Creating a Personal Development Plan

Okay, we’ve talked about personal development in a couple of posts now … so let’s talk about creating one.  Creating a personal development plan can transform an individual’s life. It can help a person get in touch with their internal feelings, determine exactly who they want to be, and how they want to live their life. A personal development plan is often used by younger individuals that are constantly bombarded by peer pressure. However, adults can benefit greatly by creating their own personal development plan, to take the single step forward to transforming a life.

What You Admire

It is imperative to first decide exactly what types of characteristics you admire in other individuals; especially any you would like to internalize on your own. These might be the types of characteristics that are easy to measure such as staying physically fit. It might include taking on a better and healthier diet, or living a life full of integrity.

Choosing the right types of characteristics that you find in other individuals that you admire should be on the top of the list. Decide which three characteristics you would like to incorporate in your own life, to begin the process of transformation. The types of characteristics you should focus on are the ones that are outside your personal comfort zone that would positively impact your life. However, they should not be so unattainable, as to become quickly discouraged. Remember last time we talked about not giving up!

Setting Successful Goals

To be successful, you will need to set goals. If the characteristics you selected are tangible, like physical fitness, you will need to understand exactly what the goal looks like. It might include participating in a marathon long-term, walking the neighborhood every day, or changing bad eating habits to healthier ones (this is my tough one … ).

If the characteristics include living a life with high integrity, you will need to detail exactly what that looks like to you. It may mean ending bad behaviors, making better choices to end habits that are detrimental to your health, or asking for outside help to achieve the goal.  It’s always easier when a friend can help you stay accountable (think exercise buddy as an example.)


Once you establish your goals and you have committed to them, it is time to plan them out and give them substance. It is time to expand the plan to include details. I would start by asking what is it that this goal will accomplish for you, why do you want to include this characteristic as part of your personal development, and finally, how do you want to feel when you accomplish your goal?  Expanding the plan might include attaching some form of timelines or benchmarks where you need to reach a specific goal at a specific time. Be realistic, consistent and keep to a timeline that can be easily achieved yet challenges you to stay motivated.  Remember, don’t give up.

Find the Support

It is much easier to obtain these types of goals in your personal development plan with support. It can be a family member, friend, therapist, physician or an exercise buddy that simply wants to help you succeed. With enough support, it is easy to achieve nearly any type of goal.

The last portion of the personal development plan should include a way to celebrate your success. YES! you need to CELEBRATE.  This can be done by keeping a journal of your successes even the little wins.  Part of the celebration should also include a look back through your journal so you know exactly how far you have come on the journey. Perhaps you and your exercise buddy treat yourselves to a day at a spa.

Remember that some days your progress may feel slow, or you succumbed to temptation and ate those french fries for dinner, but that’s okay.  Each day is a new beginning, yesterday is gone. Forgive yourself for eating those delicious fries … put on your walking shoes and get back out there and save the next slip for a much later date. For that matter, maybe part of your celebration could be something you’ve been denying yourself.

Alright then, where’s my walking shoes …