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When goal setting, look at where you are now, and also what you need to be successful in your area of focus. When possible, make sure your goal meets the “SMART” criteria — Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. Quantify your goal in terms of numbers, dollars, or percentages. Instead of: “Be debt-free by Dec. 31,” write “Pay off $6,580 in student loans by Dec. 31.” Define exactly what you want to accomplish, by when.
When evaluating the outcome, you may not be able to assign a score right away. The criteria offered includes: Not Met, Partially Met, Fully Met, and Exceeded. If you review your PDP on a regular basis, you can assess your outcome in terms of where you are right now in meeting your goal, but continually update your progress as time goes on.
The question to ask yourself is: How much difference has this made to improving my [focus area].
- How much difference has this made (right now) on improving my career?
- How much difference has this made (right now) on improving my family relationships?
- How much of an impact have I made (so far) on improving my finances?
At the bottom of your Personal/Professional Development Plan is a review date. Choose a date when you will re-evaluate where you are, your progress, and your goals. Ideally, you will want to do this once a year. December is often a good time as you look at the year ahead, but you may also choose to do this on your birthday or another significant anniversary (for example, your annual anniversary of your employment with your current company). Be sure to put this date on your calendar.
Once you’ve developed your PDP, post it somewhere you will be able to look at it often — for example, on your refrigerator, or on the wall next to your desk at home. This roadmap will ensure that you know where you want to go, and that you stay on track.