The secret to your success, any success, lies in your habits, routines and the things you do every single day. It doesn’t matter what you’re after in life, or what your definition of success is- it never happens overnight.
Every change always begins with a single step. You don’t always have to know what that second or third step should be, either. That first step is what will help you get started.
Challenging yourself is one of the most important aspects of self-growth. Without challenge and change, there can be no progress or improvement. We often talk about things that we want out of life, things we dream about, and that’s where it ends- with us talking about it. We’re not always willing to challenge ourselves, to step out of our comfort zone and actually make things happen. Change and challenge, doing things that scare or intimidate us might seem difficult, but it doesn’t have to be. This is a list of 50 small ways to challenge yourself- things that you can do every single day to help you grow, overcome fear and step out of your comfort zone.
50 SMALL WAYS TO CHALLENGE YOURSELF EVERY DAY
- Journal– you can write as little as just one line a day using a book like this one. It’s a simple and easy way to start. As you get used to writing about your day, feelings or emotions, try to explore journaling a bit deeper by using journaling prompts.
- Always take the stairs– whenever possible, take the stairs instead of the elevator.
- Read a book from an author/genre you normally wouldn’t. Most of us tend to reach for the same kinds of books, watch the same types of movies. Switching things up can help keep things fresh and interesting.
- Get up 30 minutes early and go for a short walk before work. If you’re not a morning person, this post might help you.
- Go out for dinner, just by yourself. For most of us, this is something that’s a bit out of the comfort zone, but as we make an effort to constantly face those tiny fears we become braver with each time.
- Stop complaining. Try going without complaining, as long as you can, remembering that your life is an echo.
- Make gratitude a part of your morning routine. Each morning, write down 5 things you feel grateful for.
- Detox from all things digital, for at least one hour a day. Put away your phone, tablet, laptop for at least one hour each day and practice some quality self-care or focus on doing something productive.
- Reach out to a friend you haven’t spoken to in a while. This is a small “challenge” because we often put this off time and time again, and the next thing we know it’s been months or years since we caught up with that one friend.
- Set small daily goals for yourself. Small goals facilitate progress. You’re more likely to accomplish your “big” goals if you split them into smaller, less intimidating ones. If your goal is to get healthy for example, start by swapping your soda or juice for water, going for a 20-minute walk or having at least one very healthy meal a day (to start).
- Prep and cook all of your meals. No vending machines, no packaged food, no frozen + microwavable meals.
- Learn a new word every day. Writing it down and keeping track of each word will help you remember them better.
- Find one thing/clothing item you no longer need or use and get rid of it. Donate or recycle- if you find yourself or your home surrounded by a lot of clutter, finding just one thing to get rid of at a time will be less overwhelming than having a huge clean-out.
- Be more mindful. Practice mindfulness every day and try to release your “bad” thoughts without judgment.
- Print out those photos. How many photos do you have stored on your phone or computer that you meant to print out and store in an actual album, but never got around to it? To make this easier, try to split it into small batches and work on a bunch each day.
- Meditate for at least 10 minutes. Try apps like Calm or Headspace.
- Volunteer in your community. Your time is one of your most valuable assets and volunteering is a great way to contribute to your community. If you really don’t have the time, you can contribute by donating to food and/or clothing drives.
- Never stop learning. Remember that you can grow and learn new things until the day you die.
- Give up alcohol for a month. If you don’t drink, you can give up another thing that you like to indulge in once in a while, like ice cream or pizza.
- Try a new exercise routine. If you love HIIT, try swapping it for weight training or yoga.
- Be kinder, both to others and yourself. Be kind even when sometimes you don’t feel like it- don’t allow your negative emotions to control you.
- Practice a little self-care. Remember that self-care is not just about bubble baths and face masks.
- Create a budget for yourself/your family. It’s never too early to start saving and practicing financial responsibility- creating and sticking to a budget will help you out with both.
- Stay inspired every day. Motivation is something that has to come from within, but surrounding yourself with inspiring things, books, affirmation cards, and people can help you stay inspired.
- Do something creative. You might not think of yourself as a creative person, but the truth is that we’re all creative beings and can incorporate creativity into our lives in many different ways.
- Face your small fears. Do something that you often find intimidating.
- Practice some child-like curiosity, play and fun. Do a puzzle, play a board game. OR simply grab a balloon and tap it with your hands to keep it in the air, not allowing it to touch the floor. This is just as fun as it was when you were a child. The last time I did it (on my birthday) I couldn’t stop laughing at how silly and fun it felt.
- Write a letter or a note to someone you love. Putting your feelings into words isn’t always easy, but surprising a loved one with a handwritten note or letter is very much worth the effort.
- Create more white space in your life. Free up some time in your schedule to spend with your partner, friends, or just yourself.
- Avoid displacing your anger. When you’re struggling with something like feelings of anger or disappointment, don’t take it out on other people.
- Edit your life, frequently– stop doing things that make you unhappy, don’t hang out with people who bring you down or drain your energy.
- Work on building good habits- one at a time. The best way to stop a “bad” habit, is to replace it with a good/positive one. Don’t try to change everything at once- you’ll feel overwhelmed. Focus on one habit at a time.
- Go after what you want; think about it, what are some things you’ve always wanted to do, but you were either too afraid, too busy, or simply never got around to it? Write those things down and ask yourself: what can I do today, right now, to get closer to my goal/dream?
- Practice more self-compassion. For most of us, this habit is hard to learn as we tend to be hard on ourselves. You have to learn to celebrate your small victories and accomplishments so that you can stay inspired. At the same time, you have to remember that taking a break, being unproductive or having a little cry sometimes is okay, too.
- Judge less. Constant judgment is unhealthy and can easily make you feel miserable.
- Work on strengthening your relationships. Some relationships in your life can be more challenging than others, but all of them need nurturing.
- Build your confidence. Learning new things, stepping out of your comfort zone on a regular basis, finding a passion in your life- these are all things that will help you build up your confidence.
- Face your fear of failure. Fear is one of those annoying things in life that can very easily stop you from trying things you want to try, going places you want to go- you can’t let it stop you.
- Create a self-growth plan. What are some areas you want to improve in your life? How do you want to grow, as a person? What new things do you want to learn?
- Rediscover an old talent and bring it back to life. Maybe it’s playing an instrument, maybe it’s painting, or maybe you once enjoyed cooking beautiful three-course meals? Think about those things that you used to be so good at, the things you enjoyed doing, and re-introduce them into your life.
- Solve your problems + issues, right away. Don’t let things linger by telling yourself you’ll take care of them tomorrow. If something needs to be taken care of, if a problem needs to get fixed, if you have to make a phone call to resolve something- don’t put it off.
- Spend more time alone. Solitude and silence are both intimidating, but they’re also two things that can help you get to know yourself better. Not having any outside influences or worrying about someone else’s feelings can give you the freedom to truly explore your own feelings, needs, fears, and emotions.
- Say “no” more often. Don’t commit to doing things you don’t feel like doing just because you want to be “nice” to someone else.
- Stop procrastinating. Okay, so if you tend to procrastinate, chances are it’s a life-long habit. Changing those habits doesn’t exactly qualify as a “small challenge” but you can start small- like tackling your most important tasks of the day, first thing in the morning.
- Master your emotions by “brain dumping.” No need to worry about traditional writing standards when doing this. Just grab a piece of paper or a notebook and “dump” every single thing that is on your mind at the present moment. Doing this on a regular basis will help you properly recognize and label your emotions.
- Practice mindful breathing every day + allow your breath to anchor you. Short, mindful breathing practice is a habit that can help you with the hyper-connectedness that seems to be an everpresent aspect of our lives these days.
- Be more patient. Nothing is a waste of time when you allow yourself to be mindful and present.
- Learn to let go. Let go of the things that are beyond your control, things that do not serve you, or those small, often truly insignificant things that sometimes make you upset.
- Embrace change. When life forces you into change, don’t resist it.
- Be resilient. No matter how many times you fail, keep trying and remember that as long as you’re fighting, you can consider yourself a winner.
Do you make an effort to continue your self-growth by challenging yourself on a regular basis? What are some of your favorite ways of stepping out of your comfort zone?
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