Do you ever challenge yourself because you feel life has got to be more interesting? That you need a shake-up because it’s just so dull and you’re not making the most of your life?
We all have days like that. Maybe you sit there and count your blessings. Or you write a gratitude journal to remind yourself. (Well, it’s certainly the in thing to do these days.)
It gives you a nice warm glow – well for about 10 minutes or so maybe. But what then?
I want adventures. I want fun. Don’t you?
I’ve been pondering the thorny question of making life more interesting. What can you do to make life more fun, more of an adventure? Especially when you don’t have much money to spare or maybe these days, you’re not so mobile as you were.
So I’ve taken up doing challenges. Here are 10 brilliant reasons why it’s just the best idea since sliced bread.
1 The Challenge of Change That Delivers For You
Change happens all around us, every day. You can look at it in two ways: you can embrace it and ensure that you’re ahead of the curve. Or you can react to it after it has happened. Some people thrive under stress and others find it hard to cope with.
One way of ensuring that you are resilient enough to cope with the stress of change is to get used to change by challenging yourself to change. It’s kind of like a vaccination. You get a bit immune to stress.
One way of ensuring that you are resilient enough to cope with the stress of change is to get used to change by challenging yourself to change. It’s kind of like a vaccination. You get a bit immune to stress, because you know how to cope with it.
You can challenge yourself in all sorts of ways, e.g. physically, mentally, psychologically, emotionally and socially.
Doing a challenge literally changes your world because it changes the way you think. So practise embracing your challenges and you’ll earn the bonus of how to deal with your stress.
2 2020 vision and Beyond
If you’re challenging yourself to do something, it makes you look around you for better ways to do the thing you’re doing. For example, when you’re out shopping do you just chuck the usual into the trolley and move on quickly?
Taking up a challenge to eat more healthily, you might take more time to look more closely at what you’re buying. Have they got anything new? What have you never tried before? What’s healthiest?
You start reading the labels on food packaging to see if it’s really healthy. And you also discover whether it’s got something really interesting in it that you haven’t eaten yet!
How about asafoetida? It’s great in curries.
Think how much more fun cooking dinner will be if you set yourself the challenge of trying new foods and recipes.
3 Developing your Powers of Observation by Challenging Yourself
Do you look around at your environment much? Maybe not.
Take those tricks of really looking at things that you’ve practised in the supermarket and apply your new-found observation skills. You’ll see how your environment is or is not healthy and how it could be improved. You’ll start noticing how people carelessly chuck stuff away, damaging the environment. Do you really want to live in an unhealthy place?
How about a 2 minute clean up, either on the beach or in your local park? Or take up the Scandinavian sport of ‘plogging’ that’s going for a walk or a run and picking up litter as you go. (That’s me, looking for plastic rubbish on my local beach!)
It seems like hard work when you first start, but rapidly gets easier and quicker to fill up a bag and dump the rubbish into the nearest recycling bin. You’ll start noticing things more, which makes for a more interesting life, and the bonus is that you’ll feel really virtuous too.
4 Challenges Stoke the Fires of Self Esteem
If you set yourself a challenge and you succeed, it makes you feel fantastic! It works even if it is the teeny-weeniest of challenges. For example, let’s say you want to become a writer.
But writing a book looks like something so far beyond the far distant horizon that it’s fallen into space and is currently heading towards another galaxy.
So, set yourself a challenge to write just ONE sentence. Look, I’ll even give you the first half of a sentence:
“Today I went to the shops and I …………”
Now complete the sentence.
Done it? Doesn’t that feel good? You did it. Your self-esteem sky-rockets.
Now you can challenge yourself to write another sentence tomorrow. You’ll find it hard to stick to one sentence.
Do it for a week and you’ll feel your book boomeranging back from the other side of the galaxy.
Think how you’ll feel when you’ve written a chapter.
Challenges boost your confidence and make you feel amazing.
5 Generating a Flood of Conversation
Do you sometimes think you’re boring? Taking up challenges not only gives you lots to think about. It gives you lots to say as well.
And your story will be interesting, instructive and maybe amusing! (Well, sometimes challenges do go a little bit wrong.)
Don’t forget to listen first, introduce your story at an appropriate point and then ask others whether they’ve done challenges and what they’ve done. The conversation will flow like wine. After that, even you won’t think you’re boring!
6 The Startling Effects of Challenging your Brain
Stimulating your brain with new ideas and doing things out of your comfort zone is good for you. It makes you grow more brain cells.
In the short term, it makes life more fun as you work your way through your challenges. In the longer term, you achieve your goals.
The big payoff: it can help you live a longer, happier life, warding off cognitive decline – even dementia and Alzheimer’s.
7 A Purposeful Life is a Long, Challenging Life
Doing a challenge gives you a reason to get up in the morning. Did you know that people with a purpose in life live longer than those who don’t know what to do with themselves? Trying out a few challenges can help you choose a purpose.
One way of approaching this problem is to think about the kind of person you want to be. Let’s say you want to live long enough to see your first great-grandchild. To do that you need to be fit. You can set yourself the challenge of repeating an affirmation or mantra. Here’s one:
“I AM A FIT PERSON. FIT PEOPLE WALK EVERY DAY.”
Then you need to go and do the ‘walk every day’ bit. So challenge yourself to walk every day, to show that you are a fit person. And won’t it feel wonderful when your active and healthy pays off so that you ARE fit. You’ll know you’re doing your best to have the chance of living long enough to see that great-grandchild.
8 Challenge Yourself to Leave a Legacy
As you age, your thoughts turn to the legacy that you’ll leave. Knowing that you’re contributing to making the world is a better place is a great legacy to leave.
Not only are you helping the world right now, but you’re also an example to others (that great-grandchild for example) and your legacy lives on in the inspiration you provide to others. That’s a great reason to challenge yourself to leave a legacy.
9 Reap the Rewards of a More Positive World
While you’re working towards achieving your current challenge, you’re also working on your internal beliefs about the world. If you have a trail of achievements behind you, your view of the world is far more likely to be positive.
If you see the world as positive, it has a way of delivering positive rewards. They may not be the rewards that you had in mind, but the rewards will be there for you to pick and enjoy.
So set yourself the task of achieving positive results and you’ll be rewarded with a happier, more enjoyable life.
10 You Set the Dreams and Goals: the Challenges Deliver Them
Having a dream or a goal is implicit in accepting a challenge. A challenge is just a small step on the way to achieving something larger. A way to take from where you are now to what you want to be.
So think about your goals in life, what you want to achieve. What’s your dream?
Do you dream of travelling, for example? (I did.) So set yourself a destination and a target date to go travelling. Think of how you’re going to manage it.
Challenge yourself to make the changes needed so that you can travel. Break it down into steps. Can you save the amount you need to buy the ticket? How will you do it?
Before too long, you’ve changed yourself, you’ve achieved your goals, you’ve become the person you want to be.
Change Your World When You Challenge Yourself
Imagine that you’ve spent a year taking doing your challenges, taking small steps towards your dreams and goals. Maybe they didn’t feel very significant as you did them, but by the end of the year, you’ve changed a lot. How will you feel then?
When you achieve your goals, your confidence soars. You master new habits more easily and stress out far less. You feel more secure in yourself, knowing that you can change and adapt to the changes around you.
The glow you now ooze is not just about yourself. You love the new awareness of your world: the world that supports you, the world to which you contribute.
That confidence and support has made you feel stronger and happier. You found new purpose in life, new experiences and new friends.
So choose your challenge for today. Take action and do it, today, tomorrow and each day. Feel great that you’ve done one challenge. Do another one. Set the pattern for a lifetime and then watch the benefits that grow from your challenge habit. It’s brought you the life of fun and adventure that you want.
Related articles you might like: