Creating a Personal Development Plan That Works

Like most things in life, personal development works better if you’ve got a plan rather than just muddling through and hoping everything will be OK.

Whether this is the first time that you’ve created a plan or the umpteenth one, the process is the same.

Start by figuring out what you want to achieve. This is often called a goal but if you’ve got a different word you’re happy with using, go with that.

The goal should be simple and measurable.

It should also be something real, not abstract.

Money is an abstract goal – increasingly we don’t even handle it but, if we do, it’s just pieces of paper or metal that we’ve assigned an exchange value to. A certain amount will get you a coffee, a different amount a meal and another different amount a car.

And – depending on your idea of each of those, the country you’re in and the current date – those amounts will vary.

The physical object is a much better goal. When you focus on that, the money will appear directly or indirectly.

So pick a goal.

If this is the first time you’ve made a personal development plan, pick a fairly simple goal.

This has a couple of side effects:

  • You should reach it fairly fast
  • You will have focus rather than trying to do everything at once

Personally, I like to have a few plans “on the go” but usually one will be fairly short term (maybe a month), another medium term (maybe a year) and another long term (5 or 10 years)

And usually the short term goal will be a small-ish part of the medium term goal which, in turn, will be a part of the long term goal.

That way, all my goals are congruent and are working towards the same aim.

I strongly suggest you do something similar.

Once you’ve got a goal, take some time to figure out what things will be like when you’ve reached it.

Detail this out as much as possible – what the “thing” will look like, how it will feel, what colour it will be, what the smells and sounds around it will be like.

The more detail – almost to the state of overkill – the better.

Write that out.

Preferably by hand because the act of putting pen to paper adds more reality than just tapping away at a screen. But if your writing is so illegible that a spider couldn’t read it, type it out and then print it out.

Because making the goal physical – even though it’s only physically on paper – helps to make it more real.

Then, in your mind’s eye, go forward in time to when you’ve achieved your goal.

Write a letter to yourself from your future self that tells you that you’ve reached the goal and what it feels like now it’s happened. Again, make the details vivid and use as many of your senses as possible to help bring them to life.

Put the letter in an envelope, seal it and date it for the day you’ve said you’re going to reach your goal.

Don’t worry about precisely how you’re going to reach your goal – that’s for your subconscious to work on – it’s the planning part that makes this so much more likely to happen.

Then, every day, do at least one thing towards your plan.

It could be small – checking something on the web, making a phone call, etc. – or it could be bigger.

The important thing is that you do something towards your plan each and every day.

That helps your subconscious mind realise that you’re serious about it this time and it will gradually start to help you achieve your goal quicker and easier.

And if you’d like some free help with your personal development plan, click this link.