Personal development activities have never been more relevant than in these rollercoaster-like 2020s. From the pandemic to global conflicts, it’s been a challenging time for many.
But it’s not all doom and gloom.
More and more people are turning these challenges into opportunities by focusing on self-improvement. So, whether you’ve got extra time or simply feel motivated to improve, now’s the time to invest in yourself.
And what better way to do that than with some tried and tested strategies?
So, without further ado, let’s explore these 28 personal development activities designed to help you grow and thrive, no matter what life throws at you.
Developing your skills lets you improve yourself and increases your quality of life.
So, are you ready to discover your new favorite self-improvement ideas?
Use them to upgrade your skills for school. Business. Work. Or personal goals…
Let’s do this! You can skip directly to the different activity sections if you prefer.
- Activities that develop my social skills
- Activities that challenge me
- Activities that expand my mental skills
- Activities to build good habits
- Activities to learn from others
- Beyond Personal Development Activities
Personal Development Activities that upgrade your social skills
1. Do a team workshop
Let’s face it, not all of us are born with stellar people skills. But luckily, they can be improved.
So, you could learn about people skills at home… or participate in a team workshop.
Whether it’s at work or in a personal workshop, I promise you’ll learn heaps about yourself.
Like how you prefer to work. And if you work well with others.
Do you assume that everyone tackles problems like you?
It’ll surprise you how others assess, process, and organize tasks.
So, I highly recommend a team workshop. You could even beat imposter syndrome!
Imposter syndrome? How so?
A team workshop may reveal you have cool skills you took for granted.
Makes you feel like a boss!
2. Develop your communication skills
Soft skills enhance your professional and personal life. And communication is top of the list.
Not a great communicator? No worries.
You can elevate your communication skills through videos, tutorials, or in-person classes.
Communicating clearly is incredibly powerful – especially for your professional success.
And the better you communicate, the more confident you’ll feel.
The Impact of poor communication in the workplace
3. Embrace networking
Did you know that 70% of job opportunities are never advertised but filled through networking?
So how can you become a better networker?
At your next event, make an effort to mingle. Most people have interesting stories to share, and conversations flow naturally.
A conversation isn’t chess.
You don’t need to plan five moves ahead.
Start with a simple question – and build on the answer you get.
The more you practice your interpersonal skills, the easier it becomes.
If you get past the initial awkwardness…
4. Get feedback
We all have blind spots, especially when it comes to our skills and personality.
Don’t be afraid to ask others for feedback. It can provide eye-opening insights into what others appreciate about you and areas you could improve.
Then you can tailor your personal development activities accordingly.
Volunteering is a personal development activity that benefits both others and you.
Your people skills will get better. Your professional skills can improve. And you’ll feel good about yourself.
And volunteering isn’t just about soup kitchens… Many organizations need professional skills.
Think of pro bono for lawyers. Accountants, craftspeople, IT pros, marketing specialists, writers… You can “donate” your skills by doing a website or bookkeeping for free.
And you may gain valuable work experience in return!
Now our next activity is for the sporty type…
6. Practice a team sport
Sports are great for developing leadership skills!
- lead by example
- build confidence
- learn to communicate effectively
- work as part of a team
Team sports also enhance your organizational skills and discipline.
And they are great for building better relationships.
Team sports can be challenging. But that’s a good thing…
Personal Development Activities that challenge you
Prefer self-development ideas that challenge you?
All you had to do was ask…
7. Sign up for a competition
Competitions are a fantastic motivator.
You paid the fees, your name is on their list, and you must be ready on a specific day.
That’s why a deadline is powerful – it holds you accountable and gives you a clear goal.
Sign up for a marathon, a triathlon, or other competitions related to the skills you want to hone.
And if sports aren’t your thing, look for singing, cooking, or writing contests.
Prefer to do an at-home challenge? Check out our next personal development activity…
8. Start a 30-day challenge
30-day challenges are about making small daily changes that add up to great results.
They make working on yourself fun. Especially if you’re naturally competitive.
But don’t overdo it, or you’ll quit.
Set exciting goals, and use these challenges to break bad habits or build new ones you love.
Your 30-day challenge Categories
- Health (eat healthier, go to bed early)
- Communication (connect with people)
- Fitness (exercise more)
- Decluttering (get organized)
- Time Management (get more productive)
- Meal planning
- Finances (create a budget)
- Create an action plan and stick to it
- Self-care (journaling, morning routine…)
Specific 30-day challenge examples
- Give up coffee for 30 days
- Give up Social Media for 30 days
- Don’t use your car for 30 days
- Give up sugar for 30 days
- Write every day for 30 days
- Go for a 30-minute walk for 30 days
- Wake up 30 minutes early for 30 days
Start with a simple challenge.
And track your progress to fuel your motivation!
You’ll be amazed how 30 days will impact your life.
Ready for the next step?
9. Leave your comfort zone
Every day, do something that scares you.
No… this doesn’t mean talking to creepy people.
Instead, choose an action that makes you feel a bit uneasy.
To achieve goals you’ve never achieved before, you need to start doing things you’ve never done beforeStephen Covey
What people struggle with
- Fear of public speaking
- Fear of failure
- Fear of inadequacy
- Fear of missing out
- Fear of change
- Fear of being judged
- Fear of rejection
Do something scary every day. You’ll be surprised by how much confidence you’ll gain!
- Talk to strangers
- Disagree with someone (yikes)
- Sing or dance in public
- Post on Social Media
- Sign up for a class
- Give a presentation
- Take on a new task at work
And to add a little fun, why not make “leave your comfort zone” a 30-day challenge?
10. Embrace the power of no
Setting clear goals is a great start, but it’s equally important to protect your time.
This means learning to say “no” when asked to do things that don’t align with your objectives.
Don’t worry; you won’t turn into the Grinch. But you must resist the urge to be a people-pleaser.
According to a YouGov survey, 49% of Americans identify as people-pleasers.
And women are more likely to feel the pressure.
If you keep saying ‘yes’ out of a sense of duty, you will regret it.
Learn to say ‘no’ – and use the time you save to work on your goals!
Feeling stuck? Join our FREE email course to uncover the top 7 goal mistakes that sabotage your success!
But let’s dive into activities that teach you a skill…
Personal Development Activities that expand your mental skills
One activity in this list is manual, but it still works wonders for your mind…
11. Master a deep and narrow skill
Become an expert in one skill set or field. This means you focus on mastering one thing.
You could, for example, specialize in Photoshop Composites.
(Where you blend different images into one fantastic image).
By dedicating all your efforts to this, you could become the best Photoshop Composite specialist you can be.
And the best part?
It’s easier than ever to get qualified or certified online.
12. Broaden your horizon
Rather than focusing on one specific skill, why not dabble in various activities? This doesn’t mean you have to master each one – just learning the basic skills is great.
Picture specializing as a runner…
Versus enjoying different sports like cycling, swimming, yoga, and skiing.
Or do this for your next holiday…
13. Learn a new language
“Bonjour, je suis ravie de faire ta connaissance!”
“Danke, ich freue mich auch!”
Learning a language is powerful.
Whether you need it for travel, personal relationships, or your career.
With resources like YouTube, online courses, podcasts, blogs, and apps, you can learn so much for free.
You could also partner with someone who wants to practice your language in exchange – we call this a language tandem. This can even boost your people skills if you’re shy.
In a language tandem, you meet in person or via a video call. You teach your language for 30 minutes, then they teach you for 30 minutes.
It’s a win-win!
14. Get crafty
Working with your hands is fantastic for your brain. It’s a proven way to improve mental health and stimulate creativity.
So get creative and try your hand at
- Building / restoring furniture
Plus, a relaxed and clear mind can lead to innovative ideas that help your career. So why not roll up your sleeves and get crafty?
Prefer a quicker activity? Check out this next tip!
15. Learn how to speed read
Imagine devouring a book in half the time it usually takes. That’s the power of speed reading. It’s a skill that saves you precious time, especially if you’re an avid reader.
The average adult reads 200-250 words in 1 minute. So, it takes about 2 minutes to read one page.
That’s the same reading speed as a hundred years ago!
But with speed reading, you could double your reading speed without losing key information.
Luckily, it’s easy to find books and online trainings that turn you into the Flash.
You can invest the time you save in your personal development.
Ready. Set. Go.
Personal Development Activities to pick up good habits
A solid routine doesn’t just help you with your goals. It also makes you feel great about yourself.
So let’s look at 7 personal development activities that build good habits.
16. Analyze your failures
Personal growth isn’t just about celebrating wins.
It’s also about understanding and learning from our failures.
You’d like to avoid the same problem next time, right?
Yes, it’s uncomfortable to dissect where things went wrong, but trust me, it’s a game-changer.
Did you lack a skill?
Were you unprepared?
Maybe you need to break a bad habit…
“Experience is the hardest kind of teacher. It gives you the test first and the lesson afterward” – Oscar Wilde
Once you understand what went wrong, you’ll do better next time.
17. Read every day
Daily reading has incredible benefits
- It stimulates your brain
- You become smarter
- It’s relaxing
- Your memory and focus improve
- You get better communication skills
And the best part? You can do it anywhere, anytime.
With a ton of e-books, blogs, magazines, newspapers, and more at your fingertips, you have no excuse to pass up this fantastic habit.
18. Start a success journal
Ever thought about starting a success journal? It’s a fantastic way to reflect on your goals and successes.
Combined with a gratitude journal, it’s a powerful tool for personal development.
Daily journaling has he most positive impact. It
- Boosts your mood
- Keeps your memory sharp
- Tracks your goals
- Keeps you motivated
- Increases your self-discipline
Success journaling lifts your mood by focusing on positive things. No matter your personality type.
It can even help with your self-confidence as you recall times you were proud of yourself or got compliments.
Need a few journal prompts? Try this
- Three things I appreciated today
- Three things my “best self” would do today
- A trigger I noticed (and how I handled it)
- Events and actions that brought me closer to my goals
19. Use the power of affirmations
Affirmations are like your personal cheerleaders, boosting your morale with positive words and phrases. Compliments, if you will.
The more you hear them, the more your brain will believe the positive affirmations.
You can’t brainwash yourself – so pick something you can at least believe a little.
Saying “I’m a smoking hot millionaire” when it’s not true, is just cringe.
Instead, start with affirmations like:
- I am capable to reach my goals
- I always find a solution
- I am persistent and will see this through
- I deserve good things happening to me
- I take great care of my body
After all these affirmations, it’s time for some self-care…
20. self-care Bingo
Psst, it’s not all about the hustle.
Self-development activities are great for honing your skills.
But you must also take care of yourself and restore your batteries.
How else could you tackle your next challenge?
Fortunately, your options for some well-deserved “me-time” are endless.
Cuddle up with these self-care activities
- savor a tasty cup of hot coffee
- enjoy a relaxing massage
- get lost in a fantastic book
- treat yourself to delicious food
- binge-watch your favorite show
- pamper yourself with a soothing mask
- soak in a hot tub
- catch a refreshing nap
- sweat through a vigorous workout
- go for a lovely walk…
And guess what? The Ninja Self-Care Bingo makes your self-care routine even more fun.
21. Practice yoga regularly
Yoga is excellent for your body and soul.
Whether you find it relaxing or energizing, there’s no denying its benefits.
Love doing a yoga session first thing in the morning?
Or to wind down in the evening?
Maybe a few sun salutations during lunch break is more your style…
Choose what works best for you.
The beauty of yoga is that you can practice it anywhere – a serene zen room, a tranquil park, or even on a charming lake.
Yoga decreases stress, helps you sleep, and improves your well-being. Plus, you’ll gain flexibility, energy, and strength. Try it!
And if you’re looking to calm your mind, meditation might be just what you need…
22. Meditate often
Meditation is like a soothing balm for a chatty mind.
Once you become aware of your thoughts, you can choose them wisely.
If you’re new to meditating or need some help, you can use YouTube and apps:
- Guided meditation
- Music meditation
- Mindfulness bell
- Tibetan bowls
- Nature sounds like rain or birds
- Or simply listen to a clock or ventilation
You could start with a guided meditation, as it can help to focus on a voice that guides you.
After a while, meditation can positively impact your stress management.
Meditation calms your mind, enhances focus, and increases your creativity. That’s because you clean out the negative mental clutter.
So you can see why meditation is the second favorite body and mind practice after yoga.
Want to give it a try?
Personal development activities: Learn from others
Humans are social. And it’s smart to learn from people who are more advanced.
Here are 5 ways you can do that…
23. Listen to Podcasts
You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with – Jim Rohn
Podcasts are great for diving into a topic.
And they feel like hanging out with more advanced, successful people.
Yes, self-development activities can be fun!
And most podcasts are free.
I love listening to them while doing chores, exercising, or commuting.
It’s a super-efficient personal growth activity if you’re an auditory learner.
For visual learners, YouTube videos are a better option.
24. Take (online) classes
If you want to learn anything, you can probably find an online class about it.
And you know what’s even better?
Many beginner classes are free or inexpensive (for example, on Udemy).
They are excellent to learn the basics.
But free classes and podcasts can’t teach you everything.
So, enroll in a comprehensive course when you’re ready to invest in yourself!
Online classes are convenient and flexible… while in-person classes are fantastic for additional support.
A good teacher can save you years of trying on your own.
So, what class will you take?
Check out the FREE Ninja goal-setting class!
In just 30 minutes, learn how you…
☆ Clarify your priorities ☆ Set the right goals ☆ Make tracking fun ☆ Stay motivated
25. Book a self-improvement holiday
Imagine yourself learning the tango in Buenos Aires. Learn French in the city of love?
Or discover your artistic talents in Tuscany?
Maybe you prefer a yoga or meditation retreat. Whichever’s your personal favorite…
Holidays are a fantastic opportunity to hone your skills and enjoy a lovely location at the same time.
26. Join a Membership site
Great membership sites provide the information you need for the progress you deserve.
For a monthly fee, you get access to
- exclusive content
- and support
Memberships are great to help you grow. The community can also keep you motivated.
And maybe even answer your specific questions.
But if you prefer 1:1 support tailored to your needs, you’ll need a coach.
27. Get a mentor/coach
Self-help is great. And you can improve yourself a lot.
But you can’t do it all by yourself.
Or rather, you could – but it would take forever.
An experienced mentor or coach can save you years of trying to reach your goals on your own.
They’ve coached plenty of people like you and guided them to success.
So, consider investing in a pro. They know how to structure your efforts and keep you accountable.
Types of coaches:
- Life coach
- Relationship coach
- Fitness coach
- Career coach
- Mindset coach
- Business coach
You don’t need to hire a coach if you’re lucky enough to have a mentor.
This is typically an experienced person who provides you with personal or professional guidance for free.
28. Join a Mastermind
Masterminds are like the high-end version of an exclusive membership.
A small group of brilliant people meets regularly to exchange
It’s often a peer-to-peer mentoring group, so you would join successful entrepreneurs to grow your business.
Masterminds rely on expertise, knowledge, and relationships. Their members collaborate, brainstorm, network – and motivate each other.
It’s exclusive, as you need to have a certain level of success to join.
It’s also expensive because you get premium support and insights you can’t get anywhere else.
If you want this kind of access, masterminds can be an invaluable investment.
BEYOND Self-development activities: What’s next?
Now you have a fabulous list of personal development activities.
Some of these self-improvement tips are quick and easy. Others take time and effort.
I hope this list gave you a few ideas for developing yourself.
Personal development activities boost your motivation and help you reach your goals.
Plus, continually improving your professional and personal skills leads to lifelong success.
Getting just 1% better every day leads to impressive results over time (as you can read in The Benefits of Personal Development).
This list of personal development activities is part of the Ninja self-development series.
Make sure you read the other parts of this series next.
Which are your favorite personal development activities from this list?
What self-growth tips did I miss? Let me know below!
Have a wonderful, productive day!
Improve yourself. Improve your life!
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