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28 Personal Development Activities to Ace Your Life

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The 2020s are like a bad joke. And no one’s laughing.
The pandemic. The war in Europe. Millions of people out of work as companies grapple with the consequences of the last 2 years.

So you can imagine that personal development is hot right now.
You may even have extra time or incentive to develop your skills.

All the more reason to dive into the 28 personal development activities I’ll share with you.


Developing your skills lets you improve yourself and increases your quality of life.

So, I hope you’re excited to discover your new favorite self-improvement ideas.

Use them to upgrade your skills for school. Business. Work. Or personal goals… The time is now!

Let’s do this!

Personal Development Activities that upgrade your social skills

1. Do a team workshop

Unless you’re a natural, your people skills can probably improve.
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 a ton about yourself.

Like how you prefer to work. And if you work well with others.

Do you assume that people think 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 that 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.
Are you a great communicator?

If the answer is “no”, you can work on your communication skills through videos or tutorials.

You could also take a real class.
Or join a Toastmasters club (with 280,000 members in 144 countries).

Communicating clearly is incredibly powerful – especially for your professional success.

And the better you communicate, the more confident you feel.

The Impact of poor communication in the workplace

Personal Development Activities: Improve your communication skills
The impact of poor communication – Study by The Economist. Multiple answers were possible

3. Network, network, network

70% of job opportunities never get advertised but are filled through networking.

So how do become a better networker?

At your next event, stick around. Most people have interesting stories, and the conversation flows naturally.

Conversation isn’t chess.
You don’t have to calculate 5 moves in advance.

Start with a simple question – and then add questions about what the other person tells you.

The more you train your interpersonal skills, the easier it will be.
If you get past the initial awkwardness

4. Get feedback

Personal Development Activities: Get Feedback

We all have blind spots.
Maybe about our flaws, but definitely about our skills and personality.

You can get eye-opening answers if you dare to ask others for feedback.

It’s a win-win

You’ll discover what others appreciate about you – or what to improve.

Then you can tailor your personal development activities accordingly.

5. Do volunteer work

This personal development activity lets you help others and gain so much.

Your people skills will get better. Your professional skills can improve.
And you’ll feel good about yourself.

And it’s not just soup kitchens… you can also find organizations that need your professional skills.

Like pro bono for lawyers. Financial wizards, techies, IT pros, marketing specialists, writers… “Donate” your skills by doing a website or bookkeeping for free.

You could gain valuable work experience in exchange!

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 clearly
  • work together in a team

Team sports also help your organizational skills and discipline.
And they are great for developing better relationships.

Leadership Skills used in sports

Team sports are challenging. But let’s take this a step further…

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

A competition helps you stay motivated because you signed up for real.
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 goal.
Sign up for a marathon, a triathlon, or other competitions related to the skills you want to hone.

If you don’t care about sports, look for singing, cooking, writing contests, etc.

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 when you are competitive by nature.

But don’t overdo it, or you’ll quit.

Set goals you feel excited about.
Use these challenges to break bad habits or to 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

Each day, do something that scares you.

No… don’t talk to creepy people.

Simply choose an action you feel uneasy about.

To achieve goals you’ve never achieved before, you need to start doing things you’ve never done before

Stephen 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
Personal Development Tip: Do scary activities

Do something scary every day. You’ll be surprised by how much confidence you’ll gain!

You could:

  • 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, make “leave your comfort zone” a 30-day challenge.

10. Learn to say no

Once you have clear goals, politely decline when people ask you to do unrelated stuff.
No, you won’t turn into the Grinch.

But you mustn’t be a people-pleaser.

Don't say 'yes' to everything. Learn to say 'no'

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!

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.

Expertise levels of narrow skills in Personal Development Activities
Levels of expertise of a narrow skill – Personal development activities

You could, for example, specialize in Photoshop Composites.
(Where you blend different images into one fantastic image).

So, you put all your efforts into becoming the best Photoshop Composite specialist you can be.

And you know the best part?

It’s easier than ever to get qualified or certified online.

Personal Development Activities: Specialize in one skill

12. Broaden your horizon

Instead of specializing in one skill, you could dabble in several activities.

And just learn the basics.

These skills can be completely unrelated to what you usually do to give you a variety of experiences.

Picture specializing as a runner…

Versus enjoying different sports like cycling, swimming, yoga, and skiing.

Or you could learn a new language 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 a vacation, personal relationships, or professional life.

And you can learn so much for free with YouTube, Online Courses, Podcasts, Blogs, and Apps.

Or partner up with someone who wants to practice your language in exchange (we call this a tandem). This can even help with your people skills if you’re shy.

For a language tandem, you can meet in person or via a video call.

First, you teach your language for 30 minutes; then they teach you for 30 minutes.

14. Create with your hands

Working with your hands is fantastic for your brain. It decreases stress and improves your mental health.

So get creative and try your hand at

  • Cooking
  • Painting
  • Knitting
  • Gardening
  • Building / restoring furniture
Personal Development Tip: Do a manual activity

A relaxed, clear mind can lead to more creativity. And that helps you with your career goals.

Prefer a quicker activity? Check out this next tip!

15. Learn how to speed read

Speed reading saves precious time you can spend on your self-improvement.
Especially if you read every day.

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!

Personal Development Activities: Speed Reading Ninja

But with speed reading, you could double your reading speed without losing important information.

Luckily, it’s easy to find books and online trainings that turn you into the Flash.
Invest the time you save in your personal development.

Are you ready?

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 to build good habits.

16. Analyze your failures

Reflecting on your mistakes doesn’t sound fun. But it’s essential for your personal growth.

You’d like to avoid the same problem next time, right?

So, when things go wrong, try to figure out what happened.

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

Luckily, you can read everywhere – thanks to a plethora of e-books, blogs, magazines, newspapers, and more…

Build a reading habit for personal growth

18. Start a success journal

This type of journaling makes you think about your successes. Combined with a gratitude journal, it’s an excellent habit to reflect on your week.

Daily journaling has an even more 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.
Because you’ll think of times you were proud of yourself – or when others complimented you.

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
FREE Download Journaling Prompts
FREE Ninja Journaling Prompts

19. Use affirmations

Affirmations are positive words and phrases you say to yourself. Compliments, if you will.

If you hear or read them often enough, your brain will believe the positive affirmations – and you will, too.


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

  • drink a tasty cup of hot coffee
  • get a relaxing massage
  • read a fantastic book
  • watch your favorite show
  • order delicious food
  • apply a soothing face mask
  • enjoy a hot bath
  • take a refreshing nap
  • get a great workout in
  • go for a lovely walk…
Personal Development Activities: Ninja Self-Care Bingo
Personal Development Activities: Self-Care Bingo
[Download now! No signup necessary]

So try the self-care bingo if you get overexcited by your goals.

21. Practice yoga regularly

Yoga is excellent for your body and soul.
It’s also relaxing. Or energizing.

Love doing a yoga session first thing in the morning?
Or to wind down in the evening?

Maybe you prefer your sun salutations during lunch break…
Choose what works best for you.

Just as you can practice inside a beautiful zen room, in the park, or on the lake.

Yoga decreases stress, helps you sleep, and improves your well-being. You’ll gain flexibility, energy, and strength. Try it!

Personal Development Activities: Yoga

Need to calm your mind? Maybe it’s time to meditate…

22. Meditate often

Meditation calms your mind from chatter.
Once you’re aware of your thoughts, you can choose them wisely.

If you need help meditating, you can use videos on YouTube and apps, such as:

  • 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 negative overload.

So you can see why meditation is the second favorite body and mind practice after yoga.
What do you think?

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.

Self Development Tip: Listen to Podcasts

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

Ninja Webinars
FREE Ninja Goal-Setting Class (30 minutes)

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 you with the information you need for the progress you deserve.

For a monthly fee, you get access to

  • exclusive content
  • mini-courses
  • workshops
  • downloads
  • 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
Self-development Tip: Get a 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

  • ideas
  • resources
  • contacts
  • feedback
  • etc.

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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This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Shaun

    I couldn’t resist commenting. Perfectly written!

  2. Darin

    Nice post. I learn something new and challenging on websites I stumbleupon on a daily basis. It’s always helpful to read content from other authors and practice something from their websites.

  3. Nancie

    Everyone loves it when people come together and share ideas. Great site, stick with it!

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