Success comes to those who create their own future by envisioning what they want and then doing it. If this statement resonates with you and you haven’t yet set personal development goals to find success, now is definitely the time.
Setting goals in an area of your life you want to improve can help you develop clarity, improve your mental health, and acquire new skills.
Personal development goals are a specific type of goal to help you improve your skills, character, wellbeing, or productivity.
By setting personal development goals, you dedicate yourself to self-improvement and maximizing your potential. Goals like these can give us a much clearer sense of direction and help improve the quality of our lives.
Personal development goal ideas
There are lots of different goals you can work on. They could be career-focused, health-focused, or just for personal satisfaction.
It all depends on what your overall aim is, but some great examples include:
- Improve time management
- Become a more active listener
- Learn a new skill
- Develop better emotional intelligence
- Get better at conflict resolution
- Become an early riser
- Network more effectively
- Improve public speaking
- Respond better to feedback
- Develop a growth mindset
- Manage stress effectively
- Create positive habits such as reading, meditation, exercise, etc.
How to set personal development goals the right way
At some point, you’ve probably set goals only for them to fizzle out and die. We’ve all been there and kicked ourselves for not following through.
We know goals are good for us, but why are they so hard to stick to? The problem with setting goals is that most people do it all wrong.
The number one mistake people make is that their goals are too vague. Goals need to be specific and actionable.
Here are four simple steps to setting and sticking to your goals.
Step 1: Create a clear vision
The first step is to create a clear vision of what you want to achieve and more importantly, why. If your “why” is not strong enough, you will struggle to stick to anything.
Spend time considering your why. Is this goal something you want or something you think you should do?
You need to want the goal enough to put in the work. So, give it some thought, what do you want to achieve, and be specific!
One of the best goal-setting systems is the SMART method. This stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-based.
In other words, your goals need to be specific. You need a way to measure your progress. They need to be realistic and relevant to your life, and they need some kind of time frame. Without these elements, goals tend to wither and die.
Step 2: Develop a plan of action
Setting goals is the easy part. Anyone can say “I want to travel more” but there’s a lot more to it than that. Without a plan, how will you know what to do next?
Instead, ask yourself: What can I do today, tomorrow, each week/month to achieve this goal?
Let’s look back on our previous example. Say you want to earn more money. What does this goal look like in six months? How much money do you want to be earning by that point? Be specific.
Now think about what you can do to do to achieve that goal. Break it down into tiny steps.
For example, you could speak with your boss and arrange a salary review in six months. You could start gathering evidence of your achievements or do some research on average salaries in your field.
Alternatively, you might want to look for another job. In this case, your plan of action could be to apply for five jobs a week.
Step 3: Track your progress
One way people stumble on their personal development journey is because they don’t track their progress. Progress may feel non-existent, vague, or even pointless if you have no concept of where you are in relation to your goals.
Make sure to track your progress to see how close/far you are from where you want to be. There may still be a long way ahead of you. But regularly tracking your progress gives you a clearer indication of whether you’re on the right track.
Ways to track your progress include noting everything down in a spreadsheet, getting a dedicated app, or even having an accountability partner or mentor to check in with.
Step 4: Review and reflect
On a similar note, it’s an important component to not just track your progress but also review and reflect on your plan and goals as well.
Along your personal development journey, you could completely change your mind, priorities, or methods. If so, your plans should reflect that.
Perhaps you need to reevaluate your timeline. Maybe your methods are just not working and you need to switch your approach. Without taking the time to review and reflect, you could remain unfocused or even keep chasing a goal that’s no longer relevant.
Set yourself regular check-in days to review all your tracked progress and also revisit your original goals.
How invisible scripts hold us back from achieving our goals
Sticking to your goals can feel impossible. One reason for this is because of something called invisible scripts.
Invisible scripts control our lives and most of the time, we don’t even know it. They’re unconscious internal monologues that hold us back, stopping us from being successful and happy.
They’re not just in our head though. They are typically a product of wider problems in society, cultural norms, your upbringing, or the economy.
For example, “I can’t earn a raise in this economy” is a limiting belief and a script that many people tell themselves.
While achieving a raise might be difficult (the economy isn’t exactly in great shape right now) it is achievable.
The first step is to recognize these invisible scripts exist. That alone can go a long way in helping you kick these limiting beliefs to the curb. After that, you need a bulletproof plan to achieve your goals.
That’s where personal development goals come in. Working on yourself is the ultimate way to defeat these pesky invisible scripts holding you back. For example, if it’s a raise you’re after, a goal like “learn to negotiate” would be a good start; or when applying for a new job, “perfect the Briefcase Technique” would be an excellent short-term goal to work on.
Any kind of personal development is a fantastic goal to set yourself. It’s a key part of personal and professional growth that will lead to a richer, more meaningful life. So, make sure you’re setting your goals the right way.