What Is a Personal Growth Plan? (Plus How to Create One)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 13 September 2022

Published 8 May 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

A personal growth plan is a framework that you can create to guide the decisions that you make in life. It can be related to your job, but it can also be about your goals, aspirations, relationships and self-improvement. If you want to be more strategic in achieving your life goals, having a personal growth plan can be beneficial. In this article, we examine what a personal growth plan is, what you should consider when designing one and how you can create one.

What is a personal growth plan?

A personal growth plan helps you to think about how you want to improve your career life. These improvements can relate to any aspect of your life, ranging from interpersonal relationships to work ethic and personal habits. A personal growth plan is a tool that you can use to help you achieve your personal development goals.

For example, if you want to develop a habit of being more focused at work, your plan may include steps that you can take to build this habit. This may entail reducing the number of distractions around you when you work, such as avoiding the use of your mobile devices for fixed lengths of time. Essentially, a personal growth plan enables you to clearly list out your personal goals. It then helps you determine the steps you can take to achieve these goals and improve yourself. Some common examples of personal growth goals that you may want to consider including in your plan are:

  • becoming a more confident public speaker

  • staying focused at work or school

  • communicating better with others

  • developing more empathy towards others

  • avoiding procrastination

  • becoming a more active listener

  • responding to stress and stressful situations more calmly

  • becoming more hardworking

Related: How to Work Hard: 10 Tips and Strategies for Success

How to create a personal growth plan

Here are some steps that you can follow to create your own personal growth plan:

1. Understand your goals

Before creating your personal growth plan, it can be helpful to think deeply about the underlying reasons for your goals. For example, if your goal is to communicate better with others, you may want to analyse why you want to do so. It may be because you want to avoid miscommunication with colleagues when discussing work-related matters. Understanding why you want to achieve various goals can help you have more clarity when setting them.

Related: What Are Some Common Career Development Goals Examples

2. Define your goals

After you understand why you are aiming to achieve your various goals, the next step is to define them. There are several things you can consider when defining your goals. One of the most important points to remember is to set specific and measurable goals. Well-defined goals can be beneficial as you may be able to measure your level of achievement more accurately. In addition, having clear goals to work towards can also give you a greater sense of fulfilment when you manage to achieve them.

At the same time, you may want to include an element of time in your goal-setting. Decide on a deadline to achieve your goal so that you have a clear target to work towards. When setting your goal and the deadline for it, be realistic and set attainable goals. You may be able to achieve your goal if it's realistic and this can also improve your morale levels.

Related: Career Goals: How to Set, Examples and Tips for Achieving

3. Develop steps and habits to achieve your goals

Once you've clearly defined and listed out your goals, determine the steps and habits you can take to achieve your goals. For example, if your goal is to improve your interpersonal relationships with colleagues by being a more active listener, you can start by making a mental note of every time you interrupt someone or lose attention when they're speaking. Then you can try to reduce these occurrences by actively reminding yourself at the start of each day not to do so. Setting small, incremental habits and steps can make it easier to achieve your goals.

4. Plan milestones

You can also include regular milestones in your personal growth plans. These milestones can help you keep track of the progress that you've made towards achieving your goal. For example, if your goal is to become more focused at work, you may set a milestone for every hour of distraction-free work that you manage to complete. Whenever you achieve a milestone, take some time to pause and reflect on your progress thus far. Keeping your end goals in mind can help you remain focused in working towards your goals.

Related: Effective Ways to Enhance Your Personal Development Skills

5. List the things you want to avoid doing

In addition to planning the steps you can take to achieve your goals or the habits you want to build, it can also be helpful to list out the things that you want to avoid doing. Doing so can help you get rid of any bad habits that you may have. Whenever you realise you're doing something that you want to avoid, make a mental note of it. Over time, with regular personal reminders, you can eventually eliminate any bad habits that you may have.

Depending on your personal growth goals, some examples of things that you may want to avoid doing include:

  • having distractions on your work table

  • interrupting others when they're speaking

  • procrastinating on your work

  • avoiding public speaking opportunities

6. Use positive reinforcement

To help you achieve your goals, you can also adopt positive reinforcement techniques. Positive reinforcement involves giving yourself a reward when you successfully attain a milestone or complete a task. For example, you may allow yourself to use your mobile phone for ten minutes whenever you successfully complete one hour of work without getting distracted.

7. Put your plan into action

After creating your personal growth plan, the next thing to do is to follow it. One way to constantly remind yourself of your goals is by printing out a copy of your plan and putting it on your work desk. Then, you can look at it when you first arrive at the office each day and throughout the workday. This can help you keep your goals in mind so that you don't lose track of what you set out to achieve.

8. Evaluate and review your plan regularly

You can also evaluate and review your plan regularly. For example, you can set aside one day each month to reflect on your successes and failures over the past month. When evaluating your plan, it's important to remain objective.

Identify the goals that you're making good progress in and think about how you can continue to achieve them. You can also identify goals that you're not making progress in and review the reasons as to why that may be the case. If some of your goals are too unattainable, you may want to adjust them to make them more realistic. Regularly reviewing your personal growth plan can enable you to constantly improve it and attain your personal growth goals in the long term.

Related: How to Assess Yourself With Self-Evaluation Examples

Additional tips for creating your personal growth plan

Here are some additional tips that can help you with creating your personal growth plan:

  • Get help from a mentor. When creating a personal growth plan, it can be a good idea to get advice from a mentor. This mentor can be a senior colleague or a boss who may be able to provide valuable feedback on your plan.

  • Get help from your friends and family. It may also be advantageous to tell your friends and family about your personal growth goals so that they can help you achieve them. For example, they may help to remind you when they notice you doing a bad habit you're trying to get rid of.

  • Do a reality check. Understanding your strengths and weaknesses can help you set more realistic goals and targets. That way, you're more likely to achieve your targets and feel motivated as a result.

  • Write down your plan. Writing down your goals and the steps you want to take to achieve them can help you to be accountable to yourself. It can also help you stay organised and encourage you to better remember your goals.

  • Partner with a colleague. If you find that you work better when you have someone to account to, you can check with your colleagues to see if anyone is willing to work on a personal growth plan together with you.

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