3 Ways to Challenge Yourself
I’m speaking from experience. I don’t always like the process of becoming better; it’s been pretty difficult most of the time. But I enjoy it because I want the results that come from the difficulty. Nothing in the world comes for free, you know!
So, I’ve developed a habit of challenging myself in all sorts of ways. Whether it’s doing one extra rep in a workout, or trying a new food, or talking to random people, I look for those opportunities. It helps me, so maybe it will help you! Try these three ideas and see where they take you.
Leave Your Comfort Zone
Growth doesn’t tend to happen where we feel comfortable. I think it’s probably a law of life. Remember when we were younger and started developing into adults? It typically starts in middle school with puberty (oh, the glory and wonder) and stretches through high school as we continue to mature. At least for me, that whole life period was marked by growing pains. And not just the physical ones! I was under mental, spiritual, and personal stress a good chunk of the time. Believe me, I was not a people person. I couldn’t make friends easily. I liked staying in my bubble.
But then came a time when I was forced to leave my bubble and enter the world around me. It wasn’t fun, but I realized that had to happen for me to develop into the person I am today. How else was my world view going to be shaped? Or my personality defined? Or my people skills sharpened? It’s only by leaving the comfort of we know that we actually grow.
Now, even though it still causes a flurry of anxious shivers in my gut, I make sure to get outside my comfort zone as often as I can. Sometimes I flake, but other times I push through and end up feeling a bit more self-confident than I did before.
Learn Something New
Stretch yourself! Develop new capacities, grow some neurons, create more space in your brain. Study isn’t just for school-aged kids. I think it’s the key to living. I believe John Maxwell said that the day you die will be the day you stop learning. He also said there’s a bunch of dead people walking around the world today. Yikes.
I don’t want to be one of those people. In my many years of life (hahaha!), I’ve noticed that developing new skills and fresh perspectives has significantly contributed to my own personal growth. My willingness to learn has afforded me many different opportunities. Unfortunately, I know a few people who will always be closed off to new options because of their reluctance to learn.
“I don’t know how to do that” is a phrase that slams the door for lots of people, because they choose to end it with a period.
“I don’t know how to do that, but…” opens the same door and leaves room for new things to happen.
Right now, I’m teaching myself American Sign Language via YouTube. I’m learning about the nuances of specific political views. I’m trying to perfect my at-home manicure techniques. I’m learning how to maximize multiple sources of income. I’m figuring out how to be dental hygienist in the time of COVID-19. I’m learning a bunch. And all that helps me now, and it will help me in the future.
Set Unconventional Goals
Try pushing the limits of what you think you can do. I think almost every person has set at least one goal in their lifetime. Sometimes the goals are extreme, like saving $10,000 in three months, or buying a house right after college. Other times the goals are aren’t really goals because they’re set so low that it takes almost no effort to meet them.
Smart goal-setting isn’t very complicated. It’s got to be something challenging, yet doable. Setting impossible standards means you’re never going to reach them. I used to do that (sometimes I still do… I’m a work in progress!) and I would consistently miss those goals, and end up feeling like a failure. The discouragement would keep me from trying again and botch any kind of consistency I had. And that’s the exact reason why decided to figure out how to make goals work for me.
Ask any person who is successful at life, and they’ll tell you that goals played a major role in becoming who they are now. If you’re looking for a good resource, check out Terri Savelle Foy. She’s got amazing content and clearly explains principles for a positive mindset and successful living.
Start off with something simple, like ignoring social media for an entire day, or only eating home-cooked meals for an entire month. Maybe try reading a whole book in a week, or turning the TV off for five days. Little things like these can definitely be challenging, but the chances of success are high. That’s the stuff that can jumpstart your self-confidence. If you can accomplish one goal, you can definitely conquer what happens next!
I hope this was encouraging! Thanks for reading.