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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

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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

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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

Life can be a series of challenges that come in all shapes and sizes. They test our patience, inner strength, and beliefs. These tough times can be hard, but there are ways to deal with them successfully. If you’re going through a challenging time, you are not alone. This article will help you learn how to overcome the challenges you face now, or those that may come your way in the future.

If you or someone close to you is going through a challenge at the moment, it is likely to be in one of the main 3 areas of life:

  • Finances. It could be a financial or business challenge – losing your job, being made redundant, or dealing with debt.
  • Health. It could be a health challenge – an unexpected illness or chronic illness that gives you a feeling that there is no hope, no light at the end of the tunnel.
  • Relationships. It could be a divorce or a breakup, loneliness or difficulties with your children or a family member.

Challenges are difficult to overcome. It wouldn’t be a challenge if it wasn’t tough or if the solution was obvious and easy. We all go through struggles. Some people more than others, but we all go through difficult times in life. We cannot escape challenges, but we can choose how we respond to them. We can also choose the meaning that we give to those challenges.

In this article, I will help you learn how to overcome challenges more easily. I will also provide some useful tips on how to minimize the chances of adversity and challenges happening in the 3 main areas of your life.

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1. Gain a Sense of Perspective

When learning how to overcome challenges, remember that it is not the challenge itself, but your perception and interpretation of it that gives you negative thoughts and feelings. A great way to change your perspective is to imagine it from someone else’s eyes.

Ask yourself:

  • How would your best friend overcome this challenge?
  • How would someone you admire view this challenge?
  • What would they think about it?
  • What meaning would that person give to this challenge?
  • How would they act to overcome the challenge?
  • What would they do that could be different to the way you’re dealing with it?

Seeing the problem from somebody else’s eyes reduces negative emotions and helps in releasing them.

Another great way to do this is to imagine your challenge from a different location. For example, looking at it from the top of a mountain. You’ll find that it feels different! The level of negative emotions reduce.

2. Reframe It—Change the Meaning

A great way to reframe is to ask questions because when you ask questions, your mind is forced to give you an answer. But there are good questions and bad questions.

Here are some bad questions that you might say to yourself:

  • Why did this happen to me?
  • Why did this person do this to me?

These are bad questions to ask because the answers are likely to be outside of your control. And keep you looped in the problem, rather than providing a solution or way out.

Good questions could be:

  • What can I learn from this challenge?
  • What is great about this?
  • How did I get here?
  • How can I find the support that I need to overcome this challenge?

If you listen carefully, when you ask these questions, you will get useful answers that will help you move forward.

3. Focus on the Positive

Focus on the areas of your life that are going well. If there’s one area of your life that’s challenging at the moment, let’s say it’s your finances, then look at the other areas that are going well, like your health or your relationships. That will help put this challenging situation into perspective and make it a smaller part of your life.

Our brains are wired for negativity. It is our survival mechanism. We look for threats; we look for dangers and things that we fear. Psychologists call this “negativity bias”. Pretty much everyone, even the most successful people in the world, sometimes think negatively. It is a part of the human condition.

When we sit in a chair, we can slouch or sit up. It often seems easier to slouch. Likewise, it’s easier to think negatively about something then to think positively because positivity requires extra effort, the same as sitting up in a chair.

Thinking negatively is the easiest default thing for us to do. To reduce this natural tendency, you need to focus consciously on what is positive and good. Start appreciating all the things that are going well in your life.

4. Take Responsibility

You may not be responsible for the challenge that is happening in your life. It can be something that is completely outside of your control. But now that you are in this situation, you are 100% responsible for the action you take. This is a good thing because it gives you choices and options, and you’ll feel more in control.

If you act as a victim and blame someone else, you are not taking responsibility. That’s a good clue. If you notice yourself doing that, you need to take that responsibility back. Taking responsibility is key in discovering how to overcome challenges.

5. Reach Out to Others

When life is challenging and hard. When life really sucks, it’s very easy to go solitary. It’s easy to wallow in self-pity, and that’s not a good thing to do. What you want to do instead is reach out to people that care about you and love you.

Humans are not designed to overcome challenges alone. Other people can give you a different perspective. They can reframe things for you, they can change the meaning, and help you with the practical steps to resolve it. So surround yourself with positive people as much as you can. People that can listen and help you get through this. You don’t have to go through challenges alone.

6. Focus and Visualize What You Want

When life is difficult, it is very easy to focus on things that are not working. If you focus on the problem alone, you make it bigger in your imagination and that keeps you stuck.

Remember, there is almost always an endpoint. There’s almost always a solution. A time when things will get better. Often there is something far better waiting for you on the other side of this challenge!

A great way to help you focus on what you want is to ask yourself:

  • What is the magical solution?
  • If I could wave a magic wand and this whole challenge could go away, what would that be like?
  • What would I have instead?

Imagine that now! It may seem very unbelievable at the moment, but it will help your mind focus on the solution.

Let’s say you’ve just lost your job. The magical solution of finding another job might seem unbelievable. But if you focus on that, it will become a reality. If you are going through a divorce, the thought of being in another relationship might seem highly unlikely at the moment. But if you focus on that idea, it can become more and more a part of your future.

I can think of many times in my life where I’ve been in a difficult situation and thought the things I wanted were miles and miles away. In most cases, what I wanted happened. It seemed unbelievable at first, but I achieved it. You can do it, too! The issue is that when you’re going through challenging times, you don’t believe that you can.

Remember to focus on what you want, even if that seems a million miles away right now. When you focus on what you want, the part of the brain called the reticular activating system comes into action. And it notices situations, events, and opportunities that could help bring that into your life.

It only does this when you think about what you want. So visualize yourself overcoming the challenge and notice how that feels. Get a sense of that new feeling. Focus on it and maintain it as a part of your vision. This will give you more of the inner strength you need to overcome the challenge.

7. Let Go

Let go of limiting beliefs, doubts, destructive patterns and negative emotions. Sometimes, you need to experience emotions before letting them go. Get a sense of them in your body. It’s okay to be sad when things are difficult. But once you’ve done that, be willing to let those emotions go. And a great way to do that is to use the Sedona method questions.

Ask yourself:

  • Could I let this go?
  • Could I let this belief go?
  • Could I let this feeling go?

If your answer is yes, then ask yourself the next question, which is:

  • Am I willing to let this go?
  • Am I willing to let this belief, this doubt, this person go?

Again, you will either answer yes or no. If you say yes, then ask yourself:

  • When?

The “when question” is actually an invitation to release it immediately. Imagine that emotion coming out of your body right now.

If you get a “No” to any of these questions, ask yourself:

  • What is holding me back from letting go of this right now?
  • Could I release the thing I’m holding resistance to?
  • Am I willing to release the thing I’m holding resistance to?
  • And if so, when?

If you want to find out more about this method, you can read about it in more detail in my Sedona method article.

8. Start Journaling

Write down all the thoughts that are in your head right now. Why? Because writing gets it out of your head and helps you separate yourself from the challenge. It also helps you gain a different sense of perspective.

The interesting thing about journaling is that it uses your conscious mind, but reduces the effects of the unconscious emotional mind. It helps you process and reduce the emotions you’re feeling right now. It gives you mental clarity and enables you to see the bigger picture. All these things can reduce stress and anxiety that come from your challenge.

Make journaling a key part of your process in uncovering how to overcome challenges in your life.

9. Take Small Steps in the Right Direction

If you’re experiencing a challenging time, it’s possible that you feel overwhelmed by the challenge. It may seem insurmountable, and you may wonder how you will ever overcome it. I know what that feeling is like. And one thing that has really helped me in the past is setting small goals.

Set small goals, achieve them, and then congratulate yourself when you do it. That will give you a feeling of accomplishment, and a sense that you’re making progress. Over the weeks and months, you’ll notice how you are steadily overcoming the challenge. You will see the light at the end of the tunnel, and you will experience greater self-esteem and self-confidence.

9. Plan and Make Good Decisions

Here are some useful tips to help you minimize the chances of having challenges or adversities in your life. We can’t completely stop them, but sometimes with a bit of foresight, the right decisions, good planning, and some consistency, we can minimize the chances of them happening.

First, make wise decisions about your career. Whatever you decide to do with your career, remember it will be long term. So make sure that the decisions you make are the ones that will make you happy and fulfilled and that you will enjoy what you do in your work and career.

Second, think about your relationship. Are you with your soulmate? Are you with the person who makes you ultimately happy, or have you settled for a relationship out of fear of being lonely? Again, you will be with that person for a long time, so make sure you make a good decision.

As for your health, remember that whilst some health problems come out of the blue, many of them are predictable. If you’ve been eating poorly for many years, then it may not be a surprise if you find yourself dealing with obesity, heart disease or diabetes later in life. These things are predictable.

And the same with money. If you’re not saving regularly, then when another recession happens, and it will at some point, you will have money problems. But if you’ve been saving consistently, then you’ll have that financial buffer necessary to deal with a year or even more of unemployment.

You can see how planning and making good decisions can help minimize many of these challenging situations in life. When you do this, the importance of knowing how to overcome challenges diminishes.

I will finish with a quote from Jeff Olson’s book, The Slight Edge. He says: “There will be many obstacles placed in front of you during your lifetime. And you can determine the size of a person by the size of the problem that keeps them down.”

Successful people look at a problem and see the opportunity. And here is one simple, but inspiring quote from Eckhart Tolle: “This too shall pass.” Whatever the obstacle, whatever the challenge is in your life at the moment, remember that this too shall pass.

I hope this article helped you learn how to overcome challenges. As always, put all that you have learned into practice and notice how capable you are of overcoming all your challenges and gaining a greater control over your life.

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