Personal Development 101 – Goals, Benefits and Creating Your Plan

What Is Personal Development 

Personal development is a process that never really comes to a close. Ideally, we would spend our lives continuously developing and leveling up. Often, however, we get to a point where we plateau like a body builder. We reach a point that we are fine with and just stop trying to achieve the next step. However, personal development is a lifelong and competitive process.  

Those who plateau, or just stop, are the individuals who we see stagnate in one spot in their lives. They stop improving. While this may be alright for a while, eventually it can take a toll on a person’s personal life, social standing, career prospects, emotional well-being, and spiritual strength.  

The Primary Goal and Benefits of Personal Development 

The primary goal of personal development is to grow as a human in cognitive, physical, and spiritual aspects. Many people look at the concept of personal development as just another New Age woohoo, so they ignore it or downplay its importance. Others refuse to accept personal development as a necessary part of life because any concept of personal development requires self-reflection, and they may not like what they find.  

Still, others seek out personal development because they’ve gotten a good dose of selfreflection, either accidentally or through intentional action, and saw a need for change. It’s important to remember that the difference between feedback and criticism is how you choose to perceive it.  

Working on self-esteem, self-confidence, and self-awareness requires skill development, a growth mindset, and addressing emotional regulation. Developing that desire to continuously learn and grow bolsters self-esteem, and confidence because it adds to a person’s knowledge base.  

Having a hard time trusting your best-friend, spouse, co-workers, or even your boss might be rooted in an actual breach of trust. It might also have something to do with underdevelopment in an acceptance and/or understanding of the concepts of Forgiveness, Empathy, Trust, Communication, and your Intrapersonal relationship.  

Personal development in these areas can help you to develop a personal sense of why you’re seeing this particular dysfunction in your reflection. It may also help you to help others who also have difficulty with heavy hitters like forgiveness and trust.  

Address physical needs like stress and emotional regulation, getting the proper amount of sleep, proper diet, and consulting your physician to help you treat your body like the temple it is rather than treating it like a lean-to; as many of us are guilty of doing.  

Benefits Of Personal Development 

  • Benefits of personal development include… 
  • Developing a greater self-awareness 
  • Improving your sense of identity, self-worth, and confidence 
  • Discovering strengths, you might not be aware of 
  • Creating the possibility and option for you to address and develop the life-skills, tactile skills, or mental skills you may have difficulty with 
  • Enhance your quality of life through improving your self-confidence, esteem, and awareness 
  • Develop your resilience 
  • Improve your career potential, or discover new potentials that better fit with your values and mores; obtaining a greater respect for yourself, your values, and your happiness 
  • Improve your social and familial standing by commanding greater respect through growth 
  • Improvement in your financial security as you reach new heights in your career goals and potential 

The difference in allowing yourself to be depressed by the needs for personal development that you see and choosing to address those issues in positive and helpful ways, is how you choose to view yourself as a person. There is room for personal development in all of our lives because this is a life-long process. So, when an individual notices the need for personal development in an aspect of their lives, the issues of self-confidence and self-esteem are addressed. 

Often, seeing ourselves truthfully delivers a hit to our confidence and self-esteem. In fact, it should bolster it. Because, now that you know what needs improvement and development, you know something you didn’t before:  

What to address and where to start. Knowing where you stand in your life, and environment helps to give you a better understand of where you stand in achieving your end all, be all aspirations and dreams. These are what motivate and drive us. 

Personal development is difficult because change is difficult. We often fight back against change because it threatens to unbalance us and knock our hard-won equilibrium eschew. It’s the challenge of overcoming these instances of imbalance or disequilibrium which ultimately develop our resilience and drive us to improve through personal development.  

A Plan For Personal Development 

A Personal Development Plan will serve as your guide to remind you that you’re not a finished product. We aren’t born whole, or complete, in a developmental sense. We go through stages of growth in our childhood for a reason: To illustrate to us the importance continuing to grow as adults.  

Areas of Personal Development 

Your personal development plan should focus on all three aspects of personal development. 

  • Spiritual 
  • Mental 
  • Physical 

Paying attention to all three areas and working on them ensures that all three primary areas of your life are seeing growth and improvement.  

Your spiritual personal development can include areas of faith, self-esteem, philosophy, emotional well-being, etc. Many people make the leap from spiritual to religious. This is a completely separate concept. Religion is merely one part of many that can be considered in spiritual personal development, but it’s not crucial.  

Mental personal development includes areas that focus on your psychological and educational growth. Keeping a growth mind-set, or at the very least, developing growth mindset activities is one way to develop here. This denotes any areas that focus on addressing learning new skills, applying what you know, and working on skills that maybe don’t come naturally to you, and so on.  

Physical personal development will include any areas of development that focus on the things that affect you physically. Your emotions, the amount of stress in your life, what your diet may consist of or lack, how you treat your body, and the amount of sleep you get.  

Develop a Plan 

  • Don’t procrastinate 
  • Take small steps 
  • Learn 
  • Accept that things must change 
  • Stay Humble 
  • Be Passionate 
  • Take Responsibility 

Don’t procrastinate 

Anything worth doing is worth doing now. How many times have you promised yourself that you’ll get to that House To-Do list only to completely forego the effort later? How long have you been putting it off?  

Exactly. Procrastination is the killer of ambition, growth, and development because tomorrow (literally) never comes. It will forever remain just past the horizon.  

Baby Steps 

Every year, hundreds of thousands of New Year’s Resolutions get left in the pile of best intentions. The reason is that change is hard for humans. To effect lasting and meaningful change in our lives we have to take small steps in addressing our foundational motivations.  

Don’t start out by telling yourself to accomplish a book length list by the end of the week. Start by asking yourself where you want to be in 10 years. Break-up that long-term goal into smaller pieces. Start in your future, and work back to your present, breaking your goals up into smaller and smaller pieces as you go. Eventually, you’ll get to a point where you can see a way through your smaller goals and baby steps in personal development 


Never assume you know it all. Rest assured that it doesn’t matter what subject area you have expertise in, or even if you’re a leading authority in your field. There will always be an aspect that you can learn more about or a situation you can learn from.  

As you create your personal development plan, take into account the opportunities you will have, or can take, to learn from new experiences, other people, or even books.  

Accept that things must change 

No matter what your goals are, you aren’t going to get there unless you accept personal change and growth. Development can’t occur without it. As with learning, take the time to take advantage of any situation that might instigate change within you.  

Change can be scary but avoiding it can be stagnating.  

Stay Humble 

It’s important that you celebrate and recognize your growth and development. However, it’s also a good idea to keep a focus on what you already have. “The grass looks greener on the other side” pathways can lead you to lose focus on your goals, and achievements. It’s important to strive to level up in life and to seek personal development, but make sure that its cost doesn’t include your achievements, and relationships.  

Be Passionate 

While we all have to do things, we don’t want to do every now and then, creating a personal development plan should be centered on what drives your passions- not what you detest. Working with and from your passions provides ambition and drive to actually see your personal development through. This should not be taken as, or used to excuse avoiding tasks you don’t like, learning new skills that may prove to be difficult, or sharpening life-skills that don’t come naturally to you. Without working incorporating challenge in your personal development you won’t grow because there’ll be no development of your resilience.  

Take Responsibility 

Finally, take responsibility for you. You may not have complete control over the actions of others, the associated consequences, or even the consequences of your own actions, but you do have control over your own actions and responses.  

If you give up, fail to challenge yourself, or leave intention out of your plan, that’s on you. Be intentional in what you want. Focus on that 10 or 20 year plan and take intentional steps to see your dreams and ambitions realized.  


Unfortunately, there’s no one-size fits all field guide to personal development since personal development encompasses a wide range of concepts. However, focusing on you, what drives you, what you want to accomplish and highlighting the areas you need to develop will give you a good start on your personal development plan.