25 Best Ways To Challenge Yourself To Grow In Life
Are you stuck in a rut or feeling like you’re not getting anywhere? If so, it’s a good time to find new ways to challenge yourself.
Challenging yourself daily is one of the best ways to grow. It can help you learn new skills, meet new people, develop a growth mindset, and more.
Before diving into how to challenge yourself regularly, let’s first look at this concept so you have a better understanding of what it entails.
Challenge Yourself Meaning
Challenging yourself means deliberately pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone to grow. It’s about taking on new tasks and situations that are difficult for you, but that will help you learn and develop new skills.
Your challenges can be big or small, but they should all be things that push you beyond your current limits and help you reach your specific goals.
Also, it’s important to note that you’re never too old to learn new things. Your life can be a journey of continual growth if you let it.
As British entrepreneur Richard Branson said on Twitter:
“My biggest motivation? Just to keep challenging myself.”
Why Should You Challenge Yourself?
Challenging yourself can take you from where you are now to where you want to be. It helps you learn, grow, and develop new skills that can lead to a better life.
In addition, challenging yourself has been scientifically proven to change your brain.
According to doctors at Harvard Medical School:
“…the human brain has a great potential for something called neuronal plasticity, or in other words, being highly malleable. It appears that challenging our brains — for example, by learning a new skill — leads to actual changes in the adult brain. “
So not only can challenging yourself make you smarter, but it can also lead to physical changes in your brain. How awesome is that?
Plus, as you walk through different challenges, you’ll:
- Break out of your comfort zone
- Meet new people
- Better embrace change
- Experience new things
- Find new interests
- Develop a positive attitude
- Focus on personal growth
- Build confidence
- Make life exciting
In other words, challenging yourself is a great way to start if you want to become the best version of yourself.
4 Helpful Tips To Challenge Yourself
Now that you know what it means to challenge yourself and why you should do it, here are some tips to help you begin.
1. Set Goals
Why do you want to complete challenges? What do you hope to accomplish?
Before you start challenging yourself, it’s important to set goals. This will help you stay focused and motivated throughout the process. Because, let’s be honest, you’ll have days where you don’t feel like pushing yourself.
Your goals can give you the boost you need to keep going.
Your goals can be anything from wanting to learn a new skill to improving your physical health. Just make sure they are realistic and attainable.
Related: 40 Examples of Personal Goals To Set For A Happy Life
2. Start Small
It’s tempting to dive right into all of your goals and try to change your life completely overnight. However, that’s not a sustainable way to live; it will only lead to burnout.
Instead, start small.
Choose one goal and take the first step towards it. Then take another step, and so on.
Once you achieve that goal, move on to new challenges.
3. Pick The Right Challenge
Just because a particular challenge is making the rounds on TikTok or other social media platforms doesn’t mean it’s right for you.
So before you start anything, make sure it’s something you want to do and that it aligns with your goals.
There’s nothing wrong with trying new things, but make sure it’s something that interests you. Otherwise, you’re more likely to give up before you complete the challenge.
4. Find A Support System
Going alone can be challenging, so finding a support system to help you through the process is crucial.
This could be a friend, family member, or online community.
Whatever you do, make sure you have people in your corner who will encourage and motivate you when you’re struggling.
25 of The Best Ways To Challenge Yourself
To inspire you to start challenging yourself, here are 25 ideas to start with.
The first challenges on the list are small and designed to help you build a healthy life with daily growth.
You’ll also find more advanced challenges that might take longer but will help you create lasting change in your life.
Are you ready to grow? Pick some new goals from the list below and start challenging yourself today.
Simple Ways To Challenge Yourself Everyday
Small changes can lead to significant results over time. Here are some ideas you can do daily to help you get into the habit of challenging yourself.
Pick one or two to start with, and challenge yourself to do it every day for a month.
1. Wake Up 20 Minutes Earlier
Waking up early can be tough, but you can use that time to your advantage. You can read, write, meditate, or even just enjoy the present moment with a cup of coffee before you seize the day.
If you’re not sure how to spend your morning time, developing a mindful morning routine can help.
This simple routine can help you ease into your day and set the tone for productivity.
2. Do A 5-Minute Workout
You don’t need to spend hours at the gym to get a good workout and improve your overall health.
Just do something for five minutes, like:
- Jumping jacks
- Quick walk
- Running stairs
Focus on anything that increases your heart rate and makes you break a sweat is what counts.
Plus, starting with a short workout makes it more likely that you’ll do it daily.
Once it becomes a habit, you can further challenge yourself to increase the length and intensity of your workouts.
3. Practice Gratitude
Gratitude is scientifically proven to improve your mental and emotional health. So spend a few minutes each day dedicating time for gratitude.
You can simply write down 3 things you’re grateful for, or for deeper inspiration you can check out my 52 Week Gratitude Journal that includes a thoughtful writing prompt you can do daily or weekly.
4. Make Your Bed
It might sound silly, but making your bed each morning can set the tone for the rest of the day.
It’s a small task that takes less than 5 minutes, but as Retired Admiral William H. McRaven said in a 2014 commencement address at the University of Texas:
“If you make your bed every morning, you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small, simple pride and encourage you to do another task, and another, and another. By the end of the day that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed.”
5. Write In A Journal
Journaling is a great way to document your journey, reflect on your challenges and wins, and plan for the future.
If you’ve never kept a journal before, it might seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be complicated.
You can use journal prompts or write about whatever is on your mind.
6. Drink A Glass Of Lemon Water
Starting your day with a glass of lemon water is a great way to rehydrate after a long night’s sleep, get a dose of Vitamin C, and jumpstart your digestion. You can have a hot lemon water or cold.
7. Spend Time Outside
There’s something special about spending time in nature. Maybe it’s the fresh air, or the opportunity to disconnect from technology and connect with yourself.
Whatever the reason, spending time outside helps you take care of your mental health. So challenge yourself to spend at least 20 minutes outside each day, even if it’s just sitting in your backyard or taking a leisurely walk around the block.
8. Pray Or Meditate
If you’re religious, spending time praying can be a powerful way to connect with a higher power and find strength and comfort.
And if you’re not religious, you can still benefit from the practice of meditation. Meditation can improve your mental health by reducing stress, anxiety, and depression.
9. Say Positive Affirmations
If you find yourself doubting your abilities or getting caught up in negative thinking, positive affirmations can help.
Positive affirmations are statements you can repeat to yourself to provide motivation, support and encouragement.
They can be useful in time of stress or when you need emotional support.
- I am strong
- I am capable
- I am worthy
- I am doing my best
Feel free to stand in front of a mirror as you say them, while striking a power pose.
10. Take Deep Breaths
Deep breathing is a simple but powerful relaxation technique that can help reduce stress and anxiety.
So take a few minutes each day to focus on your breath.
Breathe in slowly and deeply through your nose, filling your lungs from the bottom up. Then exhale slowly through your mouth.
Repeat this process ten times.
11. Do Something Kind
The Random Acts of Kindness challenge can change your perspective and make you feel good.
The challenge is simple: do something kind for someone else, with no expectation of anything in return.
You can do something as small as holding the door open for someone or as big as volunteering your time at a local shelter.
The important thing is to focus on the act of kindness itself, not on what you might get in return.
12. Write A Handwritten Note
In a world that constantly bombards you with electronic messages, there’s something special about receiving a handwritten note.
A handwritten note is personal and thoughtful, showing that you took the time to sit down and write out your thoughts.
So send a handwritten note to someone special in your life. It could be a thank you note, a birthday card, or even a simple message letting them know you’re thinking of them.
13. Read For 10 Minutes Before Bed
Instead of mindlessly scrolling on social media before you crash at night, try reading for 10 minutes.
You can read a fiction or non-fiction book, a favorite magazine, or a few articles from your favorite website.
14. Create An Evening Routine
An evening routine is a great way to wind down at the end of the day and prepare for a good night’s sleep.
There is no one-size-fits-all bedtime routine, so find what works for you and stick to it. Maybe that means taking a warm bath, reading a book, or creating a to-do list for tomorrow.
Whatever you decide to add to your evening routine, remember to keep it simple. That way, it will be something you look forward to doing each night.
Larger Ways To Challenge Yourself
Once you get a few smaller challenges under your belt, you might be ready to take on something more.
These biggest challenges won’t get done in a single day, but they can help you take small steps towards the life you want.
15. Start A New Hobby
Learning something new can be daunting, but it’s also enriching. So pick a new hobby to enjoy. It could be anything from cooking to painting to playing an instrument.
The important thing is to find something that interests you and that you can see yourself sticking with long-term.
Don’t worry about being perfect – just enjoy the process of learning something new.
16. Run A Marathon
Training for and running a marathon is a huge accomplishment. Running 26.2 miles might seem impossible if you’re not a runner. Yet, with dedication and hard work, it’s achievable.
Not interested in running an entire marathon? You can also challenge yourself to run a certain distance that’s outside of your comfort zone.
Remember to start slowly and build up as you gain endurance and strength.
17. Start A Business or Side Hustle
Have you always wanted to be your own boss? If so, now is the time to challenge yourself to start a business.
It doesn’t have to be anything big or complicated – it can be something as simple as starting a blog or an Etsy shop.
The important thing is to take the plunge and see what you’re capable of. Who knows – you might just end up loving your small business.
Giving back is a great way to grow. Volunteer for a cause you’re passionate about, or sign up for a local program like Meals on Wheels.
Once you start looking, you’ll find many different ways to help others.
You can also look for opportunities to volunteer abroad. This is a great way to immerse yourself in a new culture and learn more about the world.
19. Learn A New Language
Have you always wanted to learn Spanish, Chinese, or another language? It’s the perfect time to start.
You can learn a new language by signing up for a class, downloading a language-learning app, or practicing with a native speaker.
Even if you go slowly and only learn a new word a day, you’ll be expanding your skillset and making progress.
20. Break A Bad Habit
Do you have a bad habit that you’ve been meaning to break? Whether it’s biting your nails, smoking, or procrastinating, now is the time to kick it to the curb.
Come up with a plan, so when you’re tempted to give in, you have a strategy to fall back on.
There’s not a prescribed “easy way” of breaking habits, but finding friends or family members who support you and hold you accountable can help.
21. Start A New Healthy Habit
In addition to breaking a bad habit, why not start a new healthy one? It could be something as simple as drinking more water or going for a walk every day.
Like with any new, good habit, it’s important to take things slowly and ensure you’re realistic about what you can achieve.
Start with small goals and build up from there.
22. Go On A Solo Vacation
If you’ve never traveled alone, now is the time to do it. Pick a destination that you’ve always wanted to visit and go for it!
Solo travel can be scary initially, but it’s also incredibly empowering.
You’ll have the opportunity to do what you want, when you want. And you might just surprise yourself with how much you enjoy it.
23. Start A 30-Day Challenge
Are you looking for a bit more direction as you make these changes? Start a 30-day challenge. This could be anything from giving up sugar to reading one book per week.
The important thing is to pick something that you’re committed to that will push you outside of your comfort zone. Then, just take it one day at a time and see how it goes.
Here’s a list of 30-Day Challenge ideas to help get you started.
24. Learn How To Cook
Now is the time to learn if you don’t know how to cook. It’s a valuable skill and can be gratifying, too.
Start with some simple recipes and work your way up.
Soon, you’ll be whipping up delicious meals for yourself and your loved ones.
25. Start Prepping For Emergencies
No one likes to think about emergencies, but it’s important to be prepared for them. Make a plan with your family or roommates and stock up on supplies to prepare for an emergency.
This is especially important if you live in an area prone to natural disasters like hurricanes, earthquakes, or forest fires.
The government website, Ready, has plenty of resources to help you get started.
Additionally, one county in Illinois broke up the concept of preparing into 30 tasks. You can do one item daily or spread it out over a longer period of time.
Challenging yourself is a great way to grow and learn new things. It can also be a lot of fun. So, don’t be afraid to step outside your comfort zone and try something new.
That said, it’s important to remember that you don’t have to do everything on this list. Just pick one or two things that interest you and give them a try. You might be surprised by how much you enjoy it.
What are you currently doing to challenge yourself?
Share in the comments below to inspire others!
Related Posts on Challenging Yourself:
- How to Create Lasting habits: 3 Step Process for Success
- 30 Day Self Love Challenge: The Ultimate Love Yourself List
- 30 Days of Gratitude Challenge: The Ultimate Guide
- 15 Ways To Be Intentional & Live Your Best Life
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Waking up earlier is a challenge I’m doing right now! I want to be more productive in the morning so I am slowly getting up a little earlier each week
That’s fantastic Deanna! Having a little more time is in the morning truly makes a difference. Enjoy!