Adapt and Evolve: Making Your Personal Development Plan Work For You

by | Jan 24, 2024 | Personal Development

Making your personal development plan work for you will help to increase your capacity for growth by identifying your principles, morals, and values.

Over time, as you grow and develop your personality, life, and value system, you will discover that some of the actions you’re taking now no longer work for you in one or more areas of your life. 

The fact these actions don’t work for you isn’t a sign that your original personal development plan was wrong. It’s simply a sign that you have grown. Growth is the main reason your personal development plan needs to be created so that you schedule a periodic evaluation of it so that you can adjust it if needed. 

Making Your Personal Development Plan Work For You

To evaluate and adjust your personal development plan, you’ll need to:

  • Set Aside the Time – To evaluate your personal development plan, you’ll need to set aside the time to accomplish it. Of course, you’re not going to do this in five minutes. Instead, it would be best to evaluate your progress to improve your actions mindfully. 
  • Determine Your Metrics – How will you judge when your actions impact your goals? Defining the quantitative means by which you will measure success or failure is imperative. It’s always better to use data than your gut. Your gut may be correct but proving it with data will provide even more incentive to keep acting. 
  • Track Your Progress – Part of the evaluation is to track progress on every single goal you’ve set continuously. Set up tracking as you create the goal, and you won’t have to start fresh every single time you want to evaluate.
  • Identify Areas of Improvement – As you check the numbers and compare them to your actions, you can note areas that need improvement. Sometimes the improvement will happen because you note you’re not acting enough, and other times you’ll realize your actions are incongruent to the outcome.
  • Be Mindful of Your Thoughts – One way you will evaluate your personal development plan is based on your thoughts as you act on your goals. For example, does it feel good to do the actions? Does it feel bad? Why? Do your due diligence to discover why you feel the way you do. 
  • Focus on Impact – The outcome of your actions is more important to you and others than your intent. If you take actions that inadvertently cause harm, that’s all you or anyone else will remember. 

Finally, it cannot be stated enough how imperative it is that you are always aware and cognizant of the desired impact you want your actions to have. 

For example, if you desire your home to be clean and orderly, you don’t have the time to do it yourself. Your choice is paying someone a fair wage for their labor to clean it versus asking your children to do it for a small allowance. 

The impact is that the house gets clean in a way that feels good to you. How you clean the house must fit your value system, so it feels authentic. 

A problem could arise if you believe that children should do household labor. In that case, you’ll need to find another way to get what you want to be done. However, that’s all you are doing when evaluating and adjusting your personal development plan. You’re ensuring alignment with your values and lifestyle and then making changes where needed. 

To get started evaluating and adjusting your personal development plan, review, assess, and adapt according to the well-considered and mindful discovery reading what you want from your life. 

Review Your Progress At Least Monthly

Reviewing your progress monthly will help you ensure the actions you’re taking are achieving the desired results. Not only that, checking regularly ensures that you even want to continue toward that goal by keeping you mindful of the impact of your actions. To review your progress each month, you’ll want to follow a process. 

  • Do you see progress? – Note areas you see progress happening based on your hypothesis of what would happen. For example, is the progress what you thought it would be or less than you thought it would be. For example, if you are trying to become a healthy weight, did you gain or lose the amount you thought you would? 
  • Areas you did well in – As you look at your progress, what was the action that most influenced the results? For example, if you planned to go to bed earlier each night to improve your daily energy by getting enough rest and you found that you made good choices, what led to them? 
  • Areas that didn’t go so well – Likewise, note what you did not anticipate happening that was negatively received. For example, if you changed your diet but discovered your body reacted poorly, can you identify why? 
  • How can you improve areas that are lacking? – Are there actions you could have, should have, would have taken if you could do it all over again? What would you do differently? What would you do the same? And why do you believe it would improve? For example, if you had a goal to write two-thousand words a day on your novel but discover that your typing is too slow, what can you do to improve it? Should you learn to type, or should you dictate your book and let someone else get it documented? 
  • Is my deadline still realistic? – If upon review you realize you’re not going to reach your goal deadline at this pace, was the deadline realistic in the first place? Or if you set a goal to become a famous public speaker but cannot travel now due to health reasons, is the goal still for you? Can you adjust it to make it work? Maybe you start a YouTube channel or a podcast instead? 
  • Are you taking the appropriate steps to reach the goal? – As you track and measure your progress, note whether you are taking the steps you set up as planned, and if so, are they working and if not, can you adjust? 
  • Do you need more tools or help? – If you’re not progressing as planned, are you missing education, resources, tools, or something that can help you succeed? For example, if you plan to start a garden but you discover that it’s too hard on your body to do it, what can you change? Perhaps you can build a vertical garden instead? Maybe you can hire someone? 

As you go through your process, note what actions are working and not working. Even if an effort produces results, ask yourself if you still want to do it anymore. Just because a task has positive results does not necessarily mean that you derive pleasure from it. It’s best to check in with how you feel about your daily life as you proceed to drive toward your goals monthly to make sure you’re on the right path. 

Do Your Goals Still Align with Your Values and Life Plans? 

Evaluate if your goal still aligns with your values, life plans, and vision. Does your current allow you to achieve your dreams for the future? All goals must align with your values, or you will not feel authentic as you pursue your life. It feels wrong to take action that isn’t aligned with your values. Plus, taking action that is not aligned with your life plans can take you away from your stated goals.

  • Your Values Provide Guidance – Your values are the standards, ethics, morals, and principles that provide the foundation of your life. They guide you in the right way to act to impact problems. For example, if you value helping others, you’ll prioritize ensuring that the actions you take are helpful, whether it’s within your personal relationships or larger community. 
  • Your Values Define Your Limits – Your values help you decide what you will and won’t do to achieve a goal. What you do comprises the physical and mental actions you take to achieve a result. For example, if you want to retire early and need to put away four-million dollars to do it, how you earn money will largely be determined by the limits of what you’re willing to do to achieve the result. One person may take tons of risks while another will not. 
  • Your Values Inform Your Actions – If you value community, you’re not going to treat people within your community badly by doing harmful things to them in pursuit of your goals. For example, suppose your goal is to own a multibillion-dollar corporation someday. In that case, you may believe you cannot do it without underpaying your labor which goes against your personal convictions. Therefore, due to this erroneous belief system, you may not do the things (actions, tasks, steps) needed to achieve the desired result. 
  • Your Actions Must Feel Authentic – To keep following an action plan, the activities required to achieve the aim must feel authentic. If you feel fake doing it, you will not keep doing it. This does not mean you should quit right away, though. For example, if you want to become a public speaker, you may feel strange at first or like a fake – this is not about that – this is about genuinely doing something incongruent with who you believe you are inside. 
  • Aligned Values Reduce Conflict – Whether internally or externally, matching your value system with your actions helps reduce conflict. As a result, you’ll experience improved relationships with others and yourself. Nothing is worse than being called on hypocrisy by your friends, family, and colleagues. By ensuring your actions and lifestyle align with your stated values, you can avoid that. 
  • Aligned Values Ensures Increased Success – When your stated goals and actions align with your values, you’ll be much more likely to do the actions. The main reason is that it’ll feel good to do something that you believe is authentic. No one likes to take actions that feel wrong. We want to feel good, and most people will avoid bad feelings as hard as they can. 

Finally, your goals are based on what you want from your life. Then the actions are based on what you believe will achieve the best results within your value system. For example, your doctor points you to a Keto diet to lose weight, but your value system will not permit you to eat meat. You will have to choose whether you still hold the same values given your health needs or whether you can achieve the same results using a different method that aligns with your values. 

If It’s Not Working: Change It. 

You need to evaluate your personal development plan regularly to ensure that what you are doing is congruent with your stated and internal value system. However, you may not realize that your deeply held convictions sometimes change with time. 

The best part about creating a personal development plan is that it’s not set in stone. You can adjust it and change it. When your values conflict with your lifestyle or stated goals, you’ll feel dissatisfied and even suffer from imposter syndrome. There are many reasons you may need to make changes over time. Discover a few of the common reasons people make changes below.

  • You Will Change — As you develop as a person and grow in all areas of life while becoming more self-aware, you will learn new things that start to define your values and personality, translating to new life goals over time. Very few people stay the same from the moment they start their personal development to when they reach the pinacol of their success and life. 
  • Your personal development plan is Adjustable – It’s an operational plan in action and not supposed to be a commandment for the rest of your existence. So, if it’s not producing the results you want, or you don’t feel good about the impact, change. In fact, if you discover – as you put your plan into action – that you feel anything but excited about it, it may be time to adjust it.
  • Your Values Can Change – Your value system is often deeply embedded in your psyche from birth. The truth is, even the values you were born with can change over time. People change religions and value systems all the time without disaster striking. As you learn more about the world, things you thought were true can be revealed as false. When that happens, it feels scary and daunting. We may even question our entire existence when it happens. But once you know the truth, you have no choice but to change. Once you accept it, you’ll feel better. 

When you go against your values, the consequences are severe. First, you will feel more stress and anxiety if you act against your core values and beliefs. Even if you don’t know for sure what your values are, you’ll feel it when you go against them because they are deeply held and embedded into your psyche. Thankfully, you can change. If you need to make changes to your plan or to your life, there are a few examples below to help you make the adjustments needed.

  • Define Your Values – Look through your personal development plan and find where you have described your values. If you have not done that, do it now. Next, explain your value system by writing a personal mission statement. Is your value system different today than it was a year ago, five years ago, or longer? If so, in what ways and why? 
  • Describe Your Desired Lifestyle – Now, knowing your values, what do you want your daily lifestyle to look like? Do you want to travel more, work more, stay home more? How does your everyday life look? Write down a story of a “day in the life” if you lived your life the way you will when your goals are reached. 
  • Be Honest with Yourself – While you need to be honest with everyone around you, it’s sometimes most difficult to accept the truth about yourself to yourself first. Only you can know if your lifestyle represents your value system accurately or not. 
  • Walk Away – Finally, if you realize you are acting in ways incongruent with the values you want to represent, it’s time to walk away from that goal. It’s not a failure to walk away from it. Whether it’s your marriage, a friendship, a job, a career, or a diet – it does not matter. If a former goal or lifestyle does not align with your values, it will never feel right. 

Changing direction, especially if you’ve followed a particular path for a long time, can be daunting and frightening. However, realizing that the steps you were taking don’t work in the way you thought is a simple fact that you can fix by taking corrective measures. You will find out if you’re on the right path by evaluating and adjusting your personal development plan on a regular basis. To succeed, you’ll need to be mindful, open-minded, and persistent in your quest to live up to your full potential. 

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