Any time you reaching beyond what’s comfortable, it’s never easy, but it is an effort worth making because it’s one way you can live your life optimally.
When you challenge yourself and strive to do more, you can gain a better understanding of your limitations. You can also awaken that internal part of you that’s willing to grow and expand.
Are you pushing yourself to move even a little beyond your comfort zone? Let’s explore why you should and how to get comfortable with sometimes being uncomfortable in some areas of your life.
What’s the benefit of Challenging Yourself?
I’ve already mentioned two benefits is being able to gauge your limitations and increasing your ability to grow and expand. There are more benefits I want to highlight. Benefits that I don’t think many of us realize we can achieve when we don’t just settle for what’s familiar.
For instance, did you know that when you challenge yourself, you are building your self-confidence? Imagine that by pushing your boundaries and succeeding at whatever prompted you to push a little harder, your confidence will soar.
That you will feel as if you can achieve more. Ask anyone who’ve achieved something despite it being hard, or even when it feels uncomfortable, what they feel when they realize they accomplish it, whatever that it was.
I am sure the first thing they will tell you about is that amazing feeling of confidence. Of believing in him or herself in such an intense way that they could only describe as remarkable aplomb.
Challenge Yourself And Take Control Of Your Life.
What happens when you feel confident and you accomplish the task and goals you set and your confidence escalates?
You not only become more optimistic, but you become productive. You realize you can handle and solve problems more easily. And even better, you feel less stressed when tackling those problems.
Challeng Yourself And Experience That feeling you get when you try harder and succeed
I like to describe the feeling of pushing yourself and accomplishing what you were determined to accomplish as the rush you get when you finish a 5K, or just before you cross the finish line and the endorphins kicks in and that feeling of elation takes hold. It doesn’t matter if you were the winner, only that you did it, you crossed the finish line. You pushed yourself and accomplish something that’s phenomenal to you.
Our current president like to stress his points by saying “Folks.” I am going to copy him by saying folks, Challenging yourself can determine whether you succeed triumphantly, or fail with excuses. It’s really that simple.
Here are a few more benefits of challenging yourself that you may not realize.
1. You Get More Focus
The act will improve clarity, which contributes to your decision-making skills. When you can focus and have clarity, you also increase your ability to maintain the momentum when trying to accomplish your goals and tasks.
2. Challenging yourself reinforces motivation
When you challenge yourself, you increase your ability to engage. And as you create your plan to implement your tasks or goals, your commitment increase, as your game plan falls into place and you see that your implementation is working.
3. When you challenge yourself, it encourages change
It’s a fact, change is unavoidable, it’s the constant in life. Most of us have a hard time accepting change because we are comfortable and attached to old habits. But When you choose to step outside of your comfort zone, and push ourselves, that is when you grow.
4. Challenging yourself enhances creativity.
One of the most powerful attribute to have is creativity. It’s key for when you want to generate new ideas. One way to activate your creative muscle and think innovatively is by getting out of your comfort zone. When you can broaden your perspective and think open-minded, there are so many roadblocks in life you can’t overcome.
Guidelines For Challenging Yourself
There are unique aspects to how to challenge yourself or what type of challenge you want to implement. You can choose to challenge some aspect in your personal life or your professional life, or if you are really empowered, you can choose both.
Regardless of your choice, the challenge should have certain characteristics and, in retrospect, is actually simple. By simple, I mean the guidelines. Not the act itself.
- It should take effort.
- It shouldn’t be rigid. There should always be room to adjust or to be flexible, more about flexibility later.
- The challenge should always focus on the process or actionable steps and not on the outcome. For example, a challenge shouldn’t be about losing 5 pounds. It should be about how you are going to lose the five pounds.
Roadblocks that Can Keep You From Challenging Yourself
Now I want to highlight what can make challenging yourself hard. We all have certain traits or characteristics that can keep us from achieving the things we want. Those characteristics can also stand in the way of wanting to take a proactive step like challenging yourself.
It’s important to point out these traits because it’s only by admitting to them you can overcome them and demand more from yourself.
We all have fear, but the key is to embrace it.
Fear is a defense mechanism we use when we are uncomfortable with change. Also, when we must do something unfamiliar. One way to reinforce your challenge is to face fear and act despite it.
Deal with it by offsetting it.
Cynical thinking is one of the main reasons for failure. We fail because we subconsciously let negativity rule our lives. What we really should do to get rid of negativity is to embrace the feeling.
Let me explain what I mean.
Our thoughts, whether negative or positive, are triggers for past or even current events in our lives. Think in terms of family members, friends, telling you, you can’t. You can’t start a business, you can’t get that job you want. Understanding and dealing with these triggers is the first step towards embracing them.
Listen to episode 16 of Evolving Life to learn how to silence your inner critic.
Believing you have to do everything yourself
Everyone needs a support system, and you shouldn’t hesitate to implement one.
Sometimes what you need is a different approach, or in this case, another way to strengthen your challenge. One such support system could be a coach. The guidance of a coach can only enhance your efforts. See this approach as an opportunity to fortify your challenge, not as a chance to highlight your weaknesses. A life coach can help remove doubts and stimulate your efforts.
Believing you are alone
Not realizing you are not the only person who’ve experienced your journey. There will always be someone who’ve been there and done that. You can benefit from and be inspired by their experience.
For instance, you can read the biography of someone successful. Sometimes, the experience and guidance of others can be what you need. By capturing their experience by reading about their tribulations and insight, you get the boost you need to push further to believe in yourself. Pick up or download a biography of an extraordinary individual you admire.
Imagine reading the biography of Walt Disney, and his dream of entertaining others. Or, how JRR Tolkien could create the masterpiece of Lord of the Ring Trilogy. You can find inspiration in the lives and experience of others. It’s one reason one of Evolving Life’s goal is to have guests who will share their story.
You know that person who believes there is only one right way to do something. They also like to classify themselves as old school.
The reality is, it’s very hard to get anywhere in life if you can’t adjust when we need to.
Let me share an example: If someone told you there is another way to do something faster and more efficiently that involves using a software, would you actually say no, I like the old school way? Believe it or not, there are people who have this very mentality.
You are leaving so much at the door when you are not willing to try something new that may or may not make a difference. The point is to just try.
It’s really important to set a timeline, especially when you choose to challenge yourself.
You create deadlines by taking goals and breaking them into smaller steps. When you take small steps towards your goals, you are more likely to achieve them.
There are other benefits to creating incremental goals, such as helping with the focus and clarity I mention earlier. This approach helps you focus on the process and not on the outcome.
It also helps to foster rituals which will become habits which I talked about in episode 12 of Evolving Life podcast.
I am going to conclude by saying challenging yourself can lead to success. When you push yourself a little, it can affect other parts of your life. It optimizes your mental health, your ability to be resilient, and so much more. In short, challenging yourself helps to build the solid characteristics needed to accomplish the things you want. So go ahead challenge yourself – push a little harder.
- The ability to guage your limitations and self-growth are benefits.
- You can also handle and solve problems more effectively.
- A feeling you experience is similar to finishing a 5K and the endorphins kicks in.
- Your decision making skills improves.
- Challenging yourself enhances creativity.
- The guidelines are actually simple.
- Roadblocks can prevent a proactive approach such as challenging yourself.
- Cynical thinking is one of those roadblocks.
- Don’t negate the benefit of support.
Episode at a glance
- 1:37 – What you gain when you challenge yourself
- 2:01 – Confidence
- 2:49 – Control
- 3:24 – A 5K
- 3:54 – Triumph or Excuses
- 4:09 – Focus & Clarity
- 4:20 – Motivation
- 4:41 – Change
- 5:10 – Creativity
- 7:40 – How To Challenge Yourself
- 8:10 – Guidelines
- 9:22 – Fear
- 9:50 – Negative self-talk
- 11:00 – Support
- 11:40 – Been There, Done That
- 12:30 – Inspiration From Others
- 12:47 – Inflexible
- 13:40 – Procrastinate
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“Challenge yourself. It’s the only path which leads to growth.” – Morgan Freeman, Actor