A personal development plan is a map of your self development journey. It is basically a goal setting practice, but specifically for the area of personal development. It is for planning your aspirations in regards to personal development. Among other things, it involves identifying what skills you need to learn, the aspects of yourself needs to be improved, abilities that are you lacking and areas which needs to be given priority for improvement.

In addition to that, because of the nature of self improvement, a personal development plan requires a somewhat different approach to traditional goal setting. Hence this is why we should always have a separate personal development plan for all self improvement goals.

Many people take goal setting very seriously. Especially those who are ambitious and desire success. However, sometimes we tend to focus less on personal development goals. We are usually more focused on health, career and financial goals. Goals in other areas such as religious goals, emotional aspirations and personal development goals are neglected.

The danger in not having personal development goals is as you get more and more caught up in the process of achieving goals, you will unconsciously neglect learning and improving further. Moreover, when people start seeing success, many tend to become complacent and stop their development. It is this complacency that usually causes many successful individuals to consequently fall back and fail.

So one of the main reasons for having a personal development plan is to make sure that we always consistently improve ourselves and prevent complacency from happening. The basic idea behind a personal development plan involves 3 steps;

1. Identify your current situation – What are your strengths, weaknesses, skills, abilities etc. To prepare your personal development plan, you will first need to identify what is your current level.

2. Identify your desired state – What skill level or ability to you wish to have? To achieve the goals that you have, what are the strengths that you need? Which weaknesses must be eliminated? The idea is to focus more on what is needed for your immediate goals or situation. It is not to eliminate all weaknesses and become an expert in everything.

3. Bridging the gap – The last step is to develop a plan to bridge the gap between your current state and your desired state as identified in steps 1 and 2. This includes planning what action to take, which resources to obtain, how to get the resource, setting schedules and finally the overall timeline as well as key milestones of your personal development plan.

The idea behind the personal development plan is pretty simple. However, it is vital that you make sure that you do a proper, detailed personal development plan and have thought through each section comprehensively. This ensures that you will be headed the right way with it.

A personal development plan helps you ensure you are constantly improving your skills, abilities and knowledge. Because at the end of the day, it is your knowledge that ultimately affects the quality of your lives and your level of success you achieve. All us should have a personal development plan.

Author Ethan Beh is a business consultant and self improvement enthusiast. He has spent many years indulging in various personal development techniques including NLP, affirmations and example personal development plan.

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