What do you want to achieve in the next 10 years? What do you want to work on? Who do you want to become? How do you want to change?
Big questions, right? But they have to be. If you want to successfully evolve over time, you have to have some idea of how you want to do so.
Hence this list. The ultimate list, perhaps. The only list of personal development goals you’re ever likely to need.
So without further ado, let’s begin…
1. Develop A Growth Mindset
Before you can begin the work that’s necessary to change, you have to believe that change is possible. That’s why it’s so vital to nurture a growth mindset first and foremost. Only then will you accept your potential and be willing to realize it.
2. Be Proactive
You could wait for change to come to you, or you could go out there and make it happen. It’s important to remember that you can create opportunities for yourself AND take full advantage of the opportunities that present themselves.
3. Know Yourself
One-size-fits-all does not work for personal development. You have to know yourself, your traits, and your personality, and adapt your approach to best suit the type of person you are. Think along the lines of your Enneagram or Myers-Briggs type, only more refined.
4. Never Give Up
If you can master patience and perseverance, you can master anything. Change is not always easy; if it were, you’d have done it already. It requires a steely determination to not quit when the going gets tough. This is one of the key foundations onto which all goals are built.
5. Accept Your Flaws
I know, I know, we just spoke about never giving up. And, yes, you can always try to better yourself in any way, shape, or form you see fit. But given that change is a lifelong process, you also have to accept that you are not perfect and never will be. Think of yourself as a work in progress.
6. Make Better Decisions
You make hundreds of choices each and every day: which sweater to wear, what to put in your sandwich, which playlist to listen to. It’s the big decisions, however, that really matter. Get those right and your life can change in all sorts of positive ways.
7. Practice Gratitude Daily
You will not appreciate anything until you can appreciate everything. Ok, that’s a nice sound bite, but realistically speaking, this doesn’t have to include the really bad stuff (we’re not trying to diminish serious trauma here). It should, however, include all the little things you probably overlook on a daily basis, but that make life so worthwhile.
8. Be Open-minded
There are many opinions and many perspectives in this world; yours will be different to those held by others. Seek to remain open to the possibility that what you believe to be true isn’t necessarily the case. Most things are subjective and to think otherwise is a barrier to growth.
9. Commit To Lifelong Learning
We learn things each and every day; life is always providing lessons. But you can also commit to a life of serious, meaningful learning in order to challenge yourself, grow your mind and perspectives, and promote good mental health and brain health.
10. Live Authentically
What’s the point of living life as someone you’re not? Why hide your true self behind some facade? Instead, strive to be genuine, honest, and authentic in everything you do. You’ll find life is much easier and more enjoyable when you are comfortable in your own skin.
11. Believe In Yourself
Have a little faith in yourself and in your ability to endure and overcome any hardship or face any challenge. When you have true self-belief, you can approach life with confidence and resolve, and this will bring you a great deal of peace.
12. Overcome Your Anxiety
Dovetailing nicely with self-belief is the goal of diffusing any anxious thoughts and feelings you might have. This won’t happen overnight, but it is possible to work on your anxiety and reduce its impact on your life over a period of time. All it takes is the right tools and continued effort and perseverance.
13. Learn To Cope With Stress
Life will send stressful events your way; that’s inevitable. But you have some say in how you respond to these events. If you can approach any trial or tribulation with a calmness and assurance, you will find them easier to bear and quicker to resolve. Finding ways to deal with your stress is a must.
14. Be A Better Friend
The people you share your life with will have a huge influence on your enjoyment of it. Likewise, you will have a huge impact on the lives of others. By being a good friend to those you care about – and this includes your family too – you can be a source of joy and a pillar of support.
15. Ditch Drama
Filling your life with drama might seem like a good way to feel alive, avoid boredom, and express yourself, but you are only being held hostage by your ego. A life free from drama is less stressful, more joyful, and better for your mental health.
16. Nurture Optimism
Whether you see the glass as half full or half empty can influence your life in countless ways. A more optimistic mindset is linked to better general health and can make you more receptive to positive outcomes. Just be sure not to let a hopeful outlook stray into the realms of misguided, delusional optimism.
17. Find A Healthy Work-Life Balance
We spend huge chunks of our lives working, yet many people have an unhealthy relationship with their work. You should strive to find a balance between your work and the rest of your life. Always keep this in mind: work to live, don’t live to work.
18. Be More Mindful Of The Present Moment
Speaking of work, it’s important that you stop thinking about it when you are away from it. Push it out of your consciousness along with any other troubles that you can’t act on. Be present in whatever you ARE doing; be mindful of the people you are with and the places you go. This will bring you true peace of mind.
19. Shake Bad Habits
Our habits play such a large role in our lives, and if you can break those that might be detrimental to your well-being, you can shift your life in a more positive direction. Whether that’s quitting smoking, checking your phone less often, or not picking at your skin, conquer your bad habits and watch what happens.
20. Form Good Habits
While breaking your bad habits, you can form new, healthier habits to take their place. Habits that improve your physical and mental well-being; habits that simplify your life; habits that improve your relationships. Just remember that habits take time to form, so, as stated in goal #4, don’t give up on them.
21. Manage Your Expectations
Placing too much importance on the outcome of future events or the actions of other people is a recipe for disaster. It can leave you feeling disappointed and resentful when reality doesn’t match your expectations. Instead, try to be mentally nimble and accept the uncertainty of life.
22. Embrace Failure
Now seems like a good time to bring up failure and any misguided fear of it that you might have. Know that failure is an essential part of your continued growth and development. You fail so that you might learn so that you might try again so that you might achieve great things.
23. Grow Beyond Your Comfort Zone
Real learning, real change comes from stepping out of your comfort zone and having the courage to try new things. While there are no guarantees that you’ll enjoy every adventure you go on, you’ll look back on many with a great fondness and be glad you took that leap of faith.
24. Conquer Your Fears
Going beyond your comfort zone will often mean facing and overcoming your fears. This will require the self-belief from goal #11 and you may need the help of others, but if you can topple the fears that hold you back in life, you will open up a world of new possibilities.
25. Identify Your Passion
Knowing what you love to do and doing it often will have such a profound impact on your life. You will discover a verve and enthusiasm you never knew you had, and this will spread to other areas of your life too. This passion can be anything at all, big or small. Pursue it, delve deep into it, and let it fuel your inner fire.
26. Let Go Of The Past
If you carry your past around with you like some rucksack full of regret, guilt, sadness, and anger, it’s time to let it go. Take note of the lessons you’ve learned, but release the emotional burden attached to negative past events. Hold on to memories and feelings of good times, however, as these are weightless and only life you up.
27. Learn To Forgive Yourself And Others
A big part of letting go of the past is learning to forgive. Forgiveness doesn’t mean forgetting what someone has done; it means not allowing that action to influence your present or future. It means extinguishing the flame that keeps any ill feelings burning.
28. Develop A Healthy Relationship With Money And Material Possessions
One of the major personal challenges of our time is to forge a relationship with money and material things that does not contribute to anxiety, stress, and other neuroses. You will likely need to loosen your grip on wealth and accept that more money and more possessions will not automatically lead to greater happiness.
29. Develop An Abundance Mindset
An effective way to pursue a healthier relationship with money and possessions is to form an abundance mindset. This means you remain optimistic about your ability to provide for yourself and others in the belief that resources are plentiful and you have the ability to acquire them as necessary.
30. Find Your Tribe
Whilst we are all unique individuals, we share common likes and dislikes with other people. If you can find these people, you will feel a sense of belonging like you’ve never felt before. You will feel comfortable, relaxed, and able to express your true self without fear of ridicule or criticism.
31. Improve Your Communication Skills
How we interact and communicate with other people underpins much of our daily lives. By learning to communicate your thoughts and wishes more effectively, and by listening to and understanding those of the other person, you can forge a bond, be a better friend, help things run smoothly, and reduce the risk of confrontation.
32. Set And Enforce Personal Boundaries
You are not a resource to be used and abused by others. It is vital that you know where your limits are so that you may set boundaries for others to respect. This might be boundaries in relationships, amongst family members, between friends, or in the workplace. Just be sure to enforce these boundaries.
33. Balance Your Need For Control
Some things are within your control and some things are not. Learning which is which and accepting it either way can alleviate a great deal of anxiety. You will no longer punish yourself for something that you had no say over, nor will you remain passive in situations where your actions make a difference.
34. Be A Positive Influence On The World
Perhaps one of the most important goals any of us can set is to shine a positive light into the world. Believe it or not, you can change the world for the better and make the lives of others that bit brighter in the process. Aspire to do good and you’ll reap the benefits for it.
35. Be More Productive With Your Time
Time is an ever-dwindling resource in your mortal existence. Each second that passes is one you will never get back, so it is a worthwhile endeavor to try to maximize what you achieve with it. Practicing discipline and learning to focus intently on a task will help you be as productive as possible.
36. Learn To Respond Appropriately To A Given Situation
How we respond to the circumstances we face is one of the few immutable human freedoms. Thus, a good personal development goal is to find the most appropriate and reasonable response each time. This means avoiding anger where it is of no help, and not catastrophizing about things that you are equipped to deal with.
37. Develop A Thick Skin
People often say or do things that are hurtful to others, which is why having a thick skin can be so useful. You can learn to not take things so personally or worry about what others think of you. This will give you the freedom to live the authentic life from goal #10.
38. Engage In Positive Self-talk
The ways in which you talk to and about yourself, both verbally and inside your mind, can influence how you think, feel, and act. By keeping the language and tone positive, you can encourage greater self-esteem and self-belief. You’d be surprised just how much a positive inner monologue can influence your motivation and energy levels.
39. Define Your Own Vision Of Success
Why live by everyone else’s ideals when you can define what success and happiness looks like for you? It doesn’t matter one iota if your vision differs from the norm, as long as you believe in it. Knowing what success means to you will give you clarity about what needs to be done to achieve it.
40. Open Your Eyes And See The World
When we are children, we look at the world through eyes of pure wonder. We marvel at the sky, the trees, the people, and everything we interact with. Make it your goal to regain this sense of awe and look at things, really look at things and remind yourself just how amazing it is to be alive.
41. Work On Your Empathy
Being able to relate to another human being, to feel their pain and their joy, and to express your concern for their plight is a wonderful thing. It brings people closer together, it eases their burdens, and it will transform your life in so many ways.
42. Expel Toxic Behaviors
Whether from yourself or in the form of other people, you should seek to rid your life of as many toxic behaviors as possible. As you expel them from your life, they create a vacuum into which more positive things will flow.
43. Take Life Less Seriously
Life is serious at times, but these are more the exception than the rule. In general, you will get more enjoyment out of life if you can take it all a little less seriously. Laugh at things that inconvenience you. Laugh at yourself when you do something stupid. Just laugh because laughing is great.
44. Build Your Confidence
To take a thought and turn it into an action – that’s what confidence is all about. Whether it’s asking someone on a date, quitting your job to set up a business, or speaking to an audience, your confidence levels can either hold you back or propel you forward. Which would you rather?
45. Practice Self-reflection
One of the most powerful tools for self-growth is to sit and quietly reflect on your thoughts and actions. The process of introspection, of looking inward to better understand who you are and why you do certain things is essential if you want to learn from your mistakes and refine your behaviors.
46. Care For Yourself
Too many people fail to look after number one, either because they don’t see it as a priority, they’re too busy looking after others, or they don’t know how. Learning proper self-care and making it a part of your routine will change your life forever. When you take care of yourself, you can take care of life.
47. Live Life To YOUR Fullest
Goal #35 highlighted the limited time we are given on this planet. That’s why you should seek to get as much from it as you can. BUT, make sure that you are doing it on your terms. Much like goal #39, you shouldn’t feel compelled to jump out of an airplane or travel the world if you’d rather spend time at your allotment or coaching a kid’s baseball team.
48. Identify Your Purpose In Life
Tying in nicely with the previous point, you ought to spend some time identifying what your real purpose is. If you can answer the question, “What brings meaning to my life?” and then act from this foundation in everything you do, you’ll find true contentment.
49. Reprogram Your Mind
Your mind, or more specifically your brain, influences every part of your life. The goals above will almost all depend on you being able to train your brain to think and act in new ways. Luckily, your brain is flexible and “plastic” enough to adapt quickly using the right approach. Understanding how this process works will help accelerate all of the changes above.
50. Now It’s Your Turn
Ok, so this is a bit of a cheat, but take a moment now to really think about your personal development goals and which of those above are most important to you. Or, if you have other goals in mind, leave them in a comment below to help other readers gain clarity on the path they’d like to take.