Some people shrink at the mere thought of a challenge. They see it as competition, facing an unwanted opponent, or even a fight.
To think of challenging yourself sounds absurd, right? The reality is that when you become your own opponent, you will experience your greatest success in life.
What Does It Mean to Challenge Yourself?
This isn’t a call to have a split personality or some type of outer body experience. It’s about getting up every day and challenging yourself to be better than you were the day before. You use your capability, your time, and your energy as the factors to get to a desired result.
In the Bible the journey that each of us takes is often called a “race”.
1 Corinthians 9:24 (Amplified Bible) states “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run [their very best to win], but only one receives the prize? Run [your race] in such a way that you may seize the prize and make it yours!”
Paul was talking about living a life to receive the reward that awaits you in Heaven. That means doing your best while here on earth.
Challenging yourself requires awareness so that you don’t allow idleness, lack of focus, and the failure to plan eat away at your time and life.
Why You Should Challenge Yourself
For the purpose of this discussion, we’ll look at one of Merriam-Webster’s definitions of challenge when used as a noun. This challenge is “a stimulating task or problem”. It leans to something that is enjoyable or interesting.
Think energy-giving and motivation. It’s the type of challenge that you see in the work ethic of great athletes, successful business owners, or grassroots creators.
Each of these people challenges themselves to improve. That’s the number one reason for why you should be challenging yourself. Many people set New Year’s resolutions or even goals but fail to challenge themselves to make the changes to meet those aspirations.
Making the decision to challenge yourself means you’re serious about your life and you want to be the best you possible.
Simple Ways to Challenge Yourself Each Day
When we overcomplicate things, we give up quickly and easily. These simple steps are meant to be integrated into your daily life for gradual progression rather than some mountainous approach that we give up on in our minds before we ever start.
There’s not much we do that doesn’t start in our minds. So whatever height we allow our minds to go to also opens the potential for every other area of ourselves to follow.
You may remember from school or childhood the story of The Little Engine That Could. In that story the little engine spoke some infamous words. It went from “I think I can. I think I can.” to eventually saying “I know I can.”
When the little engine believed that it could it did. It’s the same way with us. When we began to believe a thing, we become it.
Some ways to daily build your intellect is by reading your Bible or a book for development, studying or learning something new, listening to podcast or watching a broadcast from someone sharing about an area in life you’re interested in, daily affirmations, etc.
The goal is to challenge yourself to go to different places in your mind so that what you strive for will align.
Physical exercise is not only important to your overall health, but it also can be therapeutic and refreshing. Find ways to get moving that you enjoy. This is one of the first lessons I learned when beginning to incorporate physical activity on a regular basis.
If you don’t enjoy it, you won’t keep up with it. This also means that you must try some things.
Some people only see exercise as getting on a treadmill or going to a gym, but there are tons of other ways to get moving such as dancing, water aerobics, Zumba, tennis, or riding your bike. Get creative.
In my experience, challenging yourself physically not only contributes to being fit but it also sets you up for a great night’s rest.
Some people spend most of their life on the same job and some of those in the same position. When this happens it’s easy to get caught up in routine and fail to grow in the place you’ve been planted.
You may not be able to change jobs or even have the desire to do so but you must always look for ways to grow professionally. If your company has a Learning Center where you can take courses for free, take advantage of that. There’s plenty of material on the web where you can learn about things that may even enhance your current position.
If you desire a total career change, use that everyday aim to challenge yourself to take the steps necessary to get you to that position.
Challenge yourself to grow in some way each day. The easiest approach to this is learning from your prior day intentionally.
You can either journal about your day and reflect that way or you could simply take a moment each night before going to sleep to reflect. Pull out what you learned or where you could improve.
These little tidbits will serve as starting points for the next day or the next time that opportunity rolls around.
Over time you should be able to see growth in all areas of your life in some way.
Challenge Yourself Quotes
It’s always easier to do something when we know we’re not alone in it or someone has done it before. These famous women saw the beauty in challenging yourself and the difference it could make in life.
“You don’t become what you want, you become what you believe.” Oprah Winfrey
“Do not stop thinking of life as an adventure. You have no security unless you can live bravely, excitingly, imaginatively; unless you can choose a challenge instead of competence.” Eleanor Roosevelt
“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.” Helen Keller
“Look at a day when you are supremely satisfied at the end. It’s not a day when you lounge around doing nothing; it’s a day you’ve had everything to do and you’ve done it.” Margaret Thatcher
“A woman who is convinced that she deserves to accept only the best challenges herself to give the best. Then she is living phenomenally.” Maya Angelou
Challenging yourself is not about perfection; it’s about progression. It requires allowing yourself grace. This will take self-discipline to avoid abusing it and failing to push yourself, but the truth is that some days won’t go as planned.
On those days make the choice to reflect, learn from any errors, and try again. Little by little you’ll reach different levels and maybe even experiences you never considered or dreamt about.