Personal Growth

Five Ways to Plan for Personal Growth

Most people assume personal growth is just result of getting older; it’s not. Growth is not automatic. It does not necessarily come with experience, or simply as a result of gathering information. Personal growth must be deliberate and consistent. Growth requires a plan.

Most people assume personal growth is just result of getting older; it’s not. Growth is not automatic. It does not necessarily come with experience, or simply as a result of gathering information. Personal growth must be deliberate and consistent. Growth requires a plan. Here are five ways you can plan for personal growth:


Intentionally set aside time every day to pursue your learning goals. 

Time for growth should be planned. It is too easy to get sidetracked. Try to find a time that works for you and guard it. Set this time aside daily for no fewer than five days a week. People learn more effectively in shorter sessions that occur regularly, rather than long, infrequent periods of time. Fifteen minutes per day to pursue the discipline of your choice can have a huge impact.


File what you learn right away.

When a person learns something in needs to be processed and filed. When I lived in Mexico, I did my best to learn as much Spanish as I could. One way I pursued that goal was by carrying a small pocket notebook and writing down new words and phrases. Each night I would review all I had learned. It has been more than a decade since that experience and I still carry a pocket notebook every day. I also use Evernote for documenting and organizing my notes electronically.


Apply everything you learn quickly.

Knowledge will not become part of your daily habits. To do that, you must apply it. This is the difference between knowing about healthy eat and actually eating healthy. Each time you learn something new, it’s good to reflect, “How can I use this?” One way to use new information is to documents it, review it, share is with someone else within a day and teach it to someone else within a few days.


Find a partner to grow with. 

Sharing what you have learned with someone else improves your insight and relationship with them. It also gives you a common interest, provides accountability, and encourages meaningful conversation.


Plan your personal growth and follow it for a year. 

If your plan to focus on your personal growth for fifteen minutes per day includes reading, at the end of a year you could easily have read twelve books.

I know I am not the same person I was just a few years ago. While I have experienced significant life changes such as marriage and fatherhood, I know that my personal growth came not with age or circumstance, but with intentionality. I would encourage you to start today. A mentor once told me that personal growth is like investing, it’s not your timing; it’s your time in. By developing a plan for personal investment, following it, and remaining faithful to it, you can see the personal equivalent of compound interest.

Daren Howard is a social sector consultant and writer. He currently serves as a member of the Board of Directors at InPlay, a nonprofit that seeks to increase equitable access to after school and summer learning programs. Daren earned his MBA at California State University Dominguez Hills, but will never be done learning.

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