6 Most Popular Areas for Personal Development

Loyd Mears

This article breaks down six major areas of personal development into 39 subcategories. The categories are guidelines to focus on:

  • improving yourself,
  • becoming the ideal person you want to be,
  • and living your ideal lifestyle.

It’s best to choose a few areas and focus on them until you see progress before taking on more goals.

So what should you do?

Follow a proven blueprint and execute a long-term plan to achieve the personal development you want one step at a time.

The Areas for Personal Development

Here are major areas for personal development broken down into subcategories.


The mental category includes improving your mind and emotional stability. The personal development goals that fall in this category include:

  • Resilience and Toughness is your ability to recover from adversity quickly. Your success in all areas of life depends on your ability to overcome failures and setbacks. 
  • Perseverance means refusing to quit when it gets hard. You can persist despite difficulties and delays in reaching your goals. 
  • Confidence: You have to believe you can succeed, or you won’t be able to persevere. Confidence comes when you learn and improve. The more you practice, the more confident you become.
  • Decision-making Skills: Practice making decisions and learn from mistakes to improve your decision-making skill.
  • Reasoning and Sound Judgment: Study your profession and learn, so you have the right knowledge to make sound judgments. 
  • Critical Thinking and Problem-solving Skills: Study the basics of critical thinking and practice problem-solving steps every time you have a problem.

Related Article: Best Problem-solving Techniques

  • Creative Thinking: Creative thinking is your ability to look at things in a new way. Whatever your present state, you can practice and improve your ability to think creatively.
  • Analytical thinking requires training and practice. To think analytically, you need to learn how to break complex issues into basic parts, asking the right questions, and solving problems.
  • Improved Memory: There are ways to improve your memory, including good nutrition, exercise, sufficient rest, and practicing memory techniques.
  • Better Study and Learning Skills: Develop your study and learning skills with many techniques that help you learn faster and retain more information.

Related Article: How to Stay Focused Studying


  • Fitness: Staying fit helps you maintain energy to keep pushing when you face challenges and setbacks. It also helps with your thinking and mindset.
  • Healthy Weight: Keeping a healthy weight helps you stay fit and feel better so you can enjoy life more.
  • Regular Exercise: Regular physical activity keeps you fit, helps manage your weight, and also helps boost your mood.
  • Healthy Diet: Proper nutrition helps you with physical and mental well being.
  • Dental Care: Healthy teeth and gums are important for your total health.


  • Family: A fulfilling life for most people includes spending time together and having good relations with family.
  • Friends: Cultivating friendships can be very important in your personal and business life.
  • Colleagues: Become skilled at communicating with and supporting colleagues and networking to mutually advance your businesses or careers.
  • Customers and Clients: How well you engage with customers and clients may determine your success.


  • Technical Skills: Naturally, you need to develop the necessary skills to succeed in your profession.
  • Communication: Learning how to give a persuasive or informative presentation may be important.
  • Persuasion: Most professions require some ability to organize your ideas into a persuasive argument.
  • Management: Advancement in most professions will involve your ability to manage people and resources.
  • Leadership: At the top of an organization, it’s impossible to manage everything, so you need to develop leadership skills.
  • Planning and Organizing: Even if you are a sole proprietor, you will need to plan and organize effectively to succeed.

Related Article: Improve Your Planning and Organizing Skills


  • Accounting: Whether you have a business or handle your personal finances, it’s wise to understand basic financial accounting. Even if you hire someone to manage your finances, you need basic financial knowledge to make wise decisions.
  • Investing: It’s important to have a basic understanding of investments, even if you use a broker or advisor.
  • Saving: Developing a habit of saving money is crucial to having a happy life. Living paycheck to paycheck is not fun.
  • Insurance: Insurance protects you from catastrophic losses. You should learn basic information about how it works and what type you need.

Free Financial Learning at Khan Academy

Spiritual Development

  • Prayer and Devotions: Planning more active prayer, praying with others, and making a habit of praying at regular times. Establishing a habit of daily devotions.
  • Worship Attendance: Committing to attending regular worship services.
  • Participation in Church Community: Volunteering for duties in the church.
  • Religious Studies: Regular Bible or other studies.
  • Religious Retreats: Attending a retreat for spiritual renewal.
  • Meditation: Learning to meditate and meditating regularly.
  • Nature Retreats: Attending a nature retreat for spiritual renewal.
  • Volunteer Work: Lighten your spirit with regular volunteer work in the community.
  • Donating to Worthy Causes: Sharing your good fortune with good causes in the community.

Related Article: Spiritual Development

This is a list of the most popular personal development subjects. The popularity is based on worldwide sales of courses and books.

  • Learning and Memory: How to learn faster and retain more knowledge.
  • Persuasion and Influence: Learning personality traits and techniques to persuade and move others into action.
  • Mastering Self-hypnosis: Using self-hypnosis to manage emotions and habits.
  • Success, Health, and Happiness: Learning strategies and habits to be more successful, healthy, and happy.
  • Personal Productivity: How to get more done in less time,
  • Meditation: Reduce stress and improve thinking.
  • Communication Skills: How to speak and write more effectively.
  • Confidence: How to be more confident and overcome hesitation and fears.
  • Business Fundamentals: Learning how to run a successful business.
  • Stress Management: How to reduce stress.
  • Habits: How to get rid of bad habits and create good ones.
  • Mindset: Overcoming emotional blocks to success.

Winning Personal Development Plan

Take a page out of Ben Franklin’s book. Franklin would keep a journal and evaluate himself each week against a list of 13 virtues:

  • Temperance
  • Silence
  • Order
  • Resolution
  • Frugality
  • Industry
  • Sincerity
  • Justice
  • Moderation
  • Cleanliness
  • Tranquility
  • Chastity
  • Humility

He chose 13 because 4 x 13 = 52 weeks in a year. So, he could focus on one virtue at a time for four weeks each and cover all of them in one year. 

Personal Development Steps

Instead of Franklin’s virtues, decide how you want to improve.

  • Choose areas you wish to improve.
  • Commit to working on those areas.
  • Make a plan and evaluate progress weekly.
  • Work on only one area at a time for a specific duration.
  • Never quit.

Final Word About Areas for Personal Development

There are many variations and lists of personal development categories. The important thing is to decide what kind of life you want and the type of person you want to be. Then choose a goal and start working on it.

I hope this article was helpful and I wish you the best in life.