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How to Create Personal Development Plans/Goals and Achieve Your Goals | FREE Template Included

Updated: May 2, 2020

Now that summer is nearly over and autumn on its way, I am preparing to review my personal development plans and goals for the rest of the year and 2020. As a reminder, I have already created a blog on How to Create a Professional or Personal Development Plan for Employees | PDP | Personal SWOT. However, this blog is devoted to GOALS only in more detail.

I have created a library of useful templates for my readers to download for FREE. My first template is a Personal Development Plan template that you can download now (with more to be added) and update further to suit your personal circumstances HERE. All you have to do is sign up to be a member on my website (which is also FREE) and subscribe to get updates on blogs, newsletters, offers etc HERE.


Now onto GAOL SETTING and how to actually approach goal setting process and think about them in more detail. The following information should help you get started in the right direction. If you need a one to one session, you can always book it with me HERE.

No matter where you work or where you are on your career journey, you will need to have a set of goals that you are aiming to achieve. You will also be asked from time to time if you have any, what those are, especially if you go for job interviews. So my advice is to actually create a set of goals that matter to you or if you already have them and prepared to talk about them at any time. I suggest that you review them at least every 3-6 months.

If your workplace has a performance review process in place, then you will normally agree these with your line manager. This should help you understand your role and objectives for the following 12 months. You can either do this on your own and take them to a meeting to agree and formally approve by your line manager or you can do it together in a meeting. This will depend on the process your workplace follows. You/employees may be referred to as a reviewee and your line manager may be referred to as a reviewers. Please make sure you read your workplace polices to understand a relevant process and ask your line manager any questions that you may have about it to ensure you understand it, your role etc

Therefore, goals are developed and agreed so that the reviewer and the reviewee have a shared understanding of the key focus of work and results which need to be achieved moving forward.

Goals must be appropriate to the grade and role of the reviewee and should be set in the context of the aims of the department and the wider organisation you work for.

It is typical for an individual to have between four and seven core goals. Any larger goals can be split in to sub-goals if that is useful. Effective goals should be written positively and should concentrate on the outcome or result you are seeking.


You may have already heard about SMART objectives or if you have not, please read below for more information.

SMART is a well-known model used to design and capture effective goals and stands for:

Specific, Measurable, Achievable/Agreed, Realistic, Time-bound.

Sometimes E (Engaging) R (Reviewed) are added: Engaging - aligned to people’s interests and motivation where possible

Reviewed - on a regular basis

SMART(ER) goals:

  • Are consistent with the aims of the department and wider organisation/company

  • Are expressed in positive language

  • Start with an action to ensure they are focussed on something that can be subsequently measured (e.g. complete, publish, investigate, propose, revise, plan, install, design, develop, produce)


When starting to plan your goals, you may find it helpful to consider below questi

  1. What is the overall purpose of your role?

  2. What are the main areas of work or tasks that you perform at the moment?

  3. What are the tasks and projects you need to work on moving forward?

  4. Is there anything new coming up?

  5. How should this work be done? Are there any defined standards set? If not, what standards would you set?

  6. What are you expected to produce as outputs or outcomes in your role?

  7. What knowledge, skills and/or behaviours do you need to do this work?

  8. What support do you need to do this?

  9. What development needs do you have in your current role?

  10. What knowledge, skills and behaviours will you need for any future role if the landscape is changing?

  11. What career aspirations do you have and what support do you need?

  12. When and how will you measure achievements against your goal milestones?

Do you have anything else to add that has worked for you?!

If you need to help to create your own personal development plan and goals, please consider booking 1:1 Upgrade Yourself | Career Coaching sessions HERE.

If you have any questions, please sign up as a member/subscribe to my website below and/or send me an email on You can also find me on Instagram at @yourself.focus, Facebook at @focusyourself and Twitter @YourselfFocus

Best wishes


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