Fortunately, life is a lot more interesting than simply just growing up and becoming a certain age. Constantly improving ourselves in every aspect of our lives, whether that is personally or professionally is one of the things that makes life interesting, challenging, and ultimately rewarding.

Goal setting should be something that we do on a regular basis with the aim of continually setting the bar even higher as we reach our personal achievements! However, in order to make these personal achievements a reality, we need a self development plan!

There’s no doubt, self empowerment is indeed powerful and if you are looking for techniques to put a personal development plan into action, keep reading, because that’s what this article is all about!

What Exactly is a Self Development Plan?

Having a plan for your personal growth and development takes important preparation, and part of that preparation means taking an inward look at what you are trying to achieve in life and then goal setting accordingly.

To start this process of a self development plan, it’s helpful to understand what should and should not be included. Regardless of whether you want to break a few bad habits or improve your communication skills, it’s helpful to understand at least one traditional definition when it comes to self empowerment. And who better to turn to for that, than Maslow?

Abraham Maslow was a psychologist renowned for his development of man’s personal hierarchy of needs. Essentially, a pyramid model comprising five levels, the final level states that self empowerment or self actualisation is only attainted after one’s basic needs for life are attained first. These start with physiological needs, like basic food and shelter, and progress to things like safety, love and belonging, and self-esteem. The final layer of the pyramid describes the human need to be the best that one can be, to be satisfied by one’s personal achievements, and to constantly strive for personal growth and development.

woman working on floor, wearing headphones and using laptop
Having a plan for your personal development requires consideration and preparation. | Source: Unsplash

Using Maslow’s model, it might be helpful for you to examine your own life and build your own definition of self empowerment. You could begin by targeting an area where you would like to see change or improvement and then build a list of the skills you want to work towards.

For instance, this list illustrates examples of healthy goal setting:

  • Build a healthier rapport with family members
  • Enhance presentation skills
  • Increase physical fitness
  • Study something new every quarter
  • Learn a new language
  • Find piano lessons

Self empowerment can be incredibly exciting and motivating, but of course only if one has the tools to actually implement a personal development plan. The good news is that if you are serious about your personal growth and development – and many people are – you need not do it alone. You could actually find a confidence or life coach or take a personal development course.

Implementing a Personal Development Plan

We are living in the information age and everyone seems to have an idea or opinion about just about everything.

Self empowerment programmes are sold on just about every corner of the internet and choosing one, or even simply choosing a starting point that is tailor-made around your current abilities, and goal setting can be overwhelming. Here are a few tips to help you get started.

Reasons for Goal Setting

Procrastination, which is the enemy of most personal achievements, is fed by intangible ideas as well as a lack of planning and goals. While inspiration is great and can certainly help motivate you towards your personal growth and development, but it won’t help you sustain it!

So what really drives self empowerment?

The answer is routine and goal setting that is intentional and accountable.

Goal setting should not actually be underestimated. During the 1960s, Edward Locke and Gary Latham proved that goal setting is one of the most productive tools to realising anything. Their study was distilled down to one basic fact, which is that people actually work harder and longer when goals are difficult to attain. While this may sound counter-intuitive to what you have been taught, it is actually proven that setting up goals that are challenging, will help you achieve them!

tablet with phone and headphones in background
Set realistic, but challenging goals and hold yourself accountable. | Source: Unsplash

Steps for Goal Setting

Whether it’s a health and fitness goal, a career goal, or anything else, there are definitely practical steps you can take to reach your self empowerment goals.

  • Step 1: Decide on a Goal

Make sure you read up on the importance of goal setting and if you already have, remember the tip about actually picking a goal that seems out of reach!

  • Step 2: Prioritise

Once you have your goal written down, think about its magnitude and apportion a time frame that you think is realistic to accomplish it. To do this, make a list of all the small necessary steps that it will take, and prioritise them in order of importance. This is how dreams become personal achievements!

  • Step 3: Who or What Will Help You?

Your personal development plan should contain the list of small steps and estimated time frames, but it should also have a list of materials you will need in order to make it happen. This could be extra training, courses, hardware, and even people! Remember that every journey to personal growth and development should include the support and expertise of those around you!

Starting the Process

Remember that a plan without action is only worth the paper it is written on! When our goal setting is ambitious it is easy to allow procrastination to set in. Keep in touch with your plan by speaking to people about it and trying to keep to the deadlines and timeframes that you gave it.

Be flexible when it comes to a personal development plan and accept that as you change, so does the world around you!

Stay abreast of trends that are related to your goal to make sure that it does not grow stale, and find people who you can trust to talk about your ideas. One of the key successes of any self development plan is to incorporate accountability. That means you could open up to someone close to you about your intentions and invite them to check in on the progress of your goal setting.

Resources to Help Your Personal Development Plan

Unless you are a complete pioneer in the field of interest of your goal setting, there is, for every personal growth and development ambition, subject matter into which you can delve! If you are intending to self-teach, do internet research, buy books, ask experts for recommended reading lists, and even consider finding a mentor or life coach!

Remember that for every goal, it is highly likely that there is a set of skills and experts who have gone before you. Personal achievements are often won on the experience of others who have gone before you, this way you can learn from their mistakes and improve on their ideas.

person reading a book of essays
Seek out resources that will help you on your journey of self growth. | Source: Unsplash

Here are some of the places and things you could try to add impetus to your personal development plan.

  • Online resources: these days you can find out about almost anything on the internet. Watch YouTube tutorials or research articles that will help you in terms of realising your personal growth and development.
  • Community programmes: Depending on what you are trying to achieve, remember that group classes, especially when it comes to fitness goal setting, can be extremely motivating. And if you need a support network for a mental health issue, for instance, community programmes can prove invaluable.
  • Private coaching: While group and community-type learning are usually available for every type of skill advancement, some people prefer a more private and bespoke contribution to their learning and self empowerment. This is often the case with top business executives who require leadership coaching. If learning a new language or instrument is on the list of your future personal achievements, but you want to learn at your own pace and not in a group, you could opt for private tuition. If this is the case, you could try the Superprof website which is host to almost every kind of tutor available in South Africa.

Practise Self Empowerment Every Day

Finally, once you have completed your goal setting and have a self development plan in place, remember it will never become a personal achievement if you leave it to get dusty on the shelf.

Make a habit of doing something every day to work towards your goal. Whether that’s practicing your instrument of choice, reading a chapter on the subject you intend to master, or improving on your previous personal best. You'll know what that is!

It doesn’t really matter what your personal development plan looks like, it could be completely different to the person in your life closest to you, but the main thing is to treat it like a relationship, put effort into it every day. Even if it’s only a small step, remember that every step forward is still going forward!

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Niki is a content writer from Cape Town, South Africa, who is passionate about words, strategic communication and using words to help create and maintain brand personas. Niki has a PR and marketing background, but her happiest place is when she is bringing a story to life on a page.