<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=530323933994224&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">

How to Create and Follow Through on Your Professional Development Plan

By Nate Riggs on July 22, 2015 |

Share:

 

Brainstorming professional development plan Source: bitrebels.com

Are you still following through on your New Year’s resolutions?

If you are like most people, you came up with a goal or two in the last few days of December, then changed your goal 15 minutes before the calendar changed over to 2015, and (in a tipsy state of mind) fully committed to working out every single day and enjoying life to the fullest at all times.

This will lead to about 8% of Americans actually achieving their resolution, according to Forbes (2013).

It sometimes takes a bit more motivation than wishful thinking to learn a new skill and continue education at some point. Think about what you really want for yourself and your career, and then make it a priority to get there.

Create strong goals, follow through on each one of them, and treat it as a lifelong process.



Be SMART about your professional development plan

Most of you are probably familiar with the term S.M.A.R.T. goals, which stands for goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. I first learned about this acronym when I completed my personal training certification in college – You need to be realistic and specific about your goals, whether they are related to fitness, career, or even family life.

We also use this concept at NR Media Group to help set goals internally and with our clients. How would you know that you are getting closer to accomplishing something if you can’t measure it?

Write and visualize your goals

Once you have a specific plan identified, write down some goals and take some time to visualize them. What will you be doing, and what will success feel like? Imagining yourself in the situation will raise your motivation, and visualizing yourself successfully completing a goal can go a long way towards actually finishing that goal.

For each goal, write down the steps you need to check off to attain it. These could include–Professional development goals and continued education

  • Taking 1 online class per quarter
  • Networking with local professionals
  • Attending MeetUps for a specific skill
  • Read books on the particular topic
  • Follow blogs/ newsletters to get daily reminders

In addition to these free online courses on professional development listed by the Muse, the web offers classes on most subjects now. If you are not familiar with Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), you can refer to our MOOC post from last fall to learn more about how to use them at your company.

Continue to remind yourself

Create visual reminders and follow certain feeds to daily remind yourself of your goals. Below are a few examples of visual cues you can easily add to your routine – but don't stop them from coming up with your own creative ideas!

  • A vision poster with motivational quotes, images, and end results
  • Desktop background of your goal or vision
  • Phone screensaver
  • Sticky notes on desk/ fridge/ laptop/ lunchbox
  • Symbolic reminder such as a bracelet or chain
  • Communicate your professional development plan to share your progress

Your professional development plan is a lifelong process

While I feel dedicated about my goals, and professional development is very important to me, I also embrace change and try to remain flexible. Plans don’t always work out right away, but that doesn’t mean they can’t work out in the long-term. You plan should be dynamic and and will change with time, as you change in your career and priorities.

Do you have additional tips to stick to your plans?

 

 Professional_Development_Plan

**Editor's Note: This blog post was updated on 07/21/15 since its original publishing date in May 2015.**

Education Strategy

Nate Riggs

Written by Nate Riggs

Nate Riggs is the Founder and CEO of NR Media Group, a Certified HubSpot Partner and inbound consulting firm. He leads a team of experienced strategists, content marketers, creatives and technologists that help organizations deploy and use HubSpot’s marketing, sales, and service software to operate more efficiently and accelerate growth. Nate regularly presents keynotes and workshops at top industry conferences like INBOUND, Content Marketing World and Oracle’s Modern CX. In 2017, Nate was recognized by HubSpot for his contributions to the development of the HubSpot Education Partner Program. Nate regularly presents keynotes and workshops at top industry conferences like INBOUND, Content Marketing World and Oracle’s Modern CX. In 2017, Nate was recognized by HubSpot for his contributions to the development of the HubSpot Education Partner Program.
false