How to Write A Personal Development Plan


“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.
“I don’t much care where –” said Alice.
“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go.”

Do you know where you’re going?  Where do you see yourself in a year, five years – and perhaps ten years down the road?

In the years where I have planned out what I wanted to accomplish, I invariably achieved what I set out to do – and it has consistently been more than in the years when I didn’t plan.

So from my personal experience, it’s true – if you don’t know where you want to get to, it doesn’t matter which way you go.

In Fact....
Lack of planning is one of the 7 reasons people fail.

Do you have hopes and dreams you’re chasing?

If you do, but aren’t sure which way to go – perhaps a personal development plan will help you figure that out, and help you get there.

Why Write A Personal Development Plan?

“He who fails to plan is planning to fail.”
– Winston Churchill

You may have previously read this discussion on  writing down your goals:  research shows it increases your chance of success.

Three  big reasons I like having a personal development plan include:

  • Clarity.  Knowing what I am trying to accomplish
  • Define The Why.  Having a personal development plan shows me why I’m doing what I’m doing – even on days I don’t feel like it
  • My Compass. A personal development plan keeps me headed towards consistent goals.

What Is In A Personal Development Plan?

Answer: Write down what you want, why you want it, and how you plan to get there.

It’s easier to see with concrete examples – so let’s break it down

Personal Development Plan Example Sections

  • Your Life Purpose. What were you born to do? What is the meaning of your life?
  • Your Dreams. Those far reaching thoughts and hopes that inspire you to action.
  • Short, Medium and Long Term Goals.  I like to have at least some goals I can accomplish in the span of a few months along with multi-year goals. This lets me see that I have measurable progress towards my goals.
  • Your Beliefs and Values. What do you stand for? And perhaps, what do you wish your actions showed you stand for?
  • Success and Milestones.  As you accomplish goals and dreams, celebrate your successes.

Personal Development Plan Template

One of the areas many people struggle with is setting goals.

That is a whole other article in and of itself on how to effectively set goals, but lets talk specifically in the context of a personal development plan.

How can you get a good overview of the direction you want your life to head? You should sketch out some goals in the most important areas in your life, at regular intervals.

I like to go ten years out, but three or gives years is great too.

A very simple personal development plan template for goals might look like this:

Personal Development Goals

Goal Area One Year Three Year Five Year Ten Year

For each box, answer these questions:

  • What specifically do I want to accomplish?
  • Why?
  • Who can help me?
  • How do I get there? (What actions do I need to take?)

Personal Development Planning Tools

In addition to the information above, consider other tools to help you with your personal development. You an use these to get some personal development plan ideas.

  • Events. Especially for career and education goals, are there seminars you can attend? Conferences? Meetups where people similar to you gather?
  • Classes/Books/Educational material.  Sometimes the first step is finding the resources we need.  You may want to start by checking out some of my personal development product reviews.
  • Mentors and Supporters.  Who can you reach out to that can help you with your goals?  For many of my personal goals, I’ve formed individual mastermind groups towards a specific purpose.   If you’d like me to mentor you – you can contact me for coaching, or receive free training below.

Free Personal Development Course

If you’re looking to dip your toes in, and want a pre-laid out set of exercises to help you with your personal development plan, I recommend signing up for my free personal development course, personal development 101.

It includes a series of instructions, exercises and inspiration.

You’ll learn a lot about yourself, your life purpose, your dreams – and can immediately start seeing results in your life.

See more information about personal development 101 here.

This article is actually an excerpt from a workbook in my course, The Action Solution.  In that course we break down different options, and you can learn how to do a personal development plan for yourself (an individual development plan) or perhaps even a personal development plan for work.

This article literally covers a small fraction of what I talk about in just one of the five modules (Your Compass).

Take today’s lesson as a starting point – and then, sign up for personal development 101 here, or check out The Action Solution if you are ready to make real, massive positive change in your life.

You don’t have to go it alone. If you like what you’ve seen so far, and want to make the most out of your life, take a moment to read the details about my course The Action Solution and see if it’s something you’d be interested in. It is the result of decades of experience, and hundreds of hours of working with real people – just like you.

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Further Reading

7 Reasons People ... Fail

Why do 92% of people fail to keep New Year's Resolutions every year - and how can you be one of the 8% that succeeds? Read the free report to find out

7 Reasons Good People Fail

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