I can relate to this too, in a painful and personal way. Read tons of personal dev books through the years, but right now, my younger brother who didn't is more 'successful' than I am in a lot of ways (e.g. he makes more money than I do).
But I've noticed the trick is in 3 parts: 1) To recognize what you've already done that kicked ass.
Yea, perhaps my personal growth has been kinda slow. But like a lot of you wrote, and I agree with, life doesn't happen in a straight line. It can be a series of slow starts and stops, tangents and getting back again.
That's something I've come to realize, not from any book, but from just living a little bit more every year (the book 'Success Built To Last' which I just read did reaffirm that in one of their chapters tho! Talk about synchroncity!
). 2) You are the sum total of all your experiences.
I truly believe this. Perhaps you feel right now that you should be further along now in your own path, mega-rich, with a beautiful Hugh Jackman/Natalie Portman-ish spouse, flying superpowers and the Nobel Peace Prize for saving the world twice over.
But what if all that stuff you read fed back to help you become the good stuff that you've already done and the good qualities you now possess, without which they wouldn't have happened? I think that's a good thought, and it's how I'd chose to think about it. 3) Schedule it, and it's real.
One of the best buys I ever got was a personal organizer, a PDA in my case. It made me realize that setting goals was all well and good, but when those goals go into my schedule (eg goal: workout vs. gym today at 10), that's when stuff became real for me.