When was the last time you challenged yourself and did something outside of your comfort zone? For me, it used to not happen very often. I’ve always struggled with change and had a pretty small comfort zone.
Over the past few years, I’ve grown a lot as a person. I’ve challenged myself to try new experiences and meet new people, putting myself in situations that previously I probably would have avoided.
It turns out, challenging yourself can lead to a lot of personal growth! In this post, I’m sharing 22 ways to challenge yourself to live your best life, as well as sharing WHY you should challenge yourself.
22 Ways to Challenge Yourself Every Day to Live Your Best Life
There are affiliate links in this post, meaning I may make a small commission at no additional cost to you. For more information, see my full disclosure policy here.
Why You Should Challenge Yourself
It can be tempting to live our lives just staying in our comfort zone. I was like that for years! But I also now know the value of challenging yourself and getting outside of your comfort zone.
There are so many reasons to why it’s important to challenge yourself. First of all, you’ll discover that you are capable of things you didn’t think you were. This is a big one I found out about myself. You have so many skills that you could have if you just gave yourself the chance.
By challenging yourself, you’ll also reach new goals you never would have previously thought to even reach for. Things that never would have seemed possible for you could be within your grasp.
Sure, you could just stay in your comfort zone and never grow beyond that. No one can force you out of it. But I promise you’ll be happy you took the leap!
How to Challenge Yourself
Set a New Goal
I can’t think of any better way to challenge yourself than to set a new goal for yourself and really create a plan to follow through on it. There is so much power in goal setting!
If you find yourself hoping to see something change in your life, set a big goal for yourself. But don’t stop there! Once you’ve set your goal, break it down into actionable steps and put them on your calendar.
Check out this blog post for my comprehensive guide to setting goals and planning your best year ever!
Learn a New Language
Learning a new language is such a fun way to challenge yourself by expanding your horizons. Even better if you love to travel, and can learn the language of some of the places you’re going to be visiting!
When it comes to learning a new language, the Duolingo app is my favorite place to start for at least learning the basics.
Take a Class About Something That Interests You
I am a lifelong learner and I really love and look forward to being able to learn new things. But not everyone is like that. For some people, learning something new is outside their comfort zone.
Taking a class to learn something new is such an amazing experience though! First of all, you might end up like me, creating a business that never would have occurred to you before.
You also might end up making a new friend or finding a new favorite hobby!
Wake Up Earlier in the Morning
Mornings can be an amazing time of day. It’s a peaceful time to do something like meditate, do yoga, or just sip a cup of coffee before the chaos of the day sets in.
It’s also amazing how freaking productive your day can be if you start off on the right foot in the morning.
I know mornings used to be terrible for me. I would turn off so many alarms and stumble into work a little late and a lot stressed. Finally committing to waking up earlier and doing a morning routine made such a big difference in my productivity and mood for the day!
Related Article: How to Create a Healthy Morning Routine
Set a Bedtime For Yourself
Going along with the idea of waking up earlier in the morning, I really challenge you to set a bedtime for yourself!
I always tell myself that I need to start going to bed earlier. But the only time I actually do is when I set a bedtime for myself and commit to it.
Reach Out to Someone You Look Up To
Since starting a business, I have come across so many people I look up to. People I would love to connect with or have a conversation with.
But I never did anything about it.
But once I started reaching out to people I looked up to, I was so glad I did! Sometimes it was to ask for advice, other times it was just to say hi and let them know I enjoyed what they were putting out into the world.
Find something who is kicking ass at what you want to kick ass at and just shoot them an email and tell them how much you admire them! If a relationship doesn’t form, at least you’ll be able to give them a self-esteem boost.
Unplug From Technology For a Day
We are so reliant on technology these days, it’s almost a little scary. I mean, have you ever found yourself opening your phone, only to forget why you picked it up in the first place?
So many times a day we check our phones just out of habit!
Not only is it often just a waste of time, but we’re shutting ourselves off from connections with the people around us.
I challenge you to turn off the smartphone and close down the computer and TV for an entire day. Instead, just focus on interacting with people and enjoying activities you don’t normally make time for like reading a book, having a deep conversation, or spending time in nature.
Set a Savings Goal
Setting a savings goal can definitely be a challenge, and an especially uncomfortable one if it means cutting your spending to reach your goal. But in the long run, you’ll be so glad you challenged yourself in this way.
When I have a trip or another large expense I’m planning for, I always like to break it down and determine how much I need to be saving every month in order to reach my goal. Sometimes I can fit that within my current spending, but often times it means cutting spending in other areas.
If you’re reading to set a savings goal for yourself, check out my comprehensive guide on creating a monthly budget!
Write in a Journal Every Day
As a kid, I kept a journal pretty regularly. As an adult, however, I struggled to stay consistent for a long time.
And yet I’ve found that when I consistently journal, or at least journal when I’m having a lot of thoughts running around in my head, that it helps keep my anxiety at bay.
If you’re someone who has a lot of anxious thoughts, I challenge you to start writing in a journal every day, at least until you have time to figure out if it’s helpful for you.
Reconnect With an Old Friend
We all have those old friends who we still consider friends, but who we probably don’t reach out to all that often. Sometimes, it can be easier to just let things be than it is to put in the effort to revive the friendship.
As someone who has had a chance to reconnect with old friends, I can say it’s been an amazing experience for me! Those people were in your life for a reason, so it’s worth working for those friendships!
Start a New Workout Routine
Sticking to a workout routine can be so tough! We have the best of intentions, but then we talk ourselves out of it after we’ve had a long day. Or we just forget about it altogether!
The best way I’ve found to stick to my workouts is to prepare everything ahead of time and make my intention know. For example, if I wanted to do yoga in the morning before work, I would tell my boyfriend my plan, and then I would get my yoga mat set up the night before so it’s there waiting for me in the morning.
I also love using habit trackers to motivate me to stick to a new habit!
Travel To a New Place
I know a lot of people who take annual vacations or weekend getaways but always visit the same location. It’s great if you’ve found a place you love so much you want to keep going back, but I also think it can be amazing to travel to new places. And you never know, you might find your new favorite!
Some of my favorite experiences have been being able to travel to new cities, states, or countries, and I’m definitely looking forward to exploring more new places in the future!
Talk to a Stranger
I’m not a super outgoing person, and more often than not I’m the one to pull out my phone to avoid talking to the stranger sitting next to me or riding in the elevator with me. It’s not great, but hey, I’m working on it.
When I remember, I occasionally challenge myself to talk to one new person. I especially try to do this if I’m attending an event alone that I’m not super comfortable going to. Jumping into a conversation with someone always helps ease the discomfort!
Ditch One Bad Habit
Let’s be honest, we all have at least one or two bad habits we’d like to ditch.
I know how difficult it can be to kick a bad habit. I smoked for years, which I’m definitely not proud of! And then in 2018 I finally quit. It was one of the most challenging things I’ve done, but also one of the most rewarding.
My favorite source for learning about all-things habits is James Clear and his book Atomic Habits. In the book, he outlines a roadmap to eliminating bad habits, and creating good habits!
Downside Your Belongings
When I got divorced, I moved from a three bedroom house to a studio apartment. As you can imagine, that meant getting rid of most of what I owned.
For someone who always struggled to declutter previously, I thought this would be so much more difficult for me, but it was actually a breath of fresh air.
If you’re struggling to figure out where to start, I always like to start with my clothes! And if you really want to go all in, pick up a copy of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and get to work!
Try Cooking a New Recipe
In the interest of full disclosure, I am not a good cook. I’m not terrible, I just don’t really know what I’m doing in the kitchen. Plus I’m spoiled because my boyfriend loves to cook, so he does all of our cooking.
That being said, every once in a while I get the urge to whip up a new recipe for myself. It doesn’t always go great, but it’s fun and helps me work on my cooking skills a bit.
Bonus points if you actually can cook well and use this challenge to grow your cooking abilities to an even more expert level!
Volunteer For a Cause You Care About
We all have causes that are near and dear to us, but I’m guessing most of us don’t actually make the time to donate our time to those causes. Sure, a monthly donation is great. But so is showing up to help at a local nonprofit!
Volunteering is not only a great way to contribute to your community, but it is also a great way to meet new people and possibly make some new friends.
Learn to Meditate
For years I saw people I followed online raving about meditation. It wasn’t just self improvement bloggers either. All of the most successful online business owners I followed talked about their meditation habit.
Then I read Tribe of Mentors by Tim Ferriss, where he interviews some of the most high-performing people in the world. And in interview after interview, the subject talked about the importance of meditation.
My meditation game is still a little rough, but it’s been a fun challenge, and I really have noticed a difference during the weeks I meditate regularly.
Make a New Friend
I remember one of the biggest changes when I graduated from college and moved out of my college town was that I suddenly didn’t have all of my friends around. Since I’m not all that outgoing, it’s more of a challenge for me to make new friends, and it really forces me to put myself out there.
It’s so worth it though! Every time I have put myself out there and made a new friend, I’ve been so grateful that I did. It can be a lot of fun to make new friends who have similar hobbies or interests.
Ask For Help
Asking for help is scary for a lot of people. Maybe you’re like me and you’re a perfectionist, afraid of admitting to someone that you can’t do something just right. Or maybe you’re afraid of looking stupid. Or afraid of putting yourself out there and talking to someone new. Or afraid of bothering someone with your problem.
There are so many reasons you might avoid asking for help, but most of us do find a reason. I challenge you to ask for help next time you are struggling with something!
Start a Gratitude Journal
Starting a gratitude journal was a challenge for me! First of all, I thought it was kind of a dumb idea. I really didn’t think it would have any effect on my outlook on life.
But even more than that, sometimes you’re just in a mood where you want to be negative. You want to focus on the things that are going wrong. And challenging that by forcing yourself to look at the GOOD is uncomfortable.
But writing down things I’m grateful for has actually had such an amazing impact, and it can turn my bad mood right around.
Create a Vision Board
At first glance, creating a vision board doesn’t seem like something that you challenge you. But you’ll figure out that it really is!
That’s because creating a vision board requires you to do a couple of uncomfortable things. First of all, it forces you to actually create a vision for your future. If you’ve just been letting life lead you rather than leading your life, it might be scary to create a vision for what you want your life to look like.
Second, creating a vision board forces you to confront your big goals each and every day. So many of us have a big pie in the sky goal that we’ll probably never really create a plan to reach. But by creating a vision board, you’re constantly reminding yourself of that goal and daring yourself to take action on it.
It’s honestly a way of tricking yourself into going after your big scary goals!
There are so many fun ways you can challenge yourself to grow as a person. And the great thing about this list is everyone can find at least one thing on it that sounds like something they can do! And bonus points for doing a bunch of them!
As someone who has always been reserved and had a small comfort zone, I’ve tried to challenge myself more as an adult to expand my horizons and come out of my shell a bit.
It’s made such a huge difference for me, and I know it can do the same for you!