Lifelong learning and continuing professional development are important concepts throughout your entire professional career. It is important to set SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, time bound) objectives for your personal and professional development. Your appraiser will encourage you to do this during the discussion, to agree your planned personal development plan for the next year. No doubt as the year progresses, other activities may become more important and you may need to add to your personal development plan and consider your aspirational development needs. These may reflect, not only your personal interests, goals and ambitions, but also the needs of your practice or organisation. It is entirely legitimate and appropriate to include these activities in your appraisal evidence.

The process of appraisal should encourage you to celebrate your achievements, and reflect on your future personal and professional development needs as an individual and team member. Your appraisal evidence is a representation of who you are, what you do and how you continue to develop throughout your career. As most GPs work in primary care for at least 25 years, it is important to be realistic and not try to expect to achieve your entire aspirational personal development plan in a short period of time. You may neglect to enjoy being a GP and maintain a good work life balance.