How to Develop a Personal Growth Plan

A growth plan gives us a proven path for turning our goals into reality. As you consider a change that you would like to make in your life, I encourage you to channel that desire into the development of a personal growth plan for the next six months. These three steps will help you put feet to your desires:

Identify 1-3 areas of your life where you would like to see change

Where would you like to grow? It’s important that you are fairly specific. For example, you may want to grow spiritually over the next six months. That’s great! Yet, I would encourage you to think about a particular area of your spiritual life that you would like to grow. For me, I would like to strengthen my prayer life.

In this first step, we are simply expressing our good intentions. But in my experience, most people stop here. The next step is absolutely critical because it involves translating our good intentions into life change.

Develop 3-5 SMART action steps around each area where you would like to see change

As you think about action steps that you can take to develop the area you identified in step one, make sure that they are SMART: 

  • Specific (focused on one clearly defined area) – regarding my desire to strengthen my prayer life, I would like one of my action steps to focus specifically on personal prayer retreats.
  • Measurable (you should be able to chart your progress and know when you have achieved the action step) – my first action step would involve going on two one-day prayer retreats over the next six months.
  • Achievable (you should be able to achieve the action step by the end of the six months) – my initial thought was to do monthly prayer retreats. However, I think one retreat every three months is more doable. Action steps are kind of like baby steps. As you take them, you experience a sense of accomplishment, which creates momentum to take further steps.
  • Realistic (you should actually be complete your action step even when considering your other commitments) – we can dream up all sorts of wonderful goals and resolutions. Most of them fall by the wayside simply because they are not realistic given who we are and our other commitments.
  • Time-bound (you should include a completion date so that you have a clear target for completing the action step) – I would encourage you to put this target completion date in your calendar and insert reminders in the preceding weeks to make sure it’s on your radar. 

My SMART action step is to set up (in the next week) two one-day prayer retreats that will take place over the next six months (one retreat every three months).

Set up supportive accountability

Share the area of your life you would like to change and the accompanying action steps with someone who will pray for you and encourage you. Growth can be hard work and we need this kind of support to take the necessary action steps.


[Randy Wollf is Associate Professor of Leadership Studies and Practical Theology and Director of the ACTS World Campus.

_
__

How a Bad Day of Tree Planting Taught Me to Work Smarter in Ministry
How a Bad Day of Tree Planting Taught Me to Work Smarter in Ministry

Hard work is not the same as smart work. Years ago, I spent a summer tree planting in northern British Columbia. One day, I decided that I would plant as many trees as fast as I could. I was flying a…

How Church Leaders Can Build Greater Trust
How Church Leaders Can Build Greater Trust

We all know a leader who has made a major mistake. Perhaps this very thought reminds you of the story of your former pastor. Or maybe the leader of a well-known organization. Perhaps you instinctively…

Church as Community – The Great Collective
Church as Community – The Great Collective

In biblical teaching about Christian discipleship, we are accustomed to hearing about the Great Commission (Matt. 28) and the Great Commandment (Matt. 22). These two great teachings identify the inner…

4 Signs You Might Be Running Away
4 Signs You Might Be Running Away

I’m fascinated by the story of Jonah and it has nothing to do with the fish. Don’t get me wrong; I have nothing against the fish—it plays a critical role in the story. I just find that scene too…

How to Prepare for a Successful Pastoral Search
How to Prepare for a Successful Pastoral Search

Looking for a new pastor can be a daunting challenge. Many churches can feel overwhelmed by the urgent need and can easily forget critical elements in the search process. Here are a series of tips I r…

How to Pray When You’re Distracted
How to Pray When You’re Distracted

Do your silent prayers sometimes get ambushed by your overloaded brain? For example, when you pray for your friend, do you suddenly think of his smile and it reminds you of how happy he looks when his…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *