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When you think about challenging yourself, your mind probably goes to that place outside of your comfort zone where no one really wants to be, but where you know that change undoubtedly occurs.
It’s tough to leave our comfort zones, so we often stay put because we favor routine and familiarity.
But when you challenge yourself to leave this safe space, your brain reacts in new ways to adapt to the change in context, which helps you grow. Challenging yourself–just a bit–every day to do something new or push a little harder will promote the optimal mix of chemicals in your brain to support personal growth. Don’t make yourself too uncomfortable, you may get anxious and quit. But don’t stay where you are now–or else your complacency may become chronic.
If you can calm your mind when it’s appropriate to do so–when you challenge your core expectations just enough–you can grow as a person and achieve new things in life. And when you take on new things, you may become motivated to find innovative and improved ways to do your everyday activities. Once you get into this habit, you’ll become more adaptable in every aspect of your life.
So in this article, we are going to look at 19 ways you can challenge yourself every day to grow as a person. After reading these tips, you’ll know some small changes you can make each day that can result in major improvements in your life,
Let’s get started.
Is there a more appropriate way to challenge yourself? If you want to see change in your life, set short and long term goals for yourself. Once you’ve set your goal, break it down into smaller, manageable actionable steps and get started on it today.
If you need some help getting started, here is the ultimate guide to setting SMART goals.
Someone once advised me to “not give words to negative feelings.” And while complaining may feel good in the moment, it won’t make you feel better in the long run, and it may even weaken your will to succeed. Instead, think about the law of attraction and how being positive–even about tough situations–can help you grow more.
You can start with checking out 29 ways you can be more positive in your life.
When you think of being creative, your mind probably goes to the idea of making something. However, The root meaning of the word creativity means ‘to grow’. When you’re being creative, you’re also being innovative by solving problems in new ways or making unique connections between ideas. Being creative will challenge your mind, strengthen your brain, and help you think outside of the box in all areas of your life.
If you need some ideas to get you started, here are 100 journaling questions and prompts to spark your creativity.
Be relentless. I know it may be hard to get rid of something that you think you “might” need down the road, but most things are replaceable. If you haven't used it in a year and it doesn't hold any extremely sentimental value, toss it or donate it.
After doing this, you will feel much less stressed and overwhelmed in your everyday life. Empty space is calming, so challenging yourself to do this can help you in all areas or your life.
Grab some supplies and do a little each day.
I know, you don't think you have the time or you're completely wiped out after a long day. But pushing yourself to get some physical activity every day will make you feel better, sleep better, and be less stressed out. And while working out in itself is challenging, you know positive changes will be happening in your body while you're doing it.
Exercising every day will also help you grow mental strength because it takes a lot of dedication and willpower to finish strong running that last mile or lifting an extra ten pounds. Get your exercise over with in the morning to set yourself up for a productive day.
One of the best ways to stop a bad habit is to replace it with a healthy one. This can be a daily challenge because it isn’t something that you want to go for all at once. Instead, focusing on habit stacking will allow you to make small, gradual changes to your life.
With consistency, you can develop positive, new routines that will help with your personal growth. The key here is to start slowly so you don’t feel overwhelmed and lose your motivation or sense of commitment to your new habits and routines.
Whether it’s a person or an object, a big part of self-growth is letting go of the things that are in the past or current elements of your life that are causing more harm than good. You may have several opportunities to practice this throughout the day, you just need to be self-aware to recognize them.
If something makes you upset, think about how much control you have over the situation. If you determine that it is out of your control, let it go. Moreover, if you can recognize that something that’s upsetting you is small and truly insignificant, try to let that go as well. Allowing yourself to let go of things that are out of your control will help you create more space in your mind to tend to the things in your life that you can change.
Having patience is an essential element to living a peaceful life. When you practice patience, you’re able to learn to remain calm when facing adversity. And because frustrating or adverse situations are consistently surrounding us, there are a lot of opportunities to practice this virtue, whether you’re home with your children, at work, or shopping for groceries. If you can challenge yourself to become a more patient person, it can make the difference between feeling tense and composing yourself or worrying and feeling inner peace.
Recent studies have found that people who are patient are generally more satisfied with their lives and feel fewer symptoms of depression. When considering your journey toward reaching your goals, having patience is a key part of achieving success. If you are only willing to see results immediately, you’re likely to quit when you’re progressing slower than you had hoped. Those who are patient are also more satisfied when they do reach their goals, which makes patient achievers more content with their lives overall.
Even though you’re reading this on your phone or computer right now, you also need to take some breaks and walk away from the screens. Do you remember what you read on social media on this day last year? Probably not, so try to limit your time reading things online that don’t teach you anything or help you in some way.
The technology that we engage with actually rewires how we think. You’re unlikely to find content online that encourages laid-back reading or deep, concentrated thinking. Instead, you may find snippets of information or summaries of books hidden between ads and pop-ups. All of these distractions prevent you from concentrating on any one thing to really learn and understand it. To help you grow as a person, take some time every day to unplug and reclaim old hobbies or discover new ones.
Challenge yourself to put away your devices for a period of time every day. Leave your phone in your car when you’re out to lunch with a friend or put it in your drawer while you take some time to read a book or play a board game with your family.
Change is one of the few constant things in life that you can count on to never go away. Challenge yourself every day to accept any changes that come your way and go with the flow of things.
Don’t resist opportunities for change. Rather, accept it as a chance to learn and grow. Embracing change helps you learn to adapt and become more flexible, which means the more you practice accepting change, the easier it becomes to do so.
You become judgmental when you hold a truth over someone’s head to make yourself feel better than them in some way. You don’t have to agree with how everyone lives their life, but if you’re rude about it, it doesn’t make you “right”.
If you frequently judge others, challenge yourself to quit that habit. The habit may be unconscious or it may be rooted in jealousy—but either way, challenge yourself to stop.
Instead of focusing on someone else’s flaws, work on empathizing and appreciating their positive qualities. Once you do this, you can start living more mindfully with a happier, more positive outlook.
What do you do to reward yourself when you accomplish something…even if it’s small? You do great things, and you need to reward yourself for that.
By challenging yourself to acknowledge the things that are going right in your life, it will help you recognize the things that you do well. It will help you appreciate your strengths, which will aid in building your confidence and becoming more resilient during the times when you don’t get the results you were hoping for.
Humans are social beings, but you also need to take some time alone to self-reflect. Being alone can be really hard for some people, but it’s a necessary part of keeping a grasp on who you are and understanding yourself as best as possible.
By challenging yourself to spend time alone, you will give yourself the opportunity to be free from external worries and influences. Challenge yourself to explore your feelings, worries, and needs each day.
During your alone time, you can practice mindfulness or do some meditation or journaling. Any activity like this will help you increase your self-awareness, allowing you to see things from other people’s perspectives, strengthen your self-control, and improve your self-esteem.
Learning new words (in English or in a foreign language) can help you improve your memory, increase your focus, and of course, expand your vocabulary. Each new word you learn gets stored into your long-term memory, which helps you associate more information with each word and express yourself better.
Expanding your vocabulary is also known to delay dementia and help with mental health issues. In fact, studies have shown that learning new words stimulates the rewards center of the brain.
Maybe you need a mentor for guidance through your personal and professional challenges. Find someone whom you admire and see if they’d be willing to offer some support. Having a mentor can help you grow because they can help you understand roadblocks and assist you with coming up with solutions for problems you’re facing instead of simply quitting.
Mentors can come in several forms, and by seeking help from someone who has been in your shoes, you’re opening yourself up to a real opportunity for growth.
You don’t have to be a great writer to do a brain dump. Just take some time to write down everything that is on your mind at the moment. Release your stressors, your nagging thoughts, or anything that is annoying you right onto your piece of paper. (Here's a collection of printable brain dump worksheets you can use.)
The idea here is to gather all of your thoughts and ideas in order to contain them all in one place. Doing this will help you grow because you will learn to recognize and correctly label your emotions so you can address them appropriately.
A lot of the fulfillment that we get from life comes from gaining new experiences and developing ourselves in different ways. When you try new things, not only can you learn about the task at hand, you can also learn more about yourself.
Trying new things also helps to break up the monotony of life and stimulate your mind. If you maintain the habit of experimenting with new things, you’ll progress and become more open to change, new opportunities, and new possibilities.
It is so easy to put this off over and over again, but before you know it, months (or years) have gone by and you still haven’t caught up with an old friend. Alternatively, you may come in contact with the same person every day–maybe the cashier at the coffee shop or the bus driver–without even knowing their name.
It eventually gets to the point where it feels a bit too “late” or awkward to ask. Reach out and connect with the people who have a consistent role in your life, as well as those who played a significant part in your past.
Spend some time every day reading a genre that you wouldn’t normally read. If you’re like many people, you probably tend to rely on the same types of books and movies to keep you entertained. But you can keep things interesting and learn something new if you switch things up for just ten minutes a day.
You can even do some research to find some small, local shops that carry books that aren’t stocked in the bigger chain bookstores. This way, you’re expanding your knowledge while also helping small businesses in your area.
So there you have it: 19 things you can do to help challenge yourself and grow as a person every day. For more resources on personal development, here are 21 of the best personal development and self-improvement books that can help you on your journey to being your best self.
Connie Mathers is a professional editor and freelance writer. She holds a Bachelor's Degree in Marketing and a Master’s Degree in Social Work. When she is not writing, Connie is either spending time with her daughter and two dogs, running, or working at her full-time job as a social worker in Richmond, VA.