Creating A Personal Development Plan

Sometimes you should just go with the flow.

But having a plan will put your life on track.

Everyone should have a personal development plan.

What Are They?

A personal development plan outlines the following:

  • What is important to you?
  • What do you want to achieve?
  • What do you have that can help you?
  • What do you need to do and develop?

Things just flow better with a good plan.

Having a guide for every step of the way is going to keep you on track.

A good personal development plan will help you for years.

For more on communication, check out our communication statistics here!

Planner on table

How to Create Yours

Sounds like a complex plan that will be hard to pull together!

But there’s a simple approach to creating your personal development plan.

It’s also important to note that its elements need not be set in stone.

Certain unforeseen factors will arise, and you’ll inevitably need to pivot at some point.

The plan is a guide, it shouldn’t take away your flexibility and ability to adapt.

So, follow these 5 steps and make your own personal development plan.

1. Define Your Goals

Your plan always begins and ends with what you want to accomplish.

Remember to segment your desires from your goals!

Make a list of all your goals, short term and long term.

We will filter them down later!

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2. Prioritise

The next step is to prioritise.

What is most important?

What will make other bits on the list easier to complete?

Prioritise your list ruthlessly.

Focus on the most important and most impactful goals first.

For more on prioritisation, check out our complete assertiveness training guide.

3. Set A Deadline

As a professional, you know how effective deadlines are at making you move.

It’s the same with goals.

You can have a list of goals, but if you don’t set deadlines, it is unlikely you will finish them.

Instead of saying, “I’ll learn to code someday,” say, “I’ll finish that coding course in three months.”

Be realistic when setting deadlines.

Don’t set yourself up to fail or set the bar so high that you give up before you even get started.

Man making plan on big whiteboard

4. Get support wherever you can

We all need a good support system.

Let’s say you want to switch careers.

Is there someone who’s experienced in that field you can go to for advice?

If not, you can even go online and find groups for virtually everything.

You’ll be surprised at how accommodating people can be!

5. Review and adapt

Your personal development plan isn’t set in stone.

Take the time to review what seems to be working and what areas you’ll need to adjust.

The best laid out plans require a level of adaptability, so be prepared to pivot!

Reviewing your plan regularly will allow you to be resilient as you persevere towards your goals.

Personal development plans are also covered in our line manager courses!


Taking the time to create a plan is always better than lying around dreaming of a life you could have.

It takes time, effort, and perseverance to achieve any goal.

Having a plan in your back pocket will make it all the easier for you.

What challenges have you encountered when chasing your goals and dreams?

Let us know in the comment section below.

For more on this topic, read our guide to assertiveness tips for managers.



About Ben Richardson

Ben is a director of Acuity Training which he has been running for over 10 years.

He is a Natural Sciences graduate from the University of Cambridge and a qualified accountant with the ICAEW.

He previously worked as a venture capitalist and banker and so had extensive experience with Excel from building financial models before moving to learn SQL, Microsoft Power BI and other technologies more recently.