Productivity and GTD

7 Steps to Writing Your Own Simple Self-Improvement Plan

AUTHOR: Jake Lester
Writing self development plan

Everyone would want to improve something in their life, whether it’s their family relationships, health, income or professional achievements.

Unfortunately, not many people are successful when it comes to achieving their self-improvement goals. This is often due to not having a simple but concrete plan in the first place or setting goals that are way above their abilities. If you are looking to get a salary raise, get another degree or even to enhance your college grades, below are the seven steps to follow when writing your self-Improvement plan:

1. Pre-Evaluation

Before looking at any personal development plans or strategies, you first need to get a clue of where you stand. Sit alone and critically analyze different aspects of your life and objectively determine if any improvements are needed, and which departments to improve. Examples of relevant questions you can ask yourself are:

  • Are you happy with your job?
  • Do you honestly think that you spend your days the right way?
  • Why are you always short on cash every other day?
  • Are your relationships with your spouse, family, friends, colleagues or seniors the way you would want them to be?

If possible, give 1 to 10 ratings to your answers as a measure of how bad, good or great a particular aspect of your life is. For instance, you can rate your relationships with your co-workers on a scale of 1 to 10 with one being “work BFF” and 10 being “makes me want to puke.”

2. Analyze Your Strengths, Weaknesses, and Opportunities

analyzing-strengths-and-weaknesses

Obviously, you can do some things better than you can do others. Studies show that most people perceive their weaknesses as easy to overcome in future while being confident of retaining their strengths. Understanding your various strengths and weaknesses helps you determine the techniques to use in your personal development journey. You may be, for instance, a good listener and a caring friend but have anger problems. If you’re not conscious of that, it could mess up your relationships with your friends, family members and everyone else.

3. Clearly Define Your Goals

After determining the areas in your life that need improvement, turn them into goals or make them key subjects of your goals. For a start, list them in no particular order. The goals you set need to be realistic and straightforward; otherwise, you may find yourself quitting in the middle of your self-improvement journey. For instance, you can’t just have “losing weight” as a goal. Specifying how many pounds you want to lose and the estimated period to do so is a better way to frame it while making it easier for the next steps.

4. Prioritize Your Goals

prioritize-your-goals

It’s a no-brainer that some challenges are more urgent and therefore need to be handled first. Examples of such are work and school-related issues. After listing your goals, comb through them while giving weight to each goal depending on its relevance, urgency, and importance to you. Purpose to find one goal that you find important and that can also positively affect other aspects of your life when achieved and make it your main objective. For instance, you can prioritize shedding some weight as a goal over the first half of the year. The benefits of that, which include a better body shape, improved health and fitness, can positively enhance your confidence and as a result, your relationships with other people will improve.

5. Set Milestones

Milestones are widely used to measure and indicate progress in tasks or projects. When going about your self-improvement journey, it is good to have some form of milestones or deadlines that will push you to work harder and that add up to achieving the main goal. If your goal is to be a millionaire and you make $100k annually, you can have it as a milestone to double your income to $200k in the next year.

For better outcomes, follow the SMART rule which states that an effective milestone is:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Realistic
  • Timely

6. Design an Action Plan

design-an-action-plan

Taking stock of your challenges, opportunities, weaknesses and quantifiable milestones, create an action plan detailing the actions that you intend to take to achieve your targets. The recommended number of activities towards accomplishing one goal is between 5 to 10. For instance, if your goal is to lose weight, your action plan may be:

  • Go to the gym every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
  • Carry healthy food to work from Monday to Thursday every week.
  • Only eat processed food once in 2 weeks.
  • Walk home from work every day as an exercise.

Whatever your action plan, be determined to follow it through and when doubtful of your will, ask a friend or family member to give you regular reminders. Also, be realistic about your plan and ensure to give some time allowance to complete your tasks.

7. Review Progress

To measure your progress and the efficiency of your action plan, hold daily, weekly, bi-weekly and monthly self-evaluations. In every one of those, ask yourself if you are genuinely working towards your goals. If you feel at any time that you are not making positive progress, feel free to change your action plan or move your deadlines. Most importantly, do not be too negative or critical of yourself. Missing a few milestones does not make you a failure, nor does being unable to complete your target. What matters is to try.

Conclusion

Self-Improvement or personal development is a continuous process that only ends when life ends. To improve your living conditions as well as your mental, physical and social health, you need to continually seek upward progression. Having a self-improvement plan helps you to better understand yourself, your needs and the strategies that you should follow to get preferred results.

Are you now ready to write your own self-improvement plan? Which areas are you keen on improving?

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