ways of correcting my weaknesses. The research includes reading testimonies of people who have successfully achieved personal and professional growth. There are numerous testimonies on the internet about people and how they managed personality weaknesses within a short time (Stone 44). Some of their weaknesses like being impatient and ignoring corrections from others are common in many people including me. I learn how they manage and avoid them in the future and that is why these testimonies are useful resources for my personality and professional growth. The people around me play important roles in shaping my personality by evaluating my behavior as an aspiring leader. Friends, family members and colleagues can monitor and advise me on my performance and this helps me to identify areas that require attention. They represent the whole society and the work environment and thus their expectations are similar to those of my future publics (Sonnino 37). Moreover, I use self-evaluation skills that include preparing a worksheet that shows my accomplishments in meeting my personal and professional development goals. It is easy to measure my performance using a daily checklist that shows the progress in developing my personality and professional development (Calderhead 15). Sometimes it is not easy to know whether an individual is changing without comparing behavioral statistics. Lastly, I benchmark my performance with that of other successful people around me to determine what I need to do to be like them. An administrator is supposed to possess excellent leadership and management skills (Moon 79). I spend a lot of time monitoring the performance of successful administrators and studying what they did to be where they are. In addition, they will be my role models and align my objective with theirs to ensure our paths are similar. The similarities between their aspirations and mine are likely to make me a good administrator in the future.

How I Will Be a World Changer in the Next Five Years

I aspire to change the world by becoming a better administrator. My objective is to introduce new energy to youths in administration and challenge the existing administrators to realize that their positions are not only reserved for the elderly. I would like to prove to them that age does not matter in offering quality services as an administrator. Secondly, I wish to challenge youths who want to be administrators when they are 40 years or older to know that this is their time to become leaders. I will motivate them to seek leadership positions in organizations and this will induce competition in managerial positions. Moreover, I will implement effective leadership that involves identifying the responsibilities of this position and how to combine various resources to maximize production and profits. I hope to become a personality and professional development speaker and guide people on how to become good managers in their organizations. This will involve helping them to identify their strengths and weaknesses and working on them to become better people. Lastly, I will transform the perception of managers by other employees and ensure they perceive each other as useful resources for achieving the objectives of an organization.

Works cited

Calderhead, James. “The contribution of research on teachers’ thinking to the professional development of teachers.” Research on Teacher Thinking: Understanding Professional Development 13.2 (2012): 11-18. Print.

Driessen, Erik and Jan van Tartwijk. “Portfolios in personal and professional development.” Understanding Medical Education: Evidence, Theory and Practice 16.4 (2013): 193-200. Print.

Hadar, Linor L. and David L. Brody. “The interaction between group processes and personal professional trajectories in a professional development community for teacher educators.” Journal of Teacher Education 64.2 (2013): 145-161. Print.

Moon, Jennifer A. Reflection in Learning and Professional Development: Theory and Practice . New York: Routledge, 2013. Print.

Sonnino, Roberta E. “Professional development and leadership training opportunities for healthcare professionals.” The American Journal of Surgery 206.5 (2013): 727-731. Print.

Stone, Ashley. NASPA’s New Professionals Institute: Exploring the Personal and Professional Impact of a Two-Day, Intensive Professional Development Experience. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2013. Print.

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Personal Development Plan Template

Updated 04 September 2023

Subject Corporations ,  Entrepreneurship ,  Goals

Downloads 54

Category Business ,  Life

Topic Company

A personal development plan will help you improve or maintain your current level of success and prepare for future opportunities. You can include both personal and career goals in a single plan, or create a separate plan for each of the key areas of your life. Either way, be sure to revisit your plan(s) at least once every six months to ensure your goals are aligned with the changes in the world around you.

This template includes sections for the following process:

1. Assess your current state.

2. Identify areas of opportunities.

3. Skills and experience needs.

4. Develop your action plan.

Assess Your Current State

List your top five skills (things that you do well):

1. Knowledge and competence in the industry

2. Excellent oral and written communication skills

3. Self-management and being in control of what I do

4. Decision making and problem solving skills

5. Teamwork in projects I am involved in

List the five values most important to you:

1. Accountability of time and company resources

3. Positive thinking

4. Detail oriented when working on a project

5. Delivery of quality services and work

List your top five strengths:

(To validate your list, refer to your feedback forms from your family, friends or coworkers)

1. Trustworthiness – based on feedback from family and coworkers

2. Creativity noted on the performance review

3. Determination – based feedback from family and friends

4. Analytical and creative – based on performance review feedback

5. Team player – based on feedback from coworkers and performance review

List your five areas that most need improvement:

1. Being too critical when making decisions

2. Meeting deadlines and keeping timelines

3. Unfamiliarity with latest technology

4. Hesitant when trying out a new method or process

5. Shyness when in a new environment

List five priority interests:

1. Meditation

2. Financial management

3. Strengthening of family relationships

4. Networking and socializing

5. Career development

List five priority wants:

1. Job promotion

2. Increased salary

3. Further learning

4. More time to exercise

5. Investment

Identify Areas of Opportunities

Where is your department headed?

Greater  efficiency with the established teams dedicated to a project

Where is your company headed?

Market share expansion to increase the customer base and profitability

What areas do your friends and colleagues see as opportunities?

1. Financial development – shifting revenue streams

2. Current market trends – expansion of the customer base

3. Exercise – join a fitness club

4. Networking and socializing – attend company cocktails and parties

5. Career development – current opening in the department

What jobs or areas of interest look exciting and/or filled with potential?

How can you learn more?

1. Marketing – Job shadow Carole Blacke, the marketing executive to learn more about marketing strategies

2. Fitness Club – Talk to John Walker, the fitness club coach

3. Yoga Class – Start meditation classes

4. Saving money – join a financial management class

5. Career advancement – enroll for management classes at the community college

Skills and Experience Needs

Based on the previous sections, which skills would be most helpful to my personal and career growth?

1. Communication skills

2. Marketing skills

3. Decision making and problem solving skills

4. Creative skills

5. Team work

Develop Your Action Plan

Based on the previous sections, list five key goals. Goals are longer-term aims, more general than objectives. They may take a year or more to achieve. Rather than limit yourself with narrow goals like moving from Salesperson to Sales Manager, expand the possibilities and make your goal moving from Salesperson to management—either in sales or elsewhere.

(If you’re unsure which area(s) you want to pursue, use the previous sections with blanks or general responses, to create your list. In this case, your goals are to gain greater clarity about which areas of potential opportunities or interests you want to focus on in the next year or two.)

List five key goals:

1. Get a promotion at work

2. Graduate with a second degree in the field of management

3. Become physically fit

4. Increase my savings account

Objectives are specific actions that support your larger goals. Choose objectives that will have the greatest impact on achieving your goals. Use the SMART system to define them:

Specific—can you clearly define the objective you want to accomplish?

Measurable—how will you know when it’s complete?

Attainable—is it realistic, based on your current skills and experience?

Relevant—how does it directly contribute to the goal you’re pursuing?

Time frame—can you accomplish it within a reasonable time period?

Complete the plan below. Upload to the LMS. You could also print, and post it in a prominent place. Review regularly to maintain progress on achieving your goals.

INSERT YOUR NAME HERE – PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT PLAN

Specific Objective

Measurement

Achieved? Y/N

Enrol for a business management degree program

Attend all classes and complete class projects in time.

Yes with the support of family and co-workers during evening classes.

A business management degree certificate supports my career development goals in the marketing department.

2-year program

Job shadow Carole Blacke, the marketing executive for a day

Follow Carole Blacke’s  day activities in the marketing department

Yes, with permission from my department supervisor

Gain insight into the job requirements and skills needed for a marketing executive

Set up a day coming week.

Join a fitness club and start a fitness program

Track the frequency of the classes every week

Yes, after getting a medical check-up.

Becoming physically fit

Develop a steady routine for the first 2 weeks then maintain the routine

Enrol for a financial management class in the community college

Attend all sessions and work on the assignments diligently

Yes, with the support of family and friends

The financial management class will support my saving goals and improve my saving skills

1 week learning session

Attend investment seminars and forums

Attend the workshops and sessions

Yes, with the help of family and friends

The seminars and workshops will support my investment goals

1 week long workshop

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Personal Development Plan - Essay Example

Personal Development Plan

  • Subject: Human Resources
  • Type: Essay
  • Level: Masters
  • Pages: 8 (2000 words)
  • Downloads: 0

Extract of sample "Personal Development Plan"

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CHECK THESE SAMPLES OF Personal Development Plan

The general performance management, developing a personal development plan for a student pursuing msc in marketing, personal development plan for the next academic year, swot analysis and personal development plan, global domination or global leadership, human resources strategy and professional practice.

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Home / Essay Samples / Psychology / Development / Crafting My Path to Success: A Personal Professional Development Plan

Crafting My Path to Success: A Personal Professional Development Plan

  • Category: Life , Psychology
  • Topic: About Myself , Development , Personal Goals

Pages: 2 (873 words)

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Personal development plan: example for students (essay)

Short term goals (next 12 months).

  • Finish my dissertation related to construction law successfully
  • Complete my degree in Quantity Surveyor with a first class honors
  • Have more experience in taking off quantities.

Key skills I need to be developed to be an adjudicator:

  • Excellent communication skills and Presentation skills
  • Public speaking skills
  • Dispute solving skills and analytical approach
  • Ability to present the dispute scenario.

Medium Term Goals (Next 2-3 years)

  • Be a part of a consultancy firm
  • Gain more experience in Contractual practices
  • Complete MSc in Dispute resolution construction law successfully
  • Be a presenter in front of Dispute Adjudication Board(DAB)
  • Start my RICS associate.

Long Term Goals (Beyond 3 years)

  • Complete Diploma in Adjudication in the construction successfully
  • Spend my marriage life happily with my family
  • Submit more evidences onto RICS managed
  • Work on more dispute cases and to give most appropriate decisions on that
  • Be a qualified and successful Adjudicator
  • Give my service to the all over the world as a qualified Adjudicator.

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