A 'LifePlan' Guide - Personal Development Planning

22nd March 2018

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Many people don’t like the idea of planning their future. They don’t feel they have the time. Some feel that change comes at such a rapid pace that the plan would be obsolete before they could implement it anyway. Some people are so successful they don’t even see a need to plan.

But, planning does have benefits. A plan can develop your vision for the future. A plan can guide your career. A plan can help you perceive opportunities. A plan can help you build a balanced life. A plan can help involve others in your decisions. And a plan can help you prepare for retirement.

Without a plan we have a tendancy to get too wrapped up in the present and we lose perspective of how to address what tomorrow may bring. If we intend to grow in any part of our personal or professional lives we must map (plan) what we want our future to look like.

So, Where to Start?

A personal development plan helps you to structure your thinking. We constantly plan and think in our head, but very often we miss important details and we don’t create a realistic strategy to realise that plan. That’s why many “plans” stay just in our dreams.

personal development plan is a process that consists of defining what is important to you, what you want to achieve, what strengths you already have that help to achieve your goals, and what you need to improve and develop with time.

When you are developing or designing something new, that’s usually not finished overnight. That’s why you need to be prepared that every important plan will take time before it’s realised.

To make things easier, it’s a good idea to have a personal development plan template.

Personal Development Plan Template

I’ve designed this personal development plan template to help you structure your thinking and create a strategic plan for achieving your goals.

If you want to achieve anything important, you need to take time to make a detailed plan.

There are some important things to consider when creating a personal development plan. Here are 9 steps that can help you to create a good personal development plan:

  1. Define your goals
  2. Prioritise
  3. Set a deadline
  4. Understand your strengths
  5. Recognise opportunities and threats
  6. Develop new skills
  7. Take action
  8. Get support
  9. Measure progress

Define Your Goals

What is important to you? Which new skills do you want to get? Which achievements would make you happier? Do you have any unfulfilled dreams which you are now ready to accomplish? Do you want to move ahead to the next stage in your career? Do you want to get a better job?

The first step is to define goals that are really important to you. It can be something related to your career, but also something that will enrich or improve your personal life (like lose weight, start a new hobby/activity, or learn a new language).

Step 1: Write down 5-10 goals which are important for you to achieve.


Out of all goals you wrote down, which one is the most important? This is your key goal which will be your focus.

Maybe you want a career change or you want to achieve a good physical shape or acquire some new skills.

Are there any transferable skills (skills which you can transfer to different areas of life) that would be important for your success? For example, if you improve speaking skills, the result can be more confidence, better relationships and communication with others, and even business success (e.g. more successful negotiations and more sales).

The purpose of a personal development plan is to help you expand your knowledge, develop new skills, or improve important areas of life.

Step 2: Take a good look at your list and select one goal which is the most important to you and that you will work on first.

Set a Deadline

If you have a goal but don’t know when you want to achieve it, chances are it will never happen.

Also, if you are planning to achieve a big project in a very short period of time, again, chances are it will not happen.

When planning, you need to be realistic, specific and make good assumptions time-wise.

Rather than saying “I want to be a millionaire someday,” it’s better to make a plan to double your income this year.

How long will it take you to achieve your goal?

Once you have a realistic timeframe for your goal, it’s important to commit that you will really do it. Be serious about it. If you are not the one who is taking your plan seriously, nobody else will either.

Instead of focusing on problems and obstacles that could happen, think about how great you will feel when it’s done. You can also define how you will reward yourself when you manage to achieve your goal.

Step 3: Set a deadline.

Understand Your Strengths

Everyone in the world is good at something and has above average skills/strengths in some specific areas. Even if you are not a talented singer, actor, or artist, you can still be a good parent, excellent listener, or a caring person.

What are your key strengths?

If you are not sure about the answer, then ask your friends and family.

Ask them “What do you think are my biggest strengths?”

Maybe you will be surprised with their answers. Your key strengths are something what makes you unique and special. No one can ever take that from you.

It’s very important for your confidence to be aware of your strengths.

Are you a well-organised, patient, persistent, outgoing, intelligent, brave, fast-learner, talented, open-minded…?

Step 4: Once you understand what your strengths are, write down which of these strengths can help you to achieve your goal.

Recognise Opportunities and Threats

Your current behaviors and habits can either support or not support you to achieve your goal.

Which of yours habits or actions are threats to your goal achievement?

These are the things you need to stop doing.

For example, if your goal is to live 100 years, then you need to stop smoking, stop buying junk food, stop worrying about things, etc.

Write down at least 5 things that you commit you will stop doing.

On the other hand, there are some new actions that are opportunities for you to achieve goals much easier.

What actions can you choose to start doing that will help you to achieve your goal?

If you want to save more money, then for example you can start managing your money, you can start writing down your expenses, you can start spending less, etc.

Write down 5 things you commit to start doing.

Step 5: Create a start doing and stop doing list!

Develop New Skills

A personal development plan is a plan for how to get from the place you are now to the place where you want to be.

If you want to get something, you will need to give something in return.

For example, if your goal is to move ahead to the next stage in your career, you will have to learn new skills.

If you want to start your own business, you will have to learn about marketing, sales, entrepreneurship, finances, etc.

A Quote by Brian Tracy:

For everything you want in life, there is a price you must pay, in full and in advance. Decide what you really want and then determine the price you’ll have to pay to achieve it. Remember, to achieve something you’ve never achieved before — you must do something you have never done before. You must become someone whom you have never been before. Whatever you want, you’ll have to pay a price measured in terms of: sacrifice, time, effort, and personal discipline. Decide what it is and start paying that price today.

In other words, to achieve something you have never achieved before, you need to develop skills you have never had before and start working on those skills as soon as possible.

Which skills or knowledge will help you to achieve your goal?

Step 6: Write down the list of the skills you need to develop, which will help you achieve your goal.

Take Action

If you want to achieve a big goal, there will be many actions you will need to take.

Step 7: Write down at least 3-5 most important actions you will need to take within your defined timeframe.

Get Support

Who can help you to achieve your goals faster?

For example, if you want to change your career, you can consider talking with a career adviser; if you want to lose weight, you can have a fitness coach; if you want to improve your finances, you can talk with a financial adviser…

Step 8: List anyone who you can think of who would be able to help you to achieve your goal.

Measure Progress

The best motivator to stay persistent in achieving goals is your own progress. Even if it is a little progress, it is still something.

It is important to recognise that you are moving forward and to write down things that you are doing well.

If something is not going so well, what can you do differently?

If something is not going well, that means that you need to change (or improve) the strategies you are using. By doing the same things, you will be getting the same results. If you want better results, you need to change something.

Step 9: Write down things that you need to improve and define new strategies which you will try. Your responsibility is to make things work for you.

This 9-step Personal Development Plan Template helps you to create a detailed plan for the goal that is the most important to you. You can use the same template to work on the other important goals or you can use this short version of the template to quickly plan less prioritised goals.

A personal development plan is a very powerful method to assess your life, define what is really important for you, and to start working on things that matter the most. Often in our life we are so busy with our day-to-day activities that we rarely have time for important thinking and planning.

Exercises like this can help you to get more clarity about goals that are the most important to you and to create realistic strategies for how you will achieve them.

I suggest that you create a new personal development plan every year, and there is no better time to do this than beginning of the year.

source: https://www.lifehack.org/articles/productivity/personal-planning.htmlhttp://www.mindofwinner.com/create-personal-development-plan/

Hopefully this comprehensive guide and template will help you start to put your own 'LifePlan' in place. It can be used for multiple aspects of your life - whether you want to get fit, have a career goal you want to meet, or get on top of your finances (more on finances in April)...find the things that are the most important to you for YOUR life! Once you have your template filled out, make sure you upload it to your LifeLot account (for members only) where you can come back to it and review periodically, update any progress that's been made, and add new goals along the way. Also if accountability is the thing that motivates you, share your plan with someone close to you (and vice versa). 

In other news - the team at LifeLot are very excited to share that we will have a brand new service to offer in the very near future! Members will soon be able to share access to selected files with their very own Trusted Professional (T.P.) like a financial advisor or medical doctor. Once a Trusted Professional has been granted permission to access certain parts of your account, they can view and upload files that you're ok about sharing. No more missing paperwork stress, or having to scan and fax or email documents! More about this to come...watch this space!

"If you don't design your own life plan, chances are you'll fall into someone else's plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much!" - Jim Rohn

Related: Personal PlanningHow To Make A Personal Plan For 2018 | Getting Your 'LifeLot Organised For The New Year 


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