How to Set Personal Development Goals (Plus Benefits and Tips)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 30 March 2022

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.

Setting personal development goals is necessary for successful career advancement, no matter your profession. Coming up with well-defined work goals can help you assess yourself and develop professionally. Before deciding on personal development goals, it can be helpful to learn more about goal setting and its role in professional development. In this article, we discuss how to set personal development goals, the benefits of goal setting, five examples of work goals and ways to achieve them successfully.

Related: Career Advancement Strategies (With Steps and Tips)

What are personal development goals?

Personal development goals are ambitions that provide a vision for your career path and precise direction for skill development. Deciding on these goals and how to reach them are the first steps to improving your skills and professional qualifications. Developing these goals may include assessing yourself and recognising your areas for growth. It's a process of planning how to improve your strengths and maximise your potential.

The steps you plan to reach your goal may help you assess and measure your progress while keeping you focused on your desired results. You can either set short-term or long-term goals. A short-term goal is a plan you want to complete in the next few days or months, mostly in less than a year. Long-term development goals can help you answer the interview question, "Where do you see yourself and your career in five years?"

Related: What Are Some Common Career Development Goals Examples

How to set personal development goals

Setting personal development goals can help you build your career and improve your work performance. Consider these four steps to help you get started:

1. Create a vision

A professional vision is like your career navigation system. Develop a vision that anchors you to your values while making it possible for you to stay true to your big dream. Creating a vision for your career path includes assessing your achievements and career desires to pinpoint your personal development goals. A clear-sighted vision is specific, measurable, actionable, realistic and time-bound.

Related: 15 Key Areas for Development (With Examples and Tips)

2. Develop a plan

The second step is to gather ideas and make a strategy for achieving your vision. Consider what types of development activities may improve your skills, education and character to accomplish your desired results. Organise each goal into smaller steps for easier management. Because personal development is a continuous learning process, you may continue to add activities to your plan even after you've begun, if suggestions or research can show the benefits.

Related: How to Write a Development Plan (With Example)

3. Monitor your progress

Document your improvements as you work on your personal goals. Ensure that you analyse your written data to recognise the changes you make. Make note of any outcomes these developments have on your career. Monitoring your progress can help you evaluate best practices and achieve your objectives faster.

Related: How To Assess Yourself (With Self-Evaluation Examples)

4. Regularly review your strategy

Assess your plan regularly to implement any changes that may improve your plans. Periodic appraisals can help you evaluate the strategies of your current path. They can also help you decide if your goals are still on target. If you notice progress during your appraisal process, you can adjust your timelines to add new personal work goals.

Related: Individual Development Plan Samples (With Definition and Steps)

Benefits of setting work goals

Personal development work goals provide a channel for career advancement among professionals and other employees. Benefits of setting personal objectives for your career include:

Advanced work ethic

Personal development goals can give a new focus to your work. Approaching your daily assignments with a development mindset may increase your level of dedication and interest. You can stay motivated to advance your career and accomplish every task you attempt.

Better perception

Setting personal development goals can involve changing jobs or seeking promotion to advanced positions. Your objectives can push you to develop new skills and maximise your potential. Clear work goals can help you focus on the development that may help you reach these goals. Employees who set attainable work goals have a higher chance of achieving and sometimes going beyond their original plans.

Enhanced focus

Staff members who develop clear work goals may complete tasks with a strong sense of clarity and better focus. Your personal work goals help you avoid distractions because you recognise the importance of your assignment. Organising your priorities can help you know how to approach each job, what to delegate or how much time to dedicate to each task. Personal work goals help point out areas in your career where you can improve or change and what workable steps can lead you there.

Personal achievement

Professionals set work goals because they understand this process plays a critical role in their career development. You can achieve your professional aspirations if you set reasonable objectives. Goals provide an opportunity for you to stand out from your team members and improve your work experience. Employees who achieve their work goals feel more fulfilled, self-confident and successful.

Related: Effective Ways to Enhance Your Personal Development Skills

Increased productivity

Professional development may lead to better and increased output in the workplace. Employees who set attainable objectives may experience greater productivity, efficiency and results. Self-improvement might also mean acquiring new skills that may boost your productivity at work.

Related: 12 Tips for Working From Home to Enhance Your Productivity

Improved workplace relationships

Your dedication to personal advancement objectives can help develop positive workplace relationships. As you experience growth in your skills and other abilities, the value of professional affiliations can improve. You may become a mentor, a role model and a mentor to other employees.

Related: Conflict Management Skills (With Definition and Examples)

Tips for achieving your personal development goals

Successful professionals create realistic plans of action and work hard to achieve them. Consider these four tips to help you achieve your work goals:

Write your goals

Write your short- and long-term work goals according to priority. We recommend you create objectives that are realistic and workable. But also try to step out of your safe space and set ambitious goals. Looking at your work goals every day can remind you of your plan and long-term goals.

Related: Examples of Short-Term Goals to Improve Your Career

Share your goals

Motivation can help you achieve your career objectives. Share your personal work goals with coworkers, friends and family members who motivate you, as they can remind you to stay focused on your vision. Your friends can help keep you accountable.

Related: 21 Personal Goal Examples to Set For Yourself (With Tips)

Visualise your goals

Create a mental picture of where you want to be in the future and visualise yourself being at the level of your vision. You can set goal milestones to help you mark the end of a group of tasks or a process. Such an example can include completing part of a training program in achieving your career goal. Consider creating a vision board to help yourself stay focused.

Related: How to Achieve Goals in 8 Steps (With Common Benefits)

Allocate time

Having a realistic time frame is critical for the success of your personal development goals. Time limits keep you working toward your objectives without distraction and help you balance your work life. Ensure that you include the start and end date in the time frame.

Related: Tips for Better Work-Life Balance

Examples of personal work goals

There are many work goals you can choose from to start a personal development plan. Discussed below are five examples you can select from to help you set your objectives:

Establish a growth mindset

In a growth mindset concept, your way of thinking changes and you believe you can improve your most basic abilities through commitment and hard work. You can improve how you set your goals and monitor your progress and performance. Assess your talents and experience as a starting point for growth.

Related: What Is Career Development? (With Strategies and Tips)

Cultivate resilience

Resilience is a characteristic of a problem solver. A resilient individual navigates through complex situations quickly and with ease. Resilience is beneficial as a personal development goal because it keeps you pressing on through any challenge. Setting resilience as one of your work goals motivates you to remain focused on your tasks until you find success.

Upgrade your public speaking skills

Public speaking has substantial personal benefits, such as improved critical thinking and self-esteem. Good public speaking skills enable you to communicate clearly and confidently with your team members. Improving your oral communication prowess also helps you deliver a better presentation to the board and makes you more engaging during staff meetings.

Related: How to Improve Your Public Speaking Skills (With Tips)

Meet new people

Meeting new people can introduce networking opportunities and encourage career connections. Creating new business contacts expands your network and opens up other possibilities in your industry. When you meet strangers, you can also share your ideas or learn new things from others. Visiting unfamiliar environments can present you with opportunities to have more conversations with unknown people.

Build professional relationships

Healthy work relationships benefit your career and improve your work performance. Professional liaisons allow teams to work together to achieve a common goal. They help employees achieve advanced creativity and innovation in the workplace. Being on good terms with your team members allows you to focus on opportunities rather than dwell on issues associated with poor work ethics and relationships.

Related: A Complete Guide on How to Build a Network (Plus Benefits)

Explore more articles