5 Steps to Goal Setting for Self Development at Work

The definition of self development is to take steps to better yourself. These steps could include learning new skills, identifying areas in yourself that need improvement, and overcoming bad habits.

Whether you want to improve communication to prepare for a new promotion, or develop resilience to deal with challenging work environments, we all have room for self development at work

The problem is it's not always clear how to progress. 

Goal setting for self development at work can give you the structure and guidance you need to make a real change in your work life. 

The Basics: How to Use a Planner for Goal Setting

One of the first steps to goal setting for self development at work is to write down your goals. If you keep them in your head, it only creates opportunities to forget. Goal setting on paper provides extra clarity, and more opportunity to analyse how to reach your goals.

Once you have written your goals, you can use the monthly and weekly reviews to track your progress, and set down deadlines. You can log your daily, weekly and monthly goals to ensure you keep up-to-date with your short-term and long-term goals. 

What are Self Development Goals? - And How Can They Boost Productivity? 

Self development goals propel you forward in your life and career by developing your skills in areas of weakness. Is something holding you back from that promotion? Want to maximise productivity in your current role? That’s where self development goals come in.

Let's say your goal is 'improve my time management skills'. You should then use SMART goals to help you plot in the specifics.

SMART is a series of guidelines to follow when setting goals. It stands for:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Relevant
  • Time-Sensitive

What goal do I want to achieve? 

e.g, 'I will improve my time management skills, so I can finish my workload earlier.’ 

How will I know I have achieved my goal? 

e.g, 'I will have achieved this goal when I finish my daily workload 1hr early.'

What do I need to do to achieve my goal? 

e.g, 'I will achieve this goal by reading 3 articles on time management, cutting out unnecessary tasks, and trying the Pomodoro technique.'

How will this goal help my overall aims? 

e.g, 'I want to achieve this goal because I want more time to spend on other projects, and improve my general wellbeing.'

When do I need to complete this goal? 

e.g, 'I will aim to reach my goal in one month. I will check my progress each week, and analyse my time management abilities daily.'

Make Yourself a Priority

Making yourself a priority is key when it comes to self development. Making yourself a priority isn't a selfish act, but instead it is a necessary act when it comes to trying to better yourself.

We can so often become focused on our goals that we start to neglect our personal development. To prioritise yourself is a necessity, and not a luxury.

The simplest thing you can do to start is to block out time each week, where you spend time only focusing on yourself, and not on other people or other tasks.

self development

Simple Tips For Self Development

Self development needn't be a laborious task, and can in-fact be performed as part of your existing daily routine. We've created a list of simple self development tips to help get you started.

1. Just start

The number 1 tip for self development is just to start now. Theres no point in putting it off until a better time. The sooner we start, the better. 

2. Take small steps

Don't expect too much of yourself so soon. If we fall short of our unrealistic expectations, then this can be demotivating, and prevent us from continuing on our self development journey. Instead, set yourself small baby steps. Choose an area of self development, and start setting small milestones.

3. Be accountable for your learning

Taking responsibility for your self development is key. The main person benefiting from this will be yourself, so it makes sense for you to hold yourself accountable. If you choose an area of self development, it is important that you turn up for it, and not someone else.

4. Look forward to change

Learning to embrace change is an important part of self development. The starting point is recognising that there is something about yourself, or in your life, that you want to change. Change is good, and can be looked at as growth in yourself.

5. Show intention

Make intentional changes. Put full effort in to your self development.

6. Make sure you are challenged

It is important that we are challenged in our self development, otherwise, there is little chance of personal growth. When we challenge ourselves, we give ourselves the opportunity to persevere and succeed.

7. Keep going

Whenever we pick a challenge, or try to learn something new, there will be moments when our motivation is lacking. Understand that this is normal, and try not to be frustrated when this occurs. Instead, recognise that this is part of the journey of self development, and make sure that you persevere.

Examples of Self Development 

We will each have different areas of our life that we want to improve, as no two people are the same. However, we've listed a few popular forms of self development as examples:

  • Increase the amount you read - in particular, self help books.
  • Learn a new language - book a holiday for a years time where you could use this new learnt language.
  • Start a new hobby - tennis, knitting, writing.
  • Start a new course - look for local workshops of interest.
  • Overcome a fear - work towards doing a sky dive if you are afraid of heights.
  • Wake up early, or go to bed early - habits that can increase energy.
  • Increase or start exercises - feel the benefits to your health.
  • Get out of your comfort zone - challenge yourself to do something you would normally put off.
  • Identify your flaws - we all have them, but identifying these can give us something to improve on.
  • New habits - swap bad habits for good habits.
  • Socialise more - meet new friends, or reconnect with old ones.
  • Start journaling - make a habit of journaling daily. 

Self Development Activities 

So, once you've completed the goal setting for self development at work - where do you go next? The answer lies in the 'Achievable' section of your SMART goals. 

The activities you undertake for self development will vary based on your goal. If your goal is to boost your confidence at work, there are any number of options. 

Confidence-building courses, books, and articles could give you the information to get started. Putting this information into practice is where you really start making headway towards your goals, though.

You might set a goal to speak up and make a suggestion in a meeting. Or perhaps you might brush up your CV, and send it to that amazing job you saw online. 

Get feedback from other colleagues about your strengths and weaknesses. Look inwards. Does your outlook need to change? Is fear, low self-esteem, or anxiety holding you back for reaching out to career opportunities?

Self Development for Business - Guide to Goal Setting

At your own business, goal setting for self development works on the same principle, but with different steps. When you own your own business, responsibility lies with you, and goal setting can help you keep track of your business' development. 

Ask yourself: ‘what do I want to achieve for my business?’ Your goal might be to 'boost social media awareness to gain more online clients'. Taking a social media course, posting on Twitter and Instagram once a day, and researching trends on Google Analytics are possible ‘achievable’ tasks for this goal. 

Receiving feedback may not be as simple as in a corporate company, so building connections with other business owners is another important goal.

Remember: you are the backbone of your business. When you develop yourself, you develop your business.

How Self Development Can Improve Communication

Communication is one of the most important ‘soft-skills’ in the workplace. A surprisingly high number of professionals struggle with communication. Many talented professionals miss out on opportunities for career progression, because they struggle to convey their expertise in conversation. 

You can improve your communication skills by goal setting for self development at work. Reading books and watching YouTube videos to improve communication skills can really help, but practice makes perfect

Start small with micro-goals. Active listening can immediately improve your communication skills. Often, when we talk, we say what we want, and don't truly hear what the other person is saying. 

Listen closely to your conversations, take in the information, and form a genuine response. Incorporating active listening into your goal setting routine will help you to have more valuable conversations, and build trust and rapport with colleagues. 

Goal setting for self development at work can be a daunting process, but if you follow the SMART formula and set yourself attainable goals, you will reach your aims and build your confidence with ease.

 This simple video from Jim Rohn, best selling self help author, sums up what it is to make yourself a priority and work on self development.

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