A personal development plan is something that many successful people used as a framework for their life. Development plans are created using goal setting, awareness of current flaws and issues, and planning. These plans can be used for career goals, qualifications, sporting prowess or any other long-term venture. It is not uncommon for executives to have a personal development plan that will look at how the person is performing as a leader, and work on developing important qualities to improve their performance and team morale.
The goals in the plan should be specific, and something that can be easily measured. There should be a timescale for achieving the goals, and it is important that the goals are broken down into manageable chunks. It is not fair to say get a degree because that is something that is too far off to be motivational, and you cannot tell whether you are progressing towards that goal. You can, however, set a goal of completing a foundation course – or of completing a module. If you know that you are weak in certain areas of the degree, then the goal could be to achieve a certain score on term-time tests or to finish a textbook related to that module and pass all of the quizzes.
A plan for debt reduction could be broken down into identifying areas where you are spending more than you would like, then cutting that spending. Once there is surplus income, the plan could look at paying down the highest interest debts, to reduce the total cost of the debt over time. Once you have paid off a high-interest debt, re-evaluate, find the next debt to target, and so on.
A self-development plan is not a one-off thing, it is constantly re-evaluated. Treat it like a cycle and be aware of what needs to be worked on, find the things that you need to work on, and then monitor the results and evaluate the development, then identify new areas for development.
Sometimes, the development will be as simple as a skill. Sometimes, it will be something that takes longer to understand and work out. Someone who is a poor public speaker may believe that they need to develop by “getting better at public speaking”, but an effective plan would consider that as several different steps. They may need to work on voice projection, to improve their posture, and to get better at eye contact as well.
Improvement in all of those things may not even be possible until they have worked on their self-confidence, which could be a psychological thing that takes a long time to fix. It may be that a development plan may include work with a performance coach or a leadership coach that could improve self-confidence and help them in other ways. Self-reflection and the ability to be honest about the real source of weaknesses is a vital part of long-term success.