Getting Your Sh*t Together With A Personal Development Plan And A Morning Routine
Majority of us have been there at least once. That time when you either just finished your studies, you are looking for a job or you feel unhappy and lost with where you are in your life. It sucks! However, although it often feels like a dead-end, it’s crucial not to give up and see it as a chance to finally get your sh*t together.
It takes YOU to create a change
First of all, the most important thing is to realize that without putting some work into it, the chances that things will improve are quite low. Obviously, there is some aspect of luck at play but if you look at any successful people, you will realize that in the majority of cases it was their strong will, hard work, determination, and patience that allowed them to get there where they are now.
I believe that anyone stands a chance to be successful, as long as they take proactive steps to create a positive change in their life and continuously strive to become a better version of themselves. This starts with identifying what you want in your life, why you want it, and what you need to work on in order get it.
Your personal development plan
“A goal without a plan is just a wish” — Antoine de Saint-Exupery
A great first step towards transitioning from “wishful thinking” to “a dream came true” is creating a personal development plan.
Personal development planning is the process of creating an action plan based on awareness, ambitions, values, goal-setting, and planning for personal development within either your professional career or your personal-growth.
In a nutshell, your personal development /personal growth plan will support you in defining a clear destination of where you want to go, help you to answer the question of why you want to get there, allow you to develop actionable strategies of how you can reach that destination, and prepare you for the potential obstacles that could lead to a failure on your way there.
The process of creating such a plan consists of 4 stages:
Stage 1: Personal Analysis
Before formulating a plan it’s important to first gain a better understanding of your personal drivers, values, strengths, and areas you would like to improve. This is where a personal analysis comes in. You can do it by answering a few questions:
- List 1–3 types of activities/tasks that make you lose track of time?
- Think about 1–3 situations from the past where you felt really accomplished with your work?
- List 1–3 people that inspire you the most? Which of their specific qualities inspire you?
- If you didn’t have a job, how would you choose to fill your free hours?
- If you had to teach something, what would you teach?
- What are your strengths? What are you naturally good at?
- What are the skills you would like to work on / Areas you would like to further develop?
- If you could get a message across to a large group of people. Who would those people be? What would your message be?
- What are your deepest values? Choose 3–5 and organize them in order of importance:
(Important note: When writing down your answers, write the first thing that pops into your head. Do not overthink it and be honest.)
Stage 2: Your Personal Mission Statement
Your personal missions statement will help you to ensure that the activities that you are investing your time into are actually contributing to the end goal that you want to achieve. Usually, it consists of 3 parts: what do I want to do? why do I want to do it? What is the value that I will create with it?
You can formulate your personal mission statement by looking over your answers to the questions from stage 1 and listing out the most frequent action words that came up in this what you wrote. Example: educate, accomplish, empower, improve, guide, share, write. Once you have the words, move on to listing whom you think you could help (example: people, organizations, causes, groups etc.). Now, identify your end goal: how will the ‘who’, that you have just listed, benefit from the “what” that you will do? Once you have it, it’s time to combined it into one or two sentences which will serve as your personal mission statement.
Example mission: My mission is to help organizations and individuals to grow and to realize their potential by sharing with them my expertise in the area of marketing, career development, leadership, and community building.
Stage 3: Personal Development Goals
Let’s take now your personal aspirations and mission and break them into short-, medium- and long-term goals that you would like to achieve. A short-term goal is a goal that can be achieved within a period of few months to maximum one year. A medium-term goal would take approximately 2 to 3 years and a long-term goal around 5 years or more.
You can define your goals using a planning table:
Another option, is to simply start with setting up one medium-term goal (for example: “I want to realize my creative potential by becoming a successful marketing manager”) and each week setting up top 3 sub-goals that will help you to get there (for example: “reading 3 marketing-related articles a week”, “completing an SEO course on Udemy”, “Writing 1 article on Medium per week”, “Connecting with 2 successful marketers a month to exchange best-practices”).
Stage 4: Review Date
Decide when you will review progress on your Personal Development Plan. Assuming that you undergo the personal development process annually, the best is to review your PDP every six months, therefore, enabling you to:
- Assess your progress
- Reflect on your learnings
- Identify whether your development objectives need to be amended
- Identify factors that may have prevented you from achieving your development objectives
Sticking to the plan with a morning routine
“If you want to make your dreams come true, the first thing you have to do is wake up” — J.M. Power
Once your goals are defined and you have your plan in place, it’s time to incorporate it into your day-to-day life. The plan by itself won’t create a change in your life unless you make sure that you dedicate at least a bit of time each day towards your self-growth. Unfortunately, finding the time every single day can be a bit challenging especially if you are studying, working or if you have kids. This is where getting up one hour earlier and creating a morning routine can help you a lot.
Let’s take me as an example. For around 2 years I was struggling to find the right time to work on my personal development. After a long day spent in the office, all I wanted to do in the evening was to enjoy a nice dinner and to relax on the couch. I was lacking the energy and motivation to go to the gym, to do yoga, to write or to even read a book after work. Things started changing last year when I joined my friends to complete the Artist’s Way program. It lasted 12-weeks and it incorporated getting up earlier than usual every day to write the “morning pages”. I remember having so much more energy (although theoretically, I had less sleep) and feeling very motivated about my day — just with that small change. A few months ago, I decided to take it to the next level. Inspired by all the successful people such as Oprah Winfred, Richard Branson or Barack Obama, as well as my friend Mayan, who were all raving about the benefits of a morning routine, I decided to try it. First, I started getting up early and going to the gym twice a week before work. Then, in January, I read “The Miracle Morning” by Hal Elrod and incorporate the full S.A.V.E.R.S (Silence, Affirmation, Visualization, Exercise, Reading, Scribing) routine into my mornings. This has finally allowed me to find both time and energy to work towards achieving my personal goals each day. Within a very short time-frame, I was already able to notice a significant progress.
I recommend to try it out at least for a week (even if you are not a morning person). You can find what works best for you personally. If you would like some morning routine inspiration from successful entrepreneurs, you can find it in this article.
The road to success is paved with failures
“Take a deep breath, pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and start all over again” — Frank Sinatra
You started putting time each day towards achieving your goals. You are working hard but not much has changed. Now the most important thing that you can do is not to give up!
My favorite story of a success achieved through not giving up is the one of Richard Branson. The founder of Virgin Group is one of the world’s most well-known entrepreneurs. But if you were to meet Richard Branson as a teenager, you would probably not believe that he could be successful. He wasn’t good at maths, he was struggling with reading, and he dropped out of high-school when he was 16. Throughout his life, many of his businesses have failed but he always got up, dusted himself off and moved on. This was also the case with his first company — Student magazine. The magazine wasn’t profitable but instead of giving up on it, Branson launched a mail-order discount record service as a way to earn money to keep his magazine alive. This initial side-business ended up growing into a billion-dollars-worth recording empire known as the Virgin Records.
There are plenty of stories like that (try asking any successful person you know personally). What matter is that with enough patience and determination you can make any dream a reality even if you will have to achieve it by going through a road full of obstacles. Yes, it might sometimes take years but as long as you stay focused on your goals and work hard towards achieving them, then the possibilities are endless.