20 Self-development Activities And Why They Help Self-improvement

Self-Development doesn’t just happen by chance. True, sometimes things can propel it forward, but most times it takes dedication from you. My friend asked the other day what self-development activities I practiced that made the most impact on my self-development.

The best self-development activities that replace old behaviors and allow for growth are the best activities to try. Below are 20 activities that all self-improvement masters practiced to become self-developed.

  1. Practice Self-Awareness
  2. Meditate
  3. Stop Judging Yourself
  4. Stop Judging others
  5. Go with the flow
  6. Practice Disconnection
  7. Get Daily Sleep
  8. Take Deep Breaths
  9. Enjoy your own company
  10. Practice affirmations
  11. Eat well 80% of the Time
  12. Move your body
  13. Have a routine
  14. Don’t have a routine
  15. Stick to your goals
  16. Let go of un-inspiring goals
  17. Practice the power of attraction
  18. Focus on you
  19. Focus on others
  20. Calm your fears

These activities are fundamentals. I don’t believe in surface activities, those never helped. What helped is to practice core level rewiring of the mind. We all have these core issues, and once we let go or enhance (the good ones) those core fundamentals, you allow for permanent self-development. Here is why the above self-development activities help with self-development.

Practice Self-Awareness

There is nothing that can propel you faster towards your destination than to be aware of what you are and what you stand for. Practice understanding that being in this moment is all there is first and foremost. If you can’t enjoy the now, you will never enjoy the future or fondly remember the past. 

Allow the moment to overcome you, the smells, the sights, the feeling, the tastes. That is what being alive is all about. 

Find A Meditation Practice That Works For You

Meditation is crucial so that you can calm the mind. Stressors surround us. Stressors that our ancestors never dreamed of. Most of us will go weeks without stepping on grass or sit under a tree. 

Sitting and closing our thinking to all stimuli is one activity that can benefit your health, mind, and soul. Without mediation, you could reach actualization, but it would be nearly impossible. 

Find a calming meditation regime and do it daily for three months, then and only then take a break from it if you wish. My favorite meditation is from Sadhguru, it’s great for beginners and advanced meditators.

Sadhguru’s Amazing Daily Meditation

Stop Judging Yourself

Every Time you go to guilt-trip yourself, STOP. Practice mindfully acknowledging that mistakes happen and quickly let it go. 

It took me a few months of mindful practicing letting go of self-judgment to learn to appreciate myself as I was. Heck, you might learn to love yourself.

Stop Judging Others

Just like you have to practice self-forgiveness, practice forgiving others. When a friend doesn’t call you back, practice saying, “It’s okay for them to forget, I will check on them a little later to make sure they are okay.” If they just forgot because they started watching TV, let whatever feeling.

Going With The Flow Of Change

Be flexible when an unexpected turn of events occurs. When you are ready for anything, nothing can shake you. 

Say yes to the occasional spur-of-the-moment invite. Or when plans fall through, enjoy the welcomed quiet moment.

Practice Disconnection From Drama/Stressors

Science says that patterns of behavior and actions can often feel more like control over us, rather than a choice. Be mindful of how you react to groups of people. 

If you find yourself with family and you feel controlled by the situation. See it through disconnected eyes. That means to release the hold mindfully that it has on you and move on. 

It is easier said than done. It took two years for me not to feel sucked into the family drama. Or to let go of the need to respond to someone’s snarky Facebook post. It is so worth it, though, my nerves thank me. Practicing disconnection from drama is a must.

Practice disconnecting from emotional holds. Read my Self-Regulation Excercise

Emotional Self-Regulation Exercises

Get A Good Night’s Sleep

Sleep is king! Seriously, rest saved my sanity. I fought to get a full night’s sleep because I (don’t like to say this) Hate sleep. I am one of those who would wish for NEVER NEED SLEEP if a genie offered me a wish. 

But sleep is a necessary healing state. The more you practice getting a full night’s sleep, the more you will realize how much compensation you have been doing. Sleep is where your body heals, where you store memory, where you heal your mind. 

Interrupted sleep means, interrupted self-development growth. 

Read more on ways to get better sleep Here.

Take Deep Breath Often

Deep breathing restores your oxygen and improves brain and body activity. With a deep breath, you can calm your mind and restore healing to your cells. 

Sit back wherever you are and take a deep breath in, let it go slowly, and repeat three to four times. Just that practice can bring a sense of wellbeing to any stressful moment. The more you do it, the faster those short breathing exercises help.

Credit: 67.media.tumblr.com

Enjoy Your Own Company

After you practice forgiving yourself, enjoy your newfound self. Stop and remember what activities you used to like and do them again. Watch the movies that brought you joy. Talk to the people that helped you relax. 

Spend lazy or busy afternoons with just you and yourself. You have to spend the most Time inside your mind, might as well learn to love who you are.

Practice Affirmations

One activity that fasts your self-love forward is affirmations. Affirmations are repetitions of beliefs that help replace constant negative self-talk. 

Affirmations can be simple phrases such as “I love myself,” or “I am okay right now.” One trick to affirmations is to do them at night. Find an affirmation podcast or YouTube video. Listen for the last half an hour of your night. It helps you fall asleep and reprograms the way you talk to yourself. 

Keep practicing affirmations; the more you hear positive self-talk, the more you will repeat it in your waking day.

Affirmations Are Loving Phrases That Remind You To Be Good To Yourself

Eat Well 80% Of The Time

Feed your body well for 80 percent of the Time, at least. You can’t expect to enjoy life fully if you are feeding your body (the flesh and blood of your soul) crap. 

Some people can eat healthy 100% of the time without a problem, but I have never been that way. I love chocolate and the occasional noodle dish. Find a middle-ground for what you want in your healthy eating and stick to it.

Move Your Body

Exercise is such a harsh word for most people. And I believe it’s because you don’t lack activity, you lack balance. We are not growing fat because of a lack of activity, but because of what we eat first. So stop obsessing over getting exercise and instead focus on movement as enjoyment.

What do you love to do that is active? I like to dance, and I like just walking. Most days I don’t sit for hours at a time, and I have to remind myself to rest. Be mindful of moving your body in the right way. 

Do the activities that put your body at ease and build wellbeing. 

For some, a run will be great; for others, a slow walk will be best. Listen to your body.

Have A Routine

Routines help to ease the hecticness of everyday hassle. Having something that stays the same every day helps our minds focus on a stable, secure point. 

Get to bed at the same time each night. Stop and sit every morning with your coffee and enjoy it. Find small moments of routine that can dissolve stress and help us recollect our thoughts.

Read more on how to create habits that help with routines. 5 Steps That Improve Habits.

Don’t Have A Routine

The opposite is true; don’t rely on your day going the same every day. Enjoy the occasional wrench in your day. Allow things to offset you and go with the flow. 

Try to break up your day by going home a new way. Or, stop and grab a chocolate cake with your kids, just because. Perfection needs disruption to be thoroughly enjoyed.

Stick To Your Goals

If you have a goal, keep at it. Don’t give up too soon. The tale of The Tortoise is a classic for a reason. Slow really wins the race. I hate to break your bubble, but most people who succeed do not succeed because of their amazingness. They succeed because of their perseverance. It’s the small daily commitments that make them successful. Not their genius.

Not sure what goals you need, figure out your next life step with my post on How To Do A Life Audit.

A life audit helps you see where you are spending your time and if you are doing the things that give your life meaning so you can set a plan to realign your goals.

Let Go Of Un-inspiring Goals

Don’t get controlled by the thought you have to stay with something you don’t love because you said you would do it. Learn to let go of something that doesn’t please you. 

Life is about finding purpose, and if that purpose doesn’t drive you, you are wasting your life. Find that one thing that you do well and can’t live without and do that. I found my purpose in self-development. It was the one thing I never tired of. I love this subject, find what you love. 

Practice The Power Of Attraction

The mind is such a powerful creator. It has been proven that the minute you think of something that you are creating it. And that is why the power of attraction works. Whatever you want, all you have to do is think about it. 

Practice focusing on what you want to appear in your life, hold on to that image. Practice visualizing and feeling the life you wish to have, every day for 15 minutes. Don’t give up on it, it works.

Focus On You

Change happens only to you; you can’t force change on anyone else; that is the power of freedom of choice. 

By focusing on your desires and self-development, you make the world a better place. The mere fact that you change one person (yourself) creates the most significant change in this world. That is why Mother Teresa said that the biggest difference you can make begins at home.

When you focus on you, you stop resentment from happening. When you expect for you to make you happy, you stop seeking it outside yourself. Your partner and friends will thank you.

Focus On Others

A lot of what I say has an opposite and equal action. That is because what you do you have to do with mindfulness in mind. Don’t get sucked into only viewing the world through your eyes. 

The way you can create an impact in your life is by giving a bit of your full attention to your partner, children, or friends. 

Pay full attention to another person once in a while, and watch your appreciation for them grow. Suddenly you will see the whole human before you. It will give you meaning and develop the love of others towards you. 

Calm Your Fears

Finally, my hardest activity for self-development, calming your fears. Fear is everywhere. It’s in every decision you make, every thought you have, every action you take. Learn to be aware of what you do in fear mindfully. And do it anyway. Fear is good for us, it’s the only sign of living to the fullest, and it’s the most challenging self-development task you can practice. This is my focus for this year. What will be yours?

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Lucia Stakkestad is an emotional regulation teacher with over a decade of experience in helping individuals gain insight into their feelings and learn methods to handle their emotions more effectively. Not only does she specialize in emotional regulation, but she also teaches evidence-based mindfulness practices that can help you reduce stress and anxiety, build healthier relationships and develop self-awareness. With her guidance, you will gain a better understanding of your mindset, emotions and mindfulness and learn how to make positive transformational changes in your life.

Lucia Stakkestad

Lucia Stakkestad is an emotional regulation teacher with over a decade of experience in helping individuals gain insight into their feelings and learn methods to handle their emotions more effectively. Not only does she specialize in emotional regulation, but she also teaches evidence-based mindfulness practices that can help you reduce stress and anxiety, build healthier relationships and develop self-awareness. With her guidance, you will gain a better understanding of your mindset, emotions and mindfulness and learn how to make positive transformational changes in your life.

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