How to Create a Personal Growth Plan

Several months ago, I was at an event with John Maxwell and he shared a story from his early 20s when his mentor asked him, “What is your plan for growth?” When it was clear that John didn’t have a plan for growth, his mentor goes on to say, “Growth is not an automatic process. If you’re going to grow, then you’ll have to do so intentionally.”

Those words instantly stung.

Of course, I wanted to grow in many areas of my life, but what was my plan for growth?

The reality is that I didn’t have one. I had a bunch of ideas and thoughts. I had lots of other plans, but not a concrete plan for personal growth. By not having a written plan, I was just expecting it to happen. And, it was happening to some degree, but not nearly as quickly as I wanted it to.

I immediately came home from John Maxwell’s event and started praying, journaling, researching what I wanted my personal growth plan to include. I quickly discovered this quote from Earl Nightingale, “If a person will spend ONE hour a day on the same subject for FIVE years, that person will be an expert on that subject.”

How to Create a Personal Growth Plan

Here’s a simple process that I went through to create my personal growth plan:

Step #1: Identify Your KEY Areas

As you think about the next 12 months, what KEY areas do you really want to focus on? You may have lots of things you would love to focus on, but I challenge you to identify 3-4 KEY areas. KEY areas could include things like leadership, business, health, spiritual growth, purpose, marriage, a particular hobby, your specialty area, or really any other category that you identify as a KEY area.

I personally chose 4 KEY areas to focus on for this year. Two are more personal: Spiritual Growth and Marriage/Family. The other 2 are for the work I do here at iBloom: Leadership and Business {specifically innovative marketing strategies, SEO, list building, and goal achievement}.

This is your personal growth plan, so your KEY areas will be unique to you and how you want to grow over the next twelve months.

Step #2: Define Success

Imagine yourself investing in these KEY areas regularly for the next 12 months. How will you be different? What do you hope to have learned? How are you going to be able to serve your ideal customers even better? Get clear about what success will look like in each of your KEY areas.

Step #3: Find Your Resources

Once you’ve identified the KEY areas of your Personal Growth Plan and defined what success will look like, you’ll then want to find the resources available to help you grow in these areas. These resources could include books, podcasts, training, conferences, 1:1 meetings, etc. Get specific.

What books will you read?

What podcasts will you listen to regularly?

What trainings or conferences will you attend?

I found this so freeing because it laser focused how I would be investing my training time BEFORE I was presented with lots of opportunities. I was no longer tempted to chase after a bright shiny opportunity. If the opportunity didn’t match one of my KEY areas, then it was an instant NO.

Step #4: Schedule Your Personal Growth Time

Since growth doesn’t just happen, we have to intentionally schedule it. Decide now how much time you’ll invest in each of your KEY areas. When will you read the books on your list? When will you listen to the podcasts or participate in trainings?

Life will get busy and if you’re like me, then you’ll be tempted to schedule other things in place of personal growth. So, decide right now that this a non-negotiable appointment with yourself. If you’re serious about growing this year, then your personal growth time must be a priority.

Step #5: Write out your Plan!

Once you’ve completed Steps 1-4, it’s now time to get your personal growth plan in a written form. Basically, just write out the work you already did in Steps 1-4. Make a commitment to yourself that your personal growth is going to be a big priority for the next twelve months.

I think you’ll be amazed at how having a detailed personal growth plan will keep you laser focused and moving toward your goals. I’ve been intentionally working my personal growth plan for the past 6 weeks and I’m already amazed at the progress toward my goals. In fact, I’ve experienced more growth in the past 6 weeks than I have in the past few years.

Discussion Question: What is one KEY area that you want to focus on for the next 12 months? Why is this KEY area important to you?



Kelly Thorne Gore


  1. I would say that the one thing I am focusing on for this year is to actually grow a business that is true to myself. Too often that I have been chasing after someone else’s blueprint/formula/strategy that I begin to lose sight of what is it that I want to do and hope to help others with. Frankly it all boils down to a simple question that I ask myself daily, am I happy where I am now? The answer will guide me to where I want to go and what I need to do 🙂

  2. Great post! I found you via Michael Hyatt’s thread on FB! I really love the idea of making a plan, and I love how concrete you’ve made it. So many times, we end up in places we don’t mean to be because we failed to plan. And I love John Maxwell as well.

  3. Loved this post Keilly.


    I think the part I really struggled with was finding resources.

    One of my key areas I wanted to work on was Relationships

    Doing a quick Google Search sucked lol

    A Billion sites pop up, just don’t know which one to follow. But found podcasts that help.

    Very actionable steps 🙂

    Thanks for sharing it in Michael Hyatt’s thread.

    -Isaiah Jackson

    • Isaiah, you raise an important challenge – how to find good resources. I would recommend asking people who you admire in that key area. For instance, you mentioned relationships. I’m not sure if you’re referring to relationship marketing, marriage, parenting, friendships, etc. I’m sure you know, so think about people who have great relationships and ask them what they’re reading, what conference they’re attending, etc.

      If you want to share what type of relationships, then I’d be happy to guide you to some of my favorite sources! 🙂

  4. Good thoughts! That which has focus will be what happens…because you are focusing on it…so if you want to grow, you have to focus on how to grow! Thanks for the steps to get there!

  5. Love this post, Kelly! I think those tangible steps that you have laid out is so important and getting to the “WHY” – the motivation of why we are going to do something is even more important.

  6. My keys for this year are up on my bulletin board–right next to my desk–where I see them DAILY. This also helps me keep them in my monthly-weekly schedule…because, as you said, without a plan personal growth doesn’t “just happen”. Mine are “come out of the shadows”, “find my true voice” and “create beautiful memories”. Everything in my life falls under these central key areas–even my work, family time and connecting more deeply with my God! I LOVE how focusing on keys magnifies everything we do!

  7. Love this post! My key area for this year is overcoming fear and self doubt. I have let fear hold me back for far too long. I want to embrace who God made me to be and openly share my passion for Living Life Well with others. I know God gave me this passion for a reason and if I am following his plan that is what really matters.

  8. One key area that I am focusing on for the next 12 months is building my social media business. I’m finding new resources to read and have recently found some podcasts that I are helping me fine tune my skills. I am searching for a must do conference for the year to invest in. The nature of this business changes frequently so learning where to go for information is KEY.

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