How to Develop a Personal Development Plan

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With all of the challenges and obstacles you encounter, it's natural to feel overwhelmed occasionally. Whatever may be happening or not happening in your work, school or home environment, you don't have to be a casualty of the chaos. Take charge by creating a personal development plan.

Make a list of short and long term goals or career objectives (six months up to a few years). Include what you want to accomplish and why. Think about upcoming projects at work that could be personally beneficial to you as well as opportunities you can research independently to strengthen your experience.

Consider the consequences, positive and negative, of completing or not completing the goals as well as how this would affect future goals or objectives.

Outline the individual steps necessary to reach each goal. Assign a deadline to each step to keep yourself on schedule.

Assess whether or not you have the resources necessary to accomplish these goals. Be mindful that resources vary (i.e. time to complete a degree, money to invest, etc). If there are resources that you'll need but don't currently have, list possible ways to acquire them.

Perform a SWOT analysis by reviewing your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Being mindful of these areas helps you to create a practical plan.

Monitor your progress according to the timeline you created and adjust when necessary. Flexibility is important; adjusting ensures that you're managing the process and not being halted by challenges.


Find opportunities within your everyday activities to help you accomplish your goals, such as collaborating on new projects at work to gain more diversified experience. The goals included in your personal development plan don't have to be only career oriented. Health, spiritual and relationship goals can also be part of your plan.