9 Personal Development Goals and How To Achieve Them

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 17 December 2022

Published 26 May 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Personal development is a lifelong process of investing in your skills and abilities. In order to grow and to better yourself, you need to set goals that push you outside your comfort zone. Highlighting your personal development goals is especially important during the hiring process because it positions you as a dependable, hard-working and professional job candidate. Throughout your career, these goals will keep you informed and relevant.

In this article, we discuss what personal development goals are, why they are important, nine examples of personal development goals and how to achieve them.

What are personal development goals?

Personal development goals are a set of actions you take to improve a particular aspect of your character. You may seek to cultivate a new skill or improve upon an existing ability. You can structure them as short-term or even long-term goals that align with your career aspirations or your personal mission in life.

Personal development goals are like a roadmap of how you plan to achieve a certain aim. They need time, focus and a lot of training. As a job seeker, personal development goals make you a more capable employee and a more valuable candidate.


  • SMART Goals: Definition and Examples

  • Professional Development Opportunities: Definition and FAQs

Why are personal development goals important?

Personal development goals are important because they improve your life experience. They are particularly essential in the workplace because they help you perform and progress in your career. Here are some other benefits:

Provides a clear sense of direction

Many fresh graduates aspire to be industry leaders. However, in order to get there, you need a clear list of goals. Personal development goals help you prioritise your objectives and put them into context. It's also a good habit to implement in your daily work schedule. Small objectives can help you delegate your time and effort to different tasks more efficiently.

Improves your work ethic

Goal setting empowers you to work harder and produce better results. Having a vision in mind while you work gives you a sense of purpose. When you're focused on the larger pictures, it can make the menial tasks more meaningful.

Related: Tips To Demonstrate Work Ethic

Makes you more employable

Personal development goals are important because they make you a more reliable employee. Essentially, personal development is a commitment to advancing yourself. When an employer sees how devoted you are to your growth, they're more likely to challenge you with more responsibility. This builds trust in the workplace and inspires others to work just as hard. Personal development is a characteristic that also doesn't go unrewarded by recruiters too.

Related: How to Develop Training for Soft Skills That Fosters Growth

Examples of personal development goals and how to achieve them

Here are common examples of personal development goals with tips on how to achieve them:

1. Time management

Throughout your professional career, you'll face deadlines and unforeseen challenges. A personal development goal that helps you manage your workload and stress levels is good time management. Being proficient in this skill increases your productivity and efficiency. It helps you prioritise the most important tasks while creating time for your personal interests. It's key to a healthy work-life balance.

How to achieve this goal?

  • Be realistic about the time needed to complete each of your tasks.

  • Be aware of the resources at your disposal.

  • Create a system to organise your workdays, such as a schedule or lists.

  • Understand where you can be more efficient with your time.

  • Be adaptable to changing priorities.

2. Emotional Intelligence

Research shows that people with high emotional intelligence outperform those lower on the spectrum. In a work setting, emotional intelligence better equips you to understand your own feelings and those of others as well. It helps maintain a harmonious work environment and facilitates conflict resolution. Choosing this skill as your personal development goal can improve your ability to lead others and build a solid professional network.

How to achieve this goal?

  • Exercise self-awareness to monitor, identify and express your feelings constructively.

  • Practice self-regulation through meditation techniques and taking the time to think before you speak.

  • Be open to change. Accepting change early on helps you respond to it in a healthy manner.

  • Practice empathy for others. Respect people no matter their rank and listen attentively to their thoughts and ideas.

Related: Personal Skills (Definition and Examples)

3. Challenge yourself

Personal development is about going outside of your comfort zone. If you find that you stick to tried and tested ways of doing things, a good personal development goal for you could be to challenge yourself with new experiences. Finding a challenge for yourself keeps you motivated at work and sharpens your skills for the future.

How to achieve this goal?

  • Speak to your supervisor about getting involved in new projects.

  • Take up a new hobby, sport or interest.

  • Attend a workshop to advance your existing skills.

4. Interpersonal skills

Positive professional relationships lay the foundation for future opportunities and career advancement. Learning to work collaboratively with others has a direct impact on your performance. Part of being successful at teamwork is engaging in honest and open communication. Strengthening this personal development skill will help you build trust and integrity in the workplace.

How to achieve this goal?

  • Show respect and compassion to your coworkers.

  • Offer your help and guidance to colleagues who need it.

  • When giving advice, offer constructive criticism. This means focusing on a person's work rather than the person themselves.

  • Embrace diversity in your work environment by sharing in other people's cultures and traditions.

  • Share in the decision-making process. Welcome suggestions from other people, even if they're more junior than you.

Related: Social Skills: Definition and Examples

5. Work on your weaknesses

If you don't know where to start with your personal development goals, introspect and examine your weaknesses. Ask your mentors or close coworkers to help you identify areas for improvement. Being able to recognise your weaknesses shows self-awareness. It helps strengthen your character and helps you appear more suitable for new opportunities.

How to achieve this goal?

  • Exercise self-awareness by keeping a journal, taking walks to clear your mind and labeling your emotions.

  • Get guidance from someone you trust, such as a mentor. Make sure you meet them on a monthly basis and take this time to reflect and learn from their experiences.

  • To improve your technical skills, sign up for a workshop or online course.

  • Read a self-help book to motivate you to keep working on yourself.

Related: Understanding Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation

6. Develop a growth mindset

People with a growth mindset pursue learning over financial rewards. They continue to develop their talents, fight against complacency and achieve their goals. In contrast, fixed mindsets are resistant to change, because they believe their environment has little to do with their ability to grow and evolve.

Seeking a growth mindset as a personal development goal will benefit you throughout your life. It will make you enjoy the process of learning instead of seeing it as a means to an end.

How to achieve this goal?

  • Try learning new tactics when faced with a persistent problem.

  • View failure as a learning opportunity.

  • Stop seeking approval from others. Define success your own way.

  • Take time out regularly to reflect on your actions to inform yourself about how to improve.

Read more:

  • What Is a Growth Mindset? (With Tips to Develop One)

  • How to Create a Personal Vision Statement in 5 Steps

7. Practice patience

Even in fast-paced work cultures, it can take time to produce powerful results. Learning to be patient can help you manage your expectations. It also ensures work gets completed to a high standard with minimal mistakes.

How to achieve this goal?

  • Take deep breaths to stay calm.

  • Be flexible enough to switch over to other tasks when you feel discouraged.

  • Take breaks between tasks to help you remain focused.

  • Make sure your workload is not too light or too heavy so that you can give equal attention to all your projects.

8. Set personal boundaries

Learning how to be assertive and speak up for yourself is an essential skill to master. It gives you the confidence to say no, especially when you need to make your work a priority.

How to achieve this goal?

  • Identify your boundaries and write them down for easy access.

  • Practice self-awareness to determine when your boundaries are being pushed.

  • Communicate your boundaries with authority to those concerned.

9. Build resilience

Resilience helps you stay motivated even when faced with problems or setbacks. Building resilience takes time, effort and patience. Professionals who demonstrate this characteristic recover quickly from disappointments and respond effectively to changing circumstances. As a result of their coping skills, they can grow from challenges and cultivate new skills.

How to achieve this goal?

  • Journaling helps you explore your thoughts and let go of negative emotions. It's a useful method to frame situations more positively and gain a new sense of perspective.

  • Taking up a new sport can train your mental resilience when you need to push through a physically taxing activity.

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