What is the true nature of our human condition that drives us to push beyond what we thought was ever possible? How we face adverse or triumphant challenges mold us into who we are no matter if those challenges are brought upon us by ourselves or we are caught unawares. Most of my challenges are self inflicted, some are not. I do wonder what I was thinking when I start, but after I’ve dove in head first, I end up enjoying the ride, mostly after the challenge has been completed though.
Here are some ways to challenge yourself.
1. Set Goals and stick to them – I’ve found that without goals, life is just plain boring. I need to goals to keep me motivated. I find that writing down my goals, figuring out a plan to obtain said goal and implementing that plan start to finish is one of the most rewarding feelings.
2. Take a class. Whether it be a karate class, go back to school, dance class, fencing – challenge your brain to work on something that gives you pleasure, or at least the end result will.
3. Travel more – there is so much more to see in this world, you’ve heard the term The World is Your Oyster – I believe this is true. This means that you can achieve anything you wish in life or go anywhere because you have the opportunity AND ability to do so, you just need to find a way.
4. Eat better – this is a never ending challenge for me. I’m good some days, others not so much. Earlier this year I challenged myself to a Whole30 – 30 days of no alcohol, no grains, no refined sugars and I did it. Lost 10lbs. It was harder than childbirth, but I did it because I set a goal and stuck to it. I’ll do it again in the new year.
5. Exercise more – be a mover, whether it be karate, running, Cross-Fit or walking, setting fitness goals are so important. I think that most people need some form of motivation, whether it be your next belt rank, weight loss, certain milage, competition with yourself or even those shiny metals you get at the end of running 13.1 miles, the end result is that you’ve challenged yourself and you’ve succeeded. What a great feeling.
6. Drink Less –
7. Get out of your comfort zone: Fill in the blank _______ makes me uncomfortable, so I’m going to focus on it for a week and overcome this issue in my mind.
8. Learn a new skill: Language, take up knitting (didn’t work for me, but it may for you), woodworking, photography, writing, painting, pottery, underwater basket weaving.. you get my drift.
9. Read more – educate yourself with books that inspire and motivate. Read the classics.
10. Hear the silence. This summer, we had constant background noise at our house with fans in every room. Noise from the TV, the news, Facebook, music, video games, kids. Challenge yourself to shut it all down and open your mind to whatever form of meditation that works for you. I need this more often than not.
I was thinking about the challenges I’ve had in my life, the good and bad, on a personal, physical and emotional level and the list is so long that it’s slightly overwhelming. I take each challenge as they come along, one day at a time, sometimes I set myself up for failure with too many things all at once, or maybe that’s just my defense mechanism that will help me prevail over the tougher, unwelcome challenges that come in my direction. I set positive ones to off set the negative.
Keep challenging yourself to be better and you will be.