There’s no time like the present to challenge yourself and do something that’s outside of your comfort zone. It’s actually an ideal time while the world is dealing with Covid. Have a think about the last time you challenged yourself? For me, looking back in the past 10 years, I haven’t really challenged myself at all. I got myself stuck in a rut, doing the same things each day, and not truly challenging myself out of my comfort zone.
Within the past 2 years, I’ve grown a lot as a person, but still have a way to go when it comes to slingshotting me out of my comfort zone. When I say I’ve grown, I mean that through self-improvement and mentality, also how I look at the world as changed too. I’m always trying to figure out new ways to challenge myself each day or week. And once the Covid pandemic brings life back to reality, I’ll add more experiences and situations where I wouldn’t have put myself in the past.
From what I’ve already done, researched, and will do, it turns out that a lot of personal growth comes from challenging yourself. And in this post, I am going to share with you 23 ways to challenge yourself, hopefully helping you achieve your best life while explaining the benefits of why you should absolutely challenge yourself throughout your life. Before we start, you might like to check out my post on ‘Life Purpose Tips To Help You Find Your Passion’.
23 Ways to Challenge Yourself Every Day
So… Why Challenge Yourself?
It comes all too easy when we live our lives just staying in our comfort zones. As I mentioned, I was like that for 10 years, and from that, I started to become isolated more and more, and never trying anything new. But now, I finally know the benefits of challenging yourself and breaking down the walls around you to escape your comfort zone.
You might not think that there is any reason why challenging yourself can be important for you, but I’m here to tell you that there it is. By doing so, you’ll discover that your capable of hundreds of things if you were to put the effort in. I found this out myself by attempting multiple things each day. One of them was to learn the guitar, so I invested in a guitar and started learning, which led me to learn the keyboard. I also added reading to my daily schedule. The point I’m trying to get across is that you have so many hidden talents and skills that you could be practising if you gave yourself the chance. And eradicate the voices in your head that say you can’t, or I’ll do it another time.
Challenging yourself will also help you to reach new goals you never thought was possible, or too far to grasp. But I promise you that it is possible for you to reach out and grab it. Sure… you could just read this post and just stay in your comfort zone, never pushing yourself to achieve anything, but I swear down, you will be much happier if you took that leap of faith.
Just to share, here are two quotes I like to remind myself with:
“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting a different result.”
“Nothing comes to you on a plate, you need to go out their and get it”
These quotes keep me motivated when I need it.
Ways to Challenge Yourself
Wake Up Earlier
I never use to be a morning person, and really, I’m still not. But since I have challenged myself to wake up at 5-6 am each morning, I haven’t looked back. The morning can be a very peaceful time or even a productive time. Some people take the morning as a time to relax and do meditation, yoga, or just have a cup of tea before their chaotic day starts. Others like me, see it as a good time, to get in as many personal tasks before the workday begins. For example, I wake up, workout, have breakfast, and do anyhting else I need to get done. I find this gives me a energy boost at the start of each day, and makes me feel amazing having had a productive morning.
I use to be terrible at getting up early, and the number of alarms I would set leading up to the initial time of getting out of bed was insane. And this made me realise to challenge myself in another way related to waking up early, which Ill explain next. But overall, disciplining myself to wake up earlier and creating a productive morning routine made a massive difference in my productivity, mood and confidence.
Read This: 7 Early Morning Stretches To Start Your Day
Get 7 – 8 Hours Sleep a Night
If you’re having trouble trying to wake up earlier, why not help yourself out by going to bed earlier than normal. Making sure you set yourself an earlier bedtime, helps to fit in the recommended 7-8 hours of sleep needed before you wake up.
For me, this was a really tough challenge, as I was always going to bed around midnight or later. But I forced myself into waking up at 5-6 am, and after a few days, I found myself getting tired around 9-10 pm. Which helped to start an earlier bedtime schedule.
I can’t believe the difference of getting a good solid 7-8 hours of sleep a night has on your body, mental health and mood. And if you work out daily, helps to rejuvenate and heal the body too.
Unplug From Technology in the Evening
In today’s world, we are all reliant on technology, that if you really think about it, its almost a little worrying. Each day we have our heads in our phones and laptops that it has become a normal habit. Half of the time we pick up our phones and its just a complete waste of time, and on top of that, it’s isolating us from actual real conversations and connections with people around us.
Other than taking over the way we live and how we interact with each other. It also manipulates our bodies at night, making it think that its still day time. Unplugging from technology in the evening from a specific time can help you towards the previous goal of getting to bed early. I usually tend to stop working on my laptop and using my phone around 6-7 pm and only settle down watching tv with the family to wind down.
Try challenging yourself by turning off your smartphone and closing down your computers, maybe TVs for the evening, and focus on something relaxing, like reading a book, or writing. You could even focus on interacting with other people and enjoy activities together. If you really want to challenge yourself, why not try a zero technology day? Not tried it myself, but please let me know how it goes.
There is no better way to challenge yourself than setting a goal or two, allowing you to really think about it and come up with a plan on how to achieve it. Setting tiny goals can make you feel superior after achieving them.
Setting tiny goals can also lead you to accomplish bigger goals in steps. For example, if you want to get an awesome body for the summer, you can just set one big goal and say you’re going to get a killer body. But don’t just stop there, once you have set the big goal, be smart about it and break it down into actionable steps, helping you gain confidence and motivation on the way to the bigger goal.
Set a Savings Goal
Sticking with setting goals, setting a savings goal can really be a bit of a challenge. Especially if you’re going to be cutting down on your spending to reach your goal. We know-nothings ever easy, but once you challenge yourself to set a savings goal, you’ll be grateful that you stuck with it.
When it comes for me to start saving and planning a savings goal, I tend to have an evening sitting down and breaking it down on what priorities I need and what I can go without. And then figure out how many months it will take me to achieve my savings goal. Sometimes I don’t need to make that much changes, but other times I do. One thing I have taken from this is that you start to realize how much you spend on things you really don’t need, or barely use and could easily do without.
Writing a Journal Every Day
As a kid, and into my twenties I have never been much of a writer, nor reader to be fair. But within the past 2 years trying to self-improve in every area of my life, and trying to overcome some obstacles within my personal life, one thing that kept cropping up was keeping a journal. At first, I was a little sceptical, as I wasn’t into writing if I didn’t have to. But I decided to challenge myself and begin a journal and to stay consistent with it each week.
To my surprise after constantly being consistent at writing in my journal, or whenever I had a lot of thoughts going on in my head and needed to get them written down. It helped to keep my anxiety under control, and I was able to clear my head from all the thoughts spiralling in it.
If you feel like you can’t seem to shut your mind down, especially in bed, or have a lot of anxious thoughts swirling around. I challenge you to start writing a journal, doesn’t have to be every day, just start by writing in it at least once a week, or whenever you feel like it. Don’t stress about it too much, otherwise, this will do the opposite effect.
Start a Conversation With an Old Friend
Me and social media do not go well together, I can’t stand using Facebook or Twitter. But while I was beginning my new transformation of a better me, I realised that I didn’t really talk to many of the friends whom I once knew at university, or old friends I worked with. This made me think why? I came to the conclusion that I suck at keeping in contact with people.
So I challenged myself to make an effort to reach out to a few old friends. I can say it has been a great experience, especially through these hard times with lockdowns etc. They also appreciated the fact that I had made an effort to get in contact and share what’s been going on with our lives.
I still talk to one or two each day over Telegram, and it’s been fantastic to have someone to talk to throughout the day. One friend and I have decided to create a few projects together while the pandemic is still going on, and honestly, its been making the days fly by. Also, I don’t feel so alone than I once did back in the day, that’s got to be a massive plus!
Exercise Each Day
Having a workout routine each day sounds like a lot of work if you’re not used to exercising at all. It can become tough to keep your motivation up and still push yourself every day to keep fit. I’ve always been into keeping fit, whenever I can. And challenging myself to add a form of exercise in each day was one that I was really committed to doing. You might be the type of person who talks your way out of it after a hard long day at work, or says I’ll do it tomorrow. I’ll tell you now, not just for working out, but for everything in your life, try to change your mentality to a person who says “Yes, I’ll do it today”. Don’t be a tomorrow person, as it will never come, if you want to do something, then do it.
The best method I’ve found to stick to a workout routine is to prepare everything beforehand. For me, it was to create a weekly (Monday – Sunday) workout routine and stick with it. But for the first week or two, I wouldn’t push myself too hard, but enough that I could tell my body, without shocking it, so it knows that I’ve started to work out and gradually gets into the mindset of exercising each day. Also keeping a diary of the exercises and weights I was using, helped me to track my progress and improvements. Giving me over time, more confidence and motivation as I was seeing the results build up each week.
If you can, try to incorporate it into your early morning routine, this is something else I challenged myself to do, and suggest you do the same. After giving it you’re all in a morning workout, it gets you pumped for the day, and your energy levels will be up and running, for what’s to come.
Read 30 Minutes Each Day
Reading wasn’t an activity I chose to do while growing up and through my twenties. It wasn’t until I reached 30, that I started to focus on reading more books to improve my knowledge about things I wanted to know about. Just like exercise for your body, reading is an exercise for your brain, and it needs to be worked out to the point of failure.
How I got into the habit of reading each day, was first I created a book list on Amazon, listing books that I wanted to read over time. Doing this has helped me create a list of over 50+ books I’ve still got to read, but at least I don’t have to think of one after I’ve finished another.
The method I approached reading, was to add 30 – 60 minutes after I had breakfast to relax and read. After a while, it’s just become a habit and now ingrained into my daily lifestyle. Honestly, getting into reading has been another amazing experience. I’ve learnt so much, and have become more interesting. If you want a great book to challenge yourself into building a better life, have a read of “The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People” by Stephen R. Covey, It’s a great book, and the first I read to better myself.
Ditch One Bad Habit
Let’s be honest, no ones perfect, everyone has at least one or two bad habits that we’d like to eliminate from our lives.
Trust me when I say I know how difficult it is to kick a bad habit. I drunk alcohol all through my 20’s and it turned me into an alcoholic, and I’m not proud about that. It caused too many problems in my life and two important ones where my health and mental health. In 2017, I tried to kick the habit for good, but I struggled constantly until 2020 when I really challenged myself to stick with it while under lockdown. It was interesting as lockdown gave me more time to think about myself, and I didn’t have to have the stress with everything associated with everyday life, as the world was put on hold.
I’m still going strong now, but it is and still is the most challenging thing I’ve done, but I wouldn’t swap it for anything. I’m so glad I’ve managed to turn myself around, and I wouldn’t have been able to do it, unless I didn’t challenge myself and constantly work to better my life.
Take up Meditation
Meditation is one of those things I’ve wanted to do, but can’t seem to get incredibly into it. Honestly, for me, meditation is still a working progress but it doesn’t mean I’m giving up, I’m just taking little steps. Speaking to other bloggers and successful online business owners, they all have meditation in common and express that practising mediation has benefited them in some way.
Tim Ferris is another author whose books I like to read, and in his book called “Tribe of Mentors”. He interviews some of the highest performing people around the globe. And in every interview, the importance of meditation always comes up.
As I mentioned, mediation is still a skill I’m mastering. It’s not an activity I have fully incorporated into my daily routine, but it is on my bucket list.
Create a Vision Board
No better way to challenge yourself than to create a vision board of what you want your future to look like. The reason a vision board is challenging is that it requires you to do some uncomfortable things. Firstly it forces you to actually create a vision for your future. If your a person that just goes with the flow and see where life leads you and still feels like your life could be better, than start leading your own life. Granted it might be scary to create a vision for what you want your life to look like, but it will help you to see it clearer and guide you on your next steps that need to be taken.
This leads me on to the second thing, a vision board forces you to confront the goals that lie in your path, and challenges you to reach those goals each and every day. So many of us have an end goal in sight that seems impossible to reach, but how would you know that if you don’t know the plan that will get you there? By creating a vision board your constantly reminding yourself of that end goal, and that if you took action on all the smaller goals that lead to it, it’s possible to reach.
Honestly, a vision board is a great way to trick yourself into going for your greatest goals. You don’t have to share it with anyone.
Ask For Help
I only know a few people in my whole life that weren’t scared of asking for help. But for me and the majority of people, asking for help can seem a little scary. Especially if you’re like me and you’re a perfectionist, afraid to admit to people that you can’t do something right. Or again, just like me, your also afraid of looking like an idiot, or afraid of putting yourself out there and talking to someone new, or afraid of being a burden by sharing to someone your problem.
Rather than thinking of as many reasons under the sun, not to ask for help. Challenge yourself the next time you are struggling with something, to ask someone for help.
I only started a year ago, and it has also shown me a different way of thinking about everyday things. Usually, people show gratitude by starting a gratitude journal, but I decided that wasn’t the way for me. Instead, whatever I was experiencing at the time, I just had a little thought and reminded myself to be grateful for what was happening, who I was with, what I was experiencing, and also what food I was eating. In this modern world, we do take most things for granted, and it’s nice to realise that we should be grateful for some of the little things, like having fresh water.
Overtime changing your way of thinking and outlook on life can really help to change the days your in a bad mood, to a day where you’re in a good mood. It really does work being grateful.
Make a New Friend
One of the biggest changes that came to me after I graduated university and moved back with my family, was the fact that I didn’t have all of my friends around. And to add to that I’m not really an outgoing person and makes it more of a challenge for me to make new friends, so I’m forced to really make an effort to put myself out there.
To do this, I came up with the idea of joining a chess club and I’m so happy that I did. Not only could I finally play chess with an actual human being, but getting myself out of my comfort zone, gave me the ability to make new friends, and it’s been fantastic to have something in common with them, and it really is interesting to hear other peoples opinions and interests. Its also relaxing to share yours with them as well.
Cooking a New Recipe
I enjoy cooking, I find it very therapeutic to be home on a Friday night and cook something that you’ve never cooked before. I’m actually not a terrible cook, but I wouldn’t call myself a chef just yet. But every once in a while, when it’s the end of the week, I will fancy something completely different to what I’ve had before. So I’ll scour the internet for some sort of delicious recipe and work my magic.
Learning a new recipe or cooking style will help to challenge you to build your cooking skills and abilities to an even more expert level. In the end, you’ll be the friend that hosts dinner parties.
Clear the Clutter
I use to hate going through all my belongings which reminds me of all the junk I once kept. But going through the piles and removing the clutter you have around the house can actually be a breath of fresh air.
For someone who never really bothered with decluttering previously, I try and stay on top of it nowadays. It makes my rooms look clean, spacious, tidy, and with that, gives me a sense of happiness.
One of the benefits you might find as I did, was the things your not using anymore, or have no need for. Why not sell them online to others? One man’s junk is another man’s treasure. While doing something positive make a little side money from it.
Check Out: Rapidly Improve Your Brain In 30 Days
Talk to a Stranger
I previously mentioned I was never the outgoing person, let alone the guy who would just randomly start a conversation with someone sitting next to me on the bus. I was just happy to feel safer in my comfort zone, but then I realized, that’s the opposite of what I’m trying to do now. So why don’t I challenge myself and speak to strangers I come across on the bus or maybe when I pass someone on the street.
This is still a working progress, but since I’ve decided on challenging myself every time I’ve walked up to the shop, I’ve done my best to start a slight conversation off. I’ve also started being more interactive with a few people on Twitter regarding writing and books. While talking to strangers, I might as well see if they have any advice on writing my first book.
After the pandemic is over, this is definitely one way I want to keep challenging myself. Its’ been 11 years since I’ve been abroad and maybe even longer than I’ve been out of Cornwall. I’ve spoken to loads of people who try to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, once or twice a year. And they all come back with the same answer, it breaks up there a year, and after they come back from travelling, they feel refreshed and less stressed.
I think it’s great to find a place you want to go back to every time you want to getaway. I also think that adding new places to travel to will be an amazing way to challenge yourself and get away from the boredom so you can truly experience life and different cultures. You never know you might find your favourite place.
Some of my favourite places to visit which are all on my bucket list are places like, the northern lights, cities, countries, historic landmarks, just a collection of all the places I would look forward to exploring in the future.
Spend Time or Interact With Someone You Look Up To
Since I started my business projects online, I have come across a wide range of people I look up to. You know, the people I’d want to connect with and start a conversation. In the early days I never really contacted or connected with anyone, I was too shy to put myself out there.
But once I started reaching out to the people I was in ore of, because they were kicking ass in the same sectors I wanted to do. I started engaging with them and asking for advice or just letting them know I enjoyed what they were giving to the world. Nowadays I don’t regret at all from making an effort to make connections, it’s not only rewarding for your business or projects but its also beneficial for yourself and confidence.
After you read this post, I challenge you in the next week, try to find someone who is destroying what it is you want to kick ass at and ping them an email or message, just to let them know you admire them. Gradually you’ll see a relationship form as long with your self-esteem. Don’t just stick with one, branch out to as many as you like.
Join a Class or Group That Interests You
I love to learn and am obsessed with gaining as much knowledge as possible in all the interests I have. But I know not everyone is like that, and for someone learning something new, is completely outside of their comfort zone.
Getting involved in a class or group that helps you learn something new, can be an incredible experience. For instance, you could learn a skill that catapults you into your next career, make new connections, or like me, create a business that never would have happened before.
You could even become more interesting to the friends you already have.
Learn a New Language
Learning a new language that your very passionate at doing, can be a very fun way of challenging yourself and expanding your horizons. If you combine it with travelling to new places, it can become even a better experience to learn the language of some of the places you’re going to be visiting.
Currently, I am learning Russian and Spanish, and to make it more fun, I have two separate friends that I speak to frequently and we only communicate in the desired language we want to learn. Otherways to learn a new language is by the popular Duolingo app, which seems to be the first place for people who want to start learning the basics fast.
I can guarantee that we all have causes close to our hearts, but I’m speculating that most of us don’t actually take the time to donate ourselves to those causes. No doubt that a generous monthly donation is awesome, but so is showing up to help at a local nonprofit organisation.
Volunteering can be a very rewarding contribution to yourself, the community and others. It’s also a great way again to meet new people and possibly make new friends.
Hopefully I have given you some insight on how to challenge yourself to help put you on a path to better your life. There are so many ways you can constantly challenge yourself and grow as a person. With my list, I’m not telling you to do every single one straight away, but it does help when you come across a list that at least each person can find one thing they can do, it’s just a great bonus if you do a bunch of them.
Because I was really determined to overcome some obstacles in my life and challenge myself to set some goals for now and the future. I really pushed myself out of my comfort zone and tried to put myself out there as much as possible.
Dont be afriad to crawl out of your shell.
I can’t express how much of a difference its made for me, and I know it will definitely do the same for you.
Don’t forget to check out my post “Life Purpose Tips To Help You Find Your Passion”
Good Luck and Keep Safe.