Why Is Personal Development Important?

Humans are innately created to have goals, passions, and purpose in life. But in order for those to be well developed, there are aspects of personal development that must be nurtured and maintained. Thus, we must explore the definition of personal development and the aspects of personal development. Plus, we must develop an understanding of personal development topics, skills, qualities, characteristics, goals, and objectives before we can ask “Why is personal development important?”

tall buildings and sky in shades of blue with personal development written across the image and why is it so important?

What Is Personal Development?

Wikipedia says “personal development consists of activities that develop a person’s capabilities and potential, build human capital, facilitate employability, and enhance quality of life and the realization of dreams and aspirations. Personal development may take place over the course of an individual’s entire lifespan.

It is not necessarily something that requires only self help and self care. People can utilize counselors, teachers, parents, mentors, coaches, and others to support their personal development.

It is a process of planning, assessing, and revising as necessary to meet your goals in life, improve your happiness, and become successful in the workplace.

Personal development is the conscious choice to improve one’s life to become a better person and to grow as an individual.

~ Unknown

Personal development is a transformational process that allows you to make improvements and growth in your physical, emotional, intellectual, spiritual, and social health, as well as qualities within those aspects of personal development.

That leads us to the next question…

What Are the Five Aspects of Personal Development?

You may read articles that differ slightly, but generally these are the Five Aspects of Personal Development.

five aspects of personal development written in circles against a sky background

Physical Development

This aspect may mean different things to different people. It is not just about going to the Gym regularly. Or eating the right foods. This aspect also encompasses personal hygiene, skin care, getting enough sleep, proper posture, using the correct sunscreen, and taking care of your body. This allows for you to focus on other aspects.

Example of a Daily Growth Activity: Instead of driving to a local cafe for lunch with friends, walk or ride your bike.

Mental/Intellectual Development

This aspect defines your ability to learn and increase your capacity to hold more information. This is known as your knowledge-base. When you exercise your brain deeply, you are increasing your mental strength and knowledge-base. Developing this aspect will help your relationships, career, and life to flourish.

Example of a Daily Growth Activity: Invite your mom (or dad) to take a cooking class with you to enhance your culinary skills.

Social Development

This aspect is about forming relationships, communicating effectively, expanding your network, and being socially proficient. Some people find components of this aspect unnecessary in their development. They may experience challenges if they are unwilling to expand their perspective.

Example of Daily Growth Activity: Call an old friend and schedule dinner. During dinner, practice actively listening and focusing on your friend.

Related Article: The Importance of Positive Social Interaction to your Overall Health

Emotional Development

This aspect is the most challenging for many people. Emotions are uncomfortable for some. Learning to deal effectively with frustration, anger, sadness, overwhelm, impatience, and more can be difficult. Learning to control how you react to your emotions will serve you well in all aspects of your life.

Example of a Daily Growth Activity: During your night time self care routine, take 5 minutes to write in a gratitude journal or read some bedtime affirmations.

Spiritual Development

This is the aspect that guides you to make deeper connections, learn more about yourself and the world around you, and develop a better understanding of what you want out of life. This aspect helps guide other aspects of your life.

Example of a Daily Growth Activity: When you wake up in the morning, take five minutes to meditate and breathe before starting your day.

personal development quote about higher purpose and happiness written in a notebook

Important Personal Development Topics and Characteristics

Admittedly, personal development is kind of a trendy topic today. But that doesn’t make it any less important.

I don’t think it’s going anywhere anytime soon. It’s invaluable to the process of developing yourself into the person you want to become. Research strongly suggests that successful people are in a constant state of personal development and growth.

Personal development is the belief that you are worth the effort, time, and energy needed to develop yourself.

~Denis Waitley

Personal development enables you to improve yourself in all aspects of your life – including personal and professional. Whether you seek to improve your personal life or your professional life, or both, learning about important personal development topics and characteristics will help with your personal growth, fulfillment, and happiness.

You’ll notice that the topics, characteristics, goals, skills, and qualities that are mentioned in the next sections all fit into one or more of the Five Aspects mentioned above.

blue background with yellow words that say personal development and a hand pointing to the words with white traits of personal development written around the yellow words

Trending Personal Development Topics

Let’s look at some of the leading topics and characteristics associated with personal development today:

  • Confidence
  • Career
  • Motivation
  • Communication (Listening, Public Speaking, Presenting)
  • Strengths & Weaknesses
  • Self Understanding
  • Leadership
  • Optimism
  • Organization
  • Efficiency
  • Family & Parenting
  • Relationships
  • Purpose & Passion
  • Vision
  • Assertiveness
  • Attitude
  • Health
  • Confidence
  • Focus
  • Communication
  • Love & Compassion
  • Relationship & Dating
  • Money
  • Career
  • Happiness
  • Productivity
  • Mindset
  • Motivation
  • Stress Management
  • Goal Setting

If you’ve explored Personal Development anywhere, you’ve probably seen all of these topics mentioned somewhere.

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There is an enormous amount of information to think about as you work through personal growth and development. You’re going to want to start putting your best foot forward and being the best person you know how to be in all aspects of your life!

As part of the your personal development, you will need to consider short-term personal development objectives that will help you reach your goals. So let’s take a closer look at personal development goals, objectives, skills, and qualities.

happy older successful women who has accomplished great personal growth goals
Successful people consider personal development an essential component of their overall happiness and success in life.

Important Personal Development Goals and Skills

Goals and Objectives

Personal development goals help improve your character, behavior, and capacity. This will support your plan to become your best self.

You can develop short-term objectives to help you meet your long-term goals. Then reassess regularly to see how you’re doing and adjust, as necessary!

Establishing goals starts with assessing your strengths and weaknesses. Then you can identify areas in which you can improve, as well as areas of strength that you should develop in order to maximize your potential.

Through my research, I’ve created a list of 50 character traits and behaviors that generally help a person lead a happier, more fulfilled and successful life. Personal Development Plans (PDP) are often based on some of these important character traits and personal behaviors.

personal development plan being written on a white notepad

1 – 25 Personal Qualities To Consider for Your PDP

  • Always have empathy for others.
  • Develop your confidence and boost self-esteem.
  • Learn to be an awesome listener. Actively pay attention to what others have to say.
  • Get to know your emotional intelligence skills.
  • Improve your body language.
  • Learn to authentically get along with others.  
  • Improve your time-management skills. Stop procrastinating.
  • Learn to truly like yourself. Become a person that inspires others.  
  • Develop and enhance social relationships. Make social well-being a priority.
  • Choose happiness and positivity. It’s a much better look!
  • Establish daily routines that support quality sleep hygiene.
  • Wake up early and start your day with a regular routine.
  • Don’t always consider yourself a victim. Take ownership of your life.
  • Become more proactive about managing your life.
  • Master the art of conflict resolution without anxiety.
  • Let go of the past. 
  • Let go of anger, hurt, resentment.
  • Become more resilient in challenging situations. 
  • Learn to manage stress effectively. 
  • Ignore self limiting beliefs. It only hinders progress and prevents you from moving outside your box.
  • Share yourself. You have lots of knowledge to share with the world.
  • Increase your willpower and determination. Be strong.
  • Become more mindful and present.
  • Make good decisions. Become an efficient decision maker.
  • Work on your growth mindset.
personal development quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson on an image of someone's hand holding a growing pink flower against a blue sky

26 – 50 Personal Qualities to Consider for Your PDP

  • Improve your self-awareness.
  • Make kindness a priority.
  • Build your employability and capacity.
  • Continually work to enhance your social, physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being.
  • Engage in self care and self love so you can be your best for those around you.
  • Be generous with your time, attention, knowledge, and assets.
  • Develop an attitude of gratitude and live a life of grace.
  • Learn to calm your mind among the chaos of life.
  • Set the example that positive selfishness is not selfish.
  • Become a difference maker – a change maker. Be the example for others to make the world a better place.
  • Celebrate life every day. It’s contagious.
  • Love yourself enough to take care of your needs and your well-being without neglecting others.
  • Visualize your highest self so you can connect with your authentic self.
  • Be encouraging to all your meet.
  • Believe in your dreams.
  • Be adventurous. It heals the mind and soul.
  • Monitor your productivity and be sure to always do your best.
  • Make learning a priority. New learn things.
  • Seek to meet new people in a variety of settings. Grow your network.
  • Be open to change.
  • Develop your own personal definition of success that encompasses your values and purpose.
  • Seek out new challenges that expand your cognitive skills.
  • Monitor your work/life balance.
  • Take life less seriously. Enjoy life more.
  • Learn to be patient.

Do you recognize some of your strengths and weaknesses on this list? Are there qualities that you could improve upon to help you become a better person? Do you recognize strengths that you could super charge?

women raising her fists into the air as if to say YES! with two arrows behind her like she has accomplished great things

Skills and Qualities

These are some additional qualities of highly successful people that will help you reach your goals and live a life aligned with your passion and purpose.

  • Communication
  • Interpersonal Skills
  • Organization
  • Problem-Solving
  • Self-Confidence
  • Adaptability
  • Integrity
  • Work Ethic
  • Honesty
  • Patience
  • Optimism
  • Self-Discipline
  • Flexibility
  • Perseverance
  • Action-Oriented
  • Curious

So Why is Personal Development Important?

Given all the information we’ve accumulated here today, it becomes easier to understand why personal development is so important, right?

It is a lifelong process that helps you evaluate your life goals and fulfill your potential. You lead a life that is defined by your goals, passions, and purpose. You may not always reach your short-term objectives, but you have a direction. And your long-term plan is in place. Personal development contributes to your satisfaction and success in life.

someone in a pale blue shirt drawing steps with a red female drawing walking up the steps indicating personal growth

It allows you to have a vision of your future. You have a clear idea of the direction you want to go to get there. And since you know your target and destination in life, you can choose the appropriate paths that will get you there and help you achieve your goals.

Through the process of personal development, you improve your awareness and identify, develop your potential, and enhance your overall quality of life. You take an active role in knowing what needs to change or what needs to be improved in your life.

Congratulations! You’re on your way to living your best life of passion and purpose!

Are Personal Development and Personal Growth the Same Thing?

This is a question I’ve always wondered about, even with all the training I’ve had on this subject matter. To be honest, I’ve used them interchangeably at times. I’ve also used them together as Personal Growth and Development.

I feel the semantics are less important than the idea. To me, the whole concept of personal growth and development is to grow, improve, set goals, reset, and do what it takes to become your best self.

And in many cases, the experts do in fact use the terms interchangeably also.

However, I feel I should try to explain that there is technically a difference in the world of some experts.

Personal development is a process that is facilitated by DOING THINGS TO IMPROVE YOURSELF… setting goals… developing your purpose… reflecting and analyzing… reading and studying… listening to podcasts… attending classes…. identifying your passions. It generally refers to the process of transformation through doing specific, targeted things with an end-result in mind.

Personal growth often refers to an IMPROVEMENT OR INCREASE IN SOMETHING… you become a better communicator… you learn to handle triggers better… you stop drinking so much… you become a more positive person…. you mature and get a better job. It generally refers to positive changes that occur in your personal qualities and skills.

personal growth map of characteristics being written by someone in a pale blue shirt

So with all that being said, you can research 1) personal development, 2) personal growth, or 3) personal growth and development and get much of the same information that leads you to self-improvement, reaching your highest potential, and living a happy life.

Final Thoughts: Why is Personal Development Important?

The benefits of personal development are too many to put into a written list or a single article. But the personal development definition, aspects, topics, skills, and character traits discussed in this article should help you understand its importance.

Personal development benefits reach far and deep into your soul. You learn how to establish and go after your life goals; you develop the confidence to live a life of passion and do the things you enjoy; and most importantly, you establish your purpose in life and can become a difference maker in the world.

So I encourage you to set forth with your personal development plan knowing that you are on the road to becoming the person you were always meant to be and building the life you always wanted!

I made this graphic after coming across this amazing quote and the adorable picture in separate places and times. I think it sums things up quite nicely!

little girl measuring how tall she is against a wall with an excited look of joy on her face and a quote about personal growth

Good luck! You got this!

Love to ALL! ~Susan

Why is Personal Development Important? How Are You Working on Your Personal Development?

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Why is Personal Development Important?
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Why is Personal Development Important?
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Personal development contributes to happiness and success in life so let's learn about aspects of personal development & why it's important.
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10 Comments

  1. So many excellent ideas for things to work on on this post. Makes me excited to think about the endless ways we can continue to grow and develop as individuals.

    1. Thank you for the feedback, Lindsay… I agree… there are so many ways we can continue to grow and develop into the people we are meant to be…xoxo

  2. I love this. Very informative.

    The quotes really spoke to me. My favorite was, “Personal development is the belief that you are worth the effort, time, and energy needed to development yourself.” ~Denis Waitley

    I like to think I am worth it. Otherwise, what am I doing this for?

  3. What a well thought out article. As a school counselor I advocate for every single area of development. It so important to focus on the whole person not just one area.

    1. Aaaww, thank you Rachel! I’m a retired special educator so these topics are very close to my heart! We worked on the whole person, too! xoxo

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