Organizing Personal Development

Pursuing a path of personal development may seem daunting at first. You know you want to improve yourself, achieve more success in your life, and be a better person. But where do you start? Everyone has a different opinion. How you do you categorize the different elements of personal development? Is it more than just getting motivated to do the things you already know you should be doing? Why are some better at this than others?


By organizing, I’m referring to breaking personal development into the key areas that are important. Each category is different, yet an important part of the overall complexity of life success. Which ones are most important is depends on your situation and your goals. Let’s look at some ways to categorize personal development, as a tool to help you choose the areas you wish to focus on.

Wikipedia suggests the following key activities:

  • improving self-awareness
  • improving self-knowledge
  • improving skills and/or learning new ones
  • building or renewing identity/self-esteem
  • developing strengths or talents
  • improving a career
  • identifying or improving potential
  • building employability or (alternatively) human capital
  • enhancing lifestyle and/or the quality of life and time-management
  • improving health
  • improving wealth or social status
  • fulfilling aspirations
  • initiating a life enterprise
  • defining and executing personal development plans (PDPs)
  • improving social relations or emotional intelligence

Coaching-Online.Org takes a different approach with the following categories:

  • Beliefs
  • Business
  • Decisions
  • General Knowledge
  • Habits
  • Happiness
  • Health
  • Life Balance
  • Motivation
  • Parenting
  • Relationship
  • Self-Confidence
  • Sports

Setting Your Priorities

As a next step, pick the categories from these lists that are important to you and write them down. You don’t want to pick all of them, just pick ones you feel are weak areas in your life or that you really want to get better in right now.

Then, rank them to the extent possible. If you feel categories are similar enough to tie into the same theme, group them together.

You may feel that some categories depend on another one. That can be true, however be careful not to fall into the trap of thinking that must always be the case. For example, wealth does not necessarily bring happiness. It helps but sometimes too much wealth has brought people the opposite.

Creating Your Action Plan

Next, break down your chosen categories into specifics, where possible. For example, if one goal is health then it might be losing weight, building muscle, gaining stamina and energy, or eliminating pain. If you want to improve your career, then think about what skills are most important in your career choice and write them down. From this effort, you can create a list of much more specific personal development objectives.

The next step will take some time but start researching and listing things you can do towards each objective. Make them very specific and not overwhelming. For example, rather than say “exercise more”, say “buy a stationary bike and use it daily”.

In this step it’s also important to research online and learn. Don’t assume you know all there is to know about the topic or action item. If you need better communication skills to move ahead in your career, create a plan to find a good book or course on the subject and finish it by a specific date. Use the Internet, for example if you’re wanting to develop your relationships, Coaching-Online.Org has a focus area on relationships here.

Share Your Plans

You might find it uncomfortable to share your plans with others, however it will help with your commitment and motivation if you do so. If there is nobody you’re willing to do this with, post on a forum or blog.

Look for Time Slots

Look for time slots you can use to learn and grow rather than stagnate. Perhaps when you are driving, you can listen to an audio book or podcast rather than be unproductive. Or set a time slot in the evening to learn rather than do an activity that is purely entertainment.

This is what gives you the slight edge over others. To determine what you want, how to get it, and devote some time in your life towards getting it. However, at the same time remember that the journey is as rewarding as the destination. Enjoy the learning and growing and don’t overly focus on whether you achieve the goal.