What are personal development goals? 10 examples and how to set them

Written by Bruno Boksic
Personal development goals examples
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Personal development goals can help employees build their skills. New skills won’t be limited to their personal lives; they have a spillover effect. The individual will become a better person and help them become better employees in the workplace. 

But which personal development goals provide the biggest benefits? And how can employees set them and employers help them achieve them? These questions and more will be addressed in this article.

First, let’s start by going over what personal development goals are.

What are personal development goals?

Personal development goals are objectives that individuals set for themselves. Once achieved, these objectives can benefit an individual’s personal life, improving their health, well-being, and happiness. 

10 examples of personal development goals

There are hundreds of personal development goals that individuals can set for themselves. The following ten will provide big rewards for those that achieve them.

Examples personal development goals

Building better relationships

No person is an island. No matter how talented an individual is at what they do, they need positive relationships to be happy. With that in mind, one of the first personal development goals an employee should set is to build better relationships, both personal and professional. 

The employee should focus on active listening in conversations and how to ask better questions. These skills will help them create stronger and more trusting relationships with the people around them. 

Becoming confident

Confidence plays a massive role in various aspects of an individual’s life. It affects most things, from building relationships with significant others to asking for a promotion or handling a job interview positively. 

So it’s no wonder that confidence should be a priority personal development goal for employees. 

Building courage through defeating fear

Courage is the value that enables every other value. A courageous individual can stand up for what they think is right: their values. Confronting your fears is a difficult task for anyone, but it’s the most effective way to build courage. 

For inspiration, employees can look at an initiative called “100 days of rejection.” Jia Jiang started this project by asking people for favors, expecting to be rejected. He did so to become more courageous and the results were surprising (he even flew a gyroplane). 

Working on emotional intelligence

Emotional intelligence is vital both in an individual’s personal life and in the workplace, which makes it a good personal development goal. 

With higher emotional intelligence, individuals will be able to “read” emotions better, become more empathetic, and learn how to communicate their emotions effectively. All of these skills are immensely valuable in personal lives and will also help to create better employees. 

Creating new habits

Motivation can only last so long, and that’s why individuals should invest that motivation into building new habits. 

A habit is automatic; we don’t necessarily think about doing it. There are healthy habits that individuals can pick up that will help them become better people, such as reading, being generous or grateful, or listening first before speaking out. 

With habits, it’s about starting small and then ramping it up later. The results don’t come from doing it once or twice, but by doing it regularly. 

Improving productivity

Employees can set a personal development goal to increase their productivity, both in their personal and professional settings. Improving productivity doesn’t mean increasing their working hours, but instead aims to help the employee to handle their tasks and objectives more efficiently and effectively. 

On top of that, employees will learn how to manage their time better. They will know which projects to take on and how much time they will need for them. And the best thing is that becoming more productive will help individuals achieve all of their other personal development goals. 

Reading books

Garbage in, garbage out. If an individual doesn’t feed themselves with good information, they won’t be able to produce things of quality. So it’s no wonder that reading books is a popular personal development goal. 

Reading new (and old) books will help the individual learn things they can use in their personal and professional lives. Books help people become more creative, informed, and solution-oriented. Employees should start slow and set a daily goal for their book readings and then ramp it up from there. By reading just 20 pages a day, the individual can read 40-50 books a year

Learning how to handle stress

There’s so much stress in the daily lives of every employee. That stress doesn’t stop when work finishes; employees bring it home and it continues to eat them up. It’s impossible to simply switch off at 5 pm, especially in a world where remote work blurs the line between work and life. 

So individuals can set a personal development goal of learning how to handle stress better. Stress management will help the employee avoid burnout and handle difficult tasks at work and tricky situations in life. 

Mindfulness and presence

With so many things happening at the same time, it’s increasingly difficult for individuals to remain in the moment. We always look to the future, wondering what will happen next and running off to do the next task. 

Practicing mindfulness and presence can be a beneficial personal development goal. They help individuals stay in the moment, which enables them to focus on their current tasks without getting distracted. Not only that, but employees practicing mindfulness can find ways to be grateful for small things that happen around them, lowering their stress levels. 

Improved decision-making

Decision-making is a skill that every individual can learn. There are different levels of decision-making:

Levels decision making

An individual can set a personal development goal to move from more emotional decision-making to greater value-based decision-making. Emotional decision-making is when employees allow their emotions to dictate their choices, so they may simply do what they want. This can be destructive for the individual. 

Value-based decision-making, on the other hand, is a superior form because the individual bases their decisions on their strongly held values. Consequently, the choices they make will reinforce the core values in their lives.  

The strength of personal development goals 

Personal development goals generally have positive effects on every individual. To help your employees attain their personal development goals, you can give them ideas for achievable objectives, including a starting point and an end point. 

Also give them a skills assessment when they start on their journey to assess their “base form.” When they achieve their personal development goals, you can give them further skills tests to see how much they evolved over the course of the journey. 

You can take a look at our Test Library for inspiration; we have over 200 scientifically proven tests that you can use to help your employees reach their personal development goals. Sign up for your free plan with us today, and start creating skills assessments straight away.

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