Personal development plans are one of the most important tools in your tool belt as you take on the job of self-improvement. And what an important job it is!
Personal development is about investing in yourself and your self-betterment. It improves your awareness and identity, develops your strengths and talents, and allows you to be proactive in making your life the best it can be.
Making the commitment to personal development is the first step on the journey to realizing your potential. And just like every journey, there are specialized tools, expert guides, and tried and true processes to smooth the way.
A personal development plan is arguably the most important tool of them all. A plan that focuses on your strengths rather than your weaknesses is the holy grail of self-improvement.
This article will explain why your personal development plan should focus on your strengths so that you get the most out of your self-improvement processes.
Ready to learn more? Let's dive in!
What is a Personal Development Plan?
A personal development plan is an action plan for self-development within the context of education, relationships, a career, or for self-improvement.
Through awareness and reflection, it helps you set and reach personal goals and improve on various aspects of your life, both professional and personal.
Essentially, a development plan helps you chart the journey toward your best life.
Why Do You Need One?
If you've ever tried to travel without at least sorting out the first few days' accommodation, you'll know the value of a good plan.
A personal development plan is just as vital when tackling self-improvement. It helps you identify personal strengths, set achievable goals, and keep your life on track and heading in a fulfilling direction.
What's All This about Strengths?
When asked what aspects people would like to change about their lives, many focus on their weaknesses. They say, "I'd like to not sleep in so much," or, "I want to exercise more consistently."
There's a reason for this. One of the first — often innate — steps toward self-improvement involves identifying areas of our lives we are in control of, and studies show we assume our weaknesses are more easily changed than our strengths.
Our instinct then is to focus our self-improvement efforts — and thus our development plan — on the more easily controlled aspects of our life. If we change our weaknesses, we change our lives.
Focusing our improvement efforts on our weaknesses seems like a no-brainer. But new studies are actually proving the opposite to be more beneficial.
When researchers practiced methods called "positive interventions" that give people the chance to explore and practice their strengths, they found subjects were happier and less depressed six months later.
And that's not all.
Focusing on Strengths Improves Your Quality of Life
Studies show that individuals who focus on their strengths as part of their everyday routine are three times more likely to report having an excellent quality of life.
And it's little wonder.
Positive reinforcement is an all-important foothold on the hike to self-improvement. Using your personal development plan to target and develop your strengths is a way to keep those personal traits you're most proud of front and center, which in turn will increase your sense of accomplishment and your quality of life.
A Positive Outlook Improves Your Productivity
Think of the last time you took on a new job or tried to learn a new skill. You would have worked slower than someone who was proficient at the task. This is because they're more practiced.
You're naturally more practiced at your strengths than your weaknesses. This is often one of the elements thamakees them strengths in the first place. Focusing on your strengths then, means you're using those parts of yourself that are naturally more honed and productive.
Playing to your strengths also means you're more likely to experience flow.
Flow is the state you reach when you're completely immersed in an activity. You often don't notice the passage of time, experience effortless involvement, and rapidly learn new information and approaches. Flow is the state in which you are most productive.
As you craft your personal development plan, keeping a focus on your strengths will let you work at your personal optimum capacity. This will, in turn, improve your productivity, and the rate at which you reach your personal development goals.
You'll Help Maintain the Strengths You Have
"Practice makes perfect" is an established adage for a reason. To keep a skill or strength effective, you need to keep it in practice.
A personal strength such as kindness or being a people person is just like any other skill. Just as writers or artists practice their craft, you must also practice yours, lest you lose it to disuse.
Focusing on your strengths as you map out a personal development plan will help you maintain as well as develop them.
You'll Give Your Personal Development Momentum
Keeping your personal development focused on your strengths gives your plans, goals, and thoughts a clear forward momentum. Because you're playing to your most productive traits, you'll be reaching your milestones sooner, which will bump up your enthusiasm for the next, and the next, and so on.
Momentum is key in tackling development plans. After all, steady progress is in itself self-improvement.
Committing to Personal Development Today and Always
Personal development is a life long process. Yet, when tackled intelligently, it's one that will lend your life meaning and fulfilment even while on the journey itself. With these pointers, your personal development plan will gain the edge it needs to help you meet your goals and improve your life.
But remember, just making the commitment to self-improvement is in itself a strength. And as we've just learned, focusing on your strengths is putting your best foot forward towards your best possible future.
Ready to take that next step? Experience our life-changing self-improvement course for yourself and notice the difference!