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What kind of life do you want to live? Have you ever thought about it? Is it detailed? Do you have a plan? Are you actively creating and designing it?
“Most people spend more time planning a one-week vacation than they spend planning their life.” – Michael Hyatt
It’s crazy to think about, but it’s true! I’ve realized I’ve been guilty of this even knowing this quote. Usually when we “plan” our lives we’ll write down all our goals or make a bucket list of things we want to accomplish or we’ll make a vision board or we’ll think about and daydream about the future we want to have. Or we just have no clue.
There is so much more to planning out our future than this. It’s called creating a personal development plan. Very few of us actually take the time to sit down and create and write out a specific and detailed personal development plan for our future selves and lives.
This guide will show and teach you the process for creating a personal development plan customized just for you. You will learn how to create a personal development plan to design your dream life.
I’ve even included a free printable worksheet you can download and use to create your personal development plan!
Creating a personal development plan is different than setting a goal. A personal development plan is used to design and plan your future dream life, specific to your needs and wants. It’s a detailed vision or overall life goal with a plan. A goal is one specific aim to be accomplished. It’s more short-term than a personal development plan.
It involves looking at your life now in different areas, deciding how you want it to be, and creating a plan to get there.
Think of it as like a vision board, but with words instead of pictures and a plan along with it.
The 8 Life Categories
With your personal development plan, you want to plan out the different areas of your life one at a time. These would be the life categories.
These is my example of the 8 life categories. You can use it if it fits you. If not, you can create your own:
- Work & Career
- Money & Finances
- Recreation & Hobbies
- Personal & Spiritual Development / Education (General)
- Space & Environment (Organization)
- Service & Community
Within each life category, you are going to write down your current state, what needs to be improved, how it’s going to be improved (your plan), and then the desired end state (the goal).
Your Current State
You’re going to evaluate the current state of your life category. If you don’t know, try looking at the trend. Is it going better than before? Is it improving? Getting worse?
You’re going to give it a rating out of 5 stars. Then you’re going to write down why. Make sure you list all the facts. You can choose to include emotions, thoughts, and feelings, but make sure most importantly, you’re writing down the facts of the current state of the chosen life category.
What Needs to Be Improved
What needs to be improved? This is pretty self-explanatory. And it’s pretty much all up to you. Judging from your current state, what needs to be improved?
If you say, “nothing,” what can be improved? If you say, “nothing” once again, well, if you could improve or change anything, what would you? Surely you can find something. Nothing and nobody is perfect and there is always room for improvement.
Now that you’ve written down what needs to improved, you’re going to answer the question, “How?” You’re going to create a specific, detailed plan for how you’re going to improve the current state of your life category.
If you’d like to quit smoking, you’re not just going to write down, “Quit smoking.” (You’d write this under “what need to be improved.”) How are you going to quit smoking? For example, you’re going to do your research. You’re going to try out this specific method, or that method. See what works. Etc.
If you’re going to start eating healthier, what are you going to do? Meal prep, start cooking at home, track eating habits, etc.
The Desired End State
The difference between “what needs to be improved” and “the desired end state” is that “what needs to be improved is just going to the straight facts. The desired end state is more detailed and brings in thoughts and emotions.
This is important because you need to be able to visualize it and you need to feel it so that you can become more emotionally and deeply connected to it.
For the desired state, you’re going to create a picture in words of your dream goal state of the life category. What does the desired state really look like? How does it feel? What have you accomplished?
Tips for creating your personal development plan:
- Be honest with yourself. When it comes to evaluating your current state, you’re going to make sure you’re being honest with yourself. Wanting everything is to be great even when it’s not is not going to be helped by lying to yourself and pretending it is.
- If you don’t know, are lost or confused on what you want in any life category, make a commitment to figure it out and spend time figuring it out. Do some research and get to know yourself better.
- Be as specific and detailed as possible, the more details and specifics, the better, with both the desired state/goal and the plan to get there
- You don’t have to focus on all categories all at once. In fact, it’s not recommended. You can focus and prioritize them depending on where you are in life now. For example, if your desired state of career & work is to be at a certain point in your career and you also have your desired state of relationships to be married with kids, you can choose to prioritize one and focus on one and then the other once you get to a certain point in your desired state
- It’s not set in stone. Things may change. Your ideas, values, desires, and goals may change. You may have to make adjustments to your plan.
- Don’t let fear, uncertainty, and difficulties stop you. You can deal with these things and work through them with your personal development plan.
- Focus on what You want. Not what others want, not what you think others want, not what you think you should want, not what society wants. Only what you want.
- Keep your plan in front of you. Go back to it regularly and evaluate and track your progress.
- You can use this personal development planner to set specific goals from.
Now you have all the steps to create your customized personal development. Get the free worksheet below!