It goes something like this: its almost New Years and you sit down to write out your goals for the following year.
You begin writing and are surprised by how much you want to accomplish. You’re excited and inspired but also overwhelmed with choices.
Where do you begin? How long will it take?
New Year’s Day comes around and you start by trying to tackle a bunch of things at once. You do okay for a little while but quickly lose focus.
Months go by and eventually the excitement and drive you felt going into the year fades with the distractions of daily life.
You might accomplish some of your goals over the course of the year but most of them are will be set again for the following year, and the next year…and the next.
There’s a better way.
Introducing the PDP.
A Personal Development Project (PDP) is a regularly scheduled set of exercises completed every 30 days that is designed to help a person achieve four basic goals:
- The self-mastery and skill development that results from performing challenging tasks based on commitment rather than convenience.
- The sense of accomplishment and self-confidence that comes from consistently meeting specific goals.
- The self-awareness and self-actualization that comes from repeated investment in constructive or creative action.
- The practical, real world results of a consistent bias towards completed action.
Simply put, a PDP is something you do for a month in order to become a better version of yourself and to achieve clear, tangible outcomes.
PDPs address a number of problems that come from taking a New Year’s Resolution approach to your goals:
- They force you to essentialize and concretize the steps to getting what you actually want.
- They lower the barrier to entry greatly. Rather than jumping 4 foot hurdles you can jump a 1 foot hurdle every month.
- They help you cultivate a sense of accomplishment every month. Giant, year long goals have a way of making us feel dissatisfied and making things harder to stick to as a result.
- Goal setting allows us to defer the responsibility of taking action to a later date. Daily and weekly action forces us to start now.
At Praxis, we’ve found one month is the best starting point. Anything shorter and it will be difficult to see real results or finish anything substantial. Anything longer and you’ll start to fall into the New Year’s Resolutions trap.
How to Get Started
To get started take a goal of yours and break it into an activity that can be done on a daily basis.
If your goal is to “get in shape,” commit to doing a simple, quantifiable workout every day.
If you want to become a well-known blogger, spend 30 days writing a post every single day.
Focus on committing to the process rather than the specific outcome. In 30 days, you can revisit the broader goal and define another daily activity you can commit to that will help you reach the next level, and the next.
During the Praxis program, participants work with advisors to create and plan their own 30 day PDPs. Participants in the past have used this framework to write books, start businesses, learn new skills, and more.
What will you accomplish?
PDP Template and Participant Examples
Here is a template to plan your PDP and examples from Praxis alumni
Praxis PDP Template
Tamina Zaheri’s Kickstarter and Personal Finance PDP
Ryan Ferguson’s Self-Publishing PDP
Diana Zitting’s Employee Onboarding PDP
Brad Matthews’ Marketing PDP