Personal growth is as much about strategy as it is about actual improvement and development. While it’s easy to lay out a strategy or plan for developing your skills, putting that plan into practice is where most people fail.

It all comes down to setting the stage for your success.

Think about your growth like that of a building; without a firm foundation you’re building on ground that’s not going to support the growth. Setting this foundation means embracing tools for personal growth that can lead to long-term success. What are those tools? Here are three that are absolutely essential for long-term personal improvement.

Personal Growth Tool #1: A thorough self-assessment.

You can’t move forwards without knowing where you are now. You need to take a thorough and honest self-assessment, with a focus on identifying your flaws and working out how to solve them.

Without this essential first step, the rest of your development can be flawed, lacking in utility, and ultimately useless. Put this step ahead of all others and watch as you improve dramatically.

Personal Growth Tool #2: A simple plan for achieving your goals.

It’s easy to make a simple journey too complicated, but it’s very difficult to simplify a crowded and difficult journey. In personal development, you need to make sure you take the direct, simple approach. Take an ‘Occam’s Razor’ approach to your personal development and focus on the strategies that lead to direct, simple results.

Personal Growth Tool #3: Honest outlook needed.

You need to be 100% honest with yourself to see any real growth in yourself. Too many people become disillusioned with their improvement and end up thinking that they’re doing better or worse than they really are.

Trust in your own judgment and make sure you’re 100% honest with yourself on your improvement, your flaws and your strengths.