Now is the time to get intentional about your development and get to where you ultimately want to be.
It's crucial to have a plan of how we are going to develop as without one we will never know how far we have come or be able to learn from the challenges along the way, yet how often do we actually do this?!
Self-development plans don’t have to be huge or cumbersome but they do have to have structure so that we can clearly see where we want to go, how we're going to get there, and when we have achieved what we set out to achieve.
Having a plan will help to provide clarity around our thoughts and will enable us to be intentional about where we are going, to actually understand and define what it is that we are aiming to do, to deliver, and achieve these with confidence.
The output of this is that we will actually start to see results, we will be able to see the progress being made against our overarching plan, and in return, we will increase not only the self-awareness of what we're good at, and what we need support with, but it will also help to us to instill self-belief in everything that we do which will support us on our journey of growth.
Today, we are going to share four steps that can help you to build out a self-development plan which will support you in achieving the goals that you have set for yourself.
Here they are:
1. Think about where you want to be and in what period of time
a. First of all, take some time to map out using a mindmap what it is that you are aiming for. Think about your dreams, your aspirations, and the goals that you have that you want to achieve. Don't be afraid of being wild, daring, and shooting for the stars. This activity is here to help you open your mind up to what could be.
Some areas that you may want to focus on might include:
Health and Wellbeing
b. Once you have had the opportunity to get really clear on this, you will want to look at breaking each piece down so that you can carve out the steps that you believe you would need to take to see success.
At this stage, you may not necessarily know every step that you need to take or know all of the information that you feel you need to be able to achieve this, and that is ok.
To start with, work with the knowledge and insight that you do have and you can fill in the rest and uncover more of the details as you progress throughout your plan.
c. Note down how important each piece is for you as you will need to look at prioritising what you work on first.
Yes, I know it's tempting to what to do everything straight away, but after all, you are only human and there are only so many hours in the day, so you will need to be realistic about what you can achieve, and in what timeframe so that you are not setting yourself up to fail. Take a look at what you believe is actually achievable and focus in on activities that will take you closer to where you ultimately want to be.
d. Once you have done this, have a think about how long you believe it will take you to complete each step and achieve the overarching goal. Again, you will want to factor in realistic timeframes but let's not forget that nothing is set in stone at this point, this is just giving you some food for thought which you can then nail down later.
We believe that a period of time between 3-6 months is a great focus point to get you started as it will enable you to track progress and to see what is working and what can be adapted to support you as you move into the next phase.
You may not achieve the goal itself during this period, but choosing a period of time between 3 and 6 months to focus on as an effective initial delivery schedule for the first phase of your plan is a good time period. Breaking it down into phases can help not only give you clarity around what it is that you are doing, but also make it easier to process rather than having a huge goal to aim for and no awareness of what is actually required to make it happen.
In addition to this, progress results in two things; you are actually making things happen, you're achieving amazing things and you're moving forward towards where you want to be. The other is that your mindset will become more positive as you will have total clarity which in turn will give your confidence a boost.
2. Look internally and assess what is happening
Now it's time to do some internal work so that you can uncover what might get in your way, hold you back, or set you back on your journey. It will also enable you to look at what you can leverage to support you as you embark on this journey.
a. First of all, ask yourself some questions and be truly honest with yourself in the process. Here are some examples to help you with this.
What does life look like right now for you?
How have you gotten to this point in your life? What has helped, what has not helped?
What makes life good?
What has been stopping you from getting to where you want to be?
What, if anything, do you regret on your journey so far? What could you have done differently?
What does your ideal life look like?
What are the important things in your life?
What are your biggest strengths?
What do you value most about yourself?
When are you most happy?
What are the things that you most dislike about life right now?
Are you surrounding yourself with uplifting and positive people?
What do you value most and what can you learn from the 5 people closest to you?
What could you improve on to help you on your journey?
Once you have had the opportunity to do these, use the insight that you have gained from your answers to create two lists; Things that you can leverage or investigate further, and things that you need to acknowledge and act upon.
Leverage and Investigate: On this list, note down all of the strengths that you have identified about yourself and your current situation. Also, note down all of the areas that you can investigate as potential opportunities to help you as you progress through your development plan.
Acknowledge and Act: On this list, note down all of the weaknesses that you have identified. Take some time to acknowledge these but try not to see them in a negative light. These are essentially areas that once you acknowledge and accept, you can look at how you can turn them on their heads and improve the situation.
This activity is essentially a SWOT analysis for those of you that have completed one before.
3. Develop your plan
Now, this is the fun part! This is time for you to get really specific and produce a workable plan that can help you bring to life how you will achieve your goals, dreams, and aspirations.
a. Using the insight that you have gathered through points 1 and 2, start to pull together a high-level plan that includes:
What period of time will the plan cover?
What are the goals for the period and what steps do you need to take?
What tools and resources will you need? (books, software, people, etc.)
How will you manage any setbacks and challenges to stay on track?
How will you investigate opportunities that may present themselves along the way?
How will you know when you have achieved your goal?
What does success look like for you?
How will you stay accountable for the delivery?
How often will you review and tweak the plan?
4. Review, Rinse and Repeat
The last step in the process is something that you will want to do on a rinse and repeat cycle and that is to factor in time to review and tweak your plan as you progress through it.
It's important that you can be flexible with your plan as not everything will always go in your favour, we're just being honest!
You may encounter internal or external things that take you off track. There may also be opportunities that present themselves that you want to look at, so knowing that you will be reviewing your plan on a regular basis will help you in maintaining that progress towards where you want to be.
As you progress throughout your journey, you will find that some things are no longer necessary and that there are new things that you need to factor in. This isn’t a problem, just review, assess, and act on the new insight accordingly.
Once you have completed your initial plan, move on to developing the next, and the next. It's a constant cycle but one that we promise will help your self-development significantly, will help you to ooze more confidence in your abilities, and that will give you the tools to support you in achieving even more amazing things!
Let us know in the comments how you get on, we'd love to hear how you progress on your journey to even more success.