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What are the best self-development activities?  The ones that work consistently, reliably and give you the results you desire.  In this article, you will learn 12 of the best activities to improve yourself quickly and effectively.

I start by explaining what self-development is and what it isn’t. I’ll then briefly share my self-development journey with you.  This will help you understand what is possible when you consistently apply self-development activities to your life.

I’ll then uncover the 12 best self-development activities for an awesome life.  Don’t feel you have to do them all! Just pick the activities that resonate with you. The ones you feel are most helpful right now.

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What Is Self-Development

Self-development is about becoming more and wanting more in life.  It’s having greater success, happiness, or being more effective and proficient. It’s about developing your talents and potential and achieving your goals and dreams.

A key part of self-development is becoming more self-aware. This is understanding yourself and why you do things. It’s knowing your strengths and weaknesses. It’s being clear on your life’s purpose, mission and values.

So self-development is developing yourself by yourself. But perhaps with the help of other people, through coaching, therapy, reading books or watching videos.

The self-development industry in the US is worth $11 billion. Every year $500 million is spent on personal development products, courses and seminars. It’s a vast market!

What Is Not Self-Development.

Self-development is not being “fixed” by someone or something else. The power to change ultimately lies within you, not someone else.

It’s not learning personal development without applying it to your life. It’s not a dopamine hit. This is consuming self-development content purely to feel better now. This often leads to becoming a personal development junkie.

If you want self-development to be more than a hobby or entertainment, then it’s essential that you apply what you learn.

Would you like a step-by-step formula for success? Or to learn the rules that successful people follow? If so, click the button below to discover this for yourself.

My Self-Development Journey

My first experience of self-development was attending a seminar on stress management whilst at university. This was fascinating and encouraged me to learn and practice meditation.

When I moved to London, I became interested in Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) and was actively involved with the NLP practice groups in London.

There were three books that I read that had a massive impact on me.  There were.

At this time, I wanted to improve my social confidence and dating skills. I used self-development activities to help me do that successfully.

I had a wonderful life in my 30s. I got married, had many friends, a brilliant career and lots of opportunities to travel. So, I lost interest in self-development. 

In 2010, we moved to Sydney Australia and continued to have a wonderful life. However, I didn’t feel happy or fulfilled in my career, despite changing jobs several times. Now, in my 40s, I also had some niggling health issues that influenced my state of mind.  I became more interested in natural health. That then led me back into self-development and especially mind-body healing.

I decided to make self-development my career, so I invested in training to become a qualified clinical hypnotherapist and also launch the Self Help for Life online business and brand.

The 12 Best Self-Development Activities That Will Change Your Life

So now you know what self-development is, lets dive into 12 of the best self-development activities that have changed my life and I’m sure they will do the same for you too.

1. Affirmations

Affirmations are short, positive statements about what you want in life. You repeat these statements as often as you can. Repeating them out-loud is most effective, but silently to yourself is good too.

Affirmations help replace those repetitive negative thoughts that keep you stuck. You’re already saying negative affirmations to yourself, so you’re simply replacing these negative affirmations with positive ones.

Related Articles

How to Create Affirmations That Work Extremely Effectively

How to Write Affirmations that are Believable and Get Results

An alternative to affirmations is Lofty questions. You can learn about these here.

2. Meditation

Meditation is highly effective for reducing stress and anxiety. Meditation helps you gain a greater awareness of your thoughts and feelings. And when you’re meditating, you can change those thoughts and feelings, or let them go.

The easiest way to meditate is to focus on your breathing. Close your eyes and focus on breathing in and breathing out.  Whenever your mind wanders (and it will frequently, especially if you’re new to this), then accept that this is fine.  It’s completely natural.

Then as soon as you notice your mind wandering (and this could be a few seconds after your mind wondered), gently bring it back to your breathing.

Another option is guided meditations. This is listening to a recording of someone giving you relaxing suggestions. You then focus on the words being said. There are thousands of guided meditation recordings available and also guided meditation mobile apps.

3. Creative Visualization

We naturally use our imagination. However, it’s typically for worst-case scenarios or things we are afraid of. Just like thinking negatively, we imagine negatively too.

Creative visualization allows you to counteract negative imagery by vividly imagining what you want instead. It’s seeing situations and activities going the way you want them to go. Creative Visualization is often known as mental rehearsal, especially in sports and athletics.

Creative visualization is much more than seeing the positive outcome in your mind. It includes hearing and feeling it too. You want to engage all the senses, even smell and taste if you can.

Olympic athletes use creative visualization all the time. It’s an essential part of what they do to become the best in their sport.  They might not consciously use creative visualization, but they definitely do it unconsciously. 

Related Articles

A Powerful Creative Visualization Exercise for Rapid Change

10 Steps to Transform Your Creative Visualization Skill

4. Self-Hypnosis

Self-hypnosis is like guided meditation.  However, it’s more goal oriented. People use self-hypnosis to increase motivation or confidence. Or to stop a bad habit such as smoking, overeating or drinking too much alcohol.

The easiest way is to listen to a self-hypnosis recording. There are thousands of those available and some are more effective than others.

I use and recommend the self-hypnosis recordings created by Uncommon Knowledge. Their website is https://hypnosisdownloads.com

You could learn how to hypnotize yourself without using self-hypnosis recordings. I cover this in one of the related articles below.

Related Articles

How to Hypnotize Yourself | A Self-Hypnosis Tutorial

Self Hypnosis and Meditation – What’s the Difference?

5. Journaling

When we keep thoughts in our head, this can lead to overwhelm and confusion.  It’s very easy to blow things out of proportion. To make it much bigger than it really is.

Journaling is writing your thoughts on paper (or in a computer file). When you do this, you gain a fresh perspective, a calmer mind and greater clarity. Writing can help release emotions too.

For the best results, write your thoughts on paper. However, if you prefer to type your thoughts on your computer, tablet or smart phone, that’s fine too.  The most important thing is to do it!

6. Setting and Achieving Goals

Most people use self-development activities to improve or change their life.  This starts with setting goals, so you’re clear on what you want to achieve and by when. Goals provide a focus for all the other self-development activities.

When you set goals, this gives you the desire and motivation to consistently work on self-development activities. You have a specific reason and benefit to work on yourself.

I encourage you to set SMART goals. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-bound.

Start by setting goals for this year, and then smaller quarterly or monthly goals.  Equally important is reviewing your goals regularly, at least monthly. Check that you’re on track and make any adjustments to maximize your chances of achieving these goals.

Related Article

How to Set and Achieve Your Goals

7. Coaching

A one-on-one coaching session is a highly effective form of self-development. An excellent coach will ask you direct, dedicated and personalized questions to help uncover your blind spots.

They will help you expand your beliefs about what is possible for you. A professional coach will also identify and help you change any limiting beliefs.

An important benefit of coaching is goal setting with accountability. It’s much harder to wriggle out of a goal that you have shared with a life coach.  You are accountable to the coach. If you fail to achieve the goal, you will need to explain your reasons (and excuses) to your life coach.

In the same way as a Personal Trainer will drive you to do 30 push-ups, when you only feel like doing 20, a skilled coach will spur you to achieve your goals faster and expand on what is possible.

8. Therapy

Therapy differs from coaching. It helps heal past events that stop you from moving forward in your life right now. Therapy helps you deal and resolve traumatic events. Or childhood events that shape your beliefs about what is possible for you right now.

There are different types of therapy.  These include counseling and various forms of psychotherapy. If you see a psychologist, they will often use Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT).

There is also hypnotherapy, which is what I specialize in. Hypnotherapy can help deal with, heal and resolve past events. Or it can be more solution focused, which makes it similar to coaching.

If you would like me to be your therapist or coach, then this page provides further details.

9. Overcoming Fears

One of the best self-development activities is overcoming your fears. I believe that fear is the biggest barrier to success. It’s fear that keeps people stuck. One of the fastest ways to grow and improve yourself is to overcome fears.

Do things that scare or frighten you, especially those that won’t affect you physically. For example, public speaking, talking to strangers, tough phone calls or recording videos.

Perhaps it’s having that difficult conversation with your partner or boss that you’ve been putting off for weeks.

Rather than tackling your biggest fears head on, you can start gently.  Break down your biggest fears into smaller action steps. As you complete each step, your confidence and experience will grow and you’ll feel more able to overcome the bigger fears.

Another way to strengthen your fear muscle is to do something new, unfamiliar or a little uncomfortable each day.  This could include going to a new café, trying a different food or exploring a more efficient way of doing a task at work.

10. Completing Challenges

A challenge is when you invest a significant amount of time and energy to achieve something monumental in a relatively short space of time. Here are some examples.

  • Training and then running a marathon
  • Starting a business
  • Changing jobs or your career
  • Losing a significant amount of weight.

When you set challenges, it forces you to step up and become more.  Challenges help you prove that you can do something, that you thought was difficult or even impossible.

Challenges are fantastic for overcoming habits and for achieving the more important and meaningful goals in your life.

For challenges to work effectively, you want to specify an exact amount of time.  This could be 30, 60, 90 or 100 days.  For me, 100 days works incredibly well.  I started Self Help for Life and my Hypnotherapy business in 100 days.  You can achieve so much in 100 days when you put your mind to it. It’s also long enough to make it a habit.

I do a 100 Day-Challenge every year and I use Gary Ryan Blair’s 100 Day Challenge program to motivate me, inspire me and keep me accountable during that time.

Related Articles

How to Change Your Life in 100 Days

100 Day Challenge Review | Gary Ryan Blair

11. Taking Action

I touched on this earlier, but it’s so important! Learning a new self-development activity, tool or technique is useless if you don’t apply it to your life. Or a Stephen Covey says “to know and not to do is not to know”.

So here are some examples:

  • Reading and learning the most effective dating techniques versus going on dates
  • Researching the most effective ways to speak in public versus speaking in public
  • Learning all the different ways to make money on the internet versus starting an internet-based business.

Knowing is easy. You can gain the knowledge by going to university or surfing the web. All the information you need is readily available.

Doing is applying what you’ve learned and testing it out.  You’re not fully committed at this stage.

Living is taking consistent action on what you’ve learned. You improve through repetition. This leads to consistent and predictable results.  The action becomes a habit and perhaps even part of who you are.

12. Expressing Gratitude

The key reason for doing self-development activities is to achieve something that we don’t already have.  It’s easy to become focussed (even obsessed) about achieving goals and major life changes.  This can lead to unhappiness and frustration, especially if the goal takes much longer than you intended.

It’s easy to forget what you have now and the good aspects of your life. Therefore gratitude and appreciation are so important.

Take a few minutes to be grateful for what you already have. Write all the things you’re grateful for and that you appreciate. Create a gratitude journal and list additional things each day.

Focus on simple things such as having enough food, good health, a safe and comfortable place to live or enough money. Be grateful for waking up and experiencing another day of your life.

Related Article

The 11 Benefits of Gratitude and How to Practice it Daily

To Conclude

So now you have a list of the 12 best self-development activities, including many of the ones I do regularly. If you want to crush your goals, be happier more fulfilled and more successful, then apply some of these self-development activities to your life and reap the benefits.

If you enjoyed reading this article and found it useful, please leave a comment or question below.  I would love to hear what you think!   Please also click on the stars below to rate this post. Also, feel free to share this article with other people or on social media.

Have you ever wondered what the most successful people do? The ones that are truly happy, fulfilled and prosperous? Well, I reveal this in my 10 Strategies for Your Success eBook. It’s a great read and as a treat for reading this article, it’s yours for free!

Just click the button below and I’ll send this eBook to you right away.

Thank you for reading this article.  I hope you are having a wonderful day!

Paul

You’ve probably already heard about the importance of affirmations and how they positively influence the subconscious mind. But, do you really know what affirmations are and how they work? If you don’t, you’re in the right place. If you have already used them, but they didn’t work for you, let me explain how to create affirmations that can work extremely effectively for you.

Watch the Video Below:

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What Are Affirmations?

Affirmations are positive phrases that you repeat often. They can be:

  • Extrinsic – about something you want to achieve, a specific outcome or goal. For example, earning $100,000 a year or losing 20 kg.
  • Intrinsic – about who you want to be or who you want to become. For example, being a more confident, sensitive, extravert or outgoing person.

Why Are Affirmations Useful?

1. Positive thoughts replace negative thoughts

Around 60,000 thoughts pass through your mind every day. Many of these are the same thoughts repeated over and over again. Any thought that you consistently repeat is an affirmation!. So you are already repeating affirmations whether you realize it or not.

The problem is that many of the consistent thoughts that you unconsciously repeat to yourself are negative. By beginning to repeat positive affirmations that work, you can make positive changes and feel much better. You can start having optimistic thoughts about the things that you want to achieve.

2. Helps you focus on what you want

Repeating affirmations that work can also help you focus on what you want rather than what you don’t want. After a while, it changes the way you think. When you change your thinking, your beliefs change as well. Over time, these beliefs become your reality. So your reality changes as well.

3. Rewire your brain

There is a link between affirmations and neuroplasticity – the idea is that you can rewire your brain to think differently automatically. When you repeat affirmations that work, things change at an unconscious level. You create new neural pathways in your brain, so that over time you unconsciously begin to act differently.

Related Article: How to Write Affirmations that are Believable and Get Results

The Main Reason Why Affirmations Don’t Work

The number one reason why affirmations haven’t worked for you until now is cognitive dissonance. This is the conflict between your new affirmation and the thoughts, beliefs, or attitudes that you already have.

How Do You Identify Cognitive Dissonance?

There are several ways to recognize cognitive dissonance. These include:

1. Contradictory self-talk

When you repeat an affirmation, your self-talk contradicts it. It says something like, “no, that’s never going to happen”.

2. Uncomfortable feeling

When you start repeating affirmations, you may get a feeling inside that seems to tell you that what you are saying is not true.

3. Negative imagination

While repeating an affirmation, you start imagining something contrary to what you’re affirming.

Let’s say you are a shy person, and you are repeating the affirmation: “I am very confident when interacting with others”. The contradictory self-talk could be, “no, you’re not. You are shy, and you can’t talk to anyone”. You may also sense an uncomfortable feeling. Or you start imagining yourself being shy in a specific social situation.

Another example could be saying the affirmation “my business is a success” when you know it isn’t. You’re going to get that contradictory self-talk and perhaps an uncomfortable feeling. Or you’ll start imagining and remembering times when it wasn’t successful.

How to Overcome Cognitive Dissonance

You need to make your affirmations believable. To help you do this, I am going to give you 9 phrases that you can use to create more believable affirmations that will work for you.

A good place to start is the “I am” affirmation. Here are some examples

  • I am confident.
  • I am earning $100,000 per year.
  • I am attractive.
  • I am in excellent health.

When you repeat these “I am” affirmations, do you hear negative self-talk or an uncomfortable feeling? Or do you imagine something that goes against what you’re affirming? If you notice any internal conflict, then here are some other phrases that you can use instead.

The 9 Phrases to Create Affirmations That Work

1. I want to

The phrase “I want to” is believable. For example, “I want to become confident”. That’s believable because all you’re saying is that you would like to become confident. Your unconscious mind hears the words “become confident,” and it starts to get the feeling of the word “confident.” Here are some other examples:

  • I want to earn $100,000 per year.
  • I want to be attractive.
  • I want to be in great health.
  • I want to find my soul mate.

Are you noticing any cognitive dissonance now? If you are, try the next phrase.

2. I can

When you say “I can”, you affirm that it’s possible and that you can do it. And that’s true. It’s harder to question whether you can or can’t do something if you haven’t done it yet.

  • I can be confident.
  • I can earn $100,000 per year.
  • I can become attractive.
  • I can be in excellent health.
  • I can find my soul mate.

If in the past you couldn’t do certain things, then you might get a bit of cognitive dissonance. If that’s the case, then move on to the next one.

3. I choose to

This one gives an element of choice and intention. This can make the affirmation more believable.

  • I choose to be confident.
  • I choose to earn $100,000 a year.
  • I choose to become attractive.
  • I choose to be in great health.
  • I choose to find ways to meet my soulmate.

4. I am learning to

This phrase is very believable. As long as you are taking some time to learn, then that critical voice in your mind can’t contradict you. It’s very, very believable. Here are some examples.

  • I am learning to become confident.
  • I am learning how to become confident.
  • I am learning how to earn $100,000 per year.
  • I am learning ways to become more attractive.
  • I am learning how to be in great health.
  • I am learning how to find my soulmate.

With this one, it’s beneficial to use words like “how” or “the best way.” For example, “I am learning the best way to earn $100,000 a year”, or “I am learning multiple ways to be in great health”.

5. I am becoming

This phrase gives you the feeling that your goal is a process or a journey. Each day you’re getting a little bit closer to achieving it. With this affirmation, it can be helpful to add words like “more and more.” Here are some examples:

  • I am becoming more and more confident.
  • I am becoming more capable of earning $100,000 per year.
  • I am becoming more and more attractive.
  • I am becoming healthier each day.
  • I am becoming more capable of finding my soulmate.

6. I can find a way

This one is great when you are motivated, but you still don’t know the exact solution or method. It can get you out of that feeling of hopelessness or overwhelm. You can say:

  • I can find a way to be more confident.
  • I can find a way to earn $100,000 a year.
  • I can find a way to be more attractive.
  • I can find a way to be in great health.
  • I can find a way to meet my soulmate.

7. I deserve to

This phrase is useful if cognitive dissonance comes from a lack of self-worth or self-esteem. It’s often the case when you want something, but don’t feel you deserve it.

  • I deserve to be more confident.
  • I deserve to earn $100,000 a year.
  • I deserve to be more attractive.
  • I deserve to be in great health.
  • I deserve to find my soul mate.

The phrase “I give myself permission” can be an excellent alternative.  For example, “I give myself permission to be more confident.”

8. I am open to the possibility

Let me give you an example first: “I am open to the possibility that I could be more confident”. I use this one a lot in my hypnotherapy sessions when people have very deep-rooted beliefs that create cognitive dissonance. When they are not able to use any of the other phrases that I’ve covered earlier, this one is the best. It’s a good idea to add the words “I can” or “I could.” Let me go through the examples:

  • I am open to the possibility that I could become more confident.
  • I am open to the possibility that I can earn $100,000 per year.
  • I am open to the possibility that I could be more attractive.
  • I am open to the possibility that I could be in great health.
  • I am open to the possibility that I can find my soulmate.

9. I will

I’m personally less keen on this one because the words “I will” could tell your unconscious mind that you are talking about the future. And if it feels that it will happen in the future, not now, then it won’t necessarily take the steps towards making it happen. However, if the “I will” phrase feels right to you, and you don’t feel cognitive dissonance, then give it a go. The most important thing is to make it believable. I would suggest combining it with similar affirmations that use some of the other phrases. So running down our list again:

  • I will be more confident.
  • I will earn $100,000 a year.
  • I will be more attractive.
  • I will be in great health.
  • I will find my soul mate.

Find Affirmations That Work for You

So I have covered 9 great phrases that will make your affirmations more believable and compelling. Make use of these phrases and find affirmations that work for you. Bear in mind that everyone is different. Experiment! Find those that are the most effective for you!

If you enjoyed reading this article and found it useful, please leave a comment or question below.  I would love to hear what you think!   Please also click on the stars below to rate this post. Also, feel free to share this article with other people or on social media.

Have you ever wondered what the most successful people do? The ones that are truly happy, fulfilled and prosperous? Well, I reveal this in my 10 Strategies for Your Success eBook. It’s a great read and as a treat for reading this article, it’s yours for free!

Just click the button below and I’ll send this eBook to you right away.

Thank you for reading this article.  I hope you are having a wonderful day!

Paul