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Parts of a Personal Development Plan

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A personal development plan can help you stay on track while working to achieve goals. It helps to write everything down so that you can stay organized and focused. When confronting an especially difficult obstacle, you might consider seeking help. Career, spiritual and emotional counselors represent some of the trained professionals available to help you surmount obstacles and succeed.

Sections

People are multifaceted. We are bosses or employees, moms or dads, sons or daughters and friends. Divide your personal development plan into sections, each reflecting something important to you. Your personal development plan could include career goals, educational goals, family goals and personal goals. Perhaps you want to become more generous, grateful or compassionate. Include those desires under personal goals. You can continue to learn even if you're not in school. Maybe you want to learn Spanish or how to tango. Include those goals under education. For family goals, maybe you want to establish a family game night to bring everyone closer. For career goals, think about milestones you would like to achieve. Establishing goals for every part of your life and personality can make you a well-rounded person.

Short-term Goals

For each section, establish short-term goals — things you want to accomplish during the next two years. For large goals, such as buying a house, identify short-term goals that you can achieve while working toward the ultimate goal. That might include setting aside a specific amount of money each month in a savings account. If you want to lose 10 lbs., a short-term goal might include taking a cooking class to learn healthy meal preparation. You might also set the goal of walking around the neighborhood five nights each week for half an hour. Be specific in your goals and identify actions you can take to reach the goals. Short-term goals can also include personal attributes you would like to develop, such as becoming a better listener or avoiding procrastination. Remember to incorporate an actionable step. To avoid procrastination, for example, make the goal of washing the dishes after dinner instead of two days later.

Long-term Goals

Identify long-term goals for each section of your life. In your career, you might work toward a promotion. In your personal life, you might want to write a book. For each long-term goal, establish actions you can take each day to work toward the long-term goal. For example, you might write one chapter of your book a week. Write down any areas you need to improve on or learn about. If you lack a skill necessary to write your book, make developing that skill set part of your goal. Attach a time frame to each goal so that you can hold yourself accountable. The long-term goal portion of your personal development plan will dovetail with the short-term goal section. The short-term part should set you up for long-term success.

Accountability

Track your progress and establish target dates. If you promised yourself to make a healthy meal at least three times each week so that you can lose 10 pounds in three months, hold yourself to it. Nobody else will. The accountability portion requires that your goals be specific. Make a chart with all of your goals' timelines and promises to yourself. Check off the kept promises and take note of the promises not kept. Avoid punishing yourself for goals not met; just try again tomorrow. Similarly, reward yourself for success. Once you lose weight, buy yourself a skinny pair of pants. Don't choose a reward that will retard progress. For example, once you lose 10 pounds, don't eat a brownie for dinner as a reward. Focus on one or two goals at once to avoid overwhelming yourself.

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