So, where do you want to be in 5 years?
To help with this kind of planning, I’m borrowing an idea from the business world: the Individual Development Plan, or “IDP” for short. An IDP is a sort of agreement between an employee and their employer to work towards a set of goals together.
There’s no requirement that you develop an IDP in the context of a business, though. Anyone can put together an IDP that helps them work towards their personal goals. At its root, an IDP is simply a personal plan for growth – something we should all have, regardless of who pays our wages.
Each personality type has a different idea of what it means to be successful. Self-knowledge is one common goal that will help everyone achieve personal success. So many people are hung up on somebody else’s idea of what it means to be successful, and they are unaware of what is truly important to them. This is completely normal. We all have important role-models and influencers in our lives who may have basic values that are quite different from our own. If this is the case, it’s important to recognize that the discrepancy between what we have been taught is truly important and what we personally believe to be truly important is due to a difference in perspective. If we spend our time and effort trying to meet somebody else’s idea of success, and ignore or belittle any conflicting messages from our own psyche, then we will find ourselves exhausted and unhappy. Realizing what is truly important to us is a major step towards achieving personal success.
Follow these 3 simple steps to achieving your own Personal Development Plan.
1. Create Your Personal Growth Action List
The only logical place to start your personal development quest is with yourself. Start out with creating a list where you write down everything that you know you could be doing (but you’re currently not) that would have a positive impact on your life. Use this list of life areas as a starting point to guide you:
Try to have at least one action for each area but if you get stuck don’t worry about it. You can always come back and add stuff later. When your list is perfect good enough you sort all of the items from the easiest on top to the hardest at the bottom.
2. Get Highly Motivated
As your will-power to make these awesome changes in your life start to dwindle, you’ll need proper motivation to keep going. That’s why your next step will be to:
- Define and put into writing your personal vision and mission statements.Your vision will give you direction and serve as a source of power and inspiration. Your mission statement puts everything that you do into a bigger context which leads to a greater sense of meaningfulness and achievement as you move forward.
- Set your goals. Turn your personal growth actions into specific and measurable milestones. Make sure they have a deadline and are written in a present tense with action verbs. Here’s an example: “On the 20th of April 2014 (deadline) I am (present tense) completing (action verb) the Virgin London Marathon (specific details)”.
- Create a weekly action plan. Make sure to break your goals down into manageable pieces so that it’s easy for you to see the next small step forward as well as how far you’ve come.
3. Figure out an assessment standard: How will you measure your success as you move forward? Goals that can’t be assessed in some way are very hard to stay motivated to work towards. Create a set of interim milestones – passing a class, getting an article published, making x dollars – and pay attention to whether you’re meeting them.
On a final note, Make sure to break your goals down into manageable pieces so that it’s easy for you to see the next small step forward as well as how far you’ve come.