At some point in time, you may feel like progress has halted. Well, a personal development plan is the perfect way to steer your academic or professional goals towards the right direction.

While many enjoy the thrill of going with the flow, having a personal development plan can be beneficial for you in the long run. So, what is personal development planning?

What is a Personal Development Plan?

A personal development plan is an organized structure that lists down important aims and objectives that you would want to achieve in the future. The planning process also encourages one to assess current skills and evaluate their shortcomings. In the long run, consciously assessing your progress will push you towards the path of self-improvement, allowing you to reach your full potential.

Bonus: Learn how to create an inspiring personal leadership philosophy!

How to Create a Personal Development Plan

A conventional personal development plan typically involves three stages:

  1. Personal Analysis
  2. Setting Goals
  3. Personal Objectives

Let us examine each step in a more detailed manner:

Stage 1: Personal Analysis

Self-awareness is an integral component of any personal development activity. Evaluating your current goals, interests, strengths and weaknesses will bring you closer to understanding what drives and motivates you to do what you do.

If you’re struggling to identify your goals and motives, consider taking a psychometric test. This test includes a series of structured questions that will provide you a thorough insight into the various aspects of your personality and abilities.

Doing so can help you decide what skills and careers are better suited for you according to your personality characteristics. However, remember that identifying weaknesses and possible threats is also an important component of personal analysis which should not be negated.

Stage 2: Setting Goals

Once you have identified your strengths and weaknesses, the next step would be to set clearly definable long-term and short-term goals for yourself. If you are building a personal development plan for professional reasons, consult a superior such as your manager or trainer for a better insight on setting appropriate goals.

In this stage, you must ask yourself the following questions:

  • What should I learn?
  • What resources will I require to achieve this goal?
  • How can I measure success?
  • How much effort will I have to put in to achieve this goal?

Stage 3 – Personal Objectives

Personal objectives typically refer to job-specific goals pertaining to each employee. A good manager sets aside at least five to seven goals for each employee. This will not only benefit the individual but the company as a whole.

Personal Development Plan Example

John has been hired as a marketing intern straight out of graduation. In the next couple of weeks, John’s performance will be assessed by his managers and his fate in the company will be decided. While John is passionate about marketing, he displays poor time management skills and often takes longer than others to complete his daily tasks.

Stage 1: John’s Personal Analysis


  • Job Knowledge: John possesses sound job knowledge and has command over basic skills that are required for his job.
  • Consistently Learning: John subscribes to a number of online marketing resources that keeps him ahead of industry trends. He also attends extra training sessions and is always eager to learn.
  • Amiable Nature: John seems to get along well with most of his colleagues and is genuinely liked by his manager because of his amiable nature. John also displays stellar problem-solving skills.

Areas for Further Development

  • Poor Time Management Skills: John typically takes longer to complete his daily tasks and often has to have lunch at his desk because to catch up with work. John needs to find a way to eliminate distractions at work and prioritize tasks accordingly. (Learn how to improve time management skills here)


  • Promotion: If John is able to impress his managers at staff meetings and is able to find a way to speed up his performance, he may be offered a promotion which would lead to permanent employment at the company.
  • Staff Meetings: Weekly staff meetings can provide John with the opportunity to collaborate and share ideas with his co-workers.


  • Competition: John has to perform better than his fellow interns if he wants to secure employment.

Stage 2: John Sets Goals


What should I learn? Resources needed Parameters to measure success
Gaining in-depth knowledge about industry trends ·         Courses

·         Training sessions

·         Mentorship

·         Reading

·         Meet with professionals

·         Course assessment

·         Feedback from mentors/staff

Improve time management skills ·         Use a planner to prioritize tasks

·         Observe senior managers

·         Complete tasks on time

·         Feedback from staff


Stage 3: John’s Personal Objectives

  • Develop and maintain successful marketing strategies
  • Foster healthy work-relationships with everyone on the team
  • Secure permanent employment and a promotion in the company

This personal development plan will help John identify his strengths and weaknesses, thereby maximizing his performance at his new workplace. As you can see, this personal development plan not only provides insight into John’s successful personality traits but it also provides a solid blueprint as to how to get started.

Wrapping it up

A personal development plan is an important tool that all individuals can benefit from to evaluate and set appropriate goals. We hope this template will help you create a personal development plan of your own.

Is there something you’d like to add?

Tell us about it in the comment’s section below.


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