How to Create a One-Year Personal Development Plan in Five Crucial Steps
I’m amazed at the lack of professionals who choose to grow on accident if at all. They simply do not have a plan to personally grow.
The average professional only reads what is required and the absolute minimum at that.
They act allergic to books and seem to finish any type of growth at puberty. The only learning that ever occurs is what is necessary to do their job. Nothing more.
Ask yourself: are you reading more than the average professional..? You can click HERE to find out.
If you have a desire to reach your potential, one thing is mandatory. It will require time, scheduling, commitment, discipline, and focus. But it will yield results that affect absolutely every area of your life. What is it?
A personal development plan or PdP for short.
Here’s a working definition of a personal development plan:
PdP – a pre-determined, organized system for individual growth
Why have a PdP?
- Personal Development…
- does not happen on accident
- is not forced learning
- is not left up to someone else nor anyone else’s responsibility
- does determine your potential
If you truly understand the value in a PdP, then you’re ready to find out how to create this pre-determined, organized system for individual growth.
Here Are Five Crucial Steps to Create a One-Year Personal Development Plan:
1. Determine What Areas of Subject Interest You
Everyone is different in his or her areas of interest. And at the end of the day, you must be excited about your area of personal development. Where do you want to grow?
For example, I am drawn to the following subjects:
- Time Management / Productivity
- Health (anything nutrition and fitness)
- Christian Growth / Spiritual Formation
There are topics that you’re naturally drawn to and this is a great place to start your PdP.
Create your list of topics that interest you.
2. Determine Where You Will Find Your Resources
This is an intentional process to create a feeder system for your plan. If you work your PdP, you will constantly need resources to keep you going. You need a plan.
For example, I use the following feeder system:
Barnes-N-Noble – if I see a BN, my car does a B-Line straight to the bookstore. I can spot one miles away. I completely lose control of the vehicle (talk about a smart car!) I love to browse the physical bookshelves in the topics that interest me (mentioned in the last point). A stack of books and 30-60 minutes of heaven. I walk away with quite the list.
Amazon / iTunes – technology is amazing. I can browse under my chosen topics, and so many options appear that are of interest to me. Amazon will track my “topics you may like” and feed me ideas. Almost like it was planned. You can even save the ideas in your wish list. How convenient.
Ask Others – I love learning what other people are reading who I respect and have a PdP as well. Nothing beats a live recommendation. Sometimes this can happen by reading someone’s blog post who offer book recommendations as well. And often, that book finds its way to the top of the list.
Note: If cost is an issue, you will be pleasantly surprised what you can find at your local public library. Often, I’ll check it out there first and if I really like the book, then I’ll buy it. It’s worth the extra effort and often spreads out my dollars.
3. Determine How You Will Grow
There are many different means of personal development and you must choose the means that is best for you. Here are some examples:
Reading (hard copy and / or digital) – It’s still hard to beat a good old-fashioned book for personal development. And I’ve now converted over to 50/50 with digital. I love the ability to outline and take notes. One advantage of digital is I can have numerous books available to me literally at my fingertips.
Audiobooks – maybe you prefer listening whether during a commute or exercising. Listening may be your best means of learning or just the most convenient. It’s good to have options. Sometimes I’ll have a physical book I’m working through as well as an audiobook. It’s a matter of location for me. Read how to Create a Mobile Classroom HERE.
Podcasts – educational podcasts are great due to their shorter length and focused subjects. You can find the topic you like and subscribe and have podcasts be your teacher at any given moment. And they’re free!
Blog Posts – certain writers offer excellent content to motivate, encourage, and challenge you and just reading their words provides needed education for you at any given moment.
Online Courses – there are SO many great online courses on a variety of subjects (and prices) that can definitely accelerate your learning curve and worth checking out.
You may choose a combination of the above options for your personal development plan. The key is finding a mix to maximize learning opportunities within your day and week.
4. Determine When You Will Grow
This sounds elementary but what gets scheduled gets done. And when have you ever found “extra time” within your day to get something done. And would you choose learning in that “rare” extra moment?
Know thyself. Ask the following questions:
- Where can you be creative within your day for your PdP? – 1st thing in the morning? When you walk / run / bike? Your commute? Walking through the airport?
- When within your day is your best time to absorb content and not go through the motions? – sometimes heavier content needs to be absorbed when your mind is fresh such as early in the morning
- What length of time do I have and what means is the best to maximize that time? – if I only have 10 or 15 minutes, how can I use that time wisely such as a podcast?
5. Determine What You Will Learn Next
This is the reality of the previous four action items. And this is my favorite part. Now that I ‘ve done the hard work of the PdP process, I can now begin entering the names of what will be my path to learning.
It’s a breathing document to me because as I come across new resources I add them to the list.
And I will re-arrange the order based on what I feel I need to learn right now in my life.
If something new comes out that really peaks your interest, it may move up on the list. If something wasn’t as good or valuable as you had hoped, start skimming for the meat, choose to you put it aside for now or forever and move on to something else.
This is YOUR PdP so work the system so it works for you!
Creating Your PdP
Now that you’ve determined what areas interest you, where you will find your resources, your means of growing, when you will grow, and what you’ll learn or study next, now is your time to create your PdP.
This is NOT a plan in your head.
This is a working document that is your new pre-determined, organized system for individual growth. It’s your plan to get you from where you are now to where you want to be.
At any given moment, you can pull out your PdP and know your next step and reference your plan.
The goal is enough content for a year. Now, you’ll need to determine what that will look like for you.
For example, I try to read two books a month which means I want to have a large feeder system of books on various subjects for variety.
Your PdP is your roadmap to know what resources you’re going to read or study next. I love this list and keeps you moving forward.
A professional who has the desire and discipline to reach his full potential will walk away from this post (of course after reading it) crafting their own PdP as quickly as possible.
Remember, true growth doesn’t happen on accident and is not left up to someone else nor his or her responsibility.
If you’re not satisfied with where you’re at in your life right now or just want SO much more, this is an opportunity for you to grow and creating a PdP is the perfect place to start.
I challenge you to actually work through these five crucial steps and develop your own Personal Development Plan. It’s one of those decisions you’ll look back on that dramatically changed your life. It did to me.
What will be your personal development plan for the next year to reach your full potential?