It’s that time of year again, with many people heading off to a well-earned summer break. As we relax and unwind, you may find yourself reflecting on the year and what you have and haven’t achieved.

A practical approach is to complete a personal SWOT analysis to help you develop your potential and maximise opportunities. By examining your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, you can better identify a clearer direction and better understand how to proceed with your goals. By uncovering this information, you can start thinking through a personal development plan that is simple and easy to use.

Instinctively we usually know what our strengths are, but often we’re reluctant to admit to them. To clarify your strengths, ask yourself: What am I really good at? What skills do other people compliment me on? What do I do that is unique and that sets me apart from my peers?

Second step: weaknesses, or areas for development. What do you lack that others around you have? What things do you know you could do better? What do you receive consistent criticism for? Do you have any habits or characteristics that plague you on the job?

When looking for opportunities on a personal level, you want to be looking at trends and changes in your environment. Think about the following when identifying possible opportunities…

How can you turn your strengths into opportunities? What is happening in your company or industry that may be an opportunity for you? Are you working on any goals that will present opportunities for you once accomplished?

Threats are the things that have the potential to jeopardise your success. By identifying your threats you’re being proactive and taking control of your success. Ask the following: What obstacles do you face? Are your peers doing things that you haven’t started yet? Are any of your weaknesses significant enough to threaten your overall success?

The final step - and the one that makes the whole exercise worthwhile - is to list the actions you’ll take as a result.

When you take time to look at yourself and your goals in terms of these four elements, the results can be very revealing.