37 Things You Can Do to Live a More Fulfilling & Meaningful Life

A unique list of ideas for personal growth

By Cassie Jewell, M.Ed., LPC

If we don’t strive to meet our goals and improve on a regular basis, we become stagnant. And if we aren’t growing and learning, our minds become lethargic.

According the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA), there are eight dimensions of wellness:

1️⃣ Emotional—Coping effectively with life and creating satisfying relationships

2️⃣ Environmental—Good health by occupying pleasant, stimulating environments that support well-being

3️⃣ Financial—Satisfaction with current and future financial situations

4️⃣ Intellectual—Recognizing creative abilities and finding ways to expand knowledge and skills

5️⃣ Occupational—Personal satisfaction and enrichment from one’s work

6️⃣ Physical—Recognizing the need for physical activity, healthy foods, and sleep

7️⃣ Social—Developing a sense of connection, belonging, and a well-developed support system

8️⃣ Spiritual—Expanding a sense of purpose and meaning in life


Find additional SAMHSA links in the Resources section of this blog. SAMHSA is the agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that leads public health efforts to advance the behavioral health of the nation. SAMHSA’s mission is to reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on America’s communities. Anyone can access free publications, workbooks, and fact sheets on substance use disorder and addiction by visiting the SAMHSA website. Additionally, free online tools are available to assist with locating treatment services.


In order to maintain balance, it helps to have a variety of wellness strategies in your toolbox. The following list is comprised of 37 ideas for personal/professional development, self-improvement, and creating healthy habits.

1. Read one inspirational/motivational book per month or

2. Read one wellness article per week.

3. Take advantage of free classes offered at the library or through Coursera. (Coursera provides universal access to education by partnering with top universities and organizations.)

4. Take part in a new activity or event to step outside your comfort zone. (Examples: Join a book club, take a cooking class, attend a Meetup, etc.)

5. Make time for an old friend.

6. Develop an exercise routine, write it down, and then stick with it. No excuses!

7. Walk your dog (or borrow one from a friend!)

8. Complete household tasks and chores on a daily basis. Create a chore list. Don’t procrastinate!

9. Stay informed on the latest science and health news/research with sites like Science Daily.

10. Attend a workshop to learn about a topic you’re unfamiliar with.

11. Prioritize sleep hygiene.

12. Improve your posture. (And yes, there are apps for that!)

13. Read a non-fiction book.

14. Take a daily inventory; assess your attitude, productivity, etc. before going to bed.

15. Drink more water, green tea, and black coffee. (And drink less wine, beer, sugar-sweetened beverages, and soda!)

16. Practice active listening.

17. Overcome a fear.

18. Identify your “blind spots” by soliciting feedback from a trusted friend or loved one. They can help you to recognize areas for improvement by sharing their observations. (Example: You may not realize how often you complain until someone points it out for you.) Make a commitment to change.

19. Find a mentor (or be a mentor!)

20. Complete a 30-day challenge to improve your mental and/or physical health.

21. Practice daily meditation and mindfulness. Spend a few quiet moments alone every morning, drinking a cup of coffee. Or journal before going to bed. Reflect on your day and think about what you’re grateful for. Practice deep breathing exercises or listen to guided imagery scripts. Create your own unique ritual.

22. Dress up, style your hair, apply makeup, get a manicure/pedicure/facial, wear sexy shoes or your favorite jacket… Alternatively, you may prefer to put on your comfiest clothes, sweatpants or a fuzzy sweater. Whatever makes you feel good!

23. Be optimistic. Catch yourself if you start complaining and reframe your thoughts. Always assume positive intent.

24. Complete a task you’ve been putting off.

25. Watch a TED Talks.

26. Cook and enjoy a healthy meal.

27. Learn to juggle.

28. Learn a foreign language (or sign language).

29. Practice random acts of kindness, give a spontaneous gift, or help a stranger.

30. Create a vision board.

31. Volunteer.

32. Be a tourist in your hometown. (Free walking tours are often available in larger cities!)

33. Donate blood or plasma.

34. Memorize the lyrics to a song (or rap) of your choice.

35. Find a Pinterest project that interests you. Pin it and then do it!

36. Pick up trash in your neighborhood.

37. Write and mail “thinking of you” cards/postcards.


Additional Ideas: Run a 5K (or 10K!) Adopt an elderly pet that needs a home.

Please leave a comment with your own unique ideas for self-improvement!

30 Thirty-Day Challenges

A unique list of wellness-based thirty-day challenges.

By Cassie Jewell, M.Ed., LPC
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There are plenty of 30-day challenges out there, but this post is unique in that all the challenges listed are wellness-based. It may seem counterintuitive; after all, balance is at the foundation of wellness. However, quitting a harmful habit, like smoking, would drastically improve your overall health, which would then enable you to achieve true balance. And the thirty-day challenge, while not a scientifically proven method, allows the perfect opportunity to quit harmful habits while developing healthy ones. Plus, it’s fun, especially when several people (or a group of people) participate. Read on for 30 exciting ideas for thirty-day challenges.
 

Difficulty Level – Easy

1. Give one compliment per day

2. 30 days of flossing

3. Five minutes of mindful breathing every day

4. 30 days of gratitude journaling

5. Set sleep schedule for 30 days

6. 30 days of matcha or green tea

7. Learn a new vocabulary word every day for 30 days

8. Daily act of kindness

9. Read a random Wikipedia article every day for 30 days

10. 30-day dog walk challenge

11. Write a daily poem or short story

12. No cursing for 30 days

13. Pray (or spend time in quiet reflection) every morning

14. Watch a TED Talks (or similar) every day

Difficulty Level – Medium

15. 30-day vegan challenge

16. 30 days of following a strict budget (no “wants,” only “needs”)

17. 30-day gym challenge

18. 30-day documentary challenge

19. 30-days of cleaning and organization; the decluttered home challenge

20. No fast food, no carryout, and no dining out for 30 days

21. Write a book chapter daily

Difficulty Level – Hard

22. 30-day art challenge (one drawing or painting per day)

23. 30-day Pinterest challenge (one Pinterest project a day)

24. No social media

25. 30 days of no caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, or other substances

26. No driving for a month

Difficulty Level – Nearly Impossible!

27. No cell phone or Internet (except for work-related use); the 30-day unplugged challenge

28. One hour of daily exercise

29. 50 sits ups or crunches daily

30. Sugar-free challenge


Please post your ideas for a 30-day challenge in a comment!