20 Achievable Goals To Set for Your Personal Development

Updated June 7, 2023

Setting goals can be a good way to help yourself grow and develop, both personally and within your career. When you set life goals for yourself, you're ultimately approaching success with an open mind and making progress toward your professional 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 provide a list of personal goals you could set for yourself as a starting point when determining the milestones you want to meet in your life.

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What are personal goals to set for yourself?

Personal goals are short- or long-term goals that can apply to your work, family life or lifestyle. They're meant to motivate you to achieve what you want in life. The importance of setting goals for yourself involves your openness and awareness of trying new things, planning your own success and taking action to improve an aspect of your life. It can also allow you to accept accountability for what you do to ultimately grow and develop in your life, career and relationships. Setting goals allows you to find ways to learn from mistakes and make transitions using what you've learned.

Related: Setting Goals To Improve Your Career

How to set goals for yourself

Follow these steps to create goals for yourself:

Identify your passions

Start by identifying important things you're passionate or care deeply about, and determine what you want your life to be like in the future. Visualizing your ideal life can help you figure out what's realistic for you to achieve. You can also develop a plan that can keep you on the right track.

Use the SMART goal method

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. This can make it easier for you to evaluate your progress, celebrate your accomplishments and stay motivated throughout your journey while moving in the right direction. 

Read more: Guide on How To Write SMART Goals (With Examples)

Track your progress

Designate times to see how far you've come since you began pursuing your goals. For example, you might decide to check your progress once a month to see if you've been consistent. Holding yourself accountable can help you identify strategies that work best for you.

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20 goals to set for yourself

Here are 20 examples of personal goals you can use as inspiration for setting your own goals:

1. Improve your growth mindset

Setting goals and achieving them can require changes in your life. To believe that change is possible, you can 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.

Related: Using a Growth Mindset To Develop Your Skills

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. You can also listen actively to yourself and aim to strengthen your emotional intelligence.

4. Be persistent despite obstacles

Learning to be patient and keep applying strategies to overcome obstacles may seem daunting when progressing toward your goals. 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, but 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 help 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: 15 Top Character Traits With Definitions and Examples

6. Learn how to make effective decisions

Big decisions in life—from buying a new car to planning your retirement—can offer personal growth opportunities. 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 of 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. It also allows you to accept responsibility and accountability for your actions and the 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. Consider developing a reading habit that can expose you to new topics to help you obtain new skills.

10. Live according to your values

Your morals and values can influence how you progress through your career, relationships and life in general. 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 in the Workplace: 84 Powerful Examples

11. Learn healthy ways to cope with stress

Stress can often play a large part in life. Learning healthy strategies, such as a five-minute yoga stretch, for coping and calming stress can help you focus on the most important things when moving toward your goals. You can maintain your physical health.

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 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 complete hard work.

Read more: Ultimate Guide To Work-Life Balance

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.

Related: 13 Workplace Habits of Effective Communicators

14. Consider leaving behind expectations

Healthy expectations can help advance and promote growth and learning. Consider leaving expectations behind when meeting objectives or communicating with others, and you might increase the chances you can 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, but it doesn't 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

Improving your skills by learning conversation techniques, nonverbal communication methods and learning to be an active listener can not only help you develop, but it can also help foster healthier relationships as well. Practice your communication skills when meeting new people.

Related: 10 Communication Skills for Your Life and Career Success

18. Avoid negativity in the workplace

Sometimes gossip, rumors or negative attitudes in the workplace may be difficult to avoid. When you actively seek out methods to step away from that kind of energy, you can improve your overall morale and motivation at work. You can also maintain meaningful professional and personal relationships.

Read more: How To Deal With Negative People at Work

19. Improve your financial management skills

Finances can pose challenges for your personal life. 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.

Read more: Financial Management: Purpose, Daily Functions and Examples

20. Develop time management skills

If you've ever felt that you frequently run out of time to complete tasks or have limited time to devote to activities you enjoy outside of your job, 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 want to complete.

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