6 Ways To Challenge Yourself
Life is better when you take risks.
Don’t get me wrong— responsible risks, but risks all the same.
I’m talking about the risks you take every day, ones that require you to step outside of your comfort zone.
I think that those little risks shape our future. Every time you take a risk, every time you put yourself out there despite fear of embarrassment or rejection or failure, you are growing as a person and becoming more confident.
“What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”— right? I don't 100% agree with that quote, but I think a lot of experiences you have can make you stronger and more capable.
Think about the last time you were scared to do something— like, REALLY scared— but you did it anyway. Did you regret it? Or were you glad that you did it?
I find that the answer is usually always glad, as long as it was a responsible risk. Doing something scary, something that feels significantly out of your comfort zone, proves to yourself that you are stronger than you thought.
I want you to prove yourself wrong, every day. Every single day of your life, I want you to prove to yourself that you are capable of doing more than you thought you could.
I don’t want you to run away from challenges— I want you to take them on wholeheartedly.
It makes me feel better every time that I go through something tough to know that on the other side is a stronger, better version of myself.
But enough of that intro, let’s get to the good stuff. :)
I’m going to give you six ways to step outside of your comfort zone. Some are big, but some you could do daily.
#1 - Do a challenging workout
A physical challenge can be a great way to grow stronger — both physically and mentally.
Whether you realize it or not, every time that you push through the burn, do another rep, jump a little higher, run a little faster — it’s building up your mental strength as much as your physical strength.
Try a workout that you don’t think you can do (not bench pressing 400 pounds when you can only do 100 — remember: responsible risks.) You’re taking the risk of getting tired, of failing, but you’ll get stronger.
#2 - Talk to Someone new
I actually think that this one has helped me most of all— trust me, I know it’s SCARY to talk to other people sometimes. But it’s important to remember that they’re just people, just like you and me. They probably don’t even give it a second thought, even when you think you’re being awkward— stop being so hard on yourself :)
I know it seems like something that you’d do at school or work, but it can be as simple as striking up a conversation with someone at the grocery store, saying hi to someone you’re passing on a walk, or reaching out to an old friend who you haven’t talked to in a while.
It seems simple, but the effects can extend far beyond that little conversation.
#3 - Try a new food
This one’s super easy, but sometimes trying a new food is scary! Go to the store, find a new food, and try it!
Honestly, there are a lot of foods I wouldn't try in the store because there are some weird foods these days, but I would like to try a dragonfruit...
It doesn’t seem very big, but the little things add up.
#4 - Learn something new
We’re all curious about something, and luckily, you’re in 2021! All you have to do is look things up.
Learn about something you’re curious about. I know it doesn’t seem like something very far outside your comfort zone, but sometimes starting something you’ve been putting off is really difficult.
If you’ve been putting off learning something new, give it a try. This also applies to skills... skateboarding, playing the guitar— I don’t know what it is, but take that first step and give it a try!
Starting learning a new skill, especially if you're not great at it (as it very well could be when trying something new), can be a challenge.
#5 - Go to another country
You can’t do this one every day, but visiting other countries can be overwhelming!
Different money, different customs, driving on the other side of the road… it’s all kind of scary, but can be worth it to have the experience of seeing a whole other part of the world.
I went to England few years ago, and although it put me in a completely new environment, it was exciting, and I feel like that experience has had a profound impact on my life.
#6 - Say something you’ve been meaning to say
Sometimes saying something is the biggest risk of all.
There are a million things that stop us from saying what’s on our mind, but it mostly comes down to worrying about what people will think. Maybe you don’t want to start an argument or upset someone.
Sometimes, that voice that tells us to hold our tongue IS valid, and you should listen to it - don’t say EVERYTHING that comes to your mind.
However, also keep in mind that you shouldn’t decide not to say something that you know you should say just because you’re worried about what so-and-so would think of you.
Sometimes it’s difficult, but in my experience, speaking up really pays off in the end.
Don’t back down from a challenge— embrace it and take it on! If you let fear get the best of you, you’ll never be able to do things that you want to do but are afraid to do. Remember, life goes on even if you fail or get embarrassed.
I’m going to say it again though: Don’t do anything stupid. Taking little risks can help you grow stronger, but taking irresponsible, dumb risks don’t pay off. Think about the consequences of your actions.
Try these things. You can do them whenever. I know that it’s really hard sometimes to take on fear, but don’t let it get the best of you. These challenges are easy, accessible, and effective (except going to another country— that one’s a little harder).
You’ve got this :)