Take charge of your life by implementing these powerful self development tools and techniques.
Self-improvement is an ongoing process.
In order to understand yourself, you need to take actionable steps that’ll help you develop and reach your full potential.
No matter which sphere of your life you wish to improve — education, personal life or career, these self development tools and techniques will help you achieve your goal.
We’ve put together a list of 25 effective self development tools and techniques that you should implement in your life.
#1. Know Yourself
Do you feel that you constantly run after goals others set for you?
If that’s the case, you need to take a step back and start thinking.
Relax with a cup of hot tea and analyse your strengths, weaknesses, things you like to do and what you want to do in life.
#2. Start Journaling
One of the most effective ways to get to know yourself is to start journaling.
Journaling helps you take control when you feel like your world is in chaos.
Expressive writing will not only help you gain clarity but also has a number of health benefits ranging from reduced stress to help you cope with depression.
To begin journaling, follow these steps:
– Write every day
As little as 5 minutes every day will help you form a habit of journaling.
– Start easy
Keep a diary and a pen close to your bed so that you can pen down your thoughts as soon as you wake up (or when you go to bed). You can also try online journaling.
– Write, write, write!
Your journal doesn’t have to follow a set format or structure. Allow yourself to be honest with yourself and pen down your thoughts as they are. Don’t worry about making spelling mistakes or what others would think as this is your own private space for your own thoughts.
As you fall into the habit of journaling, you’ll realise you’ve already started feeling better.
#3. Practice Gratitude
A gratitude mindset will help you realise how fabulous you and your life are.
It’s crucial for your well being to understand just how lucky you are to be you.
When you pause and take time to notice the finer things in life, reflect on it and be thankful for them is when you’ll start feeling more fulfilled.
It’ll make you mindful, kind and compassionate.
We’re guilty of being grateful for just the bigger or special things in life such as moving into a new house.
You need to change this and be thankful for at least one small thing every day.
It could be something as normal as a home-cooked meal.
What I like to do is, create a small section in my journal every day.
This section is reserved for what I’m grateful for that day.
Under my ‘attitude of gratitude’ section, I list out three things I’m thankful for.
#4. Get Out of Your Comfort Zone
I know, you’ve heard it a million times but have you really stepped out of your comfort zone?
To get out of the rut or achieve greater things in life, you need to start doing things you’ve never done before.
Sure, it’s difficult at first and you’ll feel like giving up but if you can muster up enough courage, you’ll be unstoppable.
Face your fears, do all the things that make you feel uneasy and get through them once and for all.
Leaving your safer space will allow you to experience greater opportunities.
#5. Give up Your Bad Habit
I’ve come across a lot of people who’re jealous of other’s success, lifestyle, career, etc.
While it’s easy to say they got lucky, it’s wise to understand what made them who they are.
They might’ve worked hard and made sacrifices to reach where they are today.
Most importantly, they must have quit their bad habits.
When I say quit a bad habit, I just don’t mean giving up alcohol or smoking.
Lying, slouching, being late, overeating, oversleeping, etc. are habits you need to quit too.
Understand what you formed this habit in order to understand how to break free from it.
Start small. For instance, if you overeat, start cutting back on your portion size. If you wake up in the afternoon, start waking up 15 minutes earlier than when you woke up yesterday.
If all else fails, seek help from your friends and family or professionally.
The bottom line is, quit all those habits that stop you from becoming a better version of yourself.
#6. Become an Early Riser
Your quality of life is affected by your morning routine.
If you wake up early, you have enough time to meditate, exercise, journal, hydrate yourself, get ready and eat a healthy breakfast.
Successful people such as Tim Cook and Michelle Obama all wake up at the crack of dawn.
Having a routine that allows you enough time to sleep and exercise will make you feel motivated and positive.
Moreover, you’ll be able to achieve more every day and become more proactive.
A few years earlier, during my college days, I would hit the gym every single day without fail.
I used to feel positive and motivated. I also slept better and my life was balanced.
Once I started working, I skipped exercise and soon, I fell into the habit of avoiding it.
In a matter of a few months, I had gone from exercising every day to exercising once a month.
I felt lethargic and drained of energy.
My focus began to dwindle and I would get irritated at little things.
Since the past few months, I decided to start exercising again.
I started skipping rope and every day for 15 minutes, I shut out everything and just focused on jumping rope.
Gradually, I started noticing the difference — I felt sharper, healthier, calmer and slept better than ever before.
Chart out a fitness plan and stick to it. If you can’t hit the gym, start with indoor exercises or jogging or yoga.
Set aside 15-45 minutes to exercise at least 3 times a week to become healthier.
#8. Eat Nutritional Foods
Before the pandemic, I used to eat out at least 3 days a week.
With the onset of the lockdown, we started cooking more often.
Today, I order in no more than twice a month and have grown a liking for homecooked meals.
My skin is relatively pimple-free and looks healthier.
We also went ahead and planted a few vegetables which mean we’re consuming fresh ingredients more than ever.
Limiting processed and junk food also meant consuming more of what was cooked by my mother i.e. less oily, free of artificial flavours and made from authentic ingredients.
I recommend you not to make huge changes to your food plans just yet.
Give your body to adjust with small changes first.
For instance, eat a handful of nuts when you have sugar cravings.
Or drink freshly squeezed juice instead of diet coke.
#9. Own Your Mistakes
We all make mistakes throughout our lives and that’s absolutely okay.
However, we deal with our mistakes is what makes all the difference.
The first step is to let go of our mindset that says that there’s nothing wrong with you or it’s never your fault.
Take responsibility for your mistakes if you truly want to grow.
It will improve your relationships, personality and life.
Once you know where you went wrong, learn how to fix it.
It’ll be hard in the beginning but you’ll develop inner strength in the longer run.
#10. Don’t Worry (Unnecessarily)
No matter how much you plan, there will always be some things that you can neither plan nor control.
Be realistic and accept that no matter what you’ll never be able to control what people think about you.
Quit worrying about what people will think and start living your life in a way that seems right to you.
Excessive worrying not only causes anxiety in the long run but also stops you from enjoying life.
#11. Practice Forgiveness
Forgiveness will never change what happened but it will help you let go of all the negative feelings such as bitterness, anger and resentment.
People will always wrong you but it’s up to you to forgive them or hold a grudge and let it drag you down.
You can only heal and move ahead in life once you forgive all such people.
Holding grudges can corrode your mental well being and will create a vicious cycle of feeling sad and restful leading to chronic depression.
If you find yourself guilty, it’s important to learn to forgive yourself too.
Accept your fault, make amends and forgive yourself.
You’ll feel lighter once you relieve yourself of this emotional burden (forgiving yourself and others).
#12. Take Feedback
Sometimes, we come across situations where we’re unable to see what’s right.
For instance, a fight with your partner might be equally devastating for them but you can’t see it because your own anger clouds your judgement.
Take feedback from people around you to understand how the situation actually looks like.
Step into your partner’s shoes for a minute and understand what they feel and how this has affected them.
Take into account the realistic picture minus any personal bias to solve such issues.
If you’re serious about self-development, you should start taking opinions of 4-5 people closest to you.
It’ll help you understand yourself better and help you fix issues that you couldn’t have otherwise known.
#13. Bid Goodbye to Excuses and Complaints
The best way to feel miserable is to complain about why your life is so hard and give excuses as to why you can’t turn it around.
While it’s okay to discuss problems once in a while, it’s an altogether different ballgame to constantly whine about your problems.
If you’re in a toxic relationship see a therapist and learn how to fix issues or get out of it. If you’re underweight, consult a dietician and work towards improving your health.
Break your final goal into a series of smaller goals and draft a plan.
Take small but consistent steps to stay focused and achieve your end goals.
#14. Keep Negative People at Bay
No matter how hard you try to find and eliminate toxic people, you’ll always find them around you.
The key isn’t to run away from them but keep them at an arm’s length.
One rule of thumb is to never get into an argument with them.
For starters, they’ll do anything (and everything) to prove themselves they’re right (even if they’re not). Secondly, they’ll start seeing you as your enemy.
The best way to deal with them is to be polite and talk about neutral topics which won’t end into arguments or fights.
Other than that, stay away from them emotionally.
You’ll get out unscathed if they’re not attached to you.
Develop a thick skin and ignore their sarcasm or negative comments to stop yourself from being sucked into their emotional chaos.
#15. Take Breaks
Recharge yourself by taking short breaks during regular intervals of time.
In fact, you should plan a holiday every 2-3 months.
It could be anything from spending the weekend at your relative’s house or getting away to an exotic island.
Breaks are crucial to keep you going, discover new interests and recharge yourself (personally and professionally).
The daily grind of our lives takes a toll on us and its essential to break free and enjoy a little.
#16. Rewire Your Brain
Did you know that you have about 12,000-60,000 thoughts every day?
Out of these, 80 per cent are negative and 95 per cent are repetitive thoughts.
Your brain is wired to think of the same things because it feels you’ll stay alive doing whatever you’ve been doing so far.
In order to create a better life, you need to rewire your brain in a way that you don’t keep thinking about your past.
Every time you feel like your mind has wandered, take control and differentiate the fact from the thought.
#17. Learn How to Manage Your Emotions
Negative emotions will drag you down and positive emotions will help you move ahead.
Take responsibility for your feelings and emotions.
Understand that everything you do is because you want to feel a certain way.
Buying new things, getting a raise, achieving a milestone makes us feel happy and therefore, we continue to do them.
However, don’t think that your circumstances create your feelings. It’s the other way round.
Our thoughts create our feelings; our feelings drive our actions, these actions then create the results.
#18. Learn to Love Yourself
Self-love isn’t indulgent, it’s critical.
The relationship you have with yourself is by far the most important relationship in your life.
How will you perform well if you constantly neglect your own needs?
Learn to love yourself, take care of your mental and physical health before trying to love something or someone else.
This is one of those self development tools and techniques that will change your life. No kidding!
Managing our time isn’t everyone’s cup of tea.
We’re always running behind and never have time for ourselves.
The good news is, this isn’t true.
I like to plan my week in advance.
This means I sit down every Sunday and go through everything I need to do the next week.
I list out everything in my planner — from the moment I open my eyes to the moment I close them.
This increases my productivity and leaves very little time for confusion and feeling demotivated.
I’ve been using Alicia D Souza’s planner for the past two years but you can also use Google calendar (it’s free!)
#20. Measuring Productivity
Another one of our favourite self development tools is learning how to measure productivity.
Being busy ≠ being productive
Eliminate all such tasks that take up a big chunk of your time but help you achieve very little towards your goal.
For me, this is creating graphics for my articles and social media channels.
Not only do I end up spending hours hunched over my computer but I end up disliking everything I’ve created.
This means I wasted an entire day working and letting all my time and effort go into waste.
I hired a designer who’s a pro and knows what she’s doing.
I save my energy for bigger tasks such as creating articles and developing recipes.
Your productivity will explode once you take into account all the things you can delegate vs things you should do yourself.
#21. Meditate Daily
My younger self would’ve rolled my eyes but this is so important in order to improve yourself!
No, meditation isn’t only for the Monks in the Himalayas but something we should all do.
Meditation is simple but sticking to the habit is very difficult.
I started using Headspace when it was launched.
Meditating for as little as 5-10 minutes every day will help you get better with time.
Absolutely implement this into your life to regain calm and clarity.
#22. Believe in Yourself
I’ve listed #21 points before this point and not one of you will get by without failing to achieve at least one.
As I said earlier, it’s okay to make mistakes.
If you have an occasional slip or you celebrate a cheat day, know that it’s alright.
Don’t lose hope and most certainly don’t let your spirits down.
Love yourself and pat yourself on the back every time you do something good.
#23. Sleep Well
Sleeping less will make you feel drained and you’ll end up doing less of what you planned every day.
Before you know it, you’re completely burned out.
Cut down on your time to watch TV and increase your sleep time. Get at least 6-7 hours of sleep every day.
#24. Learn New Things
Learning a new language will open new opportunities for you.
In fact, there are a number of things you can learn to hone your existing skills or acquire new ones.
For instance, pursue your masters. The time will never be perfect so do it while you can. You might get promoted or get a better job opportunity upon completion of your course.
For me, this was gardening. Even though my grandmother and father have maintained their own garden and farm, I barely took interest in it.
Once I began gardening, I could identify all the plants in our own garden, the kind of weather they grow the most in and how to take care of them.
As a food blogger, I thoroughly enjoy growing my own produce and eating it. I’ll hopefully learn everything about maintaining an organic garden to start a full-scale terrace garden by summer.
#25. Don’t Give Up
This by far is the most important self development tools you need to practise.
Even if you just take a few things from this article, please please please take this tool with you.
No matter how difficult things may seem, how demotivated you feel or how much people discourage you, just keep going.
Don’t let any sort of setback affect you. In order to improve yourself, you’ll constantly have to work on yourself.
Surround yourself with people who have the same goal or people who’ll wholeheartedly encourage you when things seem hard.
Always remember, these techniques will help you and not anyone else. Giving up these habits means giving up on yourself and you don’t want that, do you?
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What are the three types of self development?
The three types of self development are personal, guided and structured.
What are the steps in the development of the self?
In order to accelerate your self-growth, you can start by engaging in honest self-reflection. Maximize your strengths and reduce your weaknesses. You can also enrol yourself in therapy or start meditating. Maintain a healthy lifestyle and give back to others to become the best version of yourself.
What are the 5 areas of personal development?
The 5 areas of personal development are physical, emotional, spiritual, social and mental. In order to be healthy, you need to take care of all these five elements.
What are examples of self development?
Here are some examples of self development that you should start with:
- Become healthy and fit
- Find the purpose of your life
- Learn new skills in order to be successful
- Improve and maintain healthy personal relationships
- Challenge yourself and commit to your goals
What is self development skills?
Personal development skills or self development skills are abilities and qualities that help you grow as a person. It can help you grow professionally or personally. Developing these skills will help you become a better person and increase your potential. This process is known as personal growth or self development.
These seemingly small changes will bring a lot of difference in yourself and your life.
Trust me, I’ve become smarter, wiser and healthier and I work every day to improve myself a tad bit more.
Remember to start small and keep going even if that means one baby step a day.
Consistency is more important than anything when it comes to improving yourself.
Do let us know which self development tools and techniques have you implemented and how have they worked for you in the comments section below!
Shristi is an avid reader, recipe developer and wellness enthusiast. She’s probably making a mess in her kitchen right now.