If you want to invest in yourself, then it’s time to challenge yourself. Challenging yourself is the foundation of personal development. Because challenging yourself creates opportunities for personal growth, it is important to be mindful of how a challenge affects you. Both large and small challenges can impact who you are and how you see the world.
Challenging yourself means putting yourself in uncomfortable situations. You may not have all the answers right away or know what to do. The challenge is to learn and grow, not necessarily to master everything you try.
Each learning experience boosts your self-esteem. According to a School of Psychology International study, there is a strong link between self-esteem and resilience. Challenging yourself helps build a stronger, more resilient you.
Choosing how to challenge yourself is a personal choice. Not everyone will feel challenged by the same things. If you already know how to play the piano, learning to play isn’t a challenge. But if you can only plunk out a few notes, learning to play your partner’s favorite song might be the perfect challenge. Here are some ways to challenge yourself to invest in your body, mind, and creativity.
Staying healthy through physical activity is a way to invest in yourself. In a study published in the Journal of Preventative Medicine and Public Health, researchers found that physical activity influenced multiple aspects of quality of life, especially in social and emotional areas. Whether you are already physically active and looking for variety in your challenges or just starting a fitness plan, consider these challenge ideas:
Planking is a full-body exercise that builds core muscle and strength. It can also serve as an opportunity to practice mindfulness and focus. Challenge yourself to increase the length of time you can plank or doing a plank more often during your day.
No matter what your workout routine is, try adding five more minutes to your time. Run an extra half mile, so more sit-ups, or hold a yoga pose longer. Or try taking the stairs instead of the elevator. You might want to start with one trip a day then build to using the stairs more often or for longer climbs.
Keeping your mind active and engaged is good for your mental and emotional health. According to researchers at Harvard Health, challenging your mind helps improve your memory, too. Are you tired of crossword puzzles and Sudoku? Try these mind challenges instead:
Learning another language can be very challenging. It can also expand your knowledge about a different culture. There are many classes available online for foreign languages; health care workers can learn medical Spanish, anyone can learn conversational Italian, or you can even learn computer language by studying how to code.
Imagine a friend is coming to visit from out of town. Where would you take them in your city? Plan a tour that highlights more than the usual tourist spots. Getting to know your city better is an exercise in expanding your knowledge and creativity.
You can also learn a new word every week. Pick a word that you can make part of your conversations to build your self-esteem by increasing your vocabulary. Or try reading a news story about something you aren’t familiar with or don’t usually read. Learning more about an unusual topic is also a challenge for your mind.
Not everyone enjoys painting or learning a new dance. You can still challenge the artist within you by:
Have you tried eating by yourself in a fancy restaurant? This challenge builds creativity as you find ways to keep from looking bored and lonely. How do you present yourself? What story do you tell yourself about why you are there? While it may feel uncomfortable, eating out by yourself builds self-esteem and helps you find creative ways to manage your feelings.
Skip the take out and create something from all the leftovers in your fridge instead. You might discover a new casserole you like! Or attend a cultural event that you usually wouldn’t. Imagine yourself as one of the performers or presenters. Dream about what your life would be like if you were a part of a different culture.
Challenging yourself in big and small ways is an investment in yourself. You can expand and strengthen your body, mind, and creativity by trying something new.