Setting personal development goals can be the difference between whether or not you’ll achieve them. No matter where you are in your life or where you live, as long as you have a calendar, pen, paper, and some level of commitment you’ll be able to achieve your goals. If you’re reading this then chances are you have some deep-rooted fear that you’re not living up to your potential. And often times it’s the first step that’s the most difficult.
This guide will provide you with 23 personal development goals to get started. You don’t have to attempt all 23 (unless your ambition tells you otherwise). The list is in no particular order but they’re all inter-related. Some goals are a prerequisite to others. And most are complimentary to one another.
You can pick and choose whichever is most applicable to you. With that in mind, here are the 23 personal development goals that will change your life.
1. Don’t procrastinate
We’re going to start the list off with the most difficult one of all. Procrastination is the enemy of productivity and the killer of ambition. Don’t let procrastination get in your way. Now we understand this isn’t something that you can easily over without a plan. Procrastination after all, is built into all of us in our upbringing. And it will be a challenging battle that will test the limits of your determination to overcome procrastination. But don’t give up. For a more comprehensive guide to overcome procrastination, read more here.
2. Be more active
In order to make headway with personal improvement, you’re going to need to be more active. That means going out more rather than staying indoor all the time. Is it Saturday and you don’t have any plans? Take a walk anyway. Don’t have anyone to watch a movie with? Go anyway by yourself. Do anything you can to keep yourself from being alone and inactive. A great strategy is going on Groupon and seeking activities in your area that enables you to meet other people. Dance classes and city tours are a great way to meet people.
3. Develop a positive mental attitude
This derives directly from a book everyone should read, Success Through A Positive Mental Attitude by Napolean Hill. It is true that your attitude will dictate whether you’re successful or not. If you constantly expect things to go wrong, they will go wrong. If you tend to have a more positive outlook on everything, things will naturally go your way more often. Before you can achieve any level of success, you need to change your attitude.
4. Be more considerate
While you’re at it, work on being more considerate of others. Being considerate of other people requires absolutely 0 talent and can do wonders for your personal development as it will open unexpected doors for you. This may be one of the easiest personal development goals on the list and one you can easily begin doing right away. Although it’s a simple task, the rewards are big.
5. Changing your belief system
Do you believe you can be successful? A lot of times we’re not aware that we may be carrying a damaging belief system that’s corrupt. Your belief system dictates how you see yourself, how you treat others, and how you deal with situations as they come to you. A healthy belief system is one infused with morally just values and set guiding principles.
6. Manage stress
There are different types of stress. There’s distress and there’s eustress, and managing both is the key to constantly improve yourself. How do you currently deal with stress? Do you bottle things up and/or let your frustration out on the nearest person (usually someone close and dear to you)? Or do you have a healthy way to let out steam once in a while? Make it a goal to create a healthier way to release stress.
7. Becoming more resilient to negativity
This personal development goal goes hand in hand with #6. In addition to managing stress, you should also make it a personal objective to be more resilient to negativity so fewer things can stress you out. Becoming resilient to negativity and having thick skin is one of the most challenging personal development goal on this list as it requires a combination of skills and takes time to achieve. But when achieved, you’ll develop a natural armor resistant to everyday negativity.
8. Expand your book collection
It’s obvious why some of the most sought-after leaders are avid readers. Reading expands your mind. And by expanding your book collection, you’re exposing yourself to more opportunities to learn and expand your horizon. Now don’t go buying every book you can find just for the sake of expanding your collection. Collect one at a time and try to finish as much as you can and expand your collection that way over time. It will be more rewarding.
9. Letting go of the past
The heaviest substances known to man is our past. Let it go. Whatever it may be. If you find yourself dwelling on the past, dwelling on what could’ve been, what should’ve been, then those things are holding you back. Make it a personal improvement mission to let those things go and free up your mind to focus on what’s ahead of you.
10. Wake up earlier
This personal development goal comes as no surprise. Ask any successful CEO and they’ll tell you they get up at 5 in the morning, do a jog, meditate, and a list of other annoying successful things. Maybe you’re not on that level, but you can wake up one hour earlier than you normally do. That’s a good start. Practice waking up earlier and getting the most important things done early in the morning and you’ll feel an immediate change in your personal and professional life.
11. Make better friends
Take a good look at your group of friends right now. Are they where you’re striving to be? Are they were you used to be? Or are they where you are? If they’re where you used to be, leave that group immediately. I know it sounds brutal, but if you want to improve yourself and achieve your goals, you need to be surrounded by people who inspire you to be better and can advise on how to do so. If they’re where you are, that’s ok as long as they’re also on their own personal development mission. Make better friends. Make friends with people who are where you want to be.
12. Improve your posture
Do you slouch when you sit? Do you walk with your back hunched forward? There’s a ton of guides online and on Youtube that can teach you about better posture. Improving your posture also has a multitude of benefits including improving blood flow, heighten mood, and increase mental acuity. So much benefits for simple changing the way you sit. Also a pretty simple personal development goals to get started on.
13. Listen more than you talk
Learning to listen more than you talk will improve your relationship with everyone around you and allow you to learn more intimate details about those in your inner circle. Make it a habit to have natural curiosity and ask questions about everything. Not only will you learn more about the person sitting in front of you, but your depth of knowledge will also expand greatly.
14. Develop mental fortitude
Similar to developing resiliency to negativity. Developing mental fortitude means building a fortress around your thoughts, opinions, and decisions. With mental fortitude you won’t be easily influenced by other people’s opinions of you or your ideas. You’ll be able to think more clearly and make more accurate decisions (see #15) with a strong mental fortitude.
15. Make accurate decisions
The ability to make more accurate decisions is by far one of the most difficult and rewarding personal development goals. It also mentally sets you apart from your former self. Having the ability to think clearly and decisively gives you a level of confidence that can’t be achieved any other way. To achieve this personal development goal, you will need to master it’s prerequisites – #3 Develop a positive mental attitude, #6 Managing stress, #7 Become more resilient to negativity, and #14 Develop mental fortitude. It may be a long journey to achieve this goal, but it’s well worth the price. Ask Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, and Jeff Bezos if their ability to make accurate decisions has paid off.
16. Learn to resolve conflicts
We all know how to get into conflicts. But knowing how to get out of a conflict or resolve conflict in a manner that minimizes damage or embarrassment for all parties is essential. As you can probably guess, having a bit of mental fortitude and resiliency to negativity will help greatly.
17. Love yourself
For many, this is the place to start. Practice loving yourself for who you are and what you have. Stop comparing yourself to others and instead compare yourself only to your former self.
18. Dress for success
“Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence in society.” – Mark Twain. Start by dressing better. Dressing better combined with better body language can improve both your mood and your perceived confidence greatly. If there’s one thing you can easily do to increase your influence in a room, it’s by dressing the part.
19. Manage finance better
And in order to dress better, perhaps you need a little bit more money. Start managing your finance better. Keep a spreadsheet of your spendings. Open a savings account. Give yourself 24 hours before making any purchases over $50 online. These are just some ideas. You’ll find more clever ways to manage your finance here for continued reading.
20. Keep a weekly journal
Keep a journal of your week if a daily journal is too much to start. Log everything that happened in your week and make it a habit to never skip a single entry or backlog any entries. Otherwise, you’ll never develop the commitment to your weekly journal.
21. Learn to appreciate others
When you develop closer and more intimate relationships with those around you, you’ll need something stronger to maintain and solidify your bond. If you’ve been considerate (#4) and have been listening more than you talk (#13), then you now have the opportunity to build a closer connection by appreciating people for the things they value most. Learning just how to appreciate people is a valuable skill that build lasting relationships.
22. Learn to give without expectations
We’re often hurt or disappointed when we have expectation for others. This is especially true when we give. Have you ever given or done something for someone and expected them to show appreciation only to have nothing returned? This personal development goal will save you from countless disappointments and heartaches. Practice giving and expecting absolutely nothing in return and see how it changes your perspective.
23. Increase your value
Don’t be a people pleaser. Be the person others try to please. Increase your personal value by knowing your worth and behaving accordingly in social environment. Never be the one running around trying to make people happy. Instead, be try to carry yourself (and hopefully dress the part) in a way that commands respect without saying a word. Once you place a high value on yourself, others will start believing it. The opposite is also true. If you don’t value yourself, no one else will value or respect you.
Excellent list! I love the one about listening more and talking less. That’s a hard one for many folks (including me sometimes;-). And letting go of the past is one of the keys to developing a more positive mental attitude….yep, great post.
Thank you Debrah for your comment! I agree, listening more and talking less is a hard one for me too! I have to catch myself in conversations to breathe and simply listen. Sometimes I get so excited to share my thoughts or valid what they’re saying, I cut my conversation partner off. Also, by listening more, I get to learn so much more! Glad to have you a part of our Strive community!