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Personal Development Plan Examples & Templates for Success

Did you know you can make your dreams and aspirations a reality by focusing on your own individual personal development plan ?

Your potential is limitless, and investing in personal development is a way to harness your many talents.

Establishing goals for what you want to achieve — where you would like to go in the short term or long term — can improve your personal development.

In this guide, I’ll help you understand what personal development means and its importance, what a personal development plan is and why you should make one, and how to write a personal development plan. 

I’ll also share with you my personal development plan template to get you started on your path to reach your personal development goals, complete with helpful examples and resources to support you.

Table of Contents

The 7 Categories of Personal Development

How to Set Personal Development Goals

Personal development plan template, personal development courses and programs, what is a personal development plan (pdp).

A personal development plan is a guideline for your life and your future success.

Personal development is the process of improving oneself through conscious habits and activities. It is the pursuit of personal growth to enhance your quality of life and to achieve your dreams and aspirations.

When you create a personal development plan, you start to define the kind of person you want to be, skills you want to have, and accomplishments you want to achieve. And then you map out your long-term and short-term goals to realize these aspirations and set timelines for when you want to reach them.

Many people underachieve in their careers because they do not realize the areas of personal development that can help achieve mastery in any field.

Effective leaders focus on continual self-improvement and know there is no substitute for hard work.

When you practice self-discipline by setting a goal, making a plan, and working on it every day, you will see personal development and progress within your career.

The Importance of Personal Development

Most of the time, what you think about is what you become. From the moment you wake until the moment you close your eyes at the end of the day, everything you experience plays a factor in your development.

When you take greater control over your experiences, you are able to guide your personal development and accelerate toward what you want to become instead of leaving it to chance.

Setting, striving for, and meeting personal development goals opens up a world of new possibilities for you to increase your quality of life.

For example, as a result of creating and following your personal development plan, you may gain more responsibility for work and open up opportunities for higher pay. This growth could qualify you for a better career trajectory to increase your overall happiness, job satisfaction, and ability to provide for the life you want for you and your family.

Focusing on your personal development also gives you better decision-making abilities so you can avoid problems that may have plagued you in the past or are holding you back now.

At the end of the day, personal development helps you create more positivity and harness the power of positive thoughts , which can transform your life. 

When you give time to yourself by focusing on your professional and personal growth, you are better able to achieve your version of success because of personal development.

Personal Development vs Self-Improvement

Recognizing the difference between self-improvement and personal development can be a little tricky.

While they are similar in that they are both very instrumental in achieving your goals and improving yourself, there are key differences between a self-improvement plan and a personal development plan.

Personal development is the work you are putting in to transform yourself on a daily basis. It’s the efforts you’re making to advance in your work, lifestyle, attitude, physique, and sociability.

Setting personal development goals and creating a plan helps you take full advantage of any opportunity that may come your way and make the most of your potential.

Self-improvement is an inner transformation. It is a self-motivated study to improve one’s character, status, or knowledge by their own efforts. 

Self-improvement is a lifelong process of constantly searching for ways to change your habits so you can reach your fullest potential.

The specific efforts you put into personal development lead to self-improvement.

Start Achieving All of Your Goals Today! Download my FREE Personal Development Plan Template

Focusing on personal development categories such as personal skills, personal growth, and personal power can create habits for personal improvement.

Personal growth is founded on education and skill. Through education and experience, you increase your skill level and your ability to succeed in your field.

There are seven main categories of personal development.

Personal Skills

Personal skills can be ones you were born with as well as skills gained through deliberate practice. They’re often referred to as soft skills. 

Examples of personal skills are decision-making, teamwork, organization, and communication.

If you’re interested in growing your skills at work, try working on your personal skills. The highest-paid, top individuals in their field are the ones that focus on growing their personal skills. 

Knowing what areas you excel in and which need development is very useful in your personal and professional life.

Personal Growth

Having a personal growth plan is one of the first steps toward bettering yourself and stepping out of your comfort zone.

Humans and the human mind are constantly evolving. Think about it: you are not the same person you were a year ago. You’ve learned more, grown in many different ways, and have experienced more life events to further shape your personality, beliefs, and world outlook.

In order to experience personal development and growth, strive to be a better version of yourself today than you were yesterday.

Personal Power

Personal power is the authority others believe you to have in certain situations and is fueled by your contacts, knowledge, and financial status.

Developing an ever-widening circle of contacts, seeking to learn more, and growing financially increases the number of doors that others will leave open for you to step into.

Expanding your network, knowledge base and financial status will also allow you to help others do the same, further increasing your personal power and opportunities for personal development and growth.

Personal Improvement

Personal improvement stems from good work habits and having a positive mental attitude. 

Thinking before you act is critical to developing a strong amount of personal improvement. To help you think first, try to set priorities on a list and consider the likely consequences before beginning. 

Working on personal improvement and generating a positive mental attitude will also reduce the amount of time that it takes you to achieve your goals.

Personal Empowerment

Personal empowerment is similar to Personal Power, except empowerment is the power you see within yourself, instead of how others view you.

Promoting a positive image and adopting creativity within your daily life can speed up the time it takes to achieve personal empowerment and your goals.

To help you increase your personal empowerment, consider looking for new, creative ways to finish a project in a faster, easier or cheaper way without compromising the end result.

Personal Analysis

It is very important to be conscious of areas in which you are naturally gifted as well as analyze areas in which you need improvement. This is called personal analysis.

Being truthful about where you currently stand is the first step to moving forward. You should be constantly evaluating where you are in relation to achieving your goals and ambitions.

Personal Objectives

Ambition goes to waste when there are no clear goals in sight. Developing short-term and long-term goals is a pivotal step in actually accomplishing them and growing as a person.

Having a set plan will help you have a clear understanding of which strategies are necessary in order to reach your desired destination.

Why Make a Personal Development Plan?

The reason you need a personal development plan is that making a plan will help guide you to better decision-making and remind yourself of where you want to go.

In other words, good preparation increases the probability of success and decreases the risk of things going wrong along the way.

Creating a plan for personal development helps you get a better sense of control over your life and will make you better prepared for whatever comes your way.

Consider these benefits to having a personal development plan:

Developing personal development goals for work can make the difference between success and failure. Creating a self-growth plan for your personal life can mean the difference between life-long happiness and regret.

Skills & Objectives

The objectives of personal development are continuous personal growth, increased potential for success, and capitalizing on potential opportunities.

You can practice your personal development skills by setting aside time for the important people in your life, performing action exercises that force you to perform at the highest level, and studying growth performances to help ensure you continue to climb the ladder of success.

An action plan has to include measurable objectives so you know the exact steps it will take to reach your goals. Objectives break your larger personal developments goals into bite-sized pieces so you are able to know where you are headed and check off your progress along the way.

There are no limits except for the limits you place on yourself with your thinking.

Commit yourself to a life of constant learning. Even if you are at the top of your field, there is always something to learn. 

Once you have mastered a new skill, move on to learning another one. Constantly learning new skills keeps your mind fresh and active and opens doors that would otherwise be closed to you.

You will become unstoppable and you will see your entire future open up in front of you if you live a goal and growth-oriented life.

Before you can set up a plan, you need to do some self-reflecting and answer personal goal questions.

A few questions you should develop before laying out a specific plan of action are:

After answering those questions, you can create a personal plan that contains a few key components.

The key components you should focus on are having a specific outcome that you are constantly working towards, planning and paving a path towards achieving it, being mindful of the obstacles, and understanding the bigger motivation behind your actions.

When developing a personal development plan for work, you should focus on SMART goals. SMART stands for “Specific”, “Measurable”, “Achievable”, “Relevant”, and “Time-Bound.”

By following this easy-to-remember acronym when goal setting , you can improve both your personal and professional life:

Set Goals for Professional Life

In order to make progress that you can see and track in your professional life, you need to document a detailed plan of action for your personal development.

Some personal development plan examples for work include answering the following questions:

Be as specific with your answers as possible. The more precise, the easier it is to track your progress.

Seeing how far you have come and how your hard work is paying off will give you a boost of confidence and provide a sense of accomplishment.

Some examples of personal development goals for work include the Golden Hour and the 21-Day Mental Diet.

The Golden Hour Rule

The Golden Hour Rule steers the trajectory of your day.

Beginning your day early and investing your first hour in yourself will make a tremendous difference in the way you feel, and you will begin to see positive results in your day.

You will begin to see yourself in a more positive light and improve on your personal development.

The 21-Day Mental Diet

The 21-Day Mental Diet personal leadership plan example means waking up early and investing at least the first two hours of your day in yourself.

With this extra time, set clear goals you can work to achieve in the workplace. This can be improving your productivity and efficiency to help you get that promotion or earn a raise.

Your goals may also include education. You need to learn more to earn more.

Try setting a goal to read something educational, motivational, or inspirational every day before you go to work.

Set Goals in Your Daily Life

Outside of the workspace, it is important to be focusing on some personal goals as well. Similar to the work plan, the personal plan requires you to focus on key points in order to achieve your goals.

Here is a personal development plan example:

There are several aspects of personal development disciplines that will make achieving success possible if developed correctly.

A few of these disciplines include goal setting, planning and organizing, and concentrating on your high-value activities.

Goal Setting

Goal setting can be done in the early morning and take only a few minutes of your day.

It can be as simple as purchasing a spiral notebook and writing out your ten goals at the beginning of each day. This will program them deep into your subconscious mind and help you actually follow through on accomplishing them.

Planning Your Day

Planning and organizing at the end of the day can help you better prepare for the coming day.

When you plan out your day, putting it down on paper, you can begin to visualize your important tasks and make sure you are working to complete them throughout the day.

Concentrating On Your High-Value Activities

High-value activities are the things you choose to do throughout the day that will give you the biggest return on your efforts to get you closer to your goals.

Concentrating on your high-value activities will help keep you focused and contribute to your success as much as any other discipline you can develop.

Promoting the highest value activities will make a powerful difference in how quickly you achieve them and the goals they relate to.

Creating a plan for personal development will help you get a better sense of control over your life and your goals…and it doesn’t have to be a daunting task!

Follow this template for writing a personal development plan to get started in achieving your goals.

There are six core steps in this template that will help you take action and measure your progress.

Step 1: Set Your Goals

Write a list of the top 10 most important goals you would like to achieve. I encourage you to really write them down somewhere — on paper or on your computer — instead of just keeping them in your head. 

People who write their goals and have a clear plan are 30% more likely to achieve their goals.

Search deep within yourself and identify the things you really want out of life. Do not be hindered by thoughts of roadblocks that may get in your way. Open yourself up to all the possibilities that would make you truly happy in life.

These are life goals. Life goals are meant to be challenging, so they may seem huge, overwhelming, or even scary. But that’s why they will be broken down into digestible and manageable smaller goals. 

For example, providing for your family is an important long-term goal, but figuring out the steps to get there is the challenge. Your smaller personal development plan objectives will help you identify those steps so you have a clear road map to follow.

With each of the 10 goals you identify, also define your “why:” Why do you want to achieve this goal? What will it mean for your personal life, your career, your health, your loved ones?

Knowing your why will help set you up for success. It will keep you motivated to continue progressing forward until you have achieved what you want to.

Step 2: Prioritize Your Goals

Once you have identified your top 10 goals, write which of those 10 is the most important to you and why.

Starting with your highest priority goal, identify the short-term goals and steps that are needed to achieve your long-term goals.

What needs to happen today so you can move on to tomorrow?

This may require some research on your part, depending on your goal.

For example, say your goal is to become a leader in your field. Some of the short-term goals you will prioritize to reach this personal leadership plan example may include the following:

Step 3: Create a Timeline for Achieving Your Goals

Setting deadlines in your personal development plan template is crucial. Without them, your goals can get lost in the everyday chaos of life or forgotten completely.

Write down a specific timeline for achieving each of your goals, but be realistic in your timing and know the likelihood ahead of time of achieving your goal within a certain timeline to avoid discouragement.

While you may want to become debt-free by next year, you will first need to do what is necessary to earn more income or reduce your expenses. This could involve getting more education, finding a better job, or making major life changes, which could take more than 365 days.

Once you assign a due date to each of your short-term goals, tackle the hardest goal first . This will help you realize you can actually achieve your goals faster and give you the motivation you need to propel yourself forward.

If you’re unsure of the timeline you should set for accomplishing your goals, speaking to other people who have achieved the goal you are striving for will help you set a realistic deadline. 

Conducting online research could also help in defining a timeline to accomplish your goals. 

Knowing that it takes four to five years to earn a Ph.D. in business lets you know how long it will likely take you. If you can only attend school part-time, you know it will take longer, perhaps twice as long.

Step 4: Analyze Your Strengths and Weaknesses

Write down your strengths and weakness. Remember that skills like perseverance, positive attitude, and creativity are strengths and weaknesses as much as educational level, experience, and having a strong network of professional contacts.  

Focus on the attributes that are needed to achieve your goal. Then, write how your strengths can help you achieve this goal and how you plan to overcome those weaknesses.

Use a SWOT analysis to organize your thoughts and develop a strong strategy for achieving your goal. SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. 

Ask yourself questions similar to these to help you develop each part of a SWOT analysis:


Step 5: Write an Action Plan

Write actions that you need to take in order to achieve your goal. These can be things you need to add to your daily routine as well as things you need to eliminate from it in order to achieve the success in life that you are looking for.

Doing this will help you to achieve each goal faster.

Whether you use a notebook or your computer, just make sure you’re also physically writing down your plan so you can see it every day and hold yourself accountable.

Step 6: Measure Your Progress

The final step in your personal development plan template is to mark your progress.

Write down what has been working well, what you have accomplished, what you still need to improve, and what skills or knowledge you have gained along the way.

People who set up a system to report on their goals weekly achieve 40% more than people who do not. 

To help you in this final step, consider using a tracker to take notes, measure progress, and be analytical about what works and what does not.

Sometimes it is necessary to change courses midstream or add a step that you were not initially aware of. That doesn’t mean you should abandon your goal out of discouragement. It just means you need to adapt, and this is where a tracker can help you determine if it’s time to pivot.

Remember it’s okay to be flexible. Doing so will allow you to make changes when needed that will propel you toward your goal more efficiently.

This could be a good opportunity to use another piece of data about how people who write things down/journal are much more likely to be successful. 

Personal development courses, coaches, and programs can also help you hit your goals.

A personal development program accompanied by a personal development coach helps to keep you disciplined and moving forward.

If you are looking to transform your life, check out these courses and programs that include all of my knowledge, distilled into powerful lessons to help you achieve immediate success in your own life. They will teach you how to stop worrying and stressing out and how to take control of your life, forever.

Power of Personal Achievement

Learn the right way to visualize your ideal future. This course will teach you how to set your goals and methodically achieve them with more efficiency than ever before.

This program will teach you how to ditch the negative emotions that have been hindering your success as well as how to redirect your energy and resources towards your personal mission. 

The Science of Self Confidence

In this course, you’ll learn just about everything I’ve learned about self-confidence during the past four decades.

I reveal the secret of the four Cs that teach you how to escape the endless loop of failure. You will find your true self and, as a result, finally feel truly confident.

Maximum Productivity

This course will equip you with the skills to discover your special calling. You will learn everything you need in order to know how to take the shortest, fastest route possible to your destination.

Ultimate success is achievable when you know how to dramatically improve your productivity.

Create Your Personal Development Plan Today

Don’t wait to start improving your life.

Follow a personal development plan for work and your personal life or use a template to start accomplishing your goals and improving your life.

For the easiest way to get started, download my free Personal Development Plan Template to organize your goals over the next few months and years and optimize your success.

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About Brian Tracy — Brian is recognized as the top sales training and personal success authority in the world today. He has authored more than 60 books and has produced more than 500 audio and video learning programs on sales, management, business success and personal development, including worldwide bestseller The Psychology of Achievement. Brian's goal is to help you achieve your personal and business goals faster and easier than you ever imagined. You can follow him on Twitter , Facebook , Pinterest , Linkedin and Youtube .

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Making Business Matter (MBM)

Dec 17, 2020

Personal Development Plan Examples

Structure your personal development ideas properly with this article.

Personal Development Plans (PDPs), sometimes called Individual Development Plans (IDPs) or Personality Development Plans, are an important part of your personal and professional development. Find out more about how you can use a simple Personal Development Plan to improve you by reading this article…

What is Personal Development?

Simply, personal development is an individual journey of improving yourself.

Yet using a plan, which very few people actually do, an individual is able isolate and focus on activities that maximise self-awareness, put skills and behaviours under a microscope to identify weaknesses and improvement areas covers alternatively isolate key strengths to be optimised.

As Wikipedia puts it:

‘Activities that improve awareness and identity, develop talents and potential, build human capital and facilitate employability , enhance the quality of life and contribute to the realisation of dreams and aspirations.’

Yet, because many people fail to see that personal development is a life-long exercise, it is often pigeon-holed as just ‘life’ happening, as normal. As a result, it is missed as a key opportunity to develop the above elements in a way that does actually enhance the quality of a person’s life. With said individual leaving things to chance, and often complaining when things don’t happen as expected, or at all.

‘The Harder I work, the luckier I get’ — Samuel Goldwyn

What are the 3 Aspects of a Personal Development Plan?

Categorically, as with any huge monument and incredible feats of ingenuity, personal development is best achieved with a plan.

A Personal development plan provides a set of guidelines and a framework that, if used correctly, creates two points of clarity:

Carving out time to reflect on these two areas helps to identify the current strengths and weaknesses. And these may be obvious or sitting in a blind spot. Regardless, if we don’t take the time to reflect and question ourselves on what these both may be, and how aware we are of them, we will miss vital opportunities to help improve and/or leverage the best parts of ourselves.

The third element that comes to life when building a Personal Development Plan; the bridge between point A and point B:

This becomes the detailed actions required in order to fulfil those ‘Future Aspirations’. As with any goal setting, regardless of whether this is personal or business, it’s exactly the same. It works like SatNav. I’ll no doubt repeat this analogy a million times before I die, yet it still holds true in these settings.

In order for Satnav to work, it requires 2 pieces of information. The postcode of where you are and where you want to be. Then based on these 2 reference points, it can help calibrate the best possible journey to accommodate the best possible result. Without A and B, you cannot bridge the required bridge to get there, because you don’t know where there is.

Yet what the Satnav also does, or moreover your phone does, is hold the journey for you. This is what the PDP does. It creates a container that holds all the information that keeps you moving in the right direction.

Why Is a Personal Development Plan Useful?

One key reason: Clarity

Your Own — A plan is an excellent way to keep you clear on where you were, where you are and what is still required to complete it. It helps keep you on track. Whether you check this daily, weekly or monthly. It’s a referenceable document or tool that keeps you moving forward.

And if for whatever reason, you do go off course, you can slide back and keep going. Of alternatively, if you find actually you heading in the wrong direction completely, due to business or life changes, it gives you a place to document those moments, evaluate, and get moving on the new trajectory.

Your Team — When each person in the team has a PDP in place it’s easy for colleagues to see what they can/could contribute to their peers and at the same who they can ask for support from. Having this in place helps to encourage peer-to-peer coaching and support, which in turn builds stronger team cohesion.

Your Bosses — If you are working in an organisation and the PDP is part of your regular discussions (and I truly hope it is) it also gives them heart that you’re working on you . They can see the self-respect and self-worth you place in yourself, how you’re developing skills and how that is supporting the growth of the business.

It also gives them the opportunity to contribute, and everyone loves to share what they’re good at to see and help others grow. It gives leaders no greater pleasure than to see their teams’, their people, thrive.

Who Is Involved in a Personal Development Plan?

Number 1. You. The reader at this point.

Although I’ve already highlighted the benefits of the clarity having a PDP in place provides not only you and those around you especially when whole teams use PDPs. Yet, time and time again, something I have to really drill into people when discussing PDPs. It’s a Personal Development Plan. It’s not an [insert company name] Development Plan.

This is about you, this is your work, this is your ambition. Too many organisations and bosses use this tool as a tick box exercise of an opportunity to get people to do what they want. This simply doesn’t work, because, in the long run, people disengage, simply because they’re being told what to do. Yes, there may well be skills on there you need to develop in order to support your role or the team. In the long run, this is about where you’re going.

‘It’s all about you, it’s all about you, baby’ — Song Lyrics, McFly

What Are the 4 Stages of Personal Development?

This is actually the 4-stages of learning:

That covers the learning journey, shifting up each rung of the ladder. In my understanding of PDPs, I’ve learned from CMI (Charter Management Institute) that Personal Development Planning has 7-stages…

What Are the 7 Stages of Personal Development Planning?

By doing this process, it becomes cyclic. With the review reinforcing or adjusting the purpose and direction which identifies further development needs and so on and so forth. With that in mind…

What Should a Personal Development Plan Include?

The PDP (personal development plan), apparently also called an IDP (individual development plan) or a PEP (personal enterprise plan), not that I’ve heard these terms in 23 plus years, usually includes a clear statement of intent; the aspirational outcome, strengths or competencies, required education and training, and all the stages or steps to indicate how the plan is to be realised.

The majority of PDPs cover a 12-month period, and should, therefore, be updated and renewed each year.

Personal development plan examples are widely available online, so it’s easy to get a feel for what steps to take. As I shared earlier Wikipedia highlighted it’s how you ‘enhance the quality of life and contribute to the realisation of dreams and aspirations’. That’s a great deal to expect from a single document. It’s a great idea to look at a selection of personal development plan examples.

Plan Examples

Most examples of such plans contain important and searching questions. Such as, ‘What are my strengths?’ and ‘What are my areas for further development?’. These are followed by the goal-setting section. This focuses on what actions and resources are needed to achieve the stated goals.

‘Most people overestimate what they can do in one year and underestimate what they can do in ten years.’ Bill Gates.

Although a PDP is about the coming 12-months a plan needs to include separate areas for:

By doing this is also help you to clearly align your goals and make sure that one feeds the other. Much like dominoes falling over, by having this train of thought you can see how each step in the journey gets you to where you need to be. This is because it is all too easy to become caught up in daily life and merely react to situations. It’s better to be proactive.

Taking some time to write down ‘My personal development’, in template form, will help to crystalise your thoughts. Plus, begin to form the basis of a strategy.

Another good example of the depth into which some plans delve is found on the Managers.org.uk site. It requires a much finer detail when planning.

Analysing Your Team

At MBM, we offer a similarly detailed analysis of your team to help determine the long-term objectives. If you are building a team to specifically supply UK Supermarkets, we can help create a personal development plan for each member of your team. Uniquely qualified to give advice on and deliver training tailored to suppliers to UK supermarkets, we are the only training provider specifically tailoring our training to supermarket suppliers . To understand your, and your team’s, competency level across 11 skills download the Competency Framework .

Download the PDP template from our website.

Instructions for Completing the Self Development Plan Template

Key principles for completing this template are:

Let us help you to be the very best version of you, with 121 Executive Coaching Support — Click on the link below the tin can to see the options that are available to you:

Better Ways to Self Development

The quest to better yourself is a lifelong process. It seems that every week a selection of new titles is released. There are many different choices on how to chart your personal development and all share some common threads:

Once you’ve plotted those questions and given some serious thought to the answers, you may benefit from some professional people development with a specialist trainer who knows your niche and is an expert in your field. We have a full programme of training courses designed specifically with a focus on suppliers to the big four supermarkets.

At MBM we would be delighted to provide your team with the tools they need in order to succeed in this market. We are a specialist training provider with a stable of professionally qualified trainers who all have UK supermarket experience. Between us, we have over 100 years of UK Grocery industry experience.

Watch the Videos to Build Your Personal Development Plan: Sticky Learning ® Lunches

In part one below you can learn how to begin your PDP:

Setting Goals to Maximise Development

Successful people know that setting goals and visualising where you want to be are both keys to achieving those goals. Benjamin Franklin famously said, ‘If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.’ He knew that if you don’t decide where you wish to go, then life will take you where it pleases. Would you leave your future to chance?

You may have heard of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. It ranks the things which motivate people. The needs are arranged in a pyramid shape, with the most basic needs forming the base.

Once a person’s basic needs are met, they begin to quest for more. They move higher through the pyramid until they reach the pinnacle of Self Actualisation — In other words fulfilling your potential.

It is a long journey to the top of the pyramid. To ensure you make the most of your path, it is a good idea to plan the steps along the way. We can help you to do that.

What is your top tip for personal development planning? Please share your top tip by commenting below.

For further L&D and self-improvement tips, you can take a look at our Ultimate Guide to People Management Skills . And our Learning to Learn YouTube Channel .

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A Personal Development Plan (PDP) Guide & Template

What is a personal development plan.

Personal development is an ongoing process that drives you to improve your knowledge, skills and experience, so that you can achieve your goals. A personal development plan (or PDP) is a method of focussing your goals into achievable steps, which helps you keep track of your personal development.

Download Free PDP Example/Template

Why Should I Create a Personal Development Plan?

Your plan may be aimed at your education, career or personal goal, or a mixture of all three – that is up to you to determine. Whatever the case may be, a good plan will provide you with a clear sense of focus. It helps you map out a path towards your goals, strategise a plan to achieve them, record the actionable steps you will take, and set a timeframe for completing them. Focussing your goals into a PDP helps you maintain your vision, keep on track to achieve your targets, and reflect on your progress.

Simply put, a PDP can help you build a clear understanding of what you want to achieve and how you are going to achieve it.

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Let us help with your personal development goals this year. Choose from a wide range of business essentials courses , whether it be Leadership and Management , Starting a Business , or Coaching and Mentoring . You could have your CPD recognised certificate in a matter of hours!

A clear plan can also support your positive mental wellbeing and improve your level of satisfaction. It can provide a sense of direction, purposefulness and a feeling of success as you start to fulfil your potential. All of these can have very positive impacts on your mental health. 

Therefore, discovering what your goals are, getting organised and giving yourself a sense of direction can be incredibly beneficial. This article will give you an understanding of how to write a personal development plan, as well as provide you with a handy template to support your development journey.

How to Write a Personal Development Plan

There are seven steps to writing a PDP:

person filling in PDP diary progress

1. Set Yourself Goals

The first step is to set yourself goals . Think about what you want to achieve, whether that’s within a few weeks, within a year, or over your lifetime.

Deciding what you want is not only the first step in planning, it’s also the hardest. Once you’ve figured out what you want to do, that goal will provide clear direction and a structure for your resulting plan.

At this stage, your goals will feel big. You might be wondering how you are ever going to achieve them. Don’t worry – the next step is to prioritise and turn those goals into smaller, actionable steps that will support you on your way to achieving them.

2. Prioritising Your Goals

Now that you have your goals, the next stage is to break them down into smaller steps. When doing this, it’s important that your goals are SMART:

Once you have your goals, you’ll need to prioritise them. 

In your PDP, you should be setting yourself mini goals to make the big ones happen.

For example, if you wish to pursue a career in academia as a senior lecturer and then a professor, a necessary step to succeeding in this goal is to achieve a PhD. So that would be one of your long-term goals. You then need to break it down into steps, such as:

3. Set Yourself Deadlines

Knowing when you want to achieve a goal is crucial, and picturing your future is an important source of motivation and inspiration.

Having goals and a set deadline will drive your motivation to achieve them. For example, if your goal is to buy a home, knowing when you want to achieve it will help you calculate exactly how much money you need to save each year in order to get your deposit. The same is true for your skills, knowledge and experience development. As mentioned above, setting realistic and time-bound goals are essential to achieving them. 

One good way to understand more about achieving your goals is to speak to those who have previously trodden a similar path. Learning about  their experiences can help you understand key barriers to, or methods of, success that may also be applicable to your PDP.

typing up a personal development plan

4. Recognise Threats and Opportunities

When considering your goals, you should identify your own strengths, consider areas of weakness you can develop, look at the opportunities available to support you in achieving your goals, and any threats that may hinder you in your progress. This is called a SWOT analysis. Note that these threats may be external or they may be core skills that you can develop as part of your PDP.

For example, a lack of motivation could hinder your plans to apply for a PhD. However, once you’ve identified your tendency to procrastinate or lose focus, you can put in place methods that will keep you motivated.

There are also going to be things that you could do, and connections with people or resources you could take advantage of, that will help you on your way. These are your opportunities that you should commit to doing.

For example, if there’s a conference coming up, take advantage of that. Go along and network, stay up to date on the latest knowledge, or even present a paper. These are all opportunities that could help you achieve your goals.

5. Develop Yourself

Once you have an idea of what could help or hinder you, this is when you can capitalise on those opportunities you recognised. Make an action plan about how you’ll make that progress.

Whatever it is that hinders you, there’s a way to stop it. Your plan is the first step to making sure you stay on track. 

So, why not take a look at how to upskill yourself , develop transferable skills in today’s rapidly changing jobs market, or even discover an online learning opportunity .

6. Use Your Support Network

The next thing you need to realise is that:

You don’t have to do everything by yourself.

And you shouldn’t. The support network around you is a valuable asset, so use it and don’t underestimate it.

In your PDP, list the people who can help you. This could be a financial advisor, a friend, or a colleague. People are often so happy to help you, more than you might realise.

friends supporting PDP

7. Measure Progress

After you’ve achieved some progress, whether it’s big or small, take time to reflect on how far you’ve come.

Recognising what has gone well is an effective way to bolster your motivation and remain dedicated.

And after a setback, this is another time to take stock.

Wallowing – briefly – is a good way to feel what you need to without holding on to it. Holding onto sadness, anger or frustration, however, will only deter you. These emotions will take you nowhere and will only hinder you.

You should also spend a little time figuring out why it went wrong. Can you identify a skills or knowledge gap? 

 If you can, then you can get yourself back on track by focussing on your next step. This will reignite your sense of purpose and help you regain control, which is integral to making progress.

Continue to reflect on your progress. You can gain significant insight from your reflections and this can help you grow. Remember that you should update your plan where necessary. Don’t overload it at any one time but, once you have achieved your small steps, reflect and then update your plan to focus on your next move.

Free Personal Development Plan Example & Template

In this article, we have discussed how you can create your own personal development plan, so you should now feel ready to start considering your goals and developing your own plan. To help you produce an effective personal development plan, we have created an editable template that you can use. Take a look at our example PDP, and download your free template below:

Further Resources:

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Katie Martinelli

Her favourite article is Five Top Learning and Development Trends for 2020

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21 Examples of Personal Development Goals for a Better You

One of the most sane and apt decisions you can make for yourself is to strive towards continuous self-development. Some of the common professional development goals that we all want for ourselves to acheive some short term goals: enhancing the quality of our lives, achieving more, work life balance, becoming better people, and trying to be a better version of ourselves. That is why we create a personal development goals and a proper action plan in our lives.

Listed below are 21 personal development plan examples that will help you set personal goals, aid and augment your personal and professional development journey into a happier more confident you. Here’s your personal development plan template:

1. Embrace Empathy.

Empathy  is about objectively comprehending differing perspectives which in turn provides a wealth of insight into your perspective.

2. Confidence.

Studies have revealed that an individual’s IQ is not the most important component for success. Instead, the following three factors are considered to be much more important than intelligence in determining success: self-confidence, smart goals setting, and perseverance.

An individual’s self-esteem, or your self-confidence, is basically what he or she thinks about himself or herself. One of the reasons for boosting your self-confidence is that there is a strong association between confidence and success. Hence, one of your self-development goals should definitely be to boost your self-confidence, let’s start the personal development journey:

3. Listen Actively.

Actively learn to pay attention and demonstrate to others that you truly value their opinions and what they have too ay. Choose active listening,  open-ended questions , with supporting body language, and remove any distractions that impede your ability to listen.

4. Make fear your friend.

To eliminate fear, you have to first be exposed to fear allow yourself to feel afraid and expose yourself to it. Once you are comfortable with the ambiguity & uncertainly of the situation, you can start working your way through it in a calm rational manner.

5. Improve Your Body Language .

Your  body language  is nothing but non-verbal communication which includes the gestures and movements you project. Research has proved that the correct body language can help you connect effectively with others and convey your message across more efficiently. It conveys your assertiveness, confidence, and perseverance. In fact, certain body postures can also help to improve your performance.

6. Get Along With Others .

You must always look for means to create a  rapport  with team members or other people. However, you need to be honest and your primary objective should not be to manipulate others, rather you should learn the ways through which you can relate and get along well with others.

7. Get along with yourself.

Getting along with yourself is a precursor to getting along with others. Your must learn to appreciate and accept your skills, experience, philosophies, aspirations and limitations . This healthy focus & more grounded you, is inspirational & charismatic.

8. Stop Procrastinating .

You need to understand that procrastination is not a character trait, but rather a habit. Since it is a habit, it is 100% possible for you to unlearn it just as you have learnt the habit. Strive to utilize time in the most effective manner and avoid procrastination by all means.

9. Wake up Early .

Develop the habit to get up early. The age old proverb which says: “Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise!” has been coined owing to the multiple benefits of an early riser.

Some of these include: watching and enjoying the sun rise, do some early morning exercise for your fitness, being able to work on a project just because it’s important to you before the day officially gets started, and so on. In addition, studies show that people who better at time management such as get up early are happier, healthier, and more  productive  than their late rising counterparts.

10. Become More Proactive .

Inculcate the habit of proactiveness. Some of the traits of proactive people are:

11. Master the Art of Conflict Resolution .

Conflict is a part and parcel of life. The key is to develop the skill of  conflict resolution . If you possess the ability to resolve conflicts rationally and settle disputes amicably, it will certainly make more successful and happy.

12. Let go of the Past .

One of the biggest hindrances to set professional growth is holding on to the past. In order to be happy in the true sense of the term, it is very important to be in the present. So, you must learn to release the ghosts of the past and clear skeletons from the cupboard.

13. Read More. Read Often .

Nothing is more powerful than the treasure of knowledge and the best way to acquire this treasure is to read as much as you can. Research has proved that acquiring new knowledge satisfies an individual’s thirst for competence, which makes them eventually happier. You must develop the habit of reading books that will help you to acquire new skills and as well as to polish your existing skills.

14. Become More Resilient .

Resilience  is the innate ability to overcome any kind of adversity. It is the difference between feeling helpless and facing your problems confidently and bravely. You must always learn how to bounce back from any kind of problem; it will only help you to emerge as a stronger individual.

15. Manage Stress Effectively .

Too much stress can land you up in distress. It impacts not you’re your physical health but also your  mental  and emotional health. You must know how to effectively manage stress.

There are a lot of stress management techniques available these days. So all you need to develop is the willingness to fight stress. Finding the means to tackle stress is not a challenge these days with help available at the click of a mouse.

16. Ignore your limitations .

Limiting beliefs hinders your progress by keeping you caught up in your comfort zone and prevents you from trying out new things and stops you from taking risks for the fear of failure or getting hurt in the process. You can have limiting beliefs about almost anything ranging from money, relationships, success, and the list is endless. It is important to identify your limiting beliefs, conquer them, and reinstate them with  positive  beliefs that enable you to achieve your dreams in life.

17. Share Yourself.

Become a teacher and share your time,  feedback , opinions knowledge & skills. The transfer of knowledge & skills not only benefits the other, other person but the process it self reinforces the neural pathways of what you know taking you closer to mastery.

18. Increase Your willpower .

Harbouring a strong  willpower  enhances your finances, your health, your relationships, your personal growth , your professional success, and all other areas of your life. Irrespective of the personality goals that you have set for yourself, find your areas of personal development, you need the willpower to attain them to achieve your goals.

19. Become More mindful .

Strive to become more mindful. It helps you to acknowledge the abundance and the benefits that is already a part of your lives. Instead of spending time thinking about the past which no longer serves your interest, or worrying about the future which you have no idea of how it is going to be, you must learn to live in the present and enjoy the moments.

20. Make Better decisions .

Develop the habit to make better decisions in life. The choices or the decisions that you make determines the life that you will eventually lead. Your decisions shape your life, so it is all the more important, the better decisions you make, the better your life is likely to be.

21. Work on your growth mindset .

Besides studying your personal development goals should also include your attitude defines who you are as a person and it the identification point of the state of your mind. You must constantly work on your attitude and strive to make it  conducive for growth . A positive mental attitude can move mountains for you. It helps you to achieve what you want from life.

The above mentioned personal development program example have been listed so that you are able to live the life of your dreams by setting achievable personal goals that make you a better person. So, it’s never too late to start!

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Byron Conway

Content Coordinator at EmployeeConnect

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Develop Good Habits

36 Examples of Personal Development Goals for Your Career & Life

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If you’re like many other people, you probably make a resolution or two at the beginning of each year to try to improve yourself in some way– get a promotion , start a family, get in shape–things of that nature. And if you’re like many other people, that resolution probably becomes history by January 15th.

However, this common focus on self-improvement derives from our desire to be in the driver’s seat of our own lives and be successful in all of our endeavors. And it’s true that focusing on continuous personal development will greatly improve your chances of being successful in every area of your life, however, simply having any type of goal will not do you any favors unless you follow through by acting on it.

Having clearly defined personal development goals ( as opposed to only having resolutions ) is a great way to start improving your performance in any area of your life, yet the benefit that you derive from it depends on the effort you put forth in achieving it.

I know that once I stopped making vague intentions (lose weight, save money, spend more time with the family), and started to make specific and actionable personal goals, not only did I start achieving my goals and noticing improvements in my life, I also realized the importance of tracking my progress and measuring my success to keep myself motivated to consistently better my life.

In this post, I am going to give you 36 examples of personal development goals both for your career and personal life that will help you cultivate widespread success.

If you'd like a few resources that can teach you all the skills on this page, then I recommend checking out these platforms to learn any skill.

Let’s get started.

Table of Contents

What are Personal Development Goals?

Personal development goals are those that are made in an effort to improve your outcomes and overall experience in life.  A personal goal can be any milestone related to improving yourself through skill acquisition , character building experiences, interacting with other people, improving your perception of yourself and your abilities, or how you envision the possibilities for your future. The purpose of having personal development goals is to continuously create a better life for yourself.

These goals impact you in both tangible and intangible ways. While some personal development goals may relate to improving your ability to be patient with other people, others may have to do with advancing your education in some way.

Some of your personal development goals may clearly fall into a “personal” or “professional” category, however, many can easily overlap into both categories because ultimately, who you innately are as a person remains the same whether you’re at work or at home. Your “soft” skills –such as your ability to motivate yourself and your capacity to feel empathy toward others–will help improve all areas of your life.

RELATED: 21 Examples of SMART Goals

Want to set goals you can actually achieve? Then watch this video that provides a quick overview of SMART goals with 21 examples.

Now that we've defined personal goals, let's talk about the specific ones you can work on developing to improve your life.

Personal Development Goals Related to Your Career

1. build and improve professional relationships.

You spend a lot of time with your colleagues, so it is important to build good relationships with them. After all, team cohesion relies on mature working relationships, as people typically work better together if there’s a personal element to their relationship .

Having positive professional relationships can lay the foundation for your ultimate success. Because each person’s role in your organization either directly or indirectly affects your performance, it’s important for you to nourish these working relationships so you can work in harmony with others.

To improve your professional relationships, help other members of the team whenever you can, and engage in open and honest communication with your colleagues. (And if you're not an effective communicator, these 11 strategies can help improve your communication skills .)

Doing so will help you build trust and strengthen your relationship with the people at work, which will make your professional life much more enjoyable. While it is also important to develop positive relationships with people in your field who work with different organizations (which we will address later), don’t neglect those who are on your own turf.

How to Achieve This Goal

To build and improve your professional relationships, you will need to practice good workplace habits . Not only will this help you develop better relationships with your colleagues, it will also help increase your level of work satisfaction. Be sure to welcome diversity , both in cultures and ideas, by listening to what others have to say in your workplace.

Factor various insights into your decision-making processes and recognize that you can learn something from everyone . If the people you work with can see that you value them and what they bring to the table, you will be more likely to have a good relationship with them.

2. Improve Your Time Management Skills

Throughout your professional career, you’ll face deadlines and competing tasks that fight for your attention every day. As your workload increases, it may seem impossible to be able to get everything accomplished.

In these instances, your ability to manage your time will be tested. Having effective time management skills will help increase your productivity and efficiency, decrease your stress , and  allow you to have more time to dedicate to other endeavors .

Make sure that you’re keeping track of how you spend your time if you feel like time management is an issue for you ( this app can help you do this). Schedule a specific amount of time for every item on your to-do list and don’t allow interruptions during these times. This will help you be more efficient, and once you get the hang of working this way, it will become second nature.

Now, if you'd like to discover additional resources related to time management and productivity, then I recommend checking out the other articles we've published on this site:

We’ve provided you with the tools you need to improve your time management, but having these tools without having the skills to properly use them doesn’t quite cut it. Think of it like this: you could have the highest quality set of knives and most innovative oven on the market, but if you don’t know how to cook, those tools won’t automatically make you a master chef.

So what underlying skills do you need in order to effectively manage your time? Research shows that there are three skills in particular that will make your time management efforts successful, including:

With this in mind, take these steps to improve upon these three skills:

3. Improve Your Emotional Intelligence

When emotional intelligence (EQ) first hit people’s radars, it was the answer to a puzzling question: How do people with mid-range IQs outperform those with the highest IQs almost three-quarters of the time?

People originally thought that one’s IQ was a direct indicator of their success. However, decades of research uncovered that a high EQ is an element that brings star performers to the top.

This means that your EQ has a huge impact on your professional success. When you have a high EQ, you are better equipped to understand your own feelings and the feelings of others, which helps you relate to people. Not only does this improve your communication skills, but it also gives you the social competence that’s needed to understand other people’s emotions, behaviors, and motives so you can respond appropriately and successfully manage your personal interactions.

One interesting thing about people with a high EQ is that they have a large emotional vocabulary. While everyone experiences emotions, very few can accurately identify them as they happen, which becomes a problem because unidentified emotions are easily misinterpreted, leading to irrational decisions and ineffective actions.

However, those who have high EQs can understand their emotions, and they have a large vocabulary of “feeling words” to do this. So, while others may say they feel bad, a person with a high EQ would be able to identify if they’re frustrated, hurt, overwhelmed, etc. The more clearly you can define your emotion, the more insight you have into what caused your feelings and how you can address them.

To learn more about this topic, here is a seven-step process on how to improve your emotional intelligence.

Additionally, having a good sense of self-awareness is the most important component to being able to develop a high EQ. With a high level of self-awareness, it will be easier for you to recognize how other people perceive you and adapt to social situations as needed. One effective way to increase your self-awareness is to keep a mindfulness journal , which will help get you in the habit of living in the moment and being aware of yourself and your surroundings.

4. Define Your Own Success

You don’t have to abide by everyone else’s definition of success . You can define what being successful and happy mean to you , which will help you clarify what you need to do to achieve it.

Once you dig deep to uncover your values and purpose and career aspirations , you will recognize that if you try to chase everyone else's idea of what success is, you won’t achieve it. ( Discover your core values with the help of these core value quizzes. ) In doing this, you have to make it a point to not compare yourself to other people . The things that you see other people have don’t define or impact your success. You’re the only one who can decide if you have achieved your goals thus far.

And if you want to be more successful, here are 12 rules to live by.

There isn’t one universal definition of being successful. To define your own success, you need to observe and recognize the characteristics that make you unique from everyone else in the world and celebrate them. The Huffington Post offers three steps to defining your success:

5. Find New Challenges

Finding new challenges in your current position will help keep your job interesting and fulfilling. This personal development goal shows your ambition and can be especially helpful for your organization if they’re frequently coming up with new ideas that are never acted on or no one supervises to ensure any type of follow-through.

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Finding new challenges could be as easy as revising that employee handbook that hasn’t been touched since 2005, or as complex as proposing and creating a prototype for a new product. Finding new challenges for yourself will also help you show your leadership abilities and could lead to further progress within your organization.

If you need a jumpstart, here are 129 30-day challenges you can use to improve your personal and professional life.

The first thing you need to do to find new challenges is to take the initiative to talk to your boss about your current responsibilities. Inquire about other projects you can get involved with and try to provide a fresh perspective on issues as they arise. Doing so could lead to job advancement in the future, which will certainly offer new challenges.

Secondly, find new challenges by focusing on yourself rather than constantly trying to impress your employer . If you are always in the mindset that you’re working for someone else, you may become bored and lazy with your work. Remember that your work reflects on you , not just your employer, and when you think of your work as being for yourself , you’re more likely to challenge yourself to continuously improve .

6. Don’t Be Passive

Passive behavior occurs when you put other people’s preferences or needs ahead of your own. While sometimes this is necessary to build relationships, it can become a problem if you are consistently passive in a way that allows it to become a barrier to your success.

If you like to avoid conflict, you probably tend to be passive. If you simply allow things to happen without standing up for yourself or offering a logical argument in return, others will see this and start taking advantage of your willingness to please. In doing so, you may accept an offer that would be unacceptable by other people’s standards, which could negatively impact your performance and even your organization.

While being passive in the short-term may make you feel good because you are getting other people’s approval, it is damaging in the long-run because it will require you to make larger sacrifices to maintain these relationships.

If you want to take a more active approach in your career, start by writing your career goal statement . This will give you a clearer vision of the professional life you want and how to achieve it.

Also, you can avoid being passive by communicating directly with people ( don’t be shy! ) and being genuine when you’re talking about how you feel about things. You can certainly be assertive without being aggressive by being clear and straightforward with people.

7. Develop a Growth Mindset

People who have a growth mindset believe that they can continue to develop their talents throughout life. These people are often able to achieve more than those with a fixed mindset, who believe that they were born with their abilities already set into place and therefore don’t invest time or energy into learning new skills. People with a growth mindset are continuously aiming to better themselves, and are therefore able to break away from complacency and achieve their goals.

In a professional environment, people who have a growth mindset often share information, collaborate well with others, look for feedback, strive for innovation, and are able to admit their mistakes. On the other hand, those with a fixed mindset are less likely to take risks for fear of failure or embarrassment. They don’t look forward to the potential learning opportunities from trying new things because they think they were born with the maximum amount of talent they will ever have.

Those with a fixed mindset can develop a growth mindset by embracing imperfection and altering their viewpoint on challenges. This is advantageous in the workplace because it offers a greater opportunity to become successful.

If you'd like to develop this quality, there are many resources out there that can help you. First, here are 7 exercises that can help you develop a growth mindset , and h ere are 27 habits you can adopt to support you on this journey as well . By cultivating self-awareness, seeking out learning opportunities and challenges, and being mindful about valuing the process of everything that you do rather than just the end result, you can stop your limiting beliefs that your talent and abilities are finite.

Additionally, h ere are 20 growth mindset examples that will help you fully understand the importance of having this trait, which can help motivate you to make a genuine effort toward adopting it. You can also check out these growth mindset journal prompts if you're already journaling.

Finally, check out these growth and fixed mindset quotes to encourage you to continue to learn throughout your life. And–if you have children–you can get them started on the right track by teaching them how to develop a growth mindset .

8. Grow Your Network

People do business with others whom they know and trust. And the truth is, “companies” don’t make business decisions, people do. Having a strong professional network can help you advance in your career in ways that you would not be able to do alone.

Not only can networking lead to connections with people who can help you enhance your expertise and knowledge, it can also help you stay on top of potential opportunities for advancement in your career.

In order to grow your network, you need to be willing to put yourself out there in new situations, which may feel uncomfortable at first. However, once you do it a few times, not only will you get used to it, but you will start running into the same people multiple times at networking events, which will help you strengthen your network as it grows. Actively look up networking events in your area and GO. Even if you have to bring a co-worker so there is someone there you know, GO.

You can also grow your network through social media , however, having that personal face-to-face time is invaluable when you’re trying to learn about someone and really attempting to make a valuable connection.

Read this post to learn how to create SMART goals that focus on networking.

9. Tweak Your Work Life Balance

Having a healthy work-life balance is an important part of living a happy life . Not only will taking sufficient breaks from work have a positive effect on your wellbeing, but it will also influence your productivity by improving your performance while you’re working.

Create boundaries between your professional and your personal lives that are strong, yet realistic. To you, this may mean sticking to an 8-hour work-day, or it could mean leaving work at work and leaving home at home (i.e. not checking your work email while having dinner with your family). Having a healthy work-life balance will help you maintain your professional motivation and allow you to work smarter , not harder .

One of the first steps to achieving this goal is to work efficiently while you’re at work so it doesn’t have to spill over into your personal life. Here are 26 smart hacks to help increase your work productivity.

It’s also smart to go into each week with a plan so you don’t end up wasting time wondering what you should do next–or feeling so overwhelmed that you just sit there and do nothing. Here are 7 steps to help you plan out your week so you can stay focused.

10. Improve Upon Your Weaknesses

Make your biggest weakness into your biggest strengths by being aware of areas in which you can improve and focusing directly on them.

Being able to recognize your weaknesses shows self-awareness and strength in your character. But what do you tell potential employers when they ask about your weaknesses? Do you tell them the solid steps you’re taking to improve upon them?

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You won’t improve without accepting that your skillset isn’t perfect and then creating a strategic plan for improvement. ( A personal development plan template can help you! ) If you can take concrete steps to turn your weaknesses around, not only will you be a role model for other professionals, you will also be engaging in self-improvement.

This is not to say that your biggest weakness has to turn into your biggest strength, but being aware of the areas in your work where you have room for improvement and trying to bridge that gap is a constructive personal development goal.

First, practice some activities in self-awareness so you can gain this important characteristic, such as:

Secondly, it is important to get guidance from someone you trust . In doing so, you may be able to learn about some weaknesses that you have but may not have noticed.

And for some things? You really just need to get good enough . It’s alright if you’re never an expert at every task involved in your company–but some tasks are important enough to gain minimal competence, just so you can understand the comprehensive work of your company.

For example, let’s say you’re an internet entrepreneur…but you have very few technology skills. You can trust your employees to take care of the technology piece, but you’ll still want to learn just enough so you can tell if they’re doing their jobs as they’re supposed to and you know if your expectations for their outcomes are realistic.

11. Pursue Ongoing Professional Development

This is another personal development goal that will keep you on top of your game at work. Employers are often reluctant to invest the money in sending their employees to seminars or conferences, but engaging in professional development will help you maintain your competence in your field and excel when faced with the competition .

This continuing professional development can take the form of listening to the best business podcasts and reading the best business books .

Ensuring that your professional skills remain up-to-date in our rapidly changing world is critical to your long-term success . Think of your five-year plan . Your education certainly doesn’t stop with your diploma, and staying abreast of changing trends in your industry will help you be an in-demand candidate for prospective future employers.

You can engage in continuous learning on your own by seeking out opportunities for webinars and new research and things of that nature. You can also look for senior executives at your job whose job may be your goal to obtain one day and ask if you can spend some time shadowing them to learn what they do on an everyday basis.

But if you want to be able to attend and participate in more intensive trainings, you may need to learn how to ask your boss how your company can fit that into their budget. And to convince anyone of this you have to have a strong argument as to why or how your attendance at this conference will benefit the entire company and what kind of knowledge you can bring back from it. So do your research first and approach your boss with a strong argument in mind as to how spending this money will benefit the company.

12. Learn How to Motivate Others

If you want to be a leader in your industry, it is important to know how to motivate your team members. Otherwise, your organization will go through periods of struggle with productivity and overall morale.

If you aren’t in a leadership position, you can still look for opportunities to bring to your leaders’ attention that address motivation if you feel that this is an obstacle in your workplace. If you are able to enhance the motivation of your team or have a positive impact on the work ethic of the employees, you will be helping to maximize the effectiveness of your organization.

Here are 9 ways you can motivate others. Part of doing this is to challenge people and be encouraging when they start to make progress . You want to set others up to be in a position where they’re ultimately motivating themselves, and sometimes this requires prompting them to do some self-reflection as to why they are doing the job that they’ve chosen and what they’re ultimately working toward.

And if they’re still not quite sure, try to get the person to create a vision for their future so they can have a more clear picture of what they want out of life. You can teach them about making vision boards to help them think about their future or add some inspiration to their current work as they make connections to where it may be taking them for the future.

Personal Development Goals for Self-Growth

13. enjoy life more by taking it less seriously.

A lot of people fail to keep the bigger picture in mind on an everyday basis. The majority of us are fortunate to have been born healthy and into families that could provide us with our basic needs. However, many still get caught up in the small things that happen and completely forget about how well-off they are.

Think about someone you know who earns a large salary, but still gets mad at small inconveniences. Taking life less seriously will help you be happier, reduce stress, and make you a more enjoyable person for other people to be around.

If you’re able to move past the small and insignificant things that happen, you will get more enjoyment out of life. Laugh at unexpected inconveniences, laugh at yourself when you make a mistake , and laugh because it will reduce the amount of stress that you’re putting on your body.

“Do not take life too seriously. You will never get out of it alive.” — Elbert Hubbard

There are several things you can do to take life less seriously. Practicing gratitude is a great place to start since it will help you focus on the good things in your life. This will also help you m aintain a positive attitude in the face of adversity.

Try to let go of any stress, worry, or anger so you can live in a more relaxed state of mind. Be mindful of the stress in your life and do your best to rise above it. As you know, there a lot of things in life that you have no control over. Align yourself to a brighter and lighter version of you by adding humor to your life , learning to be comfortable with feeling vulnerable, and spending more time enjoying life.

14. Engage in Self-Care

You can’t be an effective partner, mother, cousin, or friend to anyone if you don’t take care of yourself first. Too often, people fail to take care of their own basic needs, either because they’re too busy or they’re not making it a primary concern.

examples of goals for work | sample goals for employees | work goals examples for evaluation

Learning how to engage in proper self-care and making it a priority in your everyday life will greatly improve your life and the lives of the people with whom you interact. You can’t take care of anything else in your life to the best of your ability until you take care of yourself.

Check out 274 self-care ideas here . Some of my personal favorites that I feel apply universally are:

15. Be Proactive

Things will go wrong in life–it’s inevitable. These negative situations can either have a large impact on your life, or they could be a bit inconvenient. This all depends on whether you’re pro active or re active . If you always wait to react to problems until after they have already presented themselves, it expands the associated challenges and adds additional stress to your life.

On the other hand, if you’re proactive, it will minimize the issue and give you more stability because you will be facing a challenge that you were prepared for. It’s easier to remain relatively undisturbed if you’re proactive because you’ll always feel like you’re in control of your circumstances.

Being proactive is about being a good problem solver and being solution-focused. It’s about not wasting time and getting things done ahead of time by anticipating issues that may arise or being ahead of the game when it comes to an emerging trend in your industry.

Surround yourself with other people who are driven to increase your probability for success.  You cannot have people around you who drag you down and expect to keep the motivation to be proactive, rather you need to associate with like-minded people who also want to stay ahead. Doing so will also keep you abreast of new research or best practices in your field because you will be able to learn from the people you’re around, and they will be able to learn from you.

16. Practice Patience

It can be tough to be patient, especially if you tend to be short-tempered. However, this is something that can be managed with practice. It’s beneficial to maintain your patience during times of despair because it will help you keep a calm state of mind, which will allow you to effectively problem-solve without being impacted by frustration.

Also, having continuous patience will help you make decisions that will be beneficial for you in the long term because you won’t rush yourself into making decisions that will suit your needs for instant gratification. One way to ensure that you are practicing patience is to stop to think critically before making any decisions . Taking the time to do this will help you avoid having to re-do work, make corrections, or do something that you later regret.

Here are some concrete steps you can take to become more patient. A big part of practicing how to be patient is exactly that– practicing .

I know this may sound like a unique thing to work on because it’s not really tangible–you’re not practicing how to play the piano or practicing perfecting a perfect recipe of some sort. However, practicing patience is not as passive as it sounds. You can practice by focusing on your breathing, finding the silver lining in the extra time that you’ve been given while you’re waiting for something, and learning to battle feelings of anger and frustration that really are the negative aspect of being impatient.

Looking for some inspiration? Here's a collection of our favorites quotes about patience .

17. Say “Goodbye” to Toxic People

Do you have negative people in your life who drain you of your energy and confidence? Or, can you think of some people who are constantly complaining or judging others in some way? These people are known as being “toxic” and you should avoid having them in your life as much as you can .

( If you're not sure if someone is a toxic person, here are 15 warning signs. )

Toxic people will hold you back from achieving your goals. Because putting an end to any relationship is difficult, and you may not want to completely cut ties with a friend from childhood (for example), you can make a concerted effort to spend a minimal amount of time with them rather than completely cutting them off if you feel that would be more appropriate.

Instead, surround yourself with uplifting people who will inspire you and support you in being the best version of yourself . Spending your time with like-minded people will make it easier for you to achieve your ultimate goals in life.

Don’t sit around waiting for toxic people in your life to change. Rather, establish boundaries and maintain them by being comfortable with saying “no” to them . Don’t allow yourself to be pulled into someone else’s crisis just because they’ve been in your life for a long time.

Sometimes it’s ok (and necessary) to let go of the past and old relationships and move on with your life rather than holding onto them because the person has been a friend since childhood. People grow in different directions and while you may be able to have a mutually beneficial relationship with someone at one point in your life, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the relationship should last forever.

Keep in mind that toxic people have a tendency to keep coming back into your life if you let them, so once you decide a relationship of any kind is over, make sure to be firm with that decision.    

18. Accept Your Reality

You may feel like you know yourself, but have you accepted yourself and your life? Have you settled for “less than” what you hoped? Failing to connect with reality may keep you stuck in jobs, relationships, or even living situations that are just not right for you.

You will always be a work in progress and it is perfectly acceptable for you to make mistakes, but in order to make some sort of progression in your life, it is important to accept your reality if you're not living your dream.

Accepting your reality is one of the best things you can do for your future. Even if your current situation is awful, the first step to making positive changes is acknowledging and accepting it in its current state and then identifying the specific things you can do to improve it. Otherwise, you will remain unhappily complacent.

Dealing with the bad stuff takes a lot of practice, but you have to do it in order to make it to the good things. To accept your reality, you have to own responsibility for your mistakes and acknowledge any role you played in getting to where you are today, whether it’s good or bad. What have you done in the past to foster success? What about failure?

You don’t have to beat yourself up about your past mistakes, just look for lessons in them . And make sure to give yourself credit wherever it’s due. Accepting your reality means accepting all of it–starting with your competencies. Focus on your positive characteristics because even if you aren’t where you want to be right now, you’re sure to have done some good things that have put you ahead of where you could be.

19. Don’t Let Your Past Define Your Future

A lot of us have a terrible past, and you may believe that your goals are out of reach due to your undesirable history. Perhaps you’re discouraged, you feel unworthy, or you may even be embarrassed by your past.

But it doesn’t take too much research to find success story after success story of people who were able to overcome their past struggles and become very triumphant . Don’t let your past be an obstacle to achieving the future that you dream of. Rather, commit to your goals and realize that change can occur at any point, and you have endless opportunities for transformation.

Sure, it can be hard to let go of the past, especially if you believe it makes up such a large part of your identity. However, it can be done.

If you’re trying to deal with negative emotions from a past trauma and you want to be heard or understood, you can talk about your experiences with people, but you also have to identify how those experiences are now causing emotions that are holding you back.

Once you identify your limiting emotions, you can think about what positive motivating factors you may have to help you move past those feelings. Then, create new, positive experiences to replace the negative things that have happened in the past so you can reinvent yourself and live a happy and fulfilling life.

20. Let Go of Your Limiting Beliefs

Holding onto limiting beliefs will delay your progression because you will be stuck inside of your comfort zone, unwilling to try new things or take any risks. While you may have a fear of failure or you are scared you’re going to get hurt in the process of working toward your goals , these thoughts cannot mark the end of the road to your success.

personality goals | examples of smart goals for employees | employee development plan examples

You could have limiting beliefs about a variety of things, ranging from finances to relationships to your own abilities. The key is to identify the beliefs that are holding you back, overcome them, and replace them with positive thoughts that support your path to success.

To learn more, here is a step-by-step guide on how to identify and overcome your limiting beliefs . You will first need to overpower your limiting beliefs with empowering thoughts that can help you move past these roadblocks.

Do this by questioning your beliefs. Are you sure they’re true? Do you have any evidence or are you making an assumption? Are you thinking in “ all or nothing ” terms? Being honest with yourself about your beliefs and thinking outside the box to find potential new solutions can help you realize that your beliefs probably started out as being ideas, then turned to opinions, then cemented themselves in your belief system.

It takes a lot of self-reflection and challenging your own thoughts to move past your limiting beliefs, but doing the work is worth the reward because whatever is holding you back has tangible consequences, whether it’s preventing you from pursuing the job of your dreams, keeping you in an abusive relationship, or anything in between.

21. Set Personal Boundaries

If you’re like me, you have a hard time saying no to people. You want to please those who come to you for help or who need you to do them a favor. However, it’s important to remember that you’re not an endless resource to be used by other people.

You have to know your limits so you have enough time and energy for the things that you need to accomplish. Once you know where your limits stand, set strict boundaries for others and stick to your guns.

This could mean boundaries in romantic relationships, with your family members, friends, or even in the workplace. Setting clear personal boundaries is an important part of ensuring that your relationships are mutually supportive and respectful.

If you have weak or undefined boundaries, you will be left vulnerable and others may take you for granted. However, with strong boundaries, you’re setting the limits for what’s acceptable behavior from the people with whom you associate.

Learn to recognize when the boundaries that you have set are being pushed and be direct about that. With a strong sense of self-awareness, you will notice when your boundaries are being pushed because you will feel yourself becoming resentful toward the other person . When this happens, if you have a proper sense of self-respect, you will not feel guilty about sticking to your boundaries.

If you want to learn how to set boundaries, you can start small. For example, let your friends and extended family know that you’re turning your phone on silent every night at 8pm and won’t look at it again until 6:30 the next morning–at the earliest. This is a good first step to learning how to set boundaries with your time. A next step to consider may be to stop checking work emails when you’re at home. Work at whatever pace of progress feels right to you.

For more on this, here is a 7-step process for saying “no” to people and the requests for your time .

22. Become an Active Listener

We listen to people talk every day, so you would probably think that everyone is pretty good at it. However, this is not the case–in fact, research shows that we only remember about 25% of what we hear.

So when you’re talking to your boss, coworkers, family, and friends for, say, 20 minutes—and you’re speaking for 10 of those minutes–they will only remember 2.5 minutes of what you said. This also means that when someone is telling you something that’s important, you’re most likely going to miss parts of it.

Learning how to actively listen is a skill that pretty much everyone could benefit from. When you improve your listening skills, you can improve your productivity , your influence on others , and your negotiation and persuasion skills.

Also, part of being a great communicator is being a great listener. You give off a good impression to others when you lend them a listening ear, which helps you earn trust. When you are actively listening, not only are you showing the speaker that you want to understand what they’re saying, you’re also offering empathy and support, which builds stronger relationships.

To improve your active listening skills , mimic the speaker’s body language and ask questions to make sure you’re understanding what they’re saying . You don’t want to interrupt the person who is speaking, but nodding along in agreement and repeating back to them what you heard are effective ways to show the speaker that you are engaged in the conversation.

Also, maintain eye contact and ask clarifying or follow-up questions so they know that you’ve been paying attention to what they’ve been talking about. Try to have some empathy while you’re listening so you can feel what the speaker is trying to relay.

23. Learn to Let Go

Holding on to the past will prevent you from becoming the person that you want to be. But, letting go of things that have happened is much easier said than done. In fact, I think we have all heard someone say at some point in our lives, “let it go” and, if you’re like me, it makes you even madder than you were before.

While it seems counterintuitive, Psychology Today reports that painful feelings can ultimately be comforting, especially if most of your past is painful, because these unpleasant emotions become part of your identity, making them nearly impossible to let go.

However, if you carry the negative things from your past around with you for the rest of your life, it will only act as a burden and ultimately hold you back from living a fulfilling life. Remember the lessons that you take away from your hardships, but let go of the emotional weight that you’re holding on to .

A large part of letting go involves learning how to forgive . This doesn’t mean that you have to forget what someone else has done to hurt you, it simply means that you will not allow their actions to have a negative impact on your future.  Offering forgiveness is therapeutic when you’re trying to move past something, and if you share this forgiveness with the offender, it may motivate that person to seek moral growth, and improve themselves as a result of your forgiveness.

Aside from learning how to forgive, it’s important to always remember that the only thing you can control are your own actions and feelings . Don’t waste your energy trying to dictate the paths of other people, and don’t worry about what other people’s opinions are of you. Just focus on being your best self and living the life that you want to live from start to finish.

24. Build Resilience

Even for those who are relatively self-aware, life’s challenges can come at a surprise. But learning how to move through these painful times in a healthy way can help people bounce  back more quickly–or at least start moving in a positive direction.

When you’re resilient, you are able to cope with adversity and adapt when a situation doesn’t go the way that you expected. Having resilience is the difference between feeling powerless and being able to stand up to your problems with confidence and bravery. When you can recover quickly from a problem , you will come out on the other side a stronger person.

Having resilience is what helps you cope with whatever comes your way and just focus on what you can learn from the experience.  This personal development goal can help you in any area of your life, as it will prevent you from becoming easily overwhelmed and allow you to use your strengths to recover from challenges.

Many people use journaling as a way to build resilience, as this exercise helps you explore your thoughts, stop ruminating on past experiences, and it gives your thoughts structure by organizing them on paper. This can help you gain a new perspective and a sense of control over your past.

Journaling can also help you find the silver lining in things as you have the opportunity to purposefully think of positive things that may have come out of an upsetting experience. For example, if you got in a fight with your partner, it may have brought some significant issues to light , allowing you both to open up to each other’s points of  view. 

25. Wake Up 30 Minutes Earlier

Waking up early, energized, and with a purpose is a huge key to success . The most successful people are known for waking up early and getting a strong start to their day. Because of this, a great personal goal that could really enhance your life in all domains is to start waking up earlier than  you’re used to.

Set your alarm to get up early –at least 30 minutes before usual. There are many benefits to being an early riser, such as giving yourself time to eat a healthy breakfast , get some exercise , or complete some productive work before other people are awake and the chaos of your day begins. Waking up earlier than is necessary gives you quiet time to focus on anything that is important to you.

Studies have shown that people who wake up early tend to procrastinate less and get ahead of the game as opposed to their later-sleeping counterparts. So, if you want to get ahead, this is one simple change you can make that can give you a head start.

The first step to being able to wake up early is to make sure you’re going to bed at a reasonable time and getting a good night’s sleep . If you try to go to bed at the same time every night, you will eventually start to wake up at the same time each morning, without needing an alarm clock.

If you need to, you can make this change gradually by starting to set your alarm 10 minutes earlier than usual, and then 20, and so on. Once your body gets into this routine, you will become a natural early bird and wonder why other people waste so much time in the morning staying in bed or hitting the snooze button.

If you're having trouble with your morning routine in general, then this step-by-step resource can help .

Personal Development Goals for a Performance Review

26. improve operation processes.

While operations processes can look quite different depending upon the industry in which you work, the underlying concept is the same for all organizations of any size. The operation process involves turning inputs (raw materials, information, labor, money, etc.) into outputs (products, services, customer satisfaction , etc.)

Companies that can figure out how to do this well end up with a competitive advantage. Because of this, every component of an operations process has to be closely monitored so management can determine if their team is working at an optimal level of performance.

Well-designed operations process goals can help teams stay informed of all necessary information, standard operating procedures, and training. And, ultimately, when these processes are done well, they are what make an organization successful. If you’re at the helm of this, you’re on the right path toward professional success.

The best way to improve operation processes is to streamline them . Look at how your organization works and identify if there are any areas where you can improve efficiency. It’s important to not stay stuck in your old ways because that’s what has “always worked” before. Technology and businesses are constantly evolving, meaning there are new methods and tools available to streamline operations to increase workers’ productivity .

Another thing you will want to keep in mind to improve business operations is to fix small problems before they become big ones. Some seemingly insignificant glitches in your system can turn into a setback that can end up wasting a lot of time and being expensive to fix. So, make an effort to reduce any issue that you can identify within your organization. One way of doing this would be to create a new protocol guide for your team and then review its impact on a regular basis, tweaking the processes as needed.

Here are some specific examples of how a business can improve their operations processes.

27. Improve Clients’ Service Experiences

Goals related to clients’ service experiences with your organization involve greater engagement and client satisfaction. These types of goals may involve elements such as creating more self-service online features on the organization’s website, reducing phone hold times, or improving the timeliness of client follow up.

This type of goal will be highly individualized based on your industry, but whether you are dealing with retail clients in a small business setting or your clients come in the form of the kindergarten students that you teach, you can always find a way to improve others’ experience when they’re on the receiving end of your organization’s services.

Here are a variety of ways to improve clients’ service experiences that can apply to a diverse group of industries. But, in addition to this, it’s important to make sure that the employees are able to show that they truly care about their work and stand behind the company especially when they’re interacting with those receiving your services or buying your products.

To do this, you need to ensure employees have a sense of intrinsic motivation to do their job. When employees are intrinsically motivated to do their job, they will:

For more information, read our examples of SMART goals for small business .

28. Improve Employee Morale

You don’t have to be in a leadership position to boost employee morale. When employees have a positive attitude about their environment at work and believe they can be successful in their job, employee morale naturally increases.

When working among other people, you can have an impact on the working environment and encourage a positive morale. For example, you can:

The culture of an organization cannot be changed by just one person, however, without at least one person making an effort to improve employee morale, no changes will ever occur. Do your part in creating positive general norms in your workplace.

The most effective way to improve employee morale is to demonstrate it yourself. Your own positive attitude about your work will be contagious to everyone around you. Go out of your way to point positive aspects of your job out to other people– no matter how small they are. For example, if the company buys a new Keurig for the breakroom, make the effort to point that out to someone in passing. Add as much positivity to your workplace as you can to negate any negative attitudes that tend to hang around there .

This video offers some more great ideas on how to improve employee morale.

29. Offer Solutions to Problems

Pointing out problems that are occurring within your organization time and time again gets exhausting for those who have to listen to you. Instead, be proactive about coming up with solutions to challenges that arise before complaining about the problem in the first place.

For example, let’s say that you’re finding frequent mistakes in your coworkers’ reports and you’re having to spend time going back and fixing them. If your method of attempting to deal with this problem involves complaining directly to your boss about your coworkers’ mistakes, you’re just going to sound like you’re whining or speaking poorly about others with whom you work.

There’s not much worse than sitting around wasting time talking about problems without planning on doing anything about them. If you notice a problem at work, have an honest conversation with the offending coworkers about these mistakes, what can be done to improve their work, and what (if anything) you can do to help. This way, when you do talk to your boss about the problem, you can report the action you’ve already taken to try to ameliorate the issue.

Don’t play the blame game , because remember, you’re a part of a team. This means that ultimately, everyone is responsible for the company’s success.

This video talks more about the importance of offering solutions rather than just problems.

30. Make Your Boss’s Job Easier

You were hired to make your boss (and their boss) successful. And the first step to making that happen is to understand exactly what is expected of you and how you should deliver on those expectations. Get to know your boss and his or her preferences so they don’t have to go back and correct your work.

In doing this, it’s important to maintain a sense of personal responsibility and stay accountable for your work . If you commit to something, make sure to follow through with it. By doing so, you’re letting your boss know that they can count on you.

One way that you can make your boss’s job easier is to stay ahead of your work. When you’re given a deadline, be sure to have your work completed at least one day in advance . This will allow your boss to have some time to go over the work on their own schedule rather than waiting until the last minute when you finally turn it in.

Some other ways to make your boss’s life easier include:

Here are some more useful tips on how to make your boss’s job easier.

31. Expect Change

Being flexible and accepting of change is critical in today’s job market. In fact, it’s estimated that by 2030, the average person who is entering the workforce will have to learn entirely new job skills between eight and ten times before they retire. As jobs evolve, the uncertainty regarding what skills will be needed in the future also changes, which makes it hard to be able to predict an organization’s future needs.

Because of this, it’s critical to be flexible and prepared to change paths at any moment. It’s important to be aware of the inevitable changes that are yet to come and the fact that the responsibility of keeping up with trends and new technology has shifted to workers rather than employers.

Being a lifelong learner allows for personal employability, which is important to focus on now since it will be a principal component of employment moving forward in this age of rapid automation. Having a personal goal of continuous skill development will become increasingly important as some of the more traditional jobs become replaced by emerging technology.

Being successful in the future job market will be less about current knowledge and more about your willingness and capacity to learn and evolve while your role is potentially redefined . This is where the importance of being able to easily adapt to waves of disruption is already extremely important. Furthermore, you need to stay on top of your skillset and always be on the lookout for anything new happening in your industry.

To “level up” your skills, we recommend three resources:

Finally, here are some growth strategies for being more flexible and adaptable in the workplace.

32. Be Resilient

Being resilient is important for a variety of reasons. Being able to bounce back from adversity helps you develop the tools you need to protect yourself from overwhelming situations and it helps you stay balanced when times get tough.  Resiliency can also help with the prevention of mental health issues down the line. 

Having resiliency and cognitive flexibility is also important for your short-term success at work. While some are born with a better ability to deal with unpredictable change than others, this skill can be learned . And, through your learned resilience, you will be able to develop an internal toolset to help you manage stress and find ways to use your inner strength that you may not have even known you had during the times that you need it the most.

Resilience can be built up with time as you make your way through difficult experiences in life. It’s beneficial to be able to develop the ability to determine when you can draw from a difficult life event and then be able to use that experience to your advantage during future stressful times.

You can work toward the goal of becoming more resilient by increasing your self-awareness , getting exercise, and switching up your normal routines. Getting daily exercise encourages your body to release chemicals such as dopamine, opioids, serotonin, and endorphins that not only make you feel good, but also increase your ability to learn . Also, adding some variety to your routine promotes cognitive flexibility because doing new things makes your brain have to quickly adapt to and work with new stimuli.

Here is some helpful information on the importance of having resilience in the workplace.

33. Develop Transdisciplinary Skills

This term is often used in school settings, but it also applies to your career performance . Having an understanding of your entire organization from various perspectives as well as understanding the synergy and alignment between all of the departments is becoming progressively important in businesses.

There are a few ways you can improve your transdisciplinary skills at work. One would be to schedule coffee dates with people who work in other areas of the organization where you can talk about each of your responsibilities and how you contribute to the success of the business. Or, you could spend some time shadowing a coworker who has a different job title than you do.

Knowing more about how your company works as a whole can help you understand and appreciate how your efforts fit into that puzzle.

One thing you will recognize while you’re working on this goal is the four stages of learning . There is probably a lot that goes on in your company that you’re unaware of, which also means you’re unaware that there is even so much to learn. But once you start talking with other people and getting to know how processes work in the business, you will likely uncover a huge gap in knowledge that you would have otherwise never realized you had.

Here are some good ways to learn about other areas of your organization , such as:

34. Improve Your People Management Skills

An important component to generating innovation in your workplace is being able to collaborate with your team . Despite your assigned level of leadership within your organization, being proactive in leading by example in your willingness to be a team player and actuate progress in the people working with you is essential to the success of your team.

Therefore, being an influential employee who can manage people–even if it’s not done in an “official” manner–is a significant skill to have in today’s work environment. Effective people management skills are necessary for both current and future leaders who want to improve efficiency and communication at work. Building the skills that are required in order to effectively manage others can help you uncover your strengths as well as find areas in which you could improve.

Here are a few examples of how you can practice your people management skills, even if you aren’t their designated manager:

Here is a video that explains some more ways you can improve your people management skills.

35. Stay Informed and Teach Others About Emerging Communication Channels

Having clear channels of communication and creating a culture of welcomed feedback is a critical element of having a successful organization. Innovative apps, social media avenues, and new methods of communication are steadily surfacing in today’s workplace–and many companies have started to reduce their overhead costs by having their employees work remotely if it isn’t necessary to maintain a large office space.

The increase in physical distancing among team members on an everyday basis that was trending even prior to the COVID-19 pandemic has necessitated the use of new modes of communication, productivity apps , and video conference calls. To stay ahead of the game, it’s essential to stay informed and literate with new communication tools and be a pioneer in educating your colleagues about which new technologies can increase (or decrease) the efficiency of your unique work . Doing this will demonstrate your commitment to excellence to your employer.

Here are some actionable steps you can take to keep up with emerging channels of communication in the workplace:

To learn from those who are already successful in keeping up with these trends, here is how some top CIOs stay up-to-date with technology .

36. Be Confident in Your Decisions

It’s difficult to develop strong decision-making skills, but it’s essential to your performance in an organization. If you think about the thousands of decisions that you make every day , you can recognize their positive or negative consequences. Having the skills that you need to increase the positive results you achieve is a fundamental part of being productive in your job.

Developing strong decision-making skills will offer you that chance to increase positive outcomes and decrease the consequences of your mistakes. However, there is a learning curve to gaining this skill– it takes time to learn from your mistakes so you can make better decisions in the future.

There are a few things that you can do to increase the confidence in the decisions that you make, such as:

Here is a video with some more information to help you improve your decision making skills.

Final Thoughts on Personal Development Goals

Your brain and thinking methods both have an impact on every aspect of your life. The personal development goals discussed in this article are all dependent on your ability to retrain your brain to think (and therefore act) in new ways.

Your brain is flexible and can quickly adapt to reaching your new goals when you use the right approach and become more goal-oriented . Take a moment to think about your personal development goals and which of the aforementioned are the most important to you.

If you have had some other goals on your mind, how can you incorporate some of these personal development goals into your own to leverage your success? Reaching one goal can easily open a door to work on another of its kind or help you recognize another area of improvement you may be able to work on in your life.

To tie things up, writing down your goals in the form of professional goal statements can help you stay focused on your purpose . For specific examples, check out these posts:

Finally, if you want to take your goal-setting efforts to the next level, check out this FREE printable worksheet and a step-by-step process that will help you set effective SMART goals .

personal development plan completed example

Connie Mathers is a professional editor and freelance writer. She holds a Bachelor's Degree in Marketing and a Master’s Degree in Social Work. When she is not writing, Connie is either spending time with her daughter and two dogs, running, or working at her full-time job as a social worker in Richmond, VA.

examples of personal development goals | personal development plan examples professional personal development objectives for work examples

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How to create a personal development plan [example]

personal development plan completed example

Creating a personal development plan can help you grow at work and beyond.

A personal development plan can help you gain control of your life. Whether you have big goals (publish a best seller) or small ones (read one book a month), the best way to hold yourself accountable is to write your goals down, set deadlines, and revisit the document often.

This post contains information and resources to help you create a personal development plan :

To start, I’d like to share my own personal development plan as an example.

This is my personal development plan.

Before I explain how to create a personal development plan, I’m going to let myself be vulnerable. I’m going to share my own real-life personal development plan. Here’s why:

Who should create a personal development plan? Everyone in the company, from the CEO down to the individual contributors. No matter who you are, you can always develop skills and knowledge; you can always become a better version of yourself. 

For years, I struggled to find a personal development format I liked. Then a co-worker shared hers with me, and I’ve been using her template ever since. I hope you’ll like it as much as I do.

Without further ado, here’s my   personal development plan :

personal development plan completed example

I love this format because of its simplicity. As an added bonus, the fun rainbow colors make me smile every time I look at it. And that positive feeling fuels my growth mindset—it pushes me to stretch beyond my comfort level to become better. 

How to create a personal development plan

Here are four best practices for creating a personal development plan—and ensuring its efficacy:

1. Think categorically.

This personal development plan template works because it takes the guesswork out of goal setting. It pushes you to think categorically about which short-term and long-term goals you’d like to focus on. Many employees think their boss wants them to prioritize professional growth, but that’s just one piece of the personal growth puzzle. 

This template spotlights six personal development categories that span Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs . You can modify these to fit your own unique needs. For example, you might add spirituality, volunteering, or mental health. 

It can be helpful to run through a brainstorming session using a comprehensive personal development template . Then, with lots of great ideas in front of you, use the simpler template to organize a few goals you want to prioritize.

personal development plan completed example

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2. Create S.M.A.R.T. goals.

If you think S.M.A.R.T. , you’ll be better positioned to achieve your goals. The acronym stands for simple, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound.

Instead of “Make more money,” shift the focus to how you’ll get there—with concrete deadlines: 

Setting small, attainable goals—and achieving them—actually helps build confidence .

business leader focused on personal development

3. Schedule regular personal development meetings.

At many companies, personal development is something employees and managers do once a year then soon forget about.

Managers should schedule regular personal development meetings—quarterly at a minimum. I meet with my direct reports monthly to go over their personal development plans and see what progress they’ve made. This shows them I’m invested in their growth, which builds trust and engagement. 

I also share my goals with my team so they can hold me accountable. It’s a subtle way of teaching them to manage up, and it builds their leadership skills. (Check out this leadership rubric if you have a minute.)

4. Set a calendar reminder to hold yourself accountable.

Personal development plans only work if you use them. I’m in the habit of referring to my plan at least once a week. But until you develop the habit yourself, set calendar reminders to prompt you to visit the doc regularly.

Eventually, you might not need the reminder. Ideally, you’ll be driven by the feel-good endorphins that get released every time you cross another goal off your list. 

Lead by example.

Leaders should model the behavior they want to see. When you keep focused on growing and learning , your employees will be more likely to develop the same mindset and follow suit. You could also give your employees access to tools like the PI Inspire solution , which will help them grow and develop self-awareness. Here’s a sneak peek of my personal development chart within the software (the self-coaching tips are really helpful):

personal development chart

Erin heads up content marketing at PI. Her claim to fame? She's the only Erin Balsa on LinkedIn.

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personal development plan completed example

The Ultimate Personal Development Plan Template That Will Get You Noticed

Employees look for training and personal development opportunities at their respective companies. The lack of these opportunities is one of the main reasons they decide to quit. HR professionals and team leaders can avoid this using a personal development plan template to help employees reach their personal development goals. In such a case, it would be a win-win situation for both the company and the people working there. 

A proper template ensures you help individual employees work on their weaknesses and build up their strengths. This is a direct way to set personal development goals and find the shortest way to reach them.

According to a survey , 94% of respondents said they would stay at the company longer if it invested in their careers. In addition, professional and personal growth leads to higher retention. Besides, 58% of employees claim that professional development contributes to their job satisfaction. Moreover, employees who feel respected, empowered, and as if they are making a difference are much more likely to stay in a company—those who don’t have less than a 35% chance of staying. 

A proper template ensures you help individual employees work on their weaknesses and build up their strengths. This is a direct way to set personal development goals and find the shortest way to reach them. It enriches their experience at work and has a positive impact on their career. 

On top of that, it also attracts new hires to your company. Almost 60% of millennials list development opportunities as key factors in applying for a job. As this is the case, it’s high time you work on your employees’ personal development.

Let’s take a closer look at a personal development plan and see how it correlates with personal development goals to tap into each employee’s power. Keeping that in mind, we should start with a personal development plan and later proceed to personal development goals for everything to make perfect sense. 

A personal development plan (PDP) is an agreement between an employer and employee that outlines that team member’s objectives. It wants to empower employees to analyze their professional life and work on self-improvement.

Employees can easily achieve goals when they have a clear picture of their performance. They understand what it takes to reach a specific milestone because of their personal development plan.

HR professionals and managers usually help employees create a personal growth plan. However, team members don’t need to wait for their next performance review to learn new skills and identify areas that require improvement.

They can make a personal development plan themselves. Employees can establish short-term or long-term goals and set realistic deadlines to fulfill them.

Having a personal development plan template helps all parties. You can just fill in the required fields and create a clear plan for an individual’s development. Add an HR management tool to that equation, and you’re set to take your workplace to the next level.

  Related: Top 12 Performance Review Software in 2023 ‍

Remember that a PDP must be tailored-made for a specific employee. You can’t take someone else’s plan and expect it to work for them. Each person has different skills and experiences. The plan reflects that.

Why is it important?

 Personal development is all about a process of self-improvement. The plan helps employees:

It is essentially a roadmap that guides them through the process of achieving goals.

What kind of benefits can you expect from a personal development plan? Here are the improvements you will see with a good PDP in place:

Related: Performance Development That Fuels Team Efficiency ‍

A PDP benefits both the company and the employee. Introducing personal development plan templates makes the process easier for managers and HR professionals.

Let’s see how you can use a PDP.

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According to research , 74% of surveyed employees think they don’t progress at work due to a lack of development opportunities. You can help them reach their full potential with a personal development plan.

A PDP is an effective way to learn a new skill or master a particular one. Employees can also use it to boost their careers. They just need help from their managers or HR team members.

If you’re a team lead or an HR professional, you can use a personal development plan to:

Related: 5 Meeting Agenda Templates to Use Right Away ‍

Remember, most employees crave professional development opportunities. If you disregard their development needs, you’ll have a team of dissatisfied members. How can a company grow when the employees aren’t happy?

How to make a good personal development plan

You should go through several steps to create an effective personal development plan. We’ll list those steps below.

It all starts with us. We can’t grow or improve if we don’t reflect on ourselves. That’s why your employees must do a self-evaluation first. After all, they know their interests, professional life goals, skills, and knowledge best.

You can ask them the following questions to fuel their path to self-improvement:

Employees can reflect on their performance and determine what they can do to develop personally and professionally.

personal development plan

Every employee should know what they want to achieve in their career. If they don’t, you can help them set and achieve goals. These objectives should reflect their strengths and personal development plans.

When creating a PDP for your company, we suggest you focus on SMART goals. They are:

Setting these goals helps employees split their objectives into smaller, more manageable milestones. They complete a goal one step at a time which derives great pleasure and satisfaction.

Related: The Best Performance Improvement Plan (+Template)

After setting the goals, it’s time to consider how employees will achieve them. The strategies vary depending on the objective.

For example, if an employee wants to work their way up the career ladder, they might want to attend an online course that helps them expand their knowledge. They should consider the skill set they need and the best way to build those skills.

Employees cannot achieve professional and personal growth without any further resources. It’s impossible to learn something new if you don’t have some help along the way. You can help employees determine which resources they need.

Those resources include online courses, learning platforms, conferences, niche-specific articles, webinars, and even training. Look at their personal development plan to figure out what can benefit them.

If you follow the above steps, you can make a good personal development plan for your employees. One thing that can help you—having a personal development plan template.

As your company grows, you’ll have to focus on more and more employees. Each of those employees requires their own plan. Not to mention, you must follow their career development and growth after the goal-setting process.

What can you do to make the process more manageable? You can use a personal development plan template.

Using a template for personal development needs is quicker and more efficient. Imagine if you need to create personal development plans for every employee. This would be time-consuming.

Don’t make this mistake—use personal development plan templates. These templates help you create a clear picture of your employee’s goals and the steps they should take to reach them.

You won’t need to worry about missing important information that can affect your employees' personal development.

We have prepared a personal development plan template to jumpstart your team members’ success! The template is concise and identifies areas your employees need to answer to achieve success. 

You can use the following personal development plan template to help your company grow with talented individuals.

Personal development plan template ‍

Employee name: _________________

Position and title: _________________

Date: _________________

Development area: _________________

Personal development goals: _________________

Top strengths: _________________

Areas to improve: _________________

Development opportunities: _________________

Action plan: _________________

Skills and knowledge needed for personal growth: _________________

Necessary resources: _________________

Evaluation period (how often will you check the progress): _________________

Deadline: _________________

Review (How am I doing): _________________

Personal development plans are the way best to get to know your employees and see how your company can influence their success and growth.

Here is an example of a completed personal development plan template:

Employee name: John Doe

Position and title: Social Media Manager

Date: July 30 2022

Development area: Time management

Personal development goals: Organize my time better to help my team members and learn how to prioritize tasks

Top strengths: Social media planning and delivery, communication skills, writing engaging content

Areas to improve: Time management and organizational skills

Development opportunities: Become a team leader of the company’s social media department

Action plan: Use to-do lists to better organize my day, track each task’s progress, report my progress to a supervisor

Skills and knowledge needed for personal growth: Time management and leadership skills

Necessary resources: Online courses about social media marketing, tools to better track the performance of social media posts and analyze our audience

Evaluation period (how often will you check the progress): Every month

Deadline: Three months from today

Review (How am I doing): N/A (to be completed every month)

Use personal development templates like this to make the process simpler and more time-efficient!

How to get started with a template

Achieving personal growth is easier with personal development plan templates. But the journey doesn’t end there. You must also take certain steps to ensure your employees are improving and meeting their goals.

Here are some strategies you can take after an employee submits their personal development plan: 

When you know all about the personal development plan, it is time to proceed to the next crucial step, setting personal development goals. These two aspects come toe-to-toe and are vital for making goals and planning a reality.

‍ What are personal development goals?

Personal development goals, or self-improvement goals, are the objectives people set to improve themselves in many ways, including habits, mindset, skills or even work ethics. 

Although personal development goals are not necessarily connected to the job setting, they can 

help people improve their professional and personal lives.

Some of the most common areas for personal development goals include:

How can they help people?

Working on personal development goals has many benefits, but here are five areas where it can help employees the most:

Better focus  

One of the biggest benefits of setting personal development goals is a better focus and a clear sense of direction. Clear goals inspire people to act and easily decide on their next steps. This pushes them to be proactive and get more things done in their personal and professional lives.

Free time endlessly scrolling on the phone without a clear purpose or spreading work throughout the day is easy. Specific goals will motivate people to become more proactive and efficient.

Increased productivity

Goal setting teaches individuals prioritization techniques. This way, it is much easier to decipher what matters the most and take care of it instantly.

Another major advantage has concrete, measurable goals to work towards. This makes it possible to evaluate people’s success precisely and encourages them to keep improving. The more goals they tick off, the more satisfied they will be. Over time, this will also increase general productivity. 

Better professional relationships

Self-improvement goals can improve the quality of people’s relationships with their colleagues and business partners. By becoming a better version of themselves, they're inspiring everyone who gets in touch with them to do the same. Their growth mindset is reflected in others as well.

As a consequence, positive relationships in your team could dramatically improve. People in self-development tend to be better listeners and more compassionate toward others.

Improved work-life balance

Employees that don’t have a healthy work-life balance are prone to burnout more than others. That’s why this aspect shouldn’t be neglected. Employees should be encouraged to pursue their passions and learn new skills that don’t have to be work-related.

Personal development goals can help people find time for themselves and remember who they are outside of their job. Consequently, they will become more motivated, and their productivity at work will improve.

Career advancement  

Finally, working on personal development goals can positively affect professional life and bring professional success to everyone. Many skills are transferable, meaning one can use them in other areas.

Communication skills, soft skills, and creativity — are all crucial for success at work. New skills can help employees better serve customers and even get promotions. Sometimes working on personal development goals can bring insights and ideas that can revolutionize how you work.

personal development plan template best practices

As an HR or business mentor, your job is to share some resources on goal-setting with your team. Of course, each person’s goal will be different, but here are some universal strategies that everyone can benefit from, regardless of their goal.

Here are some points you can ask your employees to do:

 This is a fun exercise you can do as a team. According to one statistic, employees engaged in meaningful activities are 87% less likely to leave the company.

You can ask them the following questions:

This exercise helps them connect with their personal development goals deeper, which will help them commit. When it becomes hard, and it feels like quitting, it's important to connect with your why and remember why you started.

Big goals are not only frightening, but they can also be too vague. The next step is to break your personal goals into achievable milestones.

There are three good reasons to do so:

For example, someone's personal development goal could be to learn French. That's too vague. That person would be much more motivated if they created smaller goals for each month or week. 

As Michael Hyatt once said: What doesn't get scheduled, doesn't get done. Set yourself up for success by turning your goals into plans. It means that you should allocate time and space where you will be dedicated to working on your goal.

It will be much easier if your goal becomes part of your routine. It doesn't have to take a lot of time, especially in the beginning. The most important thing is to make it a habit.

How to Build the Best Employee Development Plan

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personal development plan template

Here are the most common personal development goals related examples: 

We'll now go into more detail and show you how to set personal development goals properly.

Improving leadership skills

Leadership is one of the most valuable assets that can benefit your employees in many ways. According to Forbes , it helps employees boost productivity, engagement, and independence. 

Here is how your organization could help employees improve this skill:

Become a better networker

If one of your team member’s goals is to become a better networker and create stronger relationships, you should first ask them to define what it means for them and why it's important. Next, they should list actions that will get them there. The steps should be concise and easy to follow.

The list may look like this:

They should also set some milestones, for example, I want to meet 10 new people by the end of this month. And then, you can create a plan of how they will do it.

If you know that someone in your team lacks accountability, you can encourage them to share their goals with your other colleagues so you can support each other. 

As an HR, you could also introduce your team to the concept of an accountability buddy. It means that each person gets another person that keeps them accountable. They’re here to support each other and track their progress together.

Common mistakes to watch out for when setting development goals

common mistakes in personal development plan template

Here are some of the most common mistakes people make when they set personal development goals:

The goal is not measurable

One of the first rules of goal setting is that personal goals should be clear and measurable. If people can't measure your progress, how can you know they're going in the right direction?

Some might say that certain goals are simply not measurable, and that's true. However, in that case, you can help people track their activities. They can measure how much time they dedicate to the goal weekly to ensure they're on the right track.

The goal is not something people want

The worst thing is to choose a personal development goal just because it's something that's "good for people" and "should be done". Achieving personal development goals requires time and dedication. That's why it's essential to help your employees choose a goal that's meaningful to them.

People don't have the right mindset

A positive mindset is crucial for continuous self-development. Even if some goals are out of people’s comfort zones, they can still work on those. Many people have limiting beliefs that prevent them from achieving their highest potential.

The rule is - if you want to succeed, it's essential that you believe that you can do it. If you lack self-confidence, you won't be motivated enough, leading to procrastination.

Now that people have set their personal development goals, it's time to do an honest assessment and see where they currently are. The best way to do it is during one on ones with employees.

Take some time to think about the following topics and encourage people to be honest with themselves. Here are some questions to ask employees should ask themselves:

Even if they haven't achieved their goal, they should be patient with themselves. They can start again, but this time with a better strategy and more support. 

On the other hand, what if people achieve all personal development goals with success?

First, take time to celebrate and congratulate your employees. Too many people take their success for granted and always look for a new challenge. Right now, they should be proud of how far they've come!

Here are some things you can ask your employees:

- ‘’If you enjoyed working on this skill, you may want to take it to the next level. You can challenge yourself to get out of your comfort zone once again and become even better at it. At this point, you may even consider getting a certification or something similar.’’

 - ‘’Or, you can choose a completely different area to work on. If you worked on your physical health, you could now switch to emotional intelligence or the other way round.’’

Conclusion: Personal Development Plan and Goals

Helping your employees work on their personal development plan creates a positive workplace. Employees are satisfied to see their company cares about them and doesn’t see them just as “seat-fillers.”

With an effective personal development plan template, you can easily discover each person’s skills and weaknesses. You get to grow the talent you already have and nurture an impressive company culture.

As you can see, self-growth is a never-ending process. There's always room for improvement. Adopting a growth mindset and entering the field of personal development could be one of the most positive things you've done for yourself.

If you're a manager or business owner, you should encourage your people to set personal development goals. They will not only make your employees happier and more productive, but they will influence everyone around them in a positive way.

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FAQ: How to Set Personal development goals

A personal development plan (PDP) is the practice of consistently adding new skills , knowledge and competencies to yourself in areas of your choice. It is a clear and documented outline that shows what you aim to achieve to attain better fulfillment and growth. A personal development plan does not have to be restricted to your career alone, as it also concerns your finances, education, relationships and other interests.

What is a personal development plan example?

A personal development plan could simply be 'Get a promotion at work next January'. To achieve this, you need a detailed plan to guide (documented) and steps to get the promotion. Such steps will include: taking a management training course, requesting a performance appraisal with HR, networking better with the line manager, etc.

What are the key elements of a personal development plan?

A personal development plan should include the following elements:

1. A clear reason showing why you want to achieve your plans.

2. A defined vision of where you want to be.

3. A defined timeframe to help you prioritize the different areas of your PDP.

4. The skills and resources you need to meet up with your plans.

5. Your expected milestones to keep you on track.

What are individual development goals examples?

Some of the most common personal development goals include learning a new skill, developing a positive attitude, breaking bad habits, effectively managing your time, etc.

What are the 5 areas of personal development?

These are the 5 main areas of personal growth:

What are 3 goals for your career development?

The following 3 goals can influence your ongoing professional development: becoming a better communicator, enhancing your networking skills and learning leadership skills.



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