No matter what industry you work in, you’re sure to benefit from personal development. After all, why wouldn’t you want to continuously improve yourself and your skills?

But what exactly is personal development, and more specifically, what is a personal development plan?

Read on to learn all about personal development and personal development plans, and how you can make your own personal development plan.


What Is Personal Development?

Personal development is the act of continuously improving yourself, which can be achieved in a variety of ways. Typically, some methods of self-improvement and personal development include learning new skills, enhancing existing skills, gaining further qualifications, or even developing your spiritual or moral beliefs.

Personal development, at its core, is about fulfilment. Fulfilment is the opposite of stagnation – being fulfilled is the key to happiness, but stagnating can leave you feeling miserable and as though your life is going nowhere.

It’s far too easy to feel stuck in life – especially working a nine to five job that has little room for promotion and doing the same thing day after day. One of the best ways of breaking out of this cycle is by creating a plan of action – a personal development plan.

Taking the time to work on yourself and invest in yourself is sure to pay off and make you a better person. Learning new skills and developing existing skills will bring you new opportunities, and help to change your mindset. If you create a plan of action, you’re sure to become more proactive about your life, and become empowered about your future.

Personal development can help you to improve your identity, awareness, potential, and even enhance your employability. Developing new skills and committing to personal growth can enhance the quality of your life, and help you realise and reach your full potential.

However, personal development isn’t a crash course – you can’t just work on yourself for a couple of weeks and think that you’re finished. It’s a lifelong process that takes constant commitment – which may involve assessing and setting long-term goals to maximise your potential.

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What Is A Personal Development Plan?

A personal development plan (PDP) is a tailored plan to help you develop as a person. It’s essentially an account of your current situation, where you plan on being in the near future, and where you plan on being in the long term.

To create your own personal development plan, you need some level of self-awareness – which can involve journaling, taking time to understand your strengths and weaknesses, and considering your goals.

You can change your PDP whenever needed – sometimes things pop up that can get in the way of plans, and if this occurs, simply revise your PDP. You may change your mind about certain aspects of your plan, and that’s okay – as long as you make notes of the change and don’t give up on your personal development.

Your plan is there to guide you and help you to become the best version of yourself – however, you should buy into it and commit to following the plan you’ve taken the time to create for yourself.

Your PDP is something that you should be able to access regularly – hiding it in the drawer under your desk could result in you forgetting about it.

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How To Create A Personal Development Plan

Now you know more about personal development and personal development plans, it’s time to find out how you can make your own personal development plan.

Before you begin your personal development plan, you should take the time to understand yourself – your skills, weaknesses, goals, and personality traits.

When you first start working on your personal development, it can feel overwhelming – you may feel as though you don’t have skills or that you don’t know where to start.

Know that you do have skills, you may just need to take some time to realise them. Something as simple as talking to people can be considered a skill, which could be developed into public speaking.

When creating a PDP, you don’t need to start everything at once – you may benefit more from working on one or two areas at once, particularly if you’re new to personal development.

Once you’re comfortable working on two aspects at the same time, why not move on to 3 or 4? However, there’s no pressure or rush – you do have the rest of your life, after all!

There are a few steps to creating your own PDP – but the first is setting your goals. Take the time to consider what you truly want out of life. Having long-term goals to motivate you can feel like an anchor, giving you the stability you need and something to work towards.

However, simply setting a long-term goal might feel daunting and unachievable – which is why we recommend breaking your long-term goals into multiple short-term goals. For example, wanting to learn a new language can be broken down into a few simple steps – learn how to say a few sentences, be able to understand a film in that language, be able to have a conversation in that language, and travel to the country and speak to the locals.

Make your goals SMART – specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound.

You should prioritise these goals – they are there to help you become a better person, so take the time to commit to them.

It also helps to set deadlines – this gives you something to work towards. You can always reevaluate the deadlines if needed.

You’re sure to come across obstacles on your personal development journey, but identifying them is key to overcoming them. You will also come across opportunities – too many people make the mistake of ignoring opportunities, but you should take advantage of any opportunity that comes your way.

Knowing what could get in your way and what could help you is key to staying on track. Make a plan of action to help you make progress. A personal development coach could help you with your PDP and keep you on track.

Although your PDP should be tailored to you, you don’t have to do it completely alone. Utilise your professional network, your support network, your family members, or even attend online networking events. There are countless people that could help you develop as a person, whether it be a friend, colleague, manager, or even a life coach.