A blueprint is a guide for creating something – a design or pattern that can be followed to achieve an objective. We are used to hearing about blueprints with regard to buildings and building projects, but what have you heard about using blueprints in your own life? Couldn’t you use a clearly defined plan to help you move forward with learning to love who and what you see in the mirror every single day?
We’re going to look this week at creating a blueprint for personal development – starting today with the grand idea, and then later this week we’ll cover some strategies for what to do when faced with obstacles along the way, and how to overcome challenges and failures while you are working on that SMART plan to achieve your goals.
Planning your goals – using the SMART framework (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time-based) – can make a huge difference in the level of satisfaction you feel about the life you are living and how you see yourself within that life. It’s not HARD to create a plan – many people do it on a daily basis, but without written, clearly defined SMART goals, much of that planning energy simply dissipates as time moves on and challenges arise. Wouldn’t it be great if you had a written plan for everything you want to accomplish in life? A Personal Development Plan is just that—it’s a blueprint for your life based on what’s important to you.
So what should you include in your plan? A well-written Personal Development Plan will typically reflect your keen sense of personal awareness in terms of what you want to do with your life in areas such as education, relationships, and career, and what you’d like to achieve within those areas.
Having a Personal Development Plan demonstrates that you’re aware of your own wants, needs, and values and that you’ve thought about how you hope your life will progress as you move forward and take positive and focused action.
An important aspect of a Personal Development Plan is formulating SMART goals for the future that you plan to achieve. Goals are important to focus your energy and your actions – without them, you can simply work away the hours, days and weeks without having anything to truly show for it at the end.
To get ideas for creating a Personal Development Plan, think about how your boss evaluates you at work. Your early evaluations of your work progress by your supervisor often include goal-setting, tasks, projects, and skills your supervisor or manager hopes you’ll develop over the next year.
A Personal Development Plan is very similar—it’s just developed by you for you and encompasses all aspects of your life—education, relationships, career, and any other areas you’d like to include. You can also choose to focus on one specific area at a time, but having that overarching complete plan will help you to see how all the pieces fit together and support each other.
For instance – perhaps one of your goals is to run a 5K race – without planning ahead for how you’ll acquire the necessary equipment (shoes, running gear, a heart monitor or stopwatch), a plan for what days in the week you’ll work on running, how you’ll change or refine your eating habits to support your training, and where you’ll actually run (neighborhood, gym, track), you may be literally stopped in your tracks before you get started.
Time Frames for Your Personal Development Plan with Examples
When you’re first designing a Personal Development Plan, it’s easier if you focus on the next year. Establish goals you want to accomplish over the following 12 months in each of the areas of your life you hope to achieve personal growth.
Take a look at this short example of some points that might be included in a one-year Personal Development Plan:
- Relationship goals. Get to know and establish two good friends in the city. Work on accepting more dates when I’m asked.
- Education goals. Contact local colleges to take a look at the art courses and training programs they offer. Sign up for and complete the Dale Carnegie course.
- Career goals. Talk with supervisor about the special project I want to start this year. Achieve at least three of the four goals my supervisor set for me (by year’s end). Request meeting with supervisor to discuss the job milestones I must achieve to receive a promotion.
- Physical / Health goals. Find and research a local 5K race that includes walkers and runners and plan to participate. Research and acquire proper footwear for training walks and find a smartphone app to help track my mileage and speed. Work on my speed and endurance over the published route for the race so I will know it well before the actual race day and feel confident in my ability to finish the race in good shape.
Keep in mind that the more specific you are when writing your plans, the more focused your actions can be in working toward accomplishing your goals.
Next, ponder your five-year Personal Development Plan. What’s nice about the five-year plan is that you can accomplish some pretty awesome and life-changing goals in that period of time.
Examine these examples of goals for a five-year Personal Development Plan:
- Relationship goals. Make efforts to develop a serious relationship by talking with my partner. Discuss my wants for the future. Read one book a year about how to have a healthy love relationship.
- Education goals. Check with three online college programs to find the one most compatible with my financial and time requirements. Then, complete my last two years of college so I can earn my bachelors’ degree.
- Career goals. Apply for up to three entry-level positions in accounting after completing my bachelors’ degree in accounting. Focus on finding work at a large corporation so more advancement opportunities will be available.
- Miscellaneous personal goals. Research three to five major cities where corporations I’d like to work are located. Narrow cities to two and visit each one to check out the city’s layout and neighborhoods. Determine which area to first apply for work.
- Personal / Health goals. Choose a 10K race and a half-marathon to train for and create a training plan to move me forward in my quest for additional strength and endurance. Include strength training and stretching plans to help reduce the chance of injury, and choose a race that has personal significance – including raising money for a cause I believe in.
Perhaps it’s time to get your life together by designing a Personal Development Plan. In your plan, include elements related to relationships, education, career, health, and the goals you wish to strive for in each area.
Discover the incredible personal growth you can achieve all your life through developing a Personal Development Plan, with SMART goals and a specific focus.