Goals for personal development

At one time in my life I worked in an educational capacity, and one of the most powerful terms to me at that time, which still resonates with me now, is 'life long learning'. Gone are the days when we feel we have it all sorted and don’t have any more personal development goals. This is refreshing. We can never stop learning!


When we need to develop ourselves, we have to move from where we are now to where we want to be. We act on our aspirations for a new future and the key to success is to keep moving forward. An important way to do this is to set and realise goals on your journey.

Goal setting for personal development

Set your compass

It is important to focus on what you want to achieve. Know where you want to go. Think about what the outcome you would like to see looks like, and how you know you will have got there.

Know the why

You are more likely to put effort into achieving your goals if they matter to you. You understand why they are important, that they resonate with you, and add value to your life.

Create a vision statement

What is your vision for your personal development? This is an aspirational description of what you would like to achieve in the short term or longer-term future. It can be really helpful to write this down. It will serve as a clear map for you guiding your future courses of action. When we feel that we are getting off course, we can come back and remind ourselves of the 'why' in the beginning.

Visualise your future self

Imagine what you will look like when you have achieved your goal. What will you be doing, feeling like, and what will it give you that means it is worthwhile to put in all that hard work? This can help with motivation.

Make goals small and achievable

If your goals are too large, it can feel a bit insurmountable, like a steep climb up a rockface! If you make your goals smaller and achievable, then you are more like to feel accomplishment.

Make it regular

There is research to show that regular goals are more effective. The regularity makes it more routine and easier to fit into your lifestyle, so it's more likely to happen!

Use accountability

Goals that have an interpersonal component are more likely to be achieved, as you feel more accountable so are more likely to be productive! Having a coach, for example, can be helpful with the accountable part.

Have a plan of action

Put together a plan of action to work towards your goals and factor in any contingencies so you know you have them covered. This might involve eliciting support from others, working out timescales and how to deal with anything that could steer you off course.

Have a positive mindset

Use positive thoughts when embarking on your action plan toward your goals. Be compassionate to yourself. Think "I can do this", "I can develop my skills and accept that we don’t always get things right the first time", that actually "making mistakes is part of the learning cycle that we all go through to be more effective in the long run". Surround yourself with people that can help boost this positive mindset and never go back; never give up.

So to sum up, remember to ensure that you have small, regular steps towards your goals, that they have an accountability factor, you are compassionate to yourself, and that you link your goals to vision and values. I hope this article has been of help, and good luck with your personal development whatever you are working on currently.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Life Coach Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

Share this article with a friend
Bristol, BS48 2NF
Written by Sarah Clark, Mariposa Coaching
Bristol, BS48 2NF

I am a coaching practitioner of 20 years. I use evidence based coaching psychology approaches. My portfolio includes working with Drs, lawyers, teachers, small businesses, charities, busy parents, couples, CEOs and young people. I also design and deliver training for management and staff in the workplace. Contact me for a free initial consultation.

Show comments

Find a coach dealing with Personal development

All coaches are verified professionals

All coaches are verified professionals