Like most of the world, your end of the year was not only marked with gorgeous fireworks in the sky, but also with some thoughts entering your mind regarding the personal and professional goals that you’d like to achieve within the promising year of 2022. If you’ve crafted your list of resolutions last year or during any previous year, then you likely already know the biggest challenge: keeping consistency and meeting your self improvement goals. Hopefully you’re already a step ahead and have been Google searching for things like “how to personal development plan” and “self improvement tips.” Well, you’ve now scrolled across this article and can stop your search since we’ve prepared the ultimate roadmap for you for your personal development plan for 2022!
The meaning of self improvement
Before we dive in, let’s quickly discuss the self improvement meaning. It is quite self-explanatory. Self improvement is the attempt to improve an individual’s own skills, knowledge, personality, or behaviors through their own actions. Ultimately, it revolves all around the objective of personal growth.
And, why is self growth important? We, as humans, are naturally created to always want to do better. From the beginning of time, those of us who focused on self-improvement were able to adapt to their surroundings and survive in critical situations. As the world has developed, we still all maintain that desire to improve ourselves and get ahead. Overall, personal growth is one way that we can feel more fulfilled and happy in our lives. Typically, the more skills you have, the more opportunities can land in your lap. It is really a holistically positive cycle of rewards and a lifelong process.
What is a personal development plan?
Now that you understand how important it is to improve yourself, we can step into what a personal development plan actually is.
A personal development plan (PDP) is basically your personalized framework towards achieving the specific personal improvement goals that you have laid out for yourself for the next 12 months or longer. It is nearly impossible to hit all your goals if you don’t specify what they are, create a plan to prepare for them, and work actively everyday towards them. Therefore, PDP should be an actual document that you take plenty of time to strategize; you should make sure to consider and include:
- The goals you are aiming towards (note: make sure they are specific, clear, and measurable)
- What your current strengths are in relation to the topics you are trying to improve on
- What your current weaknesses are and how you plan to fix them
- The skills you are trying to acquire
- The steps you will take to improve and how often / when you will execute them (note: it is key that you place specific milestones in with realistic deadlines, so you can check if you are progressing and if the plan is effective or if revisions are needed)
- How you are going to develop the appropriate habits and any self-discipline through any reinforcement mechanisms – whether these are social pressure incentives (eg. attaining similar goals along with someone else, in a group or community), or external tools like tracking/measurement apps that will help “nudge” you towards executing on your goals
Although it may seem straightforward, we’d really like to emphasize the importance of you writing by creating a written document, versus just considering these elements and keeping them in your head. This is key to self-improvement: write down what you want, why, and how you will do it. If you add your goals into a Google doc or physical notebook, you will actually be able to observe and internalize them, and be more aligned with your plan. Looking at this plan everyday will also help you visualize your dream outcomes more easily, and that will help you shift your mindset and set you up for success.
Personal development topics
Before you’re ready to take the first steps in creating your plan. It is optimal to research all the possible personal development topics that exist. It is likely you also know some personal development areas such as motivation, leadership, or self-awareness, but there is always a multitude of other areas you can improve in. For instance, studies show that one area which most people would like to improve on is their confidence.
Self-confidence is definitely not something that individuals are born with; it is a skill that we can nurture and all master as long as we aim to master it and practice ways we can raise our confidence on a daily basis. If you already feel secure in your confidence level, perhaps you would like to pursue other personal development topics such as possessing a more positive mindset, being more empathetic towards others, or figuring out how to gain an additional passive income stream. If you’d like to consider more career-oriented topics, you can also spend some time researching topics for self improvement in the workplace. In summary, take some time to lay out your personal and professional needs and start implementing them into your self development plan.
Steps to a good self development plan
Check out these steps to self development, and remember, the only real barriers to personal growth which you may encounter are not about having a well-developed plan with realistic goals and timelines, but the below.
- Figure out your goals for personal growth
Research your goals for personal growth, however, if you still have any doubts, you can try to figure out what values motivate you via a quick and free online self – assessment. Your results should be able to help you determine your self improvement motivation which you will always be able to reflect on when you need a little extra fuel to get you to that next PDP milestone.
After researching and narrowing down the self development skills you’d like to obtain, you should start to adapt those topics into specific, measurable goals using a system like the STAR method. This means each goal you list should be:
- S: Specific
- T: Testable
- A: Attainable
- R: Relevant
- Understand yourself
This step is very much tied to step #1 in the sense that you shouldn’t develop goals for what you think sounds impressive, but instead, for what you would actually like to achieve and what would bring you happiness. Understanding yourself isn’t something simple to do and really, will be a journey that you will be on throughout your entire life – or at least, the majority of your life. In this case, some action items you could take to try to make this process easier would be to consider some personal growth questions. Some examples of personal growth questions to ask yourself include:
- How has my life changed in the last year?
- Do I enjoy how I am spending my time?
- What do I want to learn next?
- Which activities excite me the most?
- Which people do I feel most happy around?
If you need any support with this, we have spent some time at Gyfted, developing a tool to understand yourself: personality test. If you would like to heighten your self-awareness, taking this quiz before or after answering some of the outlined personal growth questions, will surely aid you, as well.
- Assess your strengths and weaknesses
As mentioned earlier, the PDP isn’t just a plan, but also a holistic assessment of you “before and after.” If you truthfully access your strengths and weaknesses in regards to your selected self improvement topics, you will be able to measure your growth more easily. If you are asking yourself “what are my strengths and weaknesses”, but are having a tough time coming up with answers, we would suggest asking 5-10 of the people closest to you to share some of these qualities with you. Of course, they may have some biases, but they will be able to spot at least one strength and weakness each that you may have missed. For this part, you can use this 360 feedback tool to organize and find similarities among all the insights you receive. It will basically ask your close ones about what their relationship is to you, which statements most align with you, and how much they agree or disagree about specific statements regarding you. Likewise, if you’d like to gain a professional perspective, you can choose to share this tool with your past co-workers and employers. It is really a life-saver in navigating your strength and weakness assessment.
- Take a personal growth questionnaire
As you may have realized already, we are quite big on completing personal assessments.This is because a self improvement quiz or another type of similar assessment is often overlooked when it shouldn’t be. These types of tools are meticulously crafted by psychologists and cognitive scientists with the objective of helping you understand yourself and your traits in a quick and enjoyable way. Plus, you get instant feedback once you complete one of these and completely for free, too. With that being said, if you take a few minutes to take a growth mindset assessment, for instance, you’ll be able to immediately know what type of mindset you possess and how much you will be able to achieve with it.
- Self improvement activities
There are plenty of self improvement ideas that gurus have developed for small, easy actions that you can take daily which over time, will really make an impact. Some of these include:
- Read 10 pages of an entrepreneurship or self-development book per day
- Use a planner to plan out each of your days or journal to write out some of the highlights of your day
- Spent 45 minutes per day doing a workout outside
- Spend 10 minutes per day on meditation
- Don’t use your phone during the first 30 minutes of your day, or better yet do not keep your phone in your room
- Completed a least one networking call / coffee chat per week
- Try out listening to a podcast related to financial intelligence or entrepreneurship
Aside from these personal growth activities, many experts have developed more in-depth and rigorous self development challenges which you may want to attempt. These typically tend to last 30 days, but you could choose to adapt them for a longer period of time, or just try out a combination of many over the next few months.
If you are aiming to improve your relationship with money, you could try out the following 30-day challenge:
- Save $500 in the next 30 days
- Earn an extra $1000 in the next 30 days
- Pay off a certain bill
- Stop shopping online
- Stop dining out
If this is not your area of focus, but you are rather more keen on improving your time management skills, you could leap into the following challenge:
- Limit social media to 10 minutes a day (use a tracking app for this)
- Give up TV
- Schedule your time every day in 15-minute increments
- Turn off electronics at 8 PM
- Schedule 30 minutes each day to tackle a specific skill you want to learn or a project you want to complete
To conclude, there are so many incredible strategies and techniques already publicly available to you online. Just search up the ones related to the skills you are most interested in obtaining, and we are confident at least a dozen will show up. What’s even better, is that you can always adapt these challenges to your own lifestyle and circumstances, or mix several challenges up together into one. As long as you’re up for the challenge, the opportunity for growth is always there!
- Create a roadmap
Next, it’s time to talk about your self improvement to do list! You’ve nailed your goals down and are familiar with the different activities and challenges you can do, but when will you actually do them? In step 6 of the personal development plan, you will need to develop your personal development roadmap. This means you should specifically write what activities you will do, when, where, and for how long. If you’re using a personal development plan template like the one shown below, this process will be more streamlined for you.
There are numerous templates available online, and you don’t have to use this specific one. Just make sure that your personal development plan document or template includes the following:
- A goal written in the STAR format
- The action steps associated with it
- What skills you should expect to gain from that goal / that are needed to achieve it
- Your deadline for each plan aka “I will achieve this by…”
- Progress indicators
- Practice good habits
When it comes down to it, your personal development journey is just a compilation of adding many self development habits into your lifestyle for the next 12 months or more. As long as you believe you can change your current habits, you should be able to do so. And these daily habits play a massive role in the outcome of your resolutions. For instance, one of your goals in 2022 could be to become a marathon runner. But, it is clear that you won’t be able to get much progress into the first marathon if you aren’t training everyday beforehand. Habits are like this; they take months, and even years of practice to be able to guide you to that ultimate resolution. Remember, the best strategy for your success is to break these big goals down into several, smaller daily habits. If you’re interested in learning more about the role of daily habits in your personal development, Stanford University professor BJ Fogg’s book, titled “Tiny Habits: The Small Changes that Change Everything” is a fantastic resource for doing so.
Tips for self improvement
Lastly, to wrap this roadmap up and set you on your way, we will share some final golden nugget personal development tips.
- Try apps
Unless your PDP goals include lowering your screen time, we encourage you to check
out one of the numerous personal growth apps on the market. We have provided you
this cheat-sheet and think you will find at least one app useful towards implementing
- Headspace – improve your mental clarity and self-awareness, or just implement mindfulness into your routine
- Any.do – improve your personal organization
- HelloTalk – form international connections while learning a new language
- Skillshare – deepen your knowledge of any personal or professional skill, ex. Graphic design, financial investing, photography
- Scribd – spend more time reading / become more educated on different topics
- Mint – improve your relationship with money
- Endel – improve your sleep cycles and health
- New Year’s Resolutions Track – track the progress of your PDP, note: make sure you are still using a separate PDP doc or template, though too
- bPunctual – improve your punctuality
- Forest – stay focused and boost productivity, especially when you want to practice deep work.
- MindMeister – Using a mind mapping app you can organize, prioritize, and even generate new thoughts.
- Fabulous – improve your energy levels, be more focused, lose weight and sleep better by building healthy habits and routines in your life.
- Reclaim.ai – manage your time and calendar better for more focus
- Start to use a journal / diary
A self improvement journal can be another daily point of communication and reflection between you and your goals. In addition to this, journaling is proven to boost creativity, strengthen self-discipline, and improve your overall health. So many benefits as long as you stick to it!
- Leverage other tools
Aside from templates like the personal development plan template we discussed, there are a multitude of other personal growth tools that you can try out to help you on this life-long journey of growth. For instance, one methodology that you could try out when attempting to boost your productivity in 2022 is the deep work concept. The average employee gets interrupted between a hefty 50-60 times per workday, and 80% it is for unimportant matters. What’s even worse is the time it can take for you to regain focus and return back to your task, only to be interrupted again shortly. Due to this, the deep work concept focuses on minimizing your distractions and managing your time better to produce more effective results. This is done by grouping your tasks into shallow work which holds less priority and value, versus deep work. Additionally, performing fewer hours of deep work in your workweek is favored over only being in shallow work mode from Monday to Friday. If you’d like to learn more about this concept and its strategies, you can find an in-depth explanation in our latest Demystifying the Concept of Deep Work article.
- Motivate yourself with some quotes
Lastly, sometimes all you need is a little motivation from others! Whether you want to just print out and fill your desk with personal development quotes, or you are only open to changing your phone background to a Tony Robbins quote, we still suggest adding some of these positive messages into your perspective. Alongside this, you can also reach out to some of your friends and hear about more personal development goals examples from them. Knowing that others who are close to you are also on this quest, can brighten up your mindset and prepare you for the work ahead. And, it is always great to have some people around you that can keep you accountable and vice-versa.
Bottom line is that you’ve got this! We all have a lot of work to do, but the opportunities that lie ahead will be well worth all of these strategies and methods that we need to work on. Good luck – we can’t wait until the moment that 2023 comes around and you will be able to see just how much you’ve grown in only 12 months.