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Personal development plan in the new year

The beginning of the new calendar year is a kind of symbol of turning over a new page and making a new beginning. This is also the moment when we usually turn to the old year and think about what we would improve in ourselves, in our work, and in our everyday life.

Creating a structured personal development plan will help you clearly and precisely outline the goals you want to achieve in the short and long term. During the year, you can easily and purposefully follow the set goals and thus comprehensively improve those skills and competencies of yours that you have always dreamed of.

Creating and following through on your personal development plan goals in a professional way can be the difference between success and failure. Achieving personal goals could be the boundary between exciting change and stagnation.


What is the personal development plan? 

Most people have some desire for growth or change. It may be related to reducing or stopping harmful habits or acquiring useful ones. It may be related to learning something new, to a lifestyle change, or to another important but not necessarily fixed desire. These wishes would be useful to us, but they do not have a clear definition, deadline, or implementation plan. When in this form for a long time, desires can provoke in us stress or even anxiety, because thinking about what we would like, on the one hand, and what our current situation is, on the other, emphasize the contrast between the two states and remind us, that we are not working actively or sufficiently towards the realization of our desires.

The development plan, on the other hand, represents a purposeful first step towards the realization of our wishes and as such:

  • It helps to take appropriate and logically planned actions in a timely manner.
  • It helps improve your time management skills so you can achieve your goals.
  • Creating and following a clearly structured plan reduces stress, promotes a balanced life, and increases self-confidence.


Steps of creating a personal development plan 

Step 1: Set up goals 

To set your goals, the following exercise can help: Imagine that you are at the end of your life, you have achieved everything you wanted, and the people most important to you have gathered to celebrate your life. What would you like them to say about you, what achievements would you like them to remember?

This can be your starting point when setting your most important goals - the most important aspects in which you would like to be successful, which serve as a starting point for the goals you set for yourself in the short and long term.

Goal setting should begin with defining your desires. In order for the definition to be complete, you should have answered the following questions:

  • What do I want to achieve?
  • How would I know that I have achieved my goal? 
  • How long will it take? What is the realistic deadline for such a goal? 
  • What will I gain - what will I have, how will I feel when I have achieved the goal? 
  • What will I lose if I don't start working on achieving the goal? 

Step 2: Put your goals in order of priority 

Once you've determined your goals, note which ones are most important and take priority over others and why. By starting with the highest priority goal and ranking the next ones in order, begin to identify the steps you need to take in the short term to achieve your long-term goals. What do you need to do now so you can continue tomorrow?

Step 3: Create an action plan and schedule for the completion of your goals 

A goal can be concrete and specific, but it could represent a large, long-term project that consists of multiple stages. As a next step, the goals should be transformed into tasks and concrete actions that in sequence lead to the achievement of the goal. Tasks can be written with verbs that further prompt action toward achieving the goal.

Imagine your computer has crashed. The unequivocal goal would be to get him back to top form. However, this goal is not defined and not translated into concrete actions, and this could delay or make it difficult to achieve it, especially if we have many other tasks with different priorities.

It's possible that if you haven't thought through the individual steps of accomplishing the goal and haven't structured them over time, you'll think of it at times when you don't have enough time or a clue where to start.

After a transformation into a defined goal with concrete actions, it would take on the form of:

Deadline: 2 weeks


  • To find the phone of a good repair shop - 15 min 
  • To call them to check when I can leave the computer - 5 min 
  • To leave the computer for repair -  30 min
  • To call the repair shop to check the results of the diagnostics and the expected deadline of finishing the repair - 5 min 
  • To call the repair shop by the specified deadline to check if they fixed the computer successfully - 5 min 
  • To take the computer from the repair shop – 30 min 

In this way, you gain a clear idea of both the specific steps that are necessary to achieve the goal and the time that the tasks will take. This way, you can fit your schedule around other commitments and fit tasks into it to support their successful completion. Additionally, when you've defined your tasks at the outset, you don't have to think about what steps you've taken so far and what remains to be done every time you think about the goal.


Step 4:  Analyze your strengths and weaknesses 

Take a detailed look at your strengths and weaknesses. This can be both your positive attitude and talkativeness, as well as your experience in the professional sphere and mastery of foreign languages. Focus on the qualities that are necessary to achieve your goals—those you already possess and those you have yet to develop and those that will help you overcome your weaknesses.

Step 5: Create your convenient fulfillment organization

Sometimes, even when you have clearly defined goals and specific steps to achieve them, you could find yourself missing elements of your plan or forgetting a specific step at a key moment.

Imagine the following situation: you are in the office giving an important presentation when you remember with alarm that you still haven't bought a gift for a loved one's birthday tomorrow.

Of course, at that moment, you would not be able to switch your focus and prioritize the urgent and important task for you. But this reminder can raise your stress level, especially when you can't do something right away. A missed task can continue to haunt you throughout the day as you rearrange your busy schedule to get it in and done on time.

When the priority tasks are many and in different aspects that are important to you, building a system for prioritizing goals and tasks, as well as for organizing them in time and reminding the important commitments at the right time can be of great help. This can be achieved by creating different to-do lists based on the aspects that are important to you; diaries where you record your ideas and organize your day; apps that help you organize your goals and notify you at the right time about important and urgent tasks.

Step 6: Track and measure your progress 

Goals should be considered, adjusted, and measured regularly. It is possible that in some cases the goal is very important to you, but the actions to achieve it are not the most productive or simply not appropriate. The timelines may not be realistic or some other element of the plan may need adjustment.

One approach is to take time once a week to: analyze what you have achieved, celebrate the change you already notice, even if it is small against the background of long-term goals, and analyze what you have not been able to achieve from the tasks you have set and try to understand what would have been good to change so that it is easier and more successful in the implementation of the following actions. On the other hand, it's also a good time to revisit your most important goals, think about the tasks for the coming week, prioritize them, and make sure you're moving in the right direction.

Investing time and energy in creating a personal development plan will help you develop your potential and talent and give you the extra clarity you need to achieve them, as well as concrete insight into your progress. By allowing yourself the opportunity to focus on your professional and personal growth, you will be able to achieve the desired development and success more quickly and easily.