Why does searching for ways to grow your personal development feel like drinking out of a firehose? There’s so much information flowing at you! It feels like you can’t slow it down. There are so many examples of personal development goals out there to work on.
After years of trial and error, I have come to understand that there are 25 things that stand out as the most important when it comes to your personal development.
I know this seems like a lot.
But really, if you think about all of the stuff that buzzes around in your head on a daily basis, then 25 things really doesn’t seem like that much.
Let’s take a look at the 25 top personal development goals examples to keep your eye on.
1. Find your whys
If there is one thing that you need to do to develop yourself, it’s finding what drives you. Finding your whys is the most important step on your personal development journey.
Your whys are what will get you up when you don’t want to get out of bed in the morning. They are the foundation for your success. If you aspire to be more, but you feel like you’re spinning your wheels, then it’s probably because you haven’t figured out your whys yet.
You may have noticed that I said whys and not just why. Well that’s because you need to know your why for the 6 categories of your life.
Family, friends, work, finances, fun, and health.
These 6 categories work together to keep you on track with your personal development goals. Check out my free template that includes my personal whys by clicking here.
2. Manage your Time
Time is running out. Literally. I’m not saying this to scare you. I’m saying it to help you understand that it’s time (see what I did there) to focus on yourself!
With more and more things fighting for our attention, time management has become increasingly difficult. Advertisers and social media starts have become masters at grabbing your attention with headlines.
Fight the urge to quit the task you are working on before you are at a stopping point. Use the pomodoro technique for staying on task.
- Decide on the task to be done.
- Set the pomodoro timer (traditionally to 25 minutes).
- Work on the task.
- End work when the timer rings and put a checkmark on a piece of paper.
- If you have fewer than four checkmarks, take a short break (3–5 minutes), then go to step 2.
- After four pomodoros, take a longer break (15–30 minutes), reset your checkmark count to zero, then go to step 1.
If this doesn’t work for you, try out different techniques until you find one that does. You only have so much time in a day, in a week, in a year. Focus on the things that are important to your progress.
This personal development goal can be for work specifically, but it also feeds into the other categories by leaving enough time for the rest. The ultimate guide for productivity is a good place to start learning how to better manage your time.
3. Be Positive
Nobody likes a Debbie Downer. And you sure don’t want to be one.
Everybody knows that person who can walk into a room and just light the place up. If you aren’t that person, then you have a new goal: to become the most positive person you know.
Being positive helps to calm yourself as well as those around you. Your thoughts become your actions. Your actions define who you are.
Spreading positivity will change the way you think about yourself. If you have caught yourself being negative in the past, make it a priority to stop negative thoughts as soon as they arise.
4. Have a Growth Mindset
A growth mindset can be difficult to obtain if you have been surrounded by people with fixed mindsets for your entire life.
Sometimes it’s difficult for people to understand the value of mindset. A growth mindset is so important to your personal development goals. If you have always been afraid of failure, then it will take time to develop a growth mindset.
A fixed mindset has caused many people to believe that they are born with certain traits and there’s no developing them further. That couldn’t be further from the truth.
Natural talent will only take you so far.
Your weaknesses can become strengths, and your strengths can become even stronger if you have the right mindset.
When you understand that you can become better, there is no failure that can stop you from continuing on your journey. Failure is a stepping stone to success.
With practice, your brain will develop new neural pathways, and you can literally re-wire your brain with attempting things over and over again.
5. Trust the Process
It has become commonplace to only care about the outcome of what you are working on. Did you get an “A” on that project? Did your manager compliment your performance on that big presentation you had to do for your number 1 client?
It doesn’t really matter.
What matters is that you prepared in the way that you thought was the most effective at the time. As you grow, you will learn what works for you and what doesn’t.
The outcome is a secondary measuring point. The point that you should really focus on is the process that you are using to get where you want to go. This is one of those personal development goal examples that fits into many different categories.
6. Make Friends
Commonly referred to as networking. Making friends is one of the most important things you can do for your personal development goals.
Your network can become your biggest asset if you understand the value of others. It took me a long time to understand this. I always wanted to do everything myself that I could, but when I realized that we all have our own passions, it became much easier to me.
Make friends with people who are the same as you as well as people who are the complete opposite. Ask questions. Be kind. Show empathy.
Offer value to the people around you. Don’t expect anything in return.
Just be a good friend.
7. Step out of your Comfort Zone
People are creatures of habit. We like to go to the same park to walk our dogs. We stop by the same coffee shop every weekend. Our clothes are always from the same place.
Try new things every now and then. Step out of your comfort zone and push yourself to open your eyes to the way that other people do things.
Go and do that yoga class that you’ve been scared of. Jump at new opportunities that people lay out for you.
You want to live a life of abundance and joy, not anxiety and fear. By pushing yourself to try new things, you will begin to find joy in the stuff that you were afraid of before.
8. Sit Up Straight
Your body language shapes who you are. It can change your attitude as well as your confidence levels.
By sitting up straight you are signifying to your body that you are in control and have confidence. It’s not only good for your health, but it can have a positive impact on your stress levels.
Adopting good posture and confident body language will cause your cortisol levels to drop and your testosterone levels to rise.
Having poor posture and body language will cause your cortisol levels to rise and your testosterone levels to drop.
Cortisol is your body’s chemical reaction to stress. People who have higher confidence levels tend to have lower cortisol levels.
So, get rid of some of that cortisol and just sit up straight!
In the past, meditation has been this mysterious thing to most people. Unless you had someone around to show you the ropes, you probably weren’t likely to try it.
With the technology that we have today, learning meditation has never been easier. There are multiple apps out there. Headspace is my personal favorite. Calm is another popular one that a lot of people like.
Meditation helps you to concentrate only on what is important, and let other thoughts come and go as they please. It is one of the most powerful tools that you can grow for yourself. Make it a goal to try meditation every day for 1 week. I promise you will see a difference.
Your personal development goals need a way to be tracked. A journal is the easiest, simplest, and most effective way to get this done.
Your journal is where you can have a conversation with yourself. There is no room for judgement.
You have to be brutally honest with yourself when you’re writing in your journal. It’s a place for you to write down all of your emotions, struggles, successes, and most intimate thoughts.
The journal that you keep will become sacred. It’s like a time capsule for yourself. You can always go back and look at what you were thinking at a certain point in time.
Your journal can keep track of so many different parts of your life. It’s not only for work, but also for your family, finances, friends, health, and fun!
11. Learn Discipline
This is my biggest struggle. My personal development goals tend to get derailed by nothing other than a lack of discipline.
Maintaining discipline is difficult. Without discipline, whatever you do is like taking 5 steps forward and 4 steps back. You can make so much progress in one week, and the lose your discipline for a week and it will feel like you are starting over.
Use your time management skills and your whys to keep yourself on track.
Do the right things even if you don’t feel like it at the time. You will feel even worse if you let yourself go for a few days and have to start all over at the beginning.
Make things easy for yourself and eat the elephant one bite at a time. Don’t get overwhelmed by the amount of stuff that you have to do, just knock out one thing at a time.
12. Only Compare Yourself to Who You Were Yesterday
Don’t get caught up with comparing yourself to others. This is the easiest trap to fall in to for most of us. We all have our own internal battles gong on. You have your own unique obstacles.
It doesn’t matter how you compare to other people. Your personal development has nothing to do with them. It is only you vs. who you were yesterday.
Change yourself a little bit each and every day. Build yourself into the person that you want to be, brick by brick.
It’s going to take a long time. There will be other people who reach a higher status than you more quickly, but you don’t have any idea what they went through to get there.
All that matters is your personal development journey and making daily progress. You will have different goals for work than you do the other categories, but they are all equally important.
13. Treat Everyone like you like Them
Something that is extremely difficult is treating people that you don’t like the same way that you treat people that you do like.
It’s OK to admit to yourself that you don’t like someone. Not everybody gets along with one another. Just do not let yourself treat people differently simply because you dislike them.
You are an adult. You are a leader. People look up to you.
It’s hard, but stay mindful of how you are treating the people who you don’t really like.
14. Take Action
All of that time sitting on the couch binge watching Stranger Things was fun at the time, but how on earth do you get started in the right direction again after 10 hours of being stagnant?
Just take action. Look at your to do list and start doing something.
An object in motion will tend to stay in motion. Be the one who is constantly becoming better.
15. Don’t Over Complicate Things
Stuff is simple. When you really break it down into its most important steps, things become very easy to understand.
Quit making things so complicated. Take baby steps. Do you have an hour long presentation to get done? Break it down into 5 minute chunks.
It doesn’t matter how big the obstacle is. You can overcome it.
Just keep it simple. The minute that you allow yourself to try to make things more complicated than they are is the minute that you will start to stress yourself out and think that whatever you are working on is harder than it really is.
16. Learn To Deal With Stress
Sometimes we don’t use the tools that we know we should use, and then we become stressed.
Maybe you have been procrastinating some really big project and now you only have 1 day to get done what should take you a week. Well, that’s because you didn’t take action when you knew you should have.
But that’s OK. We all get overwhelmed sometimes. Learn to understand the signs of stress. Headaches, difficulty concentrating, twitches, and stiff muscles are all signs of stress.
When you notice yourself getting stressed, take a step back and look at your whys. Look at your to do list. Break everything down into manageable chunks. Meditate, exercise, and write in your journal.
Breathe some fresh air. Your stress will begin to melt away.
17. Win the Battle with Anxiety
Whoever else hates the feeling of being anxious raise your hand! Man, anxiety is a tough one because it’s not always in your control.
Your mind is racing. Your thoughts are jumbled. You are having a hard time distinguishing the truth from the other thoughts that are running around in your head.
Some of the best tools for managing anxiety are some of the things that we have already talked about. Take action, don’t over complicate things, don’t compare yourself to others, journal, meditate, and step out of your comfort zone on a regular basis.
Anxiety can overwhelm even the best of us. Truly understanding all of its effects can take a lifetime. Just keep yourself mindful of your anxiety levels and don’t let it stop you from achieving your personal development goals.
18. Focus on the Present
One of the best ways to battle stress and anxiety is to only focus on the present, because the present is all you can control.
Worrying about the future is a fruitless endeavor. You have no more control over the future than you do the weather. You can prepare yourself in the best way for whatever may come, but there is no guarantee that what you expect to come is what will happen.
Keep your mind on the task at hand. Keep your focus on the people who are around you in the current moment. Stop over-analyzing every decision to the point that life isn’t fun any more.
19. Make your Health a Priority
A healthy person can have all of the goals in the world. An unhealthy person will probably only have one goal, to get healthy again.
For those of us who have gone through any health scare, it’s easy to understand the value of being healthy. It’s also super easy to take your health for granted.
Your physical health and mental health are 2 of the most important things to always make a priority.
There is a lot to keep in mind when working on your health, but it’s actually pretty simple to stay healthy. Move around every day, eat natural foods, and surround yourself with people who you enjoy the company of.
Those are 3 things that are totally in your control and have been shown to have a positive affect on health and longevity.
One of the strangest things about our culture is that we will compete with each other over who got the least amount of sleep. I think it’s because we all want to show the world that we care about working hard.
Sleep is one of the most important parts of our lives. It not only keeps us healthy, it helps us develop new thoughts and helps to build our memory.
Your personal development, stress levels, anxiety levels, overall health, and energy levels all depend on you getting the proper amount of good sleep.
Don’t be one of those people who brags about getting 5 hours of sleep a night. Make it a priority to get 7-9 hours of good sleep a night. You will thank yourself for it.
21. Be a Person that you Would Look Up To
Do you remember that feeling as a kid when your favorite uncle would come over? How about when you went to school and got to sit at the same lunch table as your favorite teacher?
Be that person. Be the one that you would have wanted in your life as a kid. This may seem like a lofty goal, but if you continually aspire to be someone that your 10 year old self would be proud of then you are going to at least do a few things right.
22. Fail Often
We talked about growth mindset earlier. If you aren’t failing then you aren’t pushing yourself, and if you aren’t pushing yourself then you aren’t going to become better.
Part of your personal development journey will be failure. It’s a way of life. Embrace it.
Your personal development goals will continue to become harder and harder as your progress through life. Push yourself until you fail again and again. You can’t help but become better if you do this.
23. Build a Morning Routine
It seems like there are a lot of opinions out there about what is the best morning routine. I say just do what works best for you. If you are taking time at the start of your day to read, exercise, meditate, or journal then it doesn’t matter if you do one thing or all of them. You are going to see results throughout the rest of your day.
Taking time first thing in the morning to develop yourself will set you up for success. It sets the tone for the rest of your day.
It’s easy to get caught up in the world once everyone has a chance to push their agenda on you. Stay strong and spend time first thing in the morning working on what is most important to you.
24. Read Often
Can you believe we went through 23 other things before mentioning reading?
It’s importance has been covered by so many other people, I didn’t want to shove it down your throat right off the bat.
Reading is like taking someone’s entire life’s work and learning it within a matter of days or weeks.
Even if it’s 10 pages a day, make reading one of your personal development goals. Check out my top 10 personal development books if you are looking for a recommendation!
25. Surround Yourself with People Who Want the Best for you
One of the hardest things to deal with in life are people who aren’t supportive. They may not even realize that they are doing you wrong by making little comments about you.
“Wow, you’re getting too skinny.”
“You are working too hard.”
“Don’t push yourself so much.”
What those types of people don’t understand is that you are different than they are. You cannot be happy unless you are pushing yourself to become better every day. You have aspirations to become something big, and those comments do nothing to help you.
Make sure that you are surrounding yourself with people who understand why you go through all the effort to meet your personal development goals and you will have a clan of support.
Now that you’ve read what I think are the 25 most important personal development goals that you need to be thinking about every day, it’s time to put them into action. Start today.
If 25 things is still pretty overwhelming, then check out the top 3 most important details to your personal development.
Remember to stay disciplined and really push yourself to become that person that you are going to be proud of.
If you have others that you think are just as important then I’d love to hear about them! Leave a comment below.