A Personal Development Plan: Your GPS to Extraordinary Success!

Each day hundreds of people type into their favorite search engines the question, “What is Personal Development?”, hoping to find the key to self-improvement and personal growth. Unfortunately, they find very few answers to that question, but we are going to change that right here by detailing the key components to improving your life.

OK, in simple terms, Personal Development is the actions you take to improve some or all the aspects of your life, including your health, finances, attitude, fitness and education. Self-improvement is one part of personal growth that deals with becoming the person you aspire to be whether physically, mentally or spiritually.

I know that this is not getting to the heart of your question, but bear with me for a minute.

Personal Development begins by clearly defining your values, priorities, goals and ethics for your life. It is about developing personal strategies to educate and expand yourself using available resources. There are a multitude of resources to help you in your quest for personal development, including books, CDs, DVD, seminars, life coaches and professional mentors, but don’t overlook family and friends who have your best interest at heart.

Personal Development begins with a dissatisfaction with where you are currently in some aspect of your life. As your dissatisfaction increases, a burning desire to change that part of your life leads to action that will eventually produce the desired improvement. Self-improvement is a process that takes time. It is not just a single action or series of actions, like reading a self-help book or attending motivational seminars. It is an attitude change that requires discipline and commitment.

Wow, so that is the cut and dry answer to What is Personal Development?, but you don’t care about that factual answer so much, do you? You want to focus in on your own self-improvement.

Let’s talk about what is personal growth for you!

Let’s begin to look at how you can achieve the improvement you want in your life. The first step to lasting personal change and development is putting together your plan of action called a Personal Development Plan (PDP). This will become your road map to success. It will establish your clearly defined goals and the steps you need to take to accomplish them.

A Personal Development Plan is always a work in progress. As you complete one task, you will need to add new growth and educational opportunities to your plan. Before we begin to put this plan together you need to answer a very important question that only you can answer. The question is “WHY?”

Why are you seeking personal growth?

Why do you want to change?

Why do you feel you need to change?

Why are you not content with who and what you are now?

What is Personal Development for you?

Well, the answers to these “WHY?” questions will help you to determine the level of Desire you have for making these changes. Without desire and a burning passion to change you won’t get far in creating your personal development plan. And without your PDP, your “road map”, you will not succeed in making changes because you will not stay on track long enough to accomplish anything meaningful.

Okay, I am assuming you have adequately answered all the “WHY?” questions and you have confirmed your desire to make the necessary changes in you life. Now we are ready to begin to put together the Personal Development Plan that will dramatically change your life. I can hear you saying it now, “Whoa, dramatically change my life? I am just looking for a little improvement and not a massive change”.

Hey, here is the deal: if you are going to take the time to think about and write your PDP, then you better be thinking about a dramatic change that will get you motivated and excited or otherwise you will lose focus quickly. Trust me, I have been there like so many others. People who need to lose 5 or 10 pounds do not get too motivated, but the person who needs to lose 40, 50 or more pounds gets motivated with a burning desire that cannot easily be quench. Baby, they are on Fire to achieve their Desire!

These people understand what self-improvement is all about. They understand it takes a passionate commitment and burning desire to get the results they want with their body and their health.

So back to the point, if you are going to write a detailed Personal Development Plan then you need to be thinking in terms of major life-changing goals. So we know you have the desire and motivation to seek self-improvement change in your life. Let’s begin to put together a plan itself.

Start by getting a thin spiral notebook that you will only use for this purpose. This notebook will become your own personal playbook or, maybe better yet, your own personal Business Plan that you will use to build the new and improved you with over the next few weeks, months and years.

Now that you have that spiral notebook open it up to the first page and write the words, My Primary Goals and Mission In Life, across the top of the page. This goal and mission statement states where you want to be in your life, NOT where you currently are now.

This is what you will return to on a daily basis to remind you of where you are going. This mission statement must be as detailed and specific as you can make it. Be creative and do not limit yourself in your thinking, but make sure you are being realistic.

The next part of your Personal Development Plan is the self-assessment part where you have to determine exactly where you are now and what you want to improve.

Finally, you need to make a list of all the areas in your life you want to make significant improvement. Be very specific in establishing your goals. As an example, it is not enough to say you want to lose some weight. You have to say I want to lose 30 pounds by December 31 of this year through a low-fat diet and aerobic exercise program at the YMCA. This detailed goal written out in your PDP will help you stay focused and on track.

Now it is time for you to get started by writing down your first personal growth goals, then start taking the action necessary to make them a reality.

Deborah Schaefer, publisher of www.SuccessOrate.com, the Personal Development Planning Center, is living her passion by helping people improve their lives through her informative, inspirational and motivational writing and resources.

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