Personal Development Plan Template: 5-Step Personal Action Plan

A good personal development plan template includes five steps that guide you to take action. When included, these five steps can make your personal action plan simple, yet effective.

In fact, keeping your personal development strategy simple is important when seeking a good template. Why is this important? Because when learning how to write a personal development plan (also referred to as a PD Plan), it is easy to get “analysis paralysis” if your example personal development plan is too complicated.

If you aren’t familiar with the term, “analysis paralysis,” it’s where you are so caught up in your head, that you just keep spinning thoughts around inside without taking any action.

What we want to do here is to identify the five key components to making a simple personal growth plan. These five steps, while they may seem overly simplified, are the core to any plan, whether it is a personal leadership development plan, personal professional development plan or a personal action plan.

So, when you are looking for a good template, the simpler you make it, the faster you can “get down to business” and take action.

So, what are these five key parts your PD planning?

1. Identify goals
2. Prioritize goals
3. Action steps
4. Time line for first action
5. What if I do nothing?

IDENTIFY GOALS: When you start your personal growth plan, of course you’ll want to identify what you want to accomplish. However, here’s where many people make their first mistake by not identifying goals that are truly what they desire or are realistic enough to achieve. Be sure that your goals are what you truly desire at a deep, core level of your being.

PRIORITIZE GOALS: Once you find goals that are “what you want” and not “want someone else wants for you,” and these goals are realistic, there are certain steps to prioritizing these goals using something called, “reverse goal setting.” This is exactly what it sounds like where you take your “end goal” and work backwards writing down each step it took to get there. Like you are walking your goal backwards.

ACTION STEPS: Once you’ve done your reverse goal setting and have a step-by-step map for your personal development strategy, an important part of your PD planning is to find a way to turn these “bread crumbs” you’ve identified as a sequence of goals into a personal action plan. To do this, simply ask yourself, “What can I do today on ‘bread crumb number 1’ to take action?”

TIME LINE FOR ACTION: Any example personal development plan will tell you that you must set out a time line for action. What you want to do is to create daily, weekly, monthly and yearly goals for yourself so you stay on track. Be sure with this part of your personal development strategy to keep it realistic with everything else you spend time on in your life.

WHAT IF I DO NOTHING? When you want to develop a personal development plan, it’s easy to be very motivated in the beginning. Your enthusiasm is ample to help you learn how to write a personal development plan and about the various parts of PD planning. After awhile, however, it is easy to set your personal action plan or personal growth plan aside, so one question you’ll want to keep in front of you for motivation is, “What if I do nothing?” This one question can keep you going through the myriad of tasks of putting your template into action.

While finding a good personal development plan template or personal development plan sample isn’t easy at first, using these five steps in learning how to write a personal development plan can get you started. Then you can turn your personal action plan into action, rather than spinning thoughts around and around “thinking” about taking action because your plan is too complicated.