In a world where instant gratification has become the norm, complacency often follows suit. As a society, we want results quick and easy. If things become too difficult we opt out or take the path of least resistance. We find stability in the familiar and form a comfort zone that we very rarely step out of. And it’s one rude awakening whenever that comfort zone gets disturbed.
On the other hand, challenges are daunting. Whether it’s personal or professional, they can make you feel anxious, terrified, or overwhelmed. And yet without them, how would we be able to recognize our greatness? How could we move beyond simply “wishing” or “hoping” for our dreams to come true and actually obtain the things that we want?
T.S. Eliot famously said, “Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.” And I couldn’t agree more. Without the risk of failure, there is no way to unlock your true potential.
It starts with you. It starts with a simple commitment to push yourself every damn day. To not settle for what you can do and strive to master something you currently can’t do. It’s setting goals and staying true to them. And most importantly, it’s learning how to fail and turn right back around and try again. So ask yourself, when is the last time you challenged yourself? Like, truly stepped out of your comfort zone and did something that pushed yourself – mentally, physically or emotionally?
As many of you know, my latest challenge took the form of a 200-hour yoga teacher-training program during the month of June. It was truly a life changing experience in many, many ways but what I really loved is that it was NOT easy. By doing something as extreme as taking a month off of work and immersing myself in all things yoga, I challenged myself in a way that I hadn’t done in a very long time. Now that the program is over, I can really sit back and see how much it impacted the way I think and feel.
If you’re looking to start challenging yourself daily, the following are just a few things that recently helped me and that I hope can also impact your own life.
5 ways to start challenging yourself today:
Map out your goals and an action plan
The action plan is key here. I think too often we become comfortable with dreaming of the future and what it could bring without actually planning out the steps it’ll take to get there. Wishful thinking will do nothing to change your life. Figure out what is important to you and write out the steps it’ll take to get there!
Commit to a daily exercise routine
Prior to YTT I had never exercised every single day for an entire month. Yes, I felt fit before I went into the training but boy did I see a ton of changes in just 4 short weeks. I felt stronger, more flexible and even noticed some physical changes as well (hello abs)! I’m now making a conscious effort to keep the momentum going by signing up for more yoga and fitness classes each week while also doing yoga daily at home.
Eliminate certain foods from your diet
Challenge yourself to omit certain foods that you love but know are not the best for your health, the environment or the welfare of other living beings. No, this doesn’t mean you have to suddenly become vegan (although more power to ya if you can!) but it is about taking a step back and making a conscious decision to do something that you think is right. It could be as big as becoming vegan/vegetarian for a month or as small as cutting out dessert for a week. Whatever it is, make sure that it makes you fight through a craving.
Do something you’re afraid of
This is probably the most difficult one. Stepping out of your comfort zone is scary. Actually, it can be downright terrifying. Whether it’s being asked to do something high level at work or trying to do a new yoga pose, challenges are meant to scare you. Use that fear and the adrenaline in your favor! Tell yourself that you can do it, put your heart into it and give it all you’ve got. Yes you might fall… but what if you fly?
Get up an hour earlier than you’re used to
Trust me you guys, this was one of the biggest struggles for me. It’s been said time and time again that successful people are morning people. Since I am not a morning person by nature, getting up super early for YTT was a challenge in itself. After four weeks of changing my behavior and waking up at 6am, I have forced myself to start waking up early every day since — and I love it! Mornings are quiet; they allow you to be more proactive and to be more mindful of the upcoming day. It’s amazing what even an hour of extra time will do for you.
Challenging yourself is key to living your best life because challenge is the catalyst to change… and without change there is no growth. So I’m encouraging all you beautiful people to reach for the stars but don’t be afraid to climb the mountain to get there. I believe in you. And I’m always here for you.
Note: This post is sponsored by WILL LANE – a brand whose core values promote strength, empowerment, challenge and change. For a chance to win the outfit I’m wearing, head to my Instagram and enter my giveaway! Thanks for supporting the brands I love! ~Mel