Self-development is about the continuous improvement of oneself. We can continually improve, whether it is our knowledge, skills, experience, behaviour or mindset.
Development contributes to personal factors such as intelligence, confidence and quality of life; it can also positively impact job prospects and communication abilities.
Creating a physical plan can help you define your goals, what strengths you already have, what you need to work on to achieve your goals, and what skills you need to improve. Self-development plans can increase your motivation and performance, help you track your progress, and help prevent stress.
A SWOT analysis can be used to create a self-development plan. You should highlight your strengths, what you know you are good at, the skills you hold and the knowledge you have. You can apply this to reach your following goals and potential.
It’s also essential to establish your weaknesses, what you are not so good at and what you know you need to improve upon moving forward. Accepting these weaknesses is a big step in itself towards self-awareness and mindfulness.
Opportunities can be brought from your strengths. What skills can you use to further yourself personally, and how can your skills help your career?
Weaknesses may turn into threats. If one of your weaknesses is confidence, this may threaten your ability to communicate with others and hinder progression.
Writing a list of all of the things you want to achieve can help you put everything in one place and give you clarity. From this list, you can split the goals into smaller tasks, rate them by importance to you and put a timescale on when you want to work on each skill and reach each goal; these can be personally and professionally.
As Benjamin Franklin once said, “if you fail to plan, you are planning to fail”.
If you’re like me, then you love a questionnaire, whether it’s finding out which ‘friends’ character you are or having a computer guess what star sign you are based on your dietary preferences.
Questionnaires are another method to use when putting together a personal development plan; however, these are often a lot more formal than the above…
By rating your current competencies on a scale of 1 - 5, you can regularly check-in and compare how your skills and knowledge have developed over time.
You may break down a specific topic you want to focus on and then rate your competency within this based on several questions. See an example on ‘confidence in the workplace’ below:
A plan can be made from this by highlighting the points that need improving upon and clarifying small steps that can be taken. This can be revisited in 3 months to compare the competency and how far you have developed this skill.
To make the process more manageable, you can set smaller plans for different factors of your life that you would like to improve upon.
It’s important to remember; learning is a continuous process. You should incorporate learning new things into your life, no matter how competent you are or how old you are.
Personal development plans are about what you want to achieve, what will help you in your life. They shouldn’t put pressure on you or force you to do things you don’t want to do. But they should positively motivate you to learn and achieve more.