Posted by & filed under Personal Effectiveness.

As 2010 comes to an end, it is important to take time to reflect on the past year, evaluate your challenges and successes and begin looking forward to the new year. Use the month of December as an opportunity to create a specific performance improvement plan for 2011.Consider your personal and professional goals and the steps needed to achieve them. On January 1, you will be able to hit the ground running, staying focused, productive and inspired for the coming year.

Customize Your Personal Development Plan


1. Before you jump into your plans for 2011, make sure you spend time assessing 2010. In a notebook or a computer document, write down your observations about the last year:
  • What were your proudest achievements? What were your greatest obstacles?
  • What worked? What didn’t? What were the most important lessons you learned?
  • What specific training, skills or knowledge did you acquire? How will this education help you in the future?
  • How did you grow as a leader or manager?
  • How did you grow as an employee?
  • On a scale from 1 to 10, how would you rate this year? Why?
2. Reread what you wrote about your experiences in 2010 and think about how your reflections will influence your personal development plan for the next year. On a new page, write down your goals for 2011.Start by describing your overall hopes and expectations for the new year. What do you hope to write down next December as your greatest achievements?

Now make a list of all of your major goals for 2011, elaborating on each in detail. For example:

Description: What exactly do you hope to accomplish (in 1-2 sentences)?
  • Goal
    • Reasons: Why do you want to achieve this goal? How will it benefit you personally and/or professionally?
    • Skills, Knowledge or Abilities: What specifically will you be learning or developing through this goal? (For example, will you be receiving training to help strengthen your management style or taking a class on a new software?)
    • Action Steps: What do you have to do to accomplish your goal? Break it down into concrete action steps, and be as detailed as possible.
    • Support Needed: What additional help or resources will you require to make your goal a reality? Do you need financial assistance or help from others in your organization?
    • Potential Challenges: Try to anticipate any obstacles that may stand in the way of you reaching your goal. How can you overcome them?
    • Completion date: Set a projected date to finish this goal, which will keep you more accountable and motivated.
3. When you have finished your personal development plan, print or tear it out and sign it to make it more official. Post your goal list somewhere you will see it every day, and check in on your progress monthly. If you are worried about staying on track, consider asking a friend or colleague to keep you accountable by asking for progress reports regularly.
Have you ever created a personal development plan at the start of a new year? How did you stay focused on your goals?
Learn more about setting goals in Employee Development Systems, Inc.’s Taking the Initiative course.

Leave a Reply