How to Reach Your Personal Development Goals
This is Part 2 of a series on how to create your own personal development plan. Click here to read Part 1 – Personal Development Plan: The Ultimate Guide.
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OK, so you've come up with your 3 personal development goals.
And now, we are ready to dive into the second and final part of the Personal Development Plan Ultimate Guide.
In Part 1, we discussed:
-What is Personal Development?
-Why Do You Need a Personal Development Plan?
-Defining Your Personal Development Goals
In this blog post (Part 2), we will discuss:
-How Are You Going to Reach Your Personal Development Goals?
-Personal Development Planning 101
-Implementing Your Personal Development Plan
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So, now that you have your personal development goals, you have to make a plan for how you’re going to reach them.
Because as I mentioned in the first part of this series, a goal without a plan is just a wish.
And you don’t want to just wish, right? You want to see the changes actually happen in your life!
Well, guess what - you can accomplish the goals you set for yourself.
And you can make the whole process a whole lot easier by simply coming up with a plan of attack.
How Are You Going to Reach Your Personal Development Goals?
Set a SMART Goal
When crafting your goal, think about whether it meets the SMART goal criteria:
- Specific- Your goal should be clear, detailed and specific.
- Measurable- You should be able to track your progress and realize when you’ve achieved it.
- Achievable- It should be a realistic goal (some goals are just not achievable, but then again, that's often a result of how they're framed. For example, “Lose 20 pounds in a month” … It’s not that you can’t lose 20 pounds, but you probably couldn’t – and shouldn’t! – do it in just one month.)
- Relevant- Is your goal relevant to your life purpose/definition of success/intrinsic desires? Make sure it’s not an externally-driven goal but rather one that is truly based on your own personal growth.
- Time-bound- Set time limits for yourself. You can always change them later.
*Positive- There is one more element I’d like to include when it comes to setting your personal development goal – word it in the positive, not the negative.
For example, “Learn to control my emotions” or “Take 10 deep breaths when I start to get angry” is better than “Stop getting so angry”.
Personal Development Planning 101
Write It Down
If you want to increase your chances of reaching any goal, write it down.
Writing down your goal may seem like a small step, maybe even one that you don’t think is important enough to do.
But, it can actually mean the difference between reaching your goal and falling short. Here’s why:
- When you write your goal down, you give yourself a tangible source of motivation. You will never forget what you are working towards because it’s written down and you can look at it every single day. There are even studies showing that people who write their goals down achieve them at a much higher level than those who don’t.
- You have to process a whole lot of information on a daily basis. In a process called encoding, our brain decides which information will be stored long-term and which information can be discarded. Writing down your goal helps the brain to encode it – essentially, to realize that the information is important enough to hold onto.
- It helps to keep you accountable. When you write your goal down, especially when you use positive language, you make a written agreement with yourself, which (as with actual, legal contracts) is a lot harder to break than a verbal one.
Do a SWOT Analysis
A SWOT analysis is typically used in a business/professional context in order to gain a competitive advantage.
But I think it has relevancy when it comes to personal development goals as well, especially if you are trying to figure out whether your goal is Achievable.
The SWOT analysis helps you to see where you’re at now and what’s standing in your way of where you want to go in the future.
SWOT stands for:
Strengths- What do you bring to the table? Think of all the strengths that will help you achieve your personal development goal. Also, how might external factors (other than your personal strengths) help you to achieve your goal?
Weaknesses- Where do you fall short? What things do you think might be a disadvantage when it comes to achieving your goal?
Opportunities- What opportunities does your goal present you with? How will accomplishing it benefit you?
Threats- Which external threats might you face when trying to achieve your goal? What could pose a threat to your success that’s outside your control?
Chunk Your Personal Development Goals Down
It’s great to set a big, audacious goal in the beginning stages of your personal development plan.
But in order to get results, you will need to chunk it down.
What I mean by “chunk it down” is break your big personal development goal down into the smaller steps required to achieve it.
Not only will this help prevent you from getting overwhelmed but it will also make it much more likely that you will actually reach your goal.
So, for example, “Lose 20 pounds in four months” becomes:
- Eat three healthy meals and 3 healthy snacks per day
- Exercise four times a week for at least 30 minutes
- Plan healthy meals & make grocery list for the week
- Buy only the items on your list (do not bring junk food into the house)
- Go to zumba class on Monday at 6pm, lift weights on Tuesday and Thursday at the gym from 6pm to 7pm, do yoga videos at home on Saturday from 8am to 9am.
Which finally becomes a mini-goal that you can accomplish right now:
- Eat a salad with chicken breast for lunch
- Book your exercise classes ahead of time/ make concrete plans with an exercise buddy
When you’ve finally achieved all the mini-goals required to achieve your big personal development goal, then you will naturally have accomplished your mission!
Once you begin to really break it down, you may realize that your big goal requires more effort, skill, or time than you originally thought. And that’s OK - as long as you’re honest with yourself and you stay committed.
Implementing Your Personal Development Plan
Not many of you know this about me but I like to play a video game named Trove.
If you are quarantined at home, you may want to give it a try - it's super fun!
Trove is a voxel MMORPG where players can explore different realms, collect resources, fight dungeon bosses and dragons, build cornerstones and club worlds, engage in PVP combat, customize their characters, chat with other players, level up gear, and much more.
The way this video game works is a great example of how to go about implementing your personal development plan.
For example, I love collecting dragon mounts like this one, the Gold Primordial Dragon, "Scintilla of the Sky".
The Big Goal
The next dragon I would like to have is the Bubble Dragon ("Sarsaponia, The Pristine").
So, let’s see what it takes to craft him:
- 300 dragon coins
- 25,000 flux
- 1800 Jumping Jadefins
- 700 Golden Seashells
- 100 Bubble Dragon Egg Fragments
Chunk Down the Big Goal
Now, let’s take each of those in turn –
- In order to get dragon coins, players can complete Hourly Challenges, win them in Dragon Caches, have them produce regularly from a Tome, or buy them (either with in-game currency called Flux in the Marketplace or for actual money in the game Store).
- To earn flux, players can turn loot which they earn from defeating bosses into the Loot Collector, win it in Adventure Chests, in various types of caches, upon completing dungeons, or from selling stuff in the Marketplace.
- To catch Jumping Jadefins, a player can either fish for them him/herself or trade them for something (flux, gear, etc.) with another player.
- To obtain Golden Seashells, players must go to the Drowned Worlds and blast open Golden Seashell crates.
- To collect Bubble Dragon Egg fragments, players must (as with Jumping Jadefins) fish for them.
Keep Chunking it Down
These mini goals can be broken down even further:
- To complete the hourly challenges more efficiently (thereby earning more dragon coins), players must raise the power rank, mastery rank and gem power rank of their character. This can be done by collecting new gear, leveling up existing gear, collecting mounts and allies, and performing tasks such as gardening and fishing.
- Higher level gear and dragon eggs yield higher amounts of flux. So, to get higher amounts of flux, players must defeat higher level dungeons and slay dragons in various biomes in order to collect dragon eggs which they may then turn into flux at the Loot Collector.
- Blasting Golden Seashell crates is a lot easier if you have either a dragon that shoots or a boat with a cannon. Boats can be purchased from various merchants for in-game currency/items, built at the Nautical Assembler, earned for gaining milestone levels of Mastery or purchased for credits in the in-game Store.
- To fish for Jumping Jadefins (and Bubble Dragon egg fragments), players must have a fishing pole and lures, both of which can be purchased with Glim (a collectable resource in each biome) from a merchant named Saltwater Sam located in the Hub.
1 Big Goal = Many Small Goals
So, you see, in order to get the Bubble Dragon, there are many mini-goals I must accomplish. It’s very methodical.
And I know that once I achieve all those little steps, the Bubble Dragon shall be mine!
It works the same way with your personal development plan – there are your big personal development goals and then there are all the little steps it will take to achieve them.
Make Time for What's Important to You
We all struggle with not having enough time.
There are only so many hours in the day and you are only one person.
But if you try to do all the things, not only will you fall short but you will also burn out.
And that’s not helpful to you or anyone else. Self-care is something you must always find time for no matter what else is going on.
So even though it may seem like “there’s just not enough time” now, evaluate your schedule. See what activities you can cut out (but NOT self-care!)
If your personal development goals are really important to you, you’ll make time for them.
And since you are breaking your big goal down into smaller and smaller mini-goals, you should definitely have time to achieve them.
I recommend writing down 1-3 mini-goals per day that will get you closer to achieving your big goal.
Only do what you can realistically do. If you can complete all levels of an hourly challenge, turn in 1,000 flux-worth of loot and collect 25 fish today, then great!
If you are only able to complete the first level of an hourly challenge, turn in 500 flux-worth of gear and collect 10 fish, then great!
You are still making progress towards your goal. And as long as you are consistent, that’s all that matters.
Monitor Your Progress & Celebrate Your Wins
Finally, it is important to monitor your progress and celebrate your wins along the way.
As our professors used to tell us in law school, this is a marathon, not a sprint.
We are only human – our energy levels, motivation, mood, etc. will vary. So, we have to set things up for ourselves in a way that encourages consistent progress.
Motivation that’s so strong at first often dwindles when you can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. That’s why while you should keep your end goal in mind, you should only really be focusing on your daily tasks.
And when you have completed them, reward yourself. Celebrate those milestones! Plan celebrations in advance so you have something to look forward to.
It’s easy to get so caught up in where you’re trying to go that you forget how far you’ve come.
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