Ever heard of speed dating? It’s an event where you meet a few people in a short amount of time, spend a few minutes talking to each, then decide if you’d like to spend more time with any of those you’ve met. A highly effective personal development plan can be done in the same manner – and it can change your entire life.
Why Developing a Personal Development Plan Is Like Speed Dating
When many think of personal development plans, they tend to overthink it, spending time pondering personal growth goals, reading self-improvement ebooks and perhaps even researching personal and professional development seminars and gurus.
This is much like dating without knowing what you want. And, while actions like this are understandable, what they really are is a form of stalling – i.e., not taking action.
One of the quickest ways to stop stalling and start achieving your personal development goals is to act – now. Much like speed dating, you sit down, mentally “interview” yourself to clarify what you want, then follow up and make it happen. To this end, following are five steps to creating a personal development plan in 30 minutes or less; one that could literally change your life.
1. Your Ideal Life: Write down your ideal life, i.e., what your life would look like if money, family, health, etc., were not hindering factors.
Purpose: To crystallize what utopia would look like.
2. Segment and Grade Your Life: Write down the main areas of your life and grade them on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being extremely unhappy and 10 being extremely happy.
Purpose: To see in black and white where you’re most/least happy so you can jump start the self-improvement process. For example, your list might look like this: Career: 4; Personal Relationship(s): 6; Health: 5; and Family: 7.
3. Create a “Today” Action Plan: As in, what can you start doing today to start seeing results.
Purpose: To stop stalling and start acting on your personal growth goals – immediately. For example, if you’re 20 pounds overweight, you could start with the health category and commit to walking/exercising at least 30 minutes a day.
4. Create a Weekly Action Plan: Every week, carve out an hour to work on future goals.
Purpose: To tackle goals you can’t achieve immediately. For example, if you desperately want to change jobs, devote an hour each week to doing something towards finding/training for a new position. It could be anything from updating your resume, to attending a Chamber of Commerce meeting and networking.
5. Assess Goals Weekly: A personal development plan is not a noun, e.g., a thing. It’s a verb; a living, breathing document that must be acted upon regularly. Hence, it should be assessed regularly – at least on a weekly basis.
Purpose: To stay on track with all goals.
John C. Maxwell’s 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership: The Most Critical Law of All
Maxwell is a noted, international speaker, author and personal development leader.
Of Maxwell’s 21 laws, perhaps the most important when it comes to self-improvement and personal development is “The Law of Connection.” Its foundation is that in order for leaders to be effective, they must connect with people. But, how can you connect with others if you don’t know what’s important to you and what you want out of life?
And, this is what creating a personal development plan is all about – recognizing and connecting to what’s important to you.