Personal growth can mean different things to different people but no matter what it means to you, there’s a lot of benefit to developing your own personal growth plan to help you stay on track and achieve your goals. A plan will spell out your goals, how you want to achieve them, and any skills or habits you’d like to improve on. Actively tracking your personal growth can allow you to have more of a sense of control over your life and decisions, as well as provide encouragement on days where you may be feeling lost. Writing down your plan can also provide you with more structured thinking about what you want, where you’re heading, and how to get there.
Figure Out What You Want and Why
The first step is to identify what your overall goals are: what is it that you ultimately want to achieve? Are you interested in climbing the ranks at work or developing stronger relationships with the people around you? Once you’ve identified your goal, think about the motivation behind it. How do these things you want help you on a larger scale than just feeling better in the meantime? Identifying the reasons behind what you want can offer greater encouragement and motivation to keep working on what you want to achieve.
Discover a Mentor
Finding a mentor who provides inspiration, words of wisdom, and generally motivates you is incredibly useful to grant you support during your personal growth journey. They can be a person who is actually in your life or they can be a stranger, such as a motivational speaker that you truly admire. Look inward while searching for a mentor; find a mentor who aligns with your core values and has achieved some of what you’re also interested in achieving. Books, blogs, and TedTalks can be a great way to find people who encourage you.
Determine How You’ll Work to Achieve Your Goals
Once you’ve determined the what, why, and who, it’s time to figure out the “how.” How do you intend to achieve your goals? This is the part where it gets a little tricky because the answer to “how” isn’t necessarily clear-cut, or there may be several paths you can take to get there. In an ideal situation, you’re best off finding an activity that you can turn into a daily habit that you make sure to do every single day. For example, if you’re interested in losing weight, start by tracking your calories or making sure you’re getting 20 minutes of exercise on a daily basis. Make sure you stay accountable for this one activity — track it in a journal if needed. To avoid overwhelming yourself, choose one activity to focus on daily from each of the personal growth categories (intellectual, social, professional, and physical) until the activity becomes habitual and effortless.
Devote Time to Self-Reflection
Spend time daily and weekly reflecting on the work you’ve done to achieve your goals; reflect without judgment. Where have you been successful? Where can you improve? Avoid any negative self-talk. Some days and weeks will bring higher accomplishment than others, and that’s OK! What matters is that you continue to work on your personal growth goals from a place of positivity. Give yourself credit for everything you have accomplished.
Personal growth is a never-ending journey; there’s always another day, another goal to achieve. Keep in mind the words of Gail Sheehy: “If we don’t change, we don’t grow. If we don’t grow, we aren’t really living.”