20 Self-Development Activities To Ace Your Life

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self-development activities

You must learn to engage in self-development activities to grow and lead a meaningful life.

These are the activities that improve your lifestyle and the way you think and see the world. The greatest thing about self-development is that it never ends.

There is no peak or limit. The limit is only the one that you decide to place yourself. In this article, I have listed some self-development activities that you can do to ensure continuous development.

You can be sure that the list is exhaustive. Here are some of those activities below:


1.  Reading

You can engage in many self-development activities, but many agree that reading tops the list. And sadly, many people do not know the immense knowledge that can be picked by reading.

Many people think once it does not count towards grades in school, reading is a waste of time. But that is so wrong because books are reservoirs of knowledge. They have been sources of inspiration from ages past and till the present.

When you read, you are exposed to knowledge someone else has stumbled upon and shared. And most times, this knowledge from books cannot be gotten elsewhere. So, if you are concerned with self-development, read far and wide.

Read books related to your career and those unrelated. You will always see something you can pick up that will significantly influence your life for the better.


2.  Meditation

Meditation is when you can focus your thoughts on something or someone to be more aware of them and gain emotional stability, clarity and calmness.

Meditation is one of the self-development activities that you can use to improve your mental and physical health. We live in a world where many things simultaneously try to gain our attention.

And trying to give this attention to all those things can often cause unrest in us, thus leading to stress, pain, depression and anxiety. But this is where meditation comes in. It helps you calm your nerves and focus on the necessary things.

Even though meditation started out as a religious concept, it has evolved and is now used in various life contexts. So, when you feel like you are overwhelmed by the issues of life, meditate.

Focus on important things, and you will see yourself gaining control of your emotions and the world around you.


3.  Develop Communication Skills

Communication is the backbone of relationships. Whatever bond we share, or relationship we have with one another started based on communication.

So, you cannot actively and properly relate with and engage with the world and people around you if you have poor communication skills. One of the things communication skills does is to help people understand us.

If people around you struggle to understand you, you will find it hard to live peacefully with them. That is why communication is one of those self-development activities that are extremely important.

You can develop your communication skills by learning to read, write and speak. Learn how to write clearly and logically present your ideas.

Learn how to speak to a crowd and give talks that motivate. You need to be an excellent speaker to sell yourself to people.


4.  Learn A Skill

self-development activities

It is essential that everyone has a skill. And that skill should be well-developed. Many people today earn incomes not from their degrees in mainstream educational institutes but from their skills.

Some people are expert speakers. Their specialty is training people to captivate their audience while speaking to them. Some others are seasoned salespeople. They are so good that they can convince a billionaire to spend billions on what they don’t need.

Some people have talents that they developed to become high-value. For example, someone can be good with words and decide to develop this talent to become a writer. Make no mistake; you must not be talented to have a skill.

You need to have something you are passionate about and develop yourself accordingly. We are at a time when people will not need to present their certificates for employment but only show what they can do.

Learning a skill is one of those self-development activities that you can do.


5.  Face Your Fears

No one alive is fearless. But some people constantly face their fears. One of the self-development activities you must try is facing your fears. What are those things that scare you?

You cannot develop yourself or grow if you keep shying away from the things you fear. So, here is a practical way to deal with your fears. Sit down, get a book, and write down everything you are afraid of.

Now, start with one. Is it the fear of public speaking? Then, get into a school that teaches public speaking and start practicing.

Next, join groups that can encourage you to speak in public, like debate and drama clubs. The more you face your fears, the less scary they become.


6.  Try Learning A New Language

The ability to speak and understand multiple languages shows intelligence and growth. Therefore, it is good to learn a new language. This is not easy, especially if you are already an adult, but nothing worthwhile is easy anyway.

Thankfully, there are ways you can learn a new language. The internet and technology have made it possible for anyone who wants to learn a new language from the comfort of their homes and at a low cost.

You can sign up on Duolingo and learn the basics of a new language. This helps you understand the culture and mindset of people from other places. It is one way to gain a global view of human behaviors and choices.


7.  Travel To New Places

Like learning a new language, travelling is another of the many self-development activities that significantly help you better understand human cultures and behavior.

When you spend a lot of time in one place, you tend to develop a short-sighted view of things. But the world is so large that spending your whole life experiencing one way of life should be discouraged.

You can learn many things from the people and opportunities you can come across by travelling. Travelling serves to broaden your mind. You will no longer have a closed-minded approach to things.

When you travel a lot, your personal bias reduces, and you tend to tolerate people and diverging opinions more. And this makes you a better person all around.


8.  Start Journaling

self-development activities

You should take journaling seriously to be more self-aware and understand yourself better.

It is one of those self-development activities that help you clarify your thoughts. Sometimes, you may be distracted by a lot of ideas.

So many thoughts will come to your mind about what you need to do, say or become. These thoughts barge into your mind and take up mental space. And it is often hard to mentally separate them and act on those that matter.

So, what do you do? Write. You can do this on a physical book, or you can do it on the note apps of your smartphone. When you write down your thoughts, you free up space for other essential things.

Secondly, you gain clarity when you read what you have written down. Finally, you can sort them out properly and know the ones to follow and discard.

I have put together some tips to help you get started on journaling properly for self-development, you can check it out here.


9.  Sign Up For Masterclasses

This is one of the self-development activities that involve learning. You do not know everything that you should.

No one does. And that is why there is an avenue for everyone to share the little they know for the benefit of others.

This is where masterclasses come in. First, you have to discover what exactly you want to learn. Is it photography, screenwriting, filmmaking, acting or carpentry? There is someone somewhere who is willing to teach these skills.

Some of them teach for free, while some teach with some fees attached. Get to know what you want to learn, then search the internet for people holding masterclasses on the subject.

Sign up, pay attention and learn. You will be better off than you were before the lessons began.


10.  Listen To Podcasts

Self-development activities help you discover things you did not know before or improve on what you already know. Thanks to technology, we have podcasts. There are podcasts for almost any field of knowledge you want to grow in.

For example, some podcasts talk about spirituality and other religious-related stuff. Some talk about finance, how to scale up your income, save better, budget and be more frugal.

Some podcasts talk about literature. Some talk about business ideas, investments and real estate. You name it. Whatever field you want to venture into, and you need guidance from top performers in that industry, podcasts are there for you.


11.  Get A Mentor

A mentor is someone who has passed through the stage you are passing through and has developed blueprints that you can use to pass through that stage successfully.

Many people are making mistakes others have made, which could have been prevented if a mentor had guided them. You do not need to develop yourself alone. No one should do life alone.

Many people are out there eager and waiting for someone they can pour their wealth of knowledge into. If you want to develop yourself, you must be humble enough to ask someone to mentor you in the field you need to grow.


12.  Start Exercising Your Body

self-development activities

When people hear of self-development, they first think of the development of the mind, finance and relationship. But that is not the only part of you that needs to develop.

You have to take care of the body just as much as you take care of the mind. The body houses the mind, and if anything goes wrong with the body, the mind takes a hit too.

Exercises are one of those self-development activities that you should do to help your body. When you read, you are exercising your mind. When you work out, you are exercising your body. Exercises help you stay alert and help your body be active.

It also enables blood to flow around properly. When you exercise, your immune system improves, your mood improves, the risk of cardiovascular diseases reduces, and you generally become healthier.


13.  Enter Competitions

How will you know how good you are at a thing if you do not put your skills to the test? One of the self-development activities you can do is competing with others. There is a need to prove yourself to yourself and others.

When you compete with others, you are pressured to bring out the best within you. Think of a diamond and how it is formed. It is hot pressure that creates those glittering precious stones.

So, to unearth those special skills and gifts inside of you, you must put yourself under the pressure of competition. Are you a skilled writer? Put yourself to the test by entering writing competitions.

Are you a badass photographer or designer? Look for contests and submit your work. You might gain national or global acclaim. You can also benefit from the prize attached to the competition.


14.  Learn To Say No

One of the signs that you are mature and have a healthy dose and sense of self-esteem is the ability to say no.

It is a huge plus if you know how to say no to things that do not align with what you want for yourself.

So many people have become victims and enslaved people to the wishes of others because they cannot stand their ground or refuse to submit to things that do not benefit them in any way.

You must not be everywhere. You must not and cannot even do everything. It is not everyone that you can and should help.

When you try, you see that you have stretched yourself so thin that you eventually have nothing more to give to yourself and others. Are you looking for some self-development activities to pick? Practice saying no to people.


15.  Develop Human Management Skills

As someone who wants to grow, you must learn how to manage people. Therefore, one of the essential skills in the 21st century is knowing how to manage people.

Many don’t realize that people who get promoted to be in charge of others at work are not necessarily the most talented. They are not the ones who know how to do the job expertly well.

Those who are made managers are those who have developed their human management skills. They may not know how to build a house, but they understand how to build a team. And usually, it is those with the best teams that win.

A footballing coach sometimes may not have played football. Most times when they played, they weren’t such skilled players. They were average players, players who were not even remembered.

But they learnt how to assemble and manage a team. And you see the person using that team to bag trophies they didn’t even dream of as a player.


16.  Always Try Networking

The world is constantly changing. There are many heights you may not get to if you do not know the right people. Not because of nepotism but because you do not know about the opportunity.

The people you meet today can be of help tomorrow. That is why it is important to always meet people and treat them well. You never can tell who can help you tomorrow. So, don’t just live in your shell. Come out and meet people.


17.  Do A 30-Day Challenge

self-development activities

Many people employ this method to reach a goal they have been unable to achieve for a while. So, if you want to grow in a particular field, try getting into a 30-day challenge. Of course, you can do this alone, but it is more fun if you do it with others.

When others do it with you, the motivation to succeed triples. So, what goal do you want to achieve? What area of your life do you want to improve upon? Do you want to give up drinking soda? Sign up for a 30-day no-soda challenge.

Do you want to improve on financial prudence or achieve a savings goal? Then, try a 30-day saving challenge. When you succeed in this, you have unknowingly built a habit that enhances your life in the long run.


18.  Track Your Development

It is always important to keep track of your development. You cannot know how well you have done if you don’t keep track of your goal. For example, you want to lose 30 pounds in two months.

How do you know if you are successful if you don’t keep track? So, weigh yourself and write it down. Then, at the end of every workout week, write down how much weight you have lost. It helps to motivate and keep you going.


19.  Schedule Enough Time To Rest

self-development activities

Self-development does not only concern your mind. Your body should also improve.

Your body houses your mind and, as such, should be treated with love too. One way to improve your body’s performance is by having enough rest.

People who don’t get enough rest in the quest for success and performance will eventually burn out and break down.

The human body works like a computer sometimes. When it can no longer cope with the stress, it crashes.

Some people survive the crash, and some don’t. And I know you don’t want to find out whether your body can survive the crash. So, rest. Get enough sleep. Take at least 6 hours of sleep daily so your body can function optimally.


20.  Spend Time With Motivated People

The people around us play an active role in how we eventually turn out. That is why it is necessary to have friends, families and mentors. They are needed for our personal development.

Another group of people that will help you in your self-development journey is a group of motivated people. Whatever you want to achieve, get people with the same goal and partner with them. You will find that your motivation will increase.

The collective motivation of everyone in the group becomes a huge drive, bigger than the individual drive, that can help each member actualize their dreams.


Self-development Activities For Students

Here are some self-development activities for students:

1. Peer Review: A peer review is an academic exercise where a student reviews another student’s essay, reports and assignments to point out flaws, biases and incorrect answers and then give feedback to who they reviewed.

This activity develops the mental understanding of everyone and helps each student learn of their bias and flaws.

2. Brain Storming: Students are divided into groups and given an idea or a question to resolve. The students must consider their opinions and agree on one best suited to answer the question. This activity helps in critical thinking.

3. Group Project: Students are divided into groups and assigned a project. All group members must contribute to setting up the project and writing reports. This activity encourages teamwork.


Fun Self-Development Activities

Here are some fun self-development activities:

1. Solve a Puzzle: If you want to have fun while critically engaging your brain, solving a puzzle might be that activity.

2. Travelling: if you can afford it, travelling is another exciting way to gain insight into how the world works in other places.

3. Play A Sport: Playing sports that require you to be a team member is fun. It also teaches you how to be an active member of a team.


Self-development Activities For Work

self-development activities

Here are some self-development activities for work:

1. Online Courses: Taking online courses for work will increase your knowledge and performance on the job. It can also help you scale through your career faster than others.

2. Taking New Responsibilities: When you take on new responsibilities, you learn on the job. This counts as experience, an opportunity to handle higher responsibilities, and a chance at promotion.

3. Attending Conferences: There is always something new to learn, and attending conferences is one way to learn those things. It is also an opportunity to network with big industry players.



There is no limit to what you can learn or how much you can grow. The only limit is the one in your mind. Self-development activities are vast and unlimited.

All you have to do is select the areas that appeal to you the most and begin to work on them. The more you grow, the more you feel satisfied with your life.

So, stay motivated and keep growing. The reward is so vast that you cannot even imagine or count.

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Author: Afam Uche

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