How to Set Personal Development Goals For Success 

 May 21, 2017

By  Craig Beck

How to Set Personal Development Goals

Live your best life, develop into the person you were meant to be, achieve your desires.

It sounds like a tall order, but it doesn’t have to be. Setting realistic and achievable personal development goals can help you achieve the success you’ve dreamed of.

It takes patience and persistence, but if you follow the steps below, you will be right on track. And there’s no better time to get started than right now.


What is your purpose in life? What are you passionate about? And what’s missing?

You may want to work on developing your relationships, improving your confidence, or making better choices. Maybe you want to become a better leader.

A brainstorm can be a good method to come up with these ideas. Sit down with a pen and paper and make lists of the most important aspects of your life that need improvement.

If you want to be successful, write down specifically what success would look like for you. Take a look at the big picture, and think about what you want your life to look like a year from now.

Write SMART Personal Development Goals

Now you’re ready to create your personal development goals. Look at your brainstorm and isolate the items that are most important to you and your success.

Write out your goals using the SMART goal standards. Goals should be:

Specific: Your goals should focus on one particular aspect of your personal development. Instead of saying “I want to be a better person,” or “I want to be successful,” focus on becoming a better leader, or learning mindfulness.

Measurable: How will you know if the goal has been achieved? If your goal is to make better financial choices, you need to know what that will look like. Focus on something tangible, like setting a budget and sticking to it.

Attainable: Is this goal realistic? Or does it not go far enough? If you don’t have the time and resources to achieve a goal, then it’s time to rethink it.

For example, becoming the CEO of your company may not be a feasible goal for you at the moment. Instead, you could think about what the next step up from your current position would be.

Relevant: Make sure your goal fits into the bigger picture. Is it relevant to your larger image of personal success? You may want to run a marathon, but does that fit in with your life priorities?

Time-Bound: Give yourself enough time to achieve your goal, and have a time frame for when the measures of achievement should have been met.

It may not be possible to write and publish a novel in a month, but if you do your research you can set a more realistic time frame. If later you find that your time frame was not realistic, you can make adjustments.

Now, Go Backwards

Start with the goals you just created, and work backward to where you are now. How can you get from point A to point B? What can you do this day, this week, and this year, to get to where you want to be in the long run?

Make a plan. This is where having measurable and timely goals comes into play: A plan will help you to focus on the step-by-step process of achieving your personal development goals, and it will also help to alleviate the fear of failing.

Think Short Term

Focusing on the big picture can inspire you, but it can also be daunting. Break up your goals into small, achievable items you can accomplish each day.

Write them down and prioritize them in a daily to-do list. Setting priorities is critical: it’s easy to get distracted by the small stuff, but you need to keep your most important items in mind.

Develop a daily routine that incorporates the goals. Taking the short-term steps to reach your personal development goals may mean retraining your brain with new habits.

Be patient: it can take 66 days or more to develop a new habit.

Treat Yourself

Set benchmarks for yourself on your way to achieving your goals, and reward yourself whenever you meet a benchmark.

We’ve all heard of the study where a child was given a second marshmallow as a reward for abstaining from eating the first. One of the keys to achieving your personal development goals will be to be patient with yourself and know that the rewards will come.

You can probably think of plenty of ways to reward yourself for a job well done. Choose something that will be a good motivator, before and after you reach each benchmark.

Keep Your Eyes on the Personal Development Prize

Always keep your personal development goals front and center with positive affirmations. Remind yourself of your goals and that you are capable of achieving them.

Your family and friends can also be an excellent resource for you in your journey. Tell people about your goals so they can support you and help you stay accountable.

It can also be helpful to join a group of people with similar goals. If you want to learn mindfulness, for example, you can take a course in it and interact with others who have the same goal.

Remember to always remain positive and try to be confident. If you don’t feel confident before taking a step forward in your journey, do it anyway. Acting as if you are confident can be a key to developing actual confidence.

Stop and Evaluate

personal development goalsOnce you’ve gotten SMART down, it’s time to get SMARTER–it’s Evaluation and Review time.

Schedule a time during the year to stop and evaluate your progress on your personal development goals.

Have you already achieved them? Are you not even on track to achieving them? Take some time to either reset more reasonable goals or pat yourself on the back for a job well done.

Of course, there’s always room for improvement, and achieving a goal can give you the confidence you need to move on to the next. Achieving a goal causes the brain to release dopamine, so it’s no coincidence that you feel ready to tackle anything.

Even if you haven’t achieved what you’d hoped, though, don’t give up. Persistence is what will get you to the personal development you’re looking for.

Tell us about your personal development goals in the comments section, and read more about the law of attraction in our blog.

Craig Beck

Craig Beck ([email protected]) is the author of several bestselling personal development books and audiobooks. 

Including Unleashed: How to love yourself more and unlock your full potential, available on Amazon, Audible and in all good bookstores.  

Craig is also a certified master practitioner of neuro-linguistic programming, hypnotherapy, timeline therapy and a highly in-demand international motivational speaker.

Craig Beck