Author: Andrew Brown
The good news is if you are reading this you have already taken the first step towards improving your life - recognizing a need for change. All too many people go through their lives not seeing the opportunities just within reach with only a few changes in how they see and interact with the world. The other step you've taken is looking for help. A few people are blessed with enough talent that they cam be almost entirely self-sufficient, but most of us will need the help, support, and advice of people with more experience or resources than ourselves, and it would be foolish not to take advantage of these things.
A development plan is the next best step you can take towards improving your life. It doesn't have to be a difficult process, but it will help to give blueprint on how to go forward and cement your goal of where you want to be in the future.
When you start to create your plan you need to begin with the most basic questions.
Where am I now?
Make a quick inventory of your life at this moment. What are you doing? What is it that is motivating you to want to change? You need to be honest here, and this can be a little frightening at times so feel free to jot down a few quick notes and come back to this.
Where do I want to be?
Write a clear statement of where you want to be after making your change. Focus on the results. You want more money? Try to write down instead what that money will bring you i.e. a feeling of security, more time with your family, the ability to help others.
How do I get there?
Outline a list of what you need to do in order to reach your goal. Is there a specific skill you need to learn? Something you need to clear off your plate first?
Filling in the Details
Now your the development plan is well underway. In broad strokes, your goal and how to get there has been outlined, but before committing this down to a final development plan it is worthwhile to work out some of the specifics.
What can help me? What will get in the way?
Look at things both in yourself, and in the world around you. List down the strengths and skills you have, as well as some of your weaker areas. Then think about the people and resources that are available. Who and what is there to help you if you need it, and who is going to get in the way. A common way to organize this information is in a S.W.O.T. chart.
What is the first step?
You may not know every step along the path, but you can almost always see the first step you need to take. Get this written down so you can get this done. Be realistic though, willpower and discipline are not infinite. Make sure each step you decide to take is an achievable one.
How will I know when I get there?
This is very important. Write a very clear description of what your life will be like after you achieve your goal. How will your life be different from how it is now? What will you have? What will you be able to do?Really take the time to think this through and be as specific as possible.
Putting it Together
After answering the questions above then next step it easy. Create the actual plan by looking back through what you've written down so far and organizing it into a coherent and logical process that you can follow on the way to your goal.
This is just one of many ways that you can use to help you reach your goals by taking firm steps to change your life. Writing down your goals, and the steps to reach them is a way of clearly defining what it is you want. The more clearly the final destination is in sight, the easier it will be to stay motivated.
Having a plan in writing is also a great way to see and celebrate your progress as you move forward. Goals such as 'make more money' or 'be a better person' usually fail because they are too general. There is no way to objective assess when the goal has been reached. Is more money $100 more, or $10,000? Is being a better person just spending more time with your family, or creating more memorable and meaningful experience with your loved ones? Without knowing where you are going you will never know when you get there.
With years and coaching and management experience, Andrew Brown built up an interest in personal development and growth after struggling to get better results both for his clients and himself.