Setting up a Personal Development Plan

I am convinced a personal development plan greatly determines your chances of reaching your full potential, both in your personal and professional life. John Maxwell says,

“Most people don’t realize that unsuccessful and successful people do not differ substantially in their abilities. They vary in their desires to reach their potential. And nothing is more effective when it comes to reaching potential that commitment to personal growth (Development).”

Not only does a person benefit from growing and developing but it also brings value to others, from colleagues to friends and family members. Having a personal development plan is essential no matter your current leadership position or title, because we all need to develop. This starts with understanding what is required in order to successfully have a personal development plan. Some aspects to consider are:

Paying the price- It requires time, energy, and money. We need to remember, “Growth today is an investment for tomorrow.” ~Oliver Wendell Holmes

Being intentional- It all starts with having a plan and being consistent in following through with the plan.

Having the right attitude- It takes humility to remain teachable. Pride often blocks a person from developing.

Perspective- No one develops over night, it’s a process. Abraham Lincoln said, “I don’t think much of a man who is not wiser today than he was yesterday.”  

If you want to develop then understanding these aspects is important.

Having a personal development plan requires knowing your learning style, being specific in your development areas, having different avenues of development, and setting a plan with goals to develop. This might mean you need to sit down and map out your plan and set goals for your development. Now is the perfect time to plan and set goals for next year.

I have seen and heard about many different development plans, each with their own benefits. Your goal should be to set a plan that works with you. Because every personal development plan is different, I will not be sharing a specific development plan. But, here are some areas you might consider when it comes to setting up your plan:

Reading.  Because Leaders should be Readers.

Listen to Audio books and lessons.

Attend conferences and workshops.

Find a coach or mentor. Its A Key Factor To Sharpening yourself.


It is wise to remember the words of Earl Nightingale, “If a person will spend one hour a day on the same subject for five years, that person will be an expert on that subject.” If we want to become better leaders and people then taking time to develop is essential.

Questions: What is your plan to grow and develop? Are you setting personal development goals for next year?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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19 thoughts on “Setting up a Personal Development Plan

  1. Love your quotes throughout the post!

    I am endeavoring to be a published author, this takes a great deal of patience as well as faith in God. I truly believe he has inspired the book I wrote and now I have to be faithful to follow his directive in what is to come of this book. He has not told me the entire plan, which is good, I would mess it up. Instead he is leading me step by step and I am growing day by day in my walk with him and in my skills as a writer.

    I also am continuously doing research for my book, this is giving me much perspective about the world and living a life that exemplifies Christ.

    • First off, looking forward to reading your book. Don’t know if you read Michael Hyatts blog?(He was the CEO and now is Charmian on the board of Thomas Nelson Publishing) But His blog would help anyone who want to become an author. Here is his link

      Thank you for sharing. Keep writing and persevering.

  2. These are all great ideas Dan.

    I would say to begin your personal development plan you need to do what Stephen Covey says, “Begin with the end in mind.” Take some time to be thoughtful about your development plan. Go to a quiet place, close your eyes, and dream a bit. What do you see at the end of one year, five years, or twenty-five years.

    You may need to come to this quiet spot for days or weeks until you a real clear picture of your destiny. Once you are sure that is your destiny start to build a plan to get from today to that target in the future. Do research, read books or blogs about those that have already taken that trail, find an accountability partner to keep your grounded and on track. Go forward and know that your trek forward will not always be perfect. There will be glitches and hitches along the way. That is okay. Just make your course adjustment and keep heading toward your vision.

    I think this path to development planning is universal and can be used by many.

    Thanks for another gem Dan.

    • Great points,

      Taking the time to look forward and plan your future then taking the steps to get their is so important. my wife and I are doing this tomorrow morning and afternoon. To plan and set goals for what we want to accoplish next year and in the next 5 years. This is our first year really taking the time to get away and do this. It’s going to turn into a tradition each year.

      Thank you for your wonderful insights.

  3. Such a wonderful idea and way to grow as a family. My wife and I have started to read book(Marriage and Christian growth) only to not stick with it. We have many half read books.

    Actually tomorrow my wife and I are taking the morning and afternoon to reflect on this past year and plan on next year. One of the things we are doing is to plan our together personal development goals.

    I would encourage you to make a plan for next year and then not let anything come in between it. It’s so important. But its such a challenge. Good luck man.

  4. Couldn’t agree more, Dan.
    I’ve been thinking about an upcoming post called “you are what you read”- talking about your point about the importance of reading- this is a crucial one!
    I really like your points. Some people think things will fall in their lap, rather than being intentional by setting goals and sticking with a plan. In reality, it’s a lot of diligent planning and hard work to reach success.

    • Looking forward to reading he post. It’s an important aspect of reaching your dreams. It all takes being intentional about developing. Thank you for sharing.

  5. Joel, such a powerful thing to do with your wife.

    Starting this year my wife and I are really spending some time to plan for next year. Thanks for reading.

  6. I read it a couples years ago. It was a great book, though I know it would benefit me to read it again. I have not read Michael Hyatt’s eBook yet but plan on reading it next year. Having a life plan and goals is so important for anyone. Thank you for sharing these wonderful books and thoughts.

  7. I love reading John Maxwell’s books! For the coming year, I’m aiming to get out of my introvert self. I’m looking forward to spend ‘real’ quality time with friends and family, since the last year… though I was physically present in their company, I wasn’t mentally there.

    • John Maxwell’s one of my favorite authors. Have your read his newest book, The 5 Levels of Leadership? Its such a great book.

      Such a wonderful goal for next year. Have you thought about getting a coach/mentor to help you with this area (A pastor or close friend)?

  8. Good post, but I have to admit that you have an unfair advantage here. I’m drawn to good quotes like a moth to a flame. Loved the quotes you used in your argument. Speaking about the broader topic, this is absolutely the time to start thinking about putting together a personal development plan for next year. Thank you for the well timed reminder.

    • Glad you enjoyed the quotes and post. It’s something every person should take some time to think about. Have a wonderful day.

  9. I’m working on mine as we speak. I have several goals that I want to accomplish but I’m only going to focus on about 4 major ones that will bring major change to my life this year. I know these 4 or 5 goals will bring major change to other areas of my life as well.

    • Sorry for not responding sooner. Your comment must have gotten by me some how. Great point about focusing on a few goals. We need to find the areas where we can have the best/ most results in and then put all are energy in those areas. Thank you for reading and sharing.

  10. Funny you mention this :) – My plan starting today is to be a early riser and do a bit of multitasking. Namely, wake up at 5:00-5:30 AM and go for a walk (or the gym) for a hour and listen to a audiobook simultaneously. Steve Pavlina also credits this method to getting some serious productivity and mental stimulation under the belt. Funny how many folks underestimate the power of books.

    • Having a plan and sticking to the plan is so essential. Really like Steve’s thoughts. Thank you for stopping by and sharing.