Updated: Aug 14, 2020
by Katherine Beneby
Do you have a personal growth plan? If not, have you considered having one? If you do have one, when last have you visited it?
A personal growth plan is a must-have for all individuals, as it’s a guideline for living one’s life. This plan connects goals, how to achieve them, skills to master and habits to develop. A personal growth plan usually includes key areas such as career, education, relationships and self-improvement. This plan identifies ways to develop and enhance ourselves through knowledge, skills and experiences.
The difference between goals and growth is that goals are seasonal, while growth is lifelong. Goals focus on a destination while growth focuses on a journey. For instance, with a goal-conscious approach, one desires to lose 10lbs; with a growth-conscious approach, one learns about healthy foods and embraces various forms physical activity. The latter approach allows one to not only lose 10lbs but also not put it back on. Truth is, the growth conscious approach is not always easy, but it is rewarding long-term.
Also referred to as personal development plans, growth plans are not only used by individuals but also in business; in that instance, they are known as business growth plans. A business growth plan is similar to writing a standard business plan. However, a business growth plan focuses specifically on expansion and how the company will achieve it.
Whether corporate or personal, a major key to embracing growth consciousness is changing habits. “Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment, and that bridge must be crossed every day. Over time, that daily crossing becomes a habit,” said John C. Maxwell. It’s important to recognize that habits determine outcomes. Replace bad habits with good habits. For instance, instead of watching TV every evening, set aside at least three evenings for reading on a weekly basis.
This seems simple enough, yet many do not have this mindset because of some very common obstacles.
There is no clear definition of purpose: If an individual or business does not have a clear purpose, it will be difficult to achieve objectives. It is important to define and redefine purpose often. All players must understand their role and its importance to the big picture.
The person is in a non-conducive environment: Environment includes people, places and things. When environment is prohibitive to growth, change will be slow and difficult. A conducive environment results in growth that is faster and more successful.
Fear: Believe it or not, this four-letter word is holding a lot of people back from reaching their goals and dreams. Fear is good in small doses, but becomes dangerous when allowed to spread, crippling plans.
Lack of application: Application is the way we live out what we know and believe. There is a common saying: “It’s easier said than done.” One has to make a constant effort to apply changes for long-lasting growth. The only way this happens is through deliberate and intentional acts of purpose.
Assuming that obstacles like those just listed have been addressed, the next step is commitment to growth. “Unless commitment is made, there are only promises and hopes; but no plans,” said Peter Drucker. There are four key components to crafting a personal growth plan; they are: objectives, success criteria, actions and implementation.
The following are some personalized questions one can ask when formulating a plan:
Objectives: What do I want to be able to do or do better? It’s important to narrow down your goals to bring focus and clarity.
Success criteria: How will I recognize success? How will I review and measure my improvement? This section focuses on the tangible results.
Action: What methods will I use to achieve my learning objectives? This is all about the how. How will I achieve the set objectives?
Implementation: How will I practice and apply what I learn. Application is so important and the area where most individuals fall short.
Here’s an example of the four components at work. An objective can be to hone your vocal skills. Success criteria would be diversifying musical style or expanding vocal range. Action would be seeking a vocal coach and implementation can be creating a YouTube channel and building a fan base for singing gigs and more.
Making a growth plan will make the difference between simply achieving goals and growing in a sustained and conscious way. The latter will lead to ongoing transformation in all areas of life.