Whenever I think about personal development, I think of a never-ending process.
Many things in our lives come and go. Friends, jobs, relationships, and so on.
But your story of personal transformation is a never-ending story.
You can literally wake up each morning and decide that you want to be a better person than you were the previous day. Then you can take steps to do just that. Remarkable, isn't it?!
Below I've compiled a list of best personal development activities that everyone can benefit from incorporating into their life.
These are activities that will expand your thinking and perception of the world, allowing you to know yourself and others better.
These personal development activities will enable you to continuously challenge yourself and reject complaceny, so that ultimately one day you can look back on a life well-lived.
Though this may seem like a long post, this list is by no means exhaustive.
These activities are just a few of my favourites, but really you can never run out of self development activities to explore!
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Before you continue reading, grab your own copy of the free personal development plan template that I've made available on this site.
No seriously, take a second to grab one.
Why do I bring this up, with such a sense of urgency?
Well, you see, a personal development plan is a blueprint for your success in the years to come.
As such, personal development planning is one of the most important personal development activities a person can engage in.
When you take the initiative to sit down and design your own personal development plan, it shows that you realize at least two things:
Creating a personal development plan allows you to take control of your life, so you can start working toward the results that mean the most to you.
Although personal development planning is not something we're usually taught at school, there's no need to put it off, and every reason not to!
Your elevator pitch is what you typically say when someone asks you who you are and what you do.
Ideally, it should be a brief presentation that lasts as long as it takes to ride on an elevator (30 to 60 seconds).
When you learn to craft and deliver an excellent elevator pitch, it will make you more memorable to new acquaintances and could even help you land exciting opportunities.
The beautiful thing about an elevator pitch is that you get to choose exactly how you present yourself.
Rather than just saying your job title, try to phrase what you do in a unique way that the other person has likely never heard before - highlighting your skills, background, and how you would like to add value to the world.
By aligning your pitch with your current goals and practicing it in various scenarios, you'll build your confidence and solidify your personal brand.
Related: Best Personal Branding Courses
Learning doesn't always have to be intense.
One of my favourite ways to relax and learn is by listening to audiobooks.
I usually like to listen to the audio versions of books I've already read, as a way to refresh my memory and even pick up concepts that I might have missed before.
To make it even more interesting, you can select audiobooks on subjects that you are currently interested in.
For example, if there's a historical figure that you would like to learn more about, you could listen to a biography audiobook that explores their life story.
Or, if you'd like to become a more confident person and overcome any limiting beliefs that are holding back, you could listen to a motivational mindset audiobook.
There are so many options, and it's totally up to you!
=> You can get a free audiobook of your choice here.
Have you ever taken the 16 personalities test?
It's another personal development activity that I highly recommend because it can provide you with an improved understanding of yourself and your relationships.
The test uses the four-letter naming model of the Myers-Briggs theory and incorporates the latest advances in psychometric research.
At the end of the test, your personality type will be determined based on the following five personality aspects: Mind, Energy, Nature, Tactics and Identity.
You can learn more about the framework behind the 16 personalities test here.
Of course, the results are not 100% definitive, because significant differences can exist even among people who share a personality type.
However, many people who have taken the test have found it to be remarkably accurate, myself included!
This is a fun activity that requires you to step out of your comfort zone and use your imagination.
The purpose of writing a letter to your future self is to engage in meaningful self-reflection. It allows you to process your thought patterns, feelings, and attitudes as well as your future aspirations.
Moreover, for many of us, time just flies by and we forget how much can be achieved within a short space of time.
Just think back to who you were five years ago, compared to now.
You were like a completely different person back then. So just think of who'll you be five years from now?
By writing a letter to your future self, it will make it so much easier to keep track of your progress, so you can see how far you've come - and hopefully how much you've flourished!
Make sure to include the following details in your letter:
In the letter, you should also ask your future self questions, such as:
This activity works best when you provide sufficient details and truly open up. Don't be afraid to be vulnerable - to mention your greatest fears and wildest dreams. After all, you're writing to yourself.
Store the letter away in an envelope marked with the open date, which should ideally be five years later. Set a reminder of this date on your digital calendar, remembering to include the location of the letter.
When you eventually open it up one day, it'll be a wonderful surprise, a gift like no other!
Speed reading is a useful skill to learn, considering the overwhelming amount of information we are presented with on a daily basis.
Taking a speed reading course can help you learn the skills required to effectively consume large amounts of information, while maintaining high levels of comprehension and retention.
This is an activity that will pay off in many areas of life, enabling you to learn faster and increase your productivity.
When you gain a deeper understanding of how the brain works, you'll be able to enhance its performance and reading will no longer feel like a chore!
Solo travel is an activity that truly puts the "personal" in personal development.
You see, while travelling with others is fun, it can often leave you racing around the clock to check items off an itinerary.
When you travel solo, however, you get to set the pace.
You can sit back and absorb every moment of your trip, without worrying about slowing others down.
On the other hand, you could use a solo trip as an opportunity to push yourself out of your comfort zone and reach a personal goal, such as making new friends in a foreign country.
Whatever you decide to do, travelling solo will expand your view of the world and enrich your experience in life.
For myself, one of the best parts of solo travel is the quiet time I get when I'm either riding on a train or flying on a plane.
In those valuable moments, I typically ponder the blessings I have recently experienced and plan my next steps for when I return home.
While certain circumstances - such as a traumatic event or a mental health concern - may cause individuals to start therapy, these days more and more people are turning to therapy as a safe place to talk about life's challenges and experience an improved sense of wellbeing.
In addition, therapy is becoming more affordable, with online options that are designed to offer greater flexibility and convenience.
Online-Therapy.com is a complete therapy toolbox offered by an online team of consultant therapists, cognitive behavioral therapists, and other licensed practitioners.
The program is based on cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), which is one of the most commonly used approaches for identifying, challenging and overcoming dysfunctional thoughts, behavior and emotions.
Once you sign up, a personal therapist will be assigned to you. This person will be by your side from start to finish to guide you through the sections, worksheets, activity plan, and live sessions included in the program.
Since the therapy is web-based, you can access the program from anywhere in the world, even anonymously.
You can get started and try out the program for a month here.
Plants are often a perfect metaphor for personal development.
They usually start off as miniscule seeds that stay hidden away in the ground for a long period of time before there are any visible signs of growth.
Thus, they remind us of the patient, progressive process that we all take to become the best version of ourselves.
By taking on a gardening project, you get the opportunity to literally watch something grow, and this can help you to adopt a healthy perspective on growth in other parts of your life.
Life isn't like Jack and the Beanstalk, and so the seed won't grow as soon as you pop it into the ground.
Good things take time. But as you'll see when you harvest your fresh, juicy tomatoes - or whatever else you decide to plant (weather permitting) - the rewards are certainly worth it!
It can be intriguing to think about what your life would be like if you could design your weekly schedule exactly the way you want it.
So why not do so?
This personal development activity is interesting because like a few of the other activities on this list, it encourages you to look out to the future and work your way back.
Imagine your life two years from now. Start by identifying what your ideal day would look like, for each day of the week.
The key here is to create an ordinary schedule, one that you would realistically follow on a regular ideal week - not a week where you're on vacation or doing something incredibly adventurous (unless of course that's a normal week for you!).
Here are a few things to think about: What time of the day would you work? Would you work everyday? What would you do for fun? When would you socialize, and with whom?
After you finish this activity, you can ask yourself the following questions: How similar is your ideal ordinary week to your current weekly schedule? What would you need to do to make this schedule a reality?
Once you've answered these questions, you can start working to bridge the gap bewetween where you are and where you want to be.
You can start by incorporating more of the things you love to do into your current schedule, slowly but surely, until you can transform your entire week.
If this all feels overwhelming, don't stress out. Remember that you've got two years to get there. Moreover, putting things down on paper is a great way to motivate yourself and make your dreams come alive!
Here are three top online courses with helpful self development activities:
Here are some personal activities that work well in a group setting:
Gratitude Circle - Each person in the group anonymously takes a slip of paper and writes down one thing they like about every other person in the group (on separate pieces of paper).
The slips of paper are then folded and shuffled inside a hat. Everyone in the group picks up a slip and reads it aloud. It's a great way to express appreciation for each other, and the best part is that you have no idea who wrote what!
Pitching Practice - In preparation for this activity, create a slide deck that features an unusual object on each slide. Present the deck to the group, and as each slide comes up, invite individuals to "sell" the item shown to the rest of the group.
Go around the group until everyone has had a turn, and at the end select the most persuasive pitch. The activity generates a lot of suspense and excitement as each participant prepares to spontaneously pitch an item that they may have never seen before.
BestSelf Icebreaker Deck - This deck of 150 conversation prompts is designed to spark meaningful discussions and strengthen relationships. The questions on the cards are split into 6 categories: life, random, deep, experience, if you could, and would you rather.
I personally love the Icebreaker deck because it helps you move past small talk and get to know people on a deeper level. It's also an activity that you can do over Zoom - just get each person to pick a category, and have the person with the cards read the question!
Thanks for reading this guide on the best personal development activities that you can engage in during your spare time.
Hopefully you've found some ideas that you can try out soon - by yourself or with a couple of friends.
Motivational speaker Tony Robbins once said: "It's what you practice in private that you will be rewarded for in public."
This means that every minute you spend enhancing your personal development is a minute well spent.
As you take the time to create a personal development plan and experiment with the different self development activities mentioned above, you'll be laying a strong foundation for the future!
All the best!
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