4 Practical Steps to Develop a Personal Growth Plan for 2016

tim chan —  January 12, 2016 — Leave a comment

I’m looking forward to growing older. One of the reasons is the potential for personal growth. When I reflect on the past year, I’m surprised by how much I learned. The idea of being able to continue or even accelerate that growth for the next 5, 10, or 25 years is very exciting. On the other hand, I know people who are older who seem to have stayed stagnant for many years – every time I see them they seem to be the same. The idea of not growing or changing over time is depressing to me.

The new year is a sensible time to make goals and plans. Do you have a personal growth plan for 2016? If not, here are 4 practical steps you can take to develop one.


1. Get a Clear Picture of Who You Want To Be in 25 Years

When I was 25 I hit my quarter life crisis – an unsettling feeling that I had no idea who I was and what I wanted out of life. So I quit my job and went travelling across Asia for 6 months. During that time I spent much time reflecting and thinking about my identify, about my goals in life, and about the purpose of life. One of the things I did during that trip was meet with older men in my life who I admired. I asked them a series of questions about their life, their goals, their regrets, and the things that were important to them. Their answers helped me to think bigger and envision what life could be like in 25 years. It was a helpful process for me to go through.

I came out of my 6 months of travel with a picture of who I wanted to be at 50 years old. It was a picture of a wise, seasoned, experienced, and joyful older man. Someone that people turned to for advice and counsel. Someone that people trusted to tell their story, their challenges, their hopes, and their fears. Someone who instilled hope and vision in others. Someone who loved and cherished his wife, children, family, friends, and community.

If you want to grow personally, you have to first figure out how you want to grow. Where are you headed in life? Who do you want to be? Take time to think about these questions and develop a clear picture of who you want to be in 25 years.

2. Reflect On How You Learn Best

Everyone has a different learning style. My wife Olive thrives in a classroom setting, in listening to lectures, reading assigned books, and writing papers. That type of learning environment doesn’t suit me. I prefer learning from people’s experiences and reading books on topics I want to learn. It’s important to develop a plan that you can be excited about, or else you will find yourself avoiding your own plan.

Before you develop a personal growth plan, take some time to reflect on your learning style. Think specifically about 2015 and how you were able to grow. What things did you do that helped you growth the most?

These are the ways that helped me to grow in 2015:

  • Working on new projects with various customers, learning by experience, and reflecting on lessons learned from the projects.
  • Being a part of a Marketing Mastermind group and a Business Owner’s breakfast group
  • Meeting with people in my industry and asking them questions (like going on a tour of the Facebook headquarters and speaking to my friend who works in the Marketing department at Visa – shout out to my friends Dan Tam and David Lu!)
  • Reading books and magazines (my favourites from last year were Courage and Calling by Gordon T. Smith, Marketing: A Love Story by Bernadette Jiwa, Do/ Story/ How to Tell Your Story So The World Listens by Bobette Buster, and Canadian Business Magazine)
  • Attending the Canadian Internet Marketing Conference and Istoria Conference
  • Watching marketing and business videos (my favourite videos from the year were from TED and Traction Conference)
  • Preparing and Delivering 6 Talks/Presentations on Marketing, Social Media, Branding and Social Media
  • Watching Sharks Tank and Dragons Den (I loved hearing the various business pitches and learning from the questions and feedback of the potential investors)

3. Develop Goals for Personal Growth in 2016

Based on the vision of who you want to be and your learning style, create a personal growth plan. Outline the specific things you’d like to do to grow and then add them to your schedule or to-do list.

Here’s my list of goals:


Conferences and Courses

Writing and Speaking

  • 52 Blog Posts
  • 1 Short Book (I’ll be working on writing a short book about marketing, business, and how to make a difference in the world while living authentically… stay tuned!)
  • 6 Talks or Presentations (Want me to guest post on your blog or speak at your event? Send me an email and let’s talk!)

I find writing and speaking helps me to clarify and articulate my thoughts, which pushes me to grow.

As opportunities arise through the year, I’ll adjust and add to this list. But at least I have something to start with and work on.


4. Put Your Goals on Your To-Do List and/or Your Schedule

Perhaps the hardest part (for me at least) is implementing the plan. It’s putting the plan into action. Once you have your goals, you must put them on your to-list list and add them to your schedule. For me, I have a book where I write the list of things I want to accomplish each week. If I’m serious about working on my personal growth plan, I should add these to my weekly task list through the year.

I’m excited to attend The Art of Sales conference and learn from some great speakers like Daniel Pink, Jeffrey Gitomer, Brent Adamson, Mark Bowden, and Ian Chamandy. I’ve heard great things about this conference from my business friends. The conference is on Feb 5, 2016 at the Vancouver Convention Centre.

Coracle Marketing (our business) is one of the partnering blogs with this conference which allows us to offer conference preferred member rates to our readers. Using promo-code CM27, you can save $50 on a single registration or $100/person if you have a group of 3 or more.

More about The Art of Sales conference and speakers can be found here: http://info.theartof.com/sv16/cm27


Photo Credit: Sarah Lis Smith