Improve Personal Development Plan – Do you have any idea about where you are going in life? Have you got any answer to the question “Where do you want to reach five years down the line”? – NO? If the answer to both the question is no, then it is high time that you chalk down a Personal Development Plan. Because it is truly said that if you don’t have any idea regarding the ultimate destination in life, it is useless to lead life. The major reason for this situation is lack of personal development planning.
In the hustle and bustle of life, people often forget to visualize their long term goals. As a result, their life becomes meaningless. You can take the example of pioneers in business like Dhirubhai Ambani, Ratan Tata, G.D Birla, etc. and ?what is the common thing that you will find- Behind enormous success….. Are detailed personal development plans.
If you have any doubts in your mind, do one thing. Take a pen and a blank sheet and jot down your thoughts in a structured manner. You will be delighted to see that how your subconscious brain will streamline things you want.
What is Personal Development Plan (PDP) ?
The procedure of developing an action plan which is based on values, learnings, reflection, awareness, knowledge, fixing of goals (both long term and short term) for the betterment of education, career, relationship, social status and self improvement are known as Personal Development Planning .
PDP consists of four basic steps-
- Gathering knowledge from a variety of sources.
- Reflecting on the gathered knowledge, self learning, achievements.
- Make suitable personal development plans aimed at 360 degree development of self, career or education.
- Recording and analyzing the achievements within the specified time frame.
The process of PDP may provide adequate answers to the following questions-
- What is my goals and career ambition?
- What kind of human being do I want to be?
- What do I want to become in life?
- Have I taken the right path to fulfil my dreams?
- How much I have achieved till now?
The Personal Development Plan is also sometimes called Individual Development Plan because it includes a statement of one’s strengths, weakness, aspirations, education, etc, which gives a rough idea about how to make the personal development plan. The PDP is a continuous cycle of reflecting on the past experiences, learning to harness one’s strengths, identifying gaps in personal development, identifying specific skills, setting long term goals, analyzing achievements and so on. There are several benefits of PDP- motivation, quick learning, improving employability, more self-awareness, tap the hidden potential of an individual and so on.
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Need for Personal Development Plan (PDP)
It’s simple. It works. That’s why it is important to note down a PDP. If you write your personal development plans on a paper, it will be helpful in the following way-
- Provides clarity- As personal development plan lays down major milestones to be achieved for goal achievement, it gives you a clear idea about your deeds as well as target achievement.
- Discover the answer to “Why”- Personal development plan gives you an answer to “Why” questions like why I am doing this? It gives you a sense of motivation even on such days when you feel lazy, demotivated. It helps you to identify things which are really important for you.
- Define a course of action- Writing down a personal development plan helps you to identify your goals and dreams and helps you to decide a course of action for fulfilling those dreams. It helps you to jot down daily tasks, monthly tasks as well as yearly accomplishments towards achieving your personal development plan goals.
- Track your performance- In the process of personal development plan, you can have a ready reference of your achievements, performance, failures, success. You can transform your failures into success and make necessary changes to your PDP so that your long term goals are accomplished.
Benefits of PDP to students
There are many benefits of personal development programs to students who are pursuing academic courses. They are-
- Increase the motivation level for studying hard.
- Able to focus clearly on your learnings.
- A better learning techniques.
- Ways of improving performance.
- Learning becomes enjoyable rather than monotonous and boring.
- Better stress management.
- The reflective thinking skills gathered from PDP can improve academic results.
- Betterment in academic life which in turn leads to a prosperous future.
Benefits of PDP for professionals
It is very common that bosses expect their employees to analyze their own performance at office. They expect their employees to have the adaptability for increased work pressure, stress caused due to work or any circumstances of change. Employees are always expected to modify themselves according to necessary personal development plan changes in the workplace. While some employers offer training on personal development, others expect employees to arrive with skills which makes them analyze their own performance as well as the team’s performance. In such cases, it becomes extremely crucial to understand people’s behavior. Hence, a personal development plan is crucial to provide a solution to the above situations.
PDP has direct benefits to working professionals. The benefits of PDP to working people are as follows-
- More self confidence in decision making activities.
- Clarity about the kind of work you prefer.
- Greater confidence in the qualities, skills which makes you select the right job.
- Efficiently compete with peers for jobs.
- Improved planning and problem solving skills.
- Improved decision making skills.
- Improved co-worker relationship.
- Imbibing the positive thinking as well as positive attitudes needed for successful work life and sustaining in the corporate world.
- Greater leadership qualities
- Greater level of motivation.
To start the process of Personal Development, first spend some time thinking about your life and career. You can ask following few questions to yourself-
- What are my short term goals?
- Identify areas for personal development.
- Am I satisfied with my current job?
- In which areas of my job I deliver excellent performance?
- In which areas am I lacking and how I can improve myself in those areas?
- Do I have the mandatory skills needed for success?
- Identify suitable projects at work which would be helpful in my personal development in the future.
- Identify any format learning opportunities that I can participate like virtual trainings, quizzes, debates, classroom trainings.
- Identify the quality of life you desire.
As you write down these questions and provide thoughtful answers to these, note down the areas in which improvement is needed. Be frank and honest about your particular personal development needs. You can also jot down any specific points in favor of goals which may crop up during the process of brainstorm.
Getting Started: Personal Development
Once the process of brainstorming is over, one should have some preliminary ideas for long term personla development plan goals and subsequent personal development opportunities. The next step is to organize the gathered ideas. After this step, one should note down different methods for the attainment of goals. There should be a detailed description of the methods to be followed. The last step of PDP includes writing down performance evaluation methods to be followed. This is vital as the deviation from the set standard of performance should be monitored well. Based on the level of deviation, corrective measures should be taken.
Usually, the PDP should have the following contents
- Personal analysis
- Clear statement of long term goals (5-10 years)
- Clear statement of short term goals (1-4 years)
- Specific work schedule for the coming years, which aid you achieve the goals within the time frame.
- Corrective actions to be taken in case of failure to achieve the set goals.
Before setting up of goals, you should do a thorough personality analysis of oneself. For this you can make use of SWOT Analysis-
SWOT analysis is a powerful technique for identifying your strengths, your weaknesses, identification of opportunities and possible threats. It is a structured method to identify a person’s potential and possible environmental challenges. Identification of elements in the SWOT process is important step in the process of PDP as this analysis will help you personal development plan the later stages of the PDP.
Strenghts- This includes positive traits of yourself as a person. They can be tangible or intangible qualities which are completely under your control. They can be your personality traits,
Weakness- This includes negative traits in yourself which prevent you from offering your best to others. This portion gives you a competitive disadvantage. This is something you want to demolish. You would not want to disclose your weakness to others except people who are extremely near to you. You should enhance this particular portion so that you achieve your goals easily. Overcoming your weakness also gives you a competitive edge.
Some of the few questions which you can ask yourself-
- What factors are responsible for your weak spots?
- Any particular incidents responsible for your weak areas?
- What are the areas of improvement in order to achieve your objectives?
- What are the qualities lacking in yourself?
- What are the weaknesses in your professional life?
Opportunity- The analysis of the external environment should be done, which often reveal options for growth and profit. This area requires you to look for positive factors in the external environment. This includes areas where you can prosper well in life as well as in career.
Some of the questions that you may answer in this phase-
- What opportunities exist in the outside environment from which you will be benefited?
- Is the perception of yours in the society positive?
- Has the latest market growth created new areas of opportunity for you?
Threats- These include external factors that can pose a risk to your career or life as a whole. The threats are beyond your control. Hence, you should have a contingency plan to tackle them as they occur.
Some of the common questions in this stage are-
- What are the challenges that you may be facing?
- What are the distractions that may prevent you from achieving your goal?
- What are the contingency plans in case of hostile situations?
How to create Goals?
The essence of any PDP is to create solid goals for creating a developmental activity plan. Goals should be practical, attainable and Goals will help you identify activities which would ensure that your current activities are in accordance with your long term goals.
Always keep the following acronym in mind while setting your goals-
SMART- Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time Bound.
It means goals should have the following characteristics-
Specific- It is very important to set particular goals. Try to narrow down your goals and only write down goals which would satisfy your personal developmental needs. Be sure to stick your goals to the point. The goal should provide answers to questions like “Who is involved”, “What exactly do I want to achieve”, “Why is it necessary to attain the goal” and so on.
Measurable- The goals should have solid criteria for measuring progress rate. By measuring the goals, you can track your performance, reach your goals easily and make a continuous effort towards goal achievement.
Achievable- When you are fixing your goals, you should be knowing the ways to be followed which would lead you to your ultimate goals. Goals slowly become attainable and easy to achieve not because the so called goals shrink, but it is because of the fact that you expand and grow to match them. Once you set your goals, you chalk down practical methods to fulfil the goal.
Realistic- The goal should not be impractical and hard to achieve. It should be realistic and possible to achieve with a demonstrated level of hard work and dedication. A high goal is usually convenient to achieve as it needs high motivational factor.
Time Bound- A goal should always have some specified time frame within which it should be fulfilled. Without a time limit, there is no urgency as a result, there are high chances of failure to attain the goal. Hence time boundary should be maintained and regularly checking of efforts towards the set goals should be done.
So, get up, take a pen and a white sheet. Be ready to brainstorm a little and then start the process of developing your own Personal Development Plan. Don’t forget to have fun in the process of making yourself a better person.