Planning your professional development for the year isn’t a bad thing; in fact, it puts you ahead of many colleagues who don’t bother to think deeply about their own professional growth, or assume their company will “take care of it” for them by sponsoring a few trainings.
But as McGrath’s research in the corporate sphere indicates, it’s even better if you make your planning cycle more frequent, so you can adapt to changed circumstances. You may discover that a goal that once seemed desirable — such as getting in shape by playing racquetball regularly with a friend — may be a terrible idea, as I learned firsthand when I became sleep-deprived and unproductive thanks to our early morning games. Conversely, it’s worth shelving your planned priorities when a plum, unplanned opportunity presents itself, such as when a major publisher reached out to my friend Brian recently, asking him to develop a book proposal.
Just as many professionals torpedo their chances of success by clinging to outmoded goals, others fail to generate meaningful accomplishments because they spread their energy too thin and attempt to accomplish too much at once.