What is a self-development blueprint?

It’s simply a game plan or a blueprint for improving your life and yourself.

We’re constantly growing and learning. It helps to make a plan. Learning is much more effective when it’s strategic.

Are you reading books, listening to audio and watching videos? Most of us are.

Are they getting you closer to your goals? Let’s start working on your game plan…

Step 1: Start With Your Priorities

Start by asking yourself these 3 questions:

  • Why do I want to improve myself?
  • Why do I want to be more productive?
  • What’s the most important thing in my life?

Everything else is dependent upon your answers to those three questions.

They may seem like obvious questions, but you need to make sure you can actually answer them. Have you ever thought about it?

You must answer these questions before you can set your goals, because your goals should be based on the answers.

Step 2: Turn Your Priorities Into Goals

Your priorities define your goals.
Every time you set a new goal, ask yourself if it’s inline with your priorities. Every goal will take you closer to your priorities or farther away.

Set S.M.A.R.T. goals. I’m sure you’ve heard it before, but that’s because it works…

Specific. Measurable. Attainable. Realistic. Time-Bound.

More on S.M.A.R.T. goal setting: How to Actually Achieve Your Goals

Step 3: Develop Your Strategy

This is where the self-development really starts. You need a strategy.
You can read self-help books all day long, but if they aren’t related to your goals and priorities, are you really doing much good?

You should be developing a reading/listening/watching list of books/audio/video that you want to take in.

Self-Development Books

Find the best format for you. Some people like turning the crisp pages of a new book, others listen to books while they’re out for a run. Or you may need to watch a video to help you focus and learn visually.

If you’re like me, you do all three! The point is to find your favorite format and take advantage of it.

You should always have a list of relevant teaching ready. Plan it in advance. Don’t wait until you finish a book to start searching for a new book. Plan ahead.

And be realistic with the information you take in. If it’s productive for you to read several books at once, do it, but if you’re only able to focus on one at a time, read one at a time.

You may want to plan different areas at different times of the day. Finance in the morning, productivity in the evening, health at supper time? You know if you’re capable of doing it. Be honest with yourself.

Step 4: Create Your Plan

You’ve got your priorities and your goals. Now you know your strategy. Let’s put it into action.
Your plan should be written (like your goals) and it should be broken down.

Use these 4 steps to create your plan (we’ll use books as an example):

  1. Write it down. Write down everything, from the books you want to read to the goals you plan to accomplish.
  2. Break it down. Figure out how many books you need to read each year and which goals you will complete.
  3. Break it down, again. Break it down by month, then to the week. Then you should know how much you need to do.
  4. Create your days. We will get into daily rituals in a moment. For now, just figure out how much you need to accomplish each day.

If you’re married, it’s good to create a plan together…and then tweak your individual plans.

Step 5: Develop Rituals

You should have a full plan now. The best way to accomplish your plan is to chip away at it with small, daily habits. And you’ll want to create rituals.
The word “ritual” might make you think of religious activities or ceremonies, but that’s not what we’re talking about here. We need to get away from routines and work towards having rituals. Routines are boring, they never change and they aren’t effective.

Here is how I define a ritual (I’m keeping it simple! You’re welcome.):

An activity or group of activities, practiced daily, that leads you toward your goals.

Self-Development Rituals

When you’re planning, use a schedule. And schedule your rituals.

If you’re married, share a schedule with your spouse. My wife and I use Google Calendar. We both have iPhones, so we are able to sync our calendars. If one of us adds an event, the other automatically gets it. Perfecto!

I have a morning ritual and an evening ritual. I would recommend both. They have worked extremely well for me.

Step 6: Check, Re-Check and Check Again

Like any ongoing plan, your self-development blueprint should be ever-changing. It will grow as you grow.

Measuring your progress is the key to improving your plan.

Don’t think of this as just a self-development blueprint, think of it as a life blueprint.

Your plan for improving yourself is your path to achieving your goals.

I’ll end with one of the most common proverbs on planning, but think about it in context to your life plan:

“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” -Benjamin Franklin