Today, I discuss how and why you need to challenge yourself.
Table of Content
- What Does It Mean To Challenge Yourself?
- Eliminating what makes you weak
- Strengthening what makes you strong
- How To Challenge Yourself
- 1) Have a clear life goal
- 2) Take care of the obvious
- 3) Time yourself
- 4) Reflect on your progress
- 5) Eliminate vices
- Self-Improvement Is Crucial To Happiness
What Does It Mean To Challenge Yourself?
Challenging yourself involves two elements:
- Eliminating what makes you weak – overcoming the vices that sap time and energy, removing wasteful spending from our lives, defeating our trauma, and coming to peace with trauma instead of abusing ourselves and others.
- Strengthening what makes you strong – investing in your skill growth, pursuing virtue, focusing on your strengths and improving them, and acknowledging and overcoming your weaknesses.
Although painful, pushing yourself is crucial to earning true peace of mind. Many individuals are ardent addicts or settled in mediocrity. However, they would love to be stronger, faster, and more accomplished. But weak individuals can only wallow in nothingness as they slowly die, leaving behind a life of irrelevance.
You must be different from them, which is why we will explore how to challenge yourself.
How To Challenge Yourself
“When things do not go your way, remember that every challenge — every adversity — contains within it the seeds of opportunity and growth.” – Roy T. Bennett
Above all else, challenging yourself is respectful and productive. It involves pushing back against your nonsense without viewing yourself lowly, highlighting your weaknesses without shame, and pushing against your vices without becoming a monk. You have to be true to your virtuous self without hating who you are and have once been.
Therefore, always reflect on how you feel toward yourself. Are you angry? Disappointed? Saddened? The challenging process will initially seem aggressive, but those feelings will subside as constant improvement thickens your skin.
But always reward your progress and remain patient as you advance towards your best self.
In the meantime, let’s look at the five best ways to challenge yourself.
1) Have a clear life goal
A life goal gives clear purpose and direction to your actions. If you don’t have a life goal, you can’t readily answer what you should be challenging yourself for.
Take the time to find a life goal and define everything you do based on fulfilling that goal. Define a plan that requires your daily presence and effort. For example, being the best father and husband is a life goal you must work on daily. There are no days off. Such a goal challenges you and demands your best even when you don’t want to give it.
2) Take care of the obvious
A man’s life falls apart because he does not attend to the obvious and recurrent. Your life is not only about large goals you’ve accomplished or exciting events you’ve experienced. Most of your life is mundane: greeting your spouse, studying a skill, driving in traffic. You need to perfect these small events and take care of the obvious.
What do I mean by perfect? You have to eat, so why not eat food that gives you energy? You must be stuck in traffic, so why not listen to a podcast or practice breathing exercises?
Therefore, challenge yourself by perfecting the recurrent events you must endure.
3) Time yourself
“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
Set time limits on most of what you do. Do you need to clean? Set ten minutes and see how much you can get done. Awareness of time is crucial to challenging yourself as you seek to improve, grow, and achieve. The less time you waste, the better off you will always be.
And the more aware you are of how long something takes, the better you can plan your day. Then, optimizing your day becomes the challenge. But the better you can optimize, the more you can accomplish.
4) Reflect on your progress
It’s crucial to be able to see how far you’ve come. To do that, you must track your progress and be able to look back. I suggest two ways:
- Have something like a calendar that shows what you’ve worked on in the past
- Date the work that you’ve done and frequently look back on how far you’ve come
You want to reflect on the past because it strengthens the present. If you know you’ve gotten better at a skill, you know you can overcome the difficulties before you. The domination of current challenges provides fuel for long-term growth.
If I’ve succeeded before, I know I can embrace new challenges to achieve the best.
5) Eliminate vices
The more weaknesses you can shed, the stronger you’ll be. Your vices are slowing you down. Overcoming them provides the ultimate challenge, as you have to defeat what makes you comfortable.
Where do you start? Understand the costs of your vices. Focus on whatever sin costs the least and defeat it. Then, work your way up. As you beat down your vices, you will have setbacks and relapses. That’s alright. However, you have to get back up.
Reducing comfort constantly challenges the individual. But you will be stronger and more capable than ever before.
Self-Improvement Is Crucial To Happiness
“It has been my philosophy of life that difficulties vanish when faced boldly.” – Isaac Asimov
Self-improvement only comes from overcoming challenges. Great goals require great strength. The only way to develop resilience is through constant, meaningful opposition. Create challenges for yourself, push beyond the comfort the world offers, and become an individual.
- Where would you like to be? What is one thing about yourself you wish you could change? What is involved in changing that aspect of yourself?
- What vices are holding you back? How can you overcome them? Make a list of the vices and the steps you believe you need to take. Then, give those steps a due date. As you hit each date, see if you’ve kept at your goal. If not, talk to yourself or a trusted friend about where you are failing and what you can do differently.
- What are the recurrent events you can improve? What are the things you have to do daily and how can you perfect them? Once more, make a list and set due dates for the improvement steps you define.
Please remember that it’s important to do the actionables. You’re not on this earth to simply read but to do. To become an individual, you must act more than you consume.
*Image credit to Unsplash.