20 Achievable Goals To Set for Your Personal Development

Jennifer Herrity

Updated May 26, 2022

Published February 4, 2020

Jennifer Herrity is a seasoned career services professional with 12+ years of experience in career coaching, recruiting and leadership roles with the purpose of helping others to find their best-fit jobs. She helps people navigate the job search process through one-on-one career coaching, webinars, workshops, articles and career advice videos on Indeed's YouTube channel.

Setting goals can be an effective way to help yourself grow and develop, both personally and within your career. When you set goals for yourself, you are ultimately approaching success with an open mind, and making progress toward your goals. Consider setting short-term goals to start with, and you may use these goals to help you achieve larger, long-term goals.

In this article, we list a variety of examples of personal goals you could set for yourself as a starting point when determining the milestones you want to meet in your life.

What are personal goals?

Personal goals are short- or long-term goals that can apply to your work, family life or lifestyle. They are meant to motivate you to achieve what you want in life.

The importance of setting goals for yourself can be found in your openness and awareness of trying new things, planning your own success and taking action to improve an aspect of your life. Furthermore, setting personal goals can allow you to accept accountability for what you do to ultimately grow and develop in your life, career and relationships. Additionally, setting goals allows you to find ways to learn from mistakes and make transitions using what you have learned that can help you reach your objectives.

Related: Setting Goals To Improve Your Career

20 goals to set for yourself

When setting goals for yourself, you may choose to follow the SMART goal method, where you apply specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound objectives to help you reach your goals. Start by identifying things you are passionate or care deeply about, and determine what you want your life to be like in the future. Here are 20 personal goals you can use as inspiration for setting your own goals:

  1. Improve your growth mindset.

  2. Be more proactive.

  3. Learn to understand yourself.

  4. Be persistent despite obstacles.

  5. Learn to accept your limits.

  6. Learn how to make effective decisions.

  7. Practice gratitude.

  8. Stay open-minded to new opportunities.

  9. Learn something new.

  10. Live according to your values.

  11. Learn healthy ways to cope with stress.

  12. Recreate your work-life balance.

  13. Start good habits.

  14. Consider leaving behind expectations.

  15. Learn from failure.

  16. Eliminate bad habits.

  17. Improve your communication skills.

  18. Avoid negativity in the workplace.

  19. Improve your financial management skills.

  20. Develop time management skills.

Read more: SMART Goals: Definition and Examples

1. Improve your growth mindset

Setting goals and achieving them can require changes in your life that you may have to make. But to believe that change is possible, you must have an open mind and the awareness to accept any mistakes you might make along the way. You might apply daily affirmations to help you get there, but ultimately, improving your growth mindset can have a positive influence on how you set goals and achieve them in the future.

2. Be more proactive

Once you set a goal for yourself, you can choose to take action each day to further your progress toward achievement. If you choose to remain inactive, there can be a chance that you might not achieve your goals. Motivating yourself to be more proactive in your endeavors can serve as a personal goal to help you get used to setting a goal, taking action, tracking your progress and achieving objectives.

3. Learn to understand yourself

Learning to understand yourself can allow you to accept your abilities, improve your skills and ultimately play a role in how you pace yourself when working toward your objectives. Understanding and knowing what your boundaries are, what your strengths are and how you adapt to change can not only help you progress toward your success, it can help build confidence in yourself.

4. Be persistent despite obstacles

Learning to be patient and keep applying strategies to overcome obstacles may seem daunting when progressing toward your goals. However, remaining consistent in your actions and maintaining your perseverance no matter what kind of difficulties you come across may not only help you achieve your goals, it can help you develop and nurture the growth mindset you might also be trying to develop.

5. Learn to accept your limits

Understanding your limits and learning from your mistakes ultimately helps you progress toward your goals. While it may seem as if making mistakes or finding limitations in your personal progress may be negative, in reality, it can actually have a positive influence in teaching you how to handle setbacks and find solutions to problems.

Related: Character Traits: Definition and Examples

6. Learn how to make effective decisions

Big decisions in life—from buying a new car to planning your retirement—can offer growth opportunities. However, it's not always easy to make huge choices like these. When you learn and apply effective decision-making strategies, such as evaluating all your options for a retirement fund, you can better equip yourself to handle the important choices in your life.

7. Practice gratitude

You might set this goal as a small daily objective, where you consciously choose to acknowledge your gratitude. This can mean being grateful for finding a dime on the sidewalk, waking up to your family every day or having a career. The success in this small goal is that you can find ways to shift your attitude toward being grateful and generous daily, which can have a positive impact on your overall well being.

8. Stay open-minded to new opportunities

Maintaining an open mind and accepting opportunities and possibilities as they present themselves can help foster your growth mindset even more, as well as allowing you to accept responsibility and accountability for your actions, success and achievement of your goals.

9. Learn something new

You might make a goal to learn a new skill, topic or take a class to learn how to paint. Whatever you choose to learn, committing to continue gaining knowledge and expertise can help you develop and advance in life.

10. Live according to your values

Your morals and values can influence how you progress through your career, relationships and life in general. However, if you ignore your values in favor of someone else's, you may never achieve your goals. Consider staying consistent in your morals, and work toward your goals with your personal values in mind.

Read more: Core Values: Overview and Examples

11. Learn healthy ways to cope with stress

Stress can often play a large part in life. However, making it a point to learn healthy strategies (such as a five-minute yoga stretch) for coping and calming stress can help you focus on what is important when moving toward your goals.

12. Recreate your work-life balance

You may consider reassessing the balance you have between your career and your personal life. If you feel you spend too much time at work and not enough time at home, consider finding ways to balance your work hours and home life. For instance, you might make it a point to start leaving right on time to get home, rather than spending that extra hour finishing up projects or other tasks. Having a set schedule can also help motivate you to work more efficiently.

13. Start good habits

It can take a lot of effort to create and maintain good habits, but forming positive habits can influence your personal development and help in improving your overall quality of life. Consider forming one good habit over the course of 30 days, such as taking a 10-minute walk every evening, and you might see the change and improvement in your well-being and motivation to keep achieving more.

14. Consider leaving behind expectations

While healthy expectations can help advance and promote growth and learning, placing too much importance on outcomes or other people's actions may actually pose a negative influence on your overall personal growth. Consider leaving expectations behind when meeting objectives or communicating with others, and you might increase the chances you will remain motivated and determined to achieve your goals.

15. Learn from failure

Failure is sometimes part of the process of moving toward achieving your goals. However, failure does not have to determine your overall success. Consider failure an opportunity to learn how to approach things differently, try new methods or learn new strategies. Learning from failure can aid in your achievements by showing you different and more effective ways of doing things.

16. Eliminate bad habits

Similar to starting good habits, eliminating or making an effort to stop a bad habit can positively influence your growth and progress toward other goals you may set for yourself. Consider taking one to two months to identify and cease a bad habit, such as biting your nails or eating high-sugar foods just before bed.

17. Improve your communication skills

Communication may sometimes present difficulty, however, improving your skills by learning conversation techniques, nonverbal communication methods and learning to be an active listener will not only help you develop, but it can also help foster healthier relationships as well.

Related: Communication Skills: Definitions and Examples

18. Avoid negativity in the workplace

Sometimes gossip, rumors or negative attitudes in the workplace may be difficult to avoid, but when you actively seek out methods to step away from that kind of energy, you can improve your overall morale and motivation at work.

19. Improve your financial management skills

Finances can oftentimes become overwhelming to deal with, especially when there are more than a few accounts or even debts to take care of. However, making small objectives to help you improve your money management skills can ultimately allow you to make changes that free you to accept new opportunities.

20. Develop time management skills

If you have ever felt that you frequently run out of time to complete tasks or have limited time to devote to activities you enjoy outside of work, consider applying strategies that can help you improve your time management skills. Print a physical schedule or to-do list you can mark with a pen as you complete tasks. Similarly, you might set a timer to help you track the time you spend on specific activities to evaluate where you can cut back on time spent and add time to other activities you need to complete.

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