15 Ways To Challenge Yourself Every Day

Changing up your day-to-day routine to fit a little bit more spice into the mix is difficult. You’ve settled into this routine because it’s easy and manageable – you know what to expect, when to expect it and exactly how long it takes to get from your office, to the subway, to the comfort of your Netflix account, order placed through Seamless, pants off, ultimately relaxed. You know what’s coming down the pike, right?

But admit it, you’re bored. Your routine leaves you feeling complacent and content – and you want to shake things up a little bit but you’re scared to.

Sitting back and letting routine steer isn’t going to take you to heights you’ve always dreamed of reaching. Challenging yourself, setting goals, facing the facts, coming to terms with reality and living your life – that will fill you up and satisfy you. It’ll put you back in the driver’s seat.

It’ll make you proud of where you’re going and the dreams your chasing.

1. Call someone instead of texting them.

In the text-crazed world we’re living in, picking up the phone to make a call is about the last thing you want to do when you need to get in touch with someone – but bite the bullet and do it anyway.

Conversation with someone you love and don’t get to see very often is food for the soul and your relationship. You’ll pick up on things you wouldn’t get in a five-word text message, and you’ll figure out that maybe you both aren’t as “fine” as you insist on being.

2. Wake up early and go for a run/jog/walk.

Yes, waking up at the crack of dawn is the enemy, and it’s hard to get moving an hour before your alarm is even set to go off, but guess what? Drag yourself out of bed and outside even if you don’t want to. The light, sounds of the city, free sunshine and endorphins you release just by moving will make you happier and might even change your perspective on a few things.

3. Volunteer for a work assignment you’re not totally sure you can do.

Your boss needs someone to take the lead on a project, and no one else is stepping up to the plate. The only question you need to ask yourself is: how do you know you won’t succeed at something like this if you’re too scared to try? 

Volunteer. It’ll be hard work and extra stress added to your day, but it’s worth it.

4. Take a class at the gym by yourself.

Love doing things in numbers? Here’s your chance to be surrounded by people yet doing something that is personal and intimate. You’ll pull support from the people who’re challenging themselves just as hard as you are, but you’ll find strength from within.

5. Ask for help when you need it.

Do it, I double dare you. Ask for help. Ask because you’re not sure. Ask because you’re terrified you’ll get it wrong. Ask because you don’t know what else to do. Ask because you don’t know where to begin.

You’d be surprised how easy it is to ask.

6. Get lunch with a colleague you don’t know.

There are plenty of people in your office you don’t really know yet. Take the plunge and ask someone that you want to be friendly with – maybe you both wear Converse every Friday – or someone who’s your complete opposite – to lunch. It might be awkward while you wait for your salads to come, but you’ll make it.

7. Be honest with someone close to you.

You don’t like your best friend’s boyfriend? Tell her. Maybe she has her doubts too.

8. Get comfortable with your own silence.

It’s easy to let the noise and constant go-go-go just become the new norm, but do yourself a favor and tune out. The silence will put you back in touch with your inner- and outer-self. You’ll be able to dissect the highs of your day, what you want to work on, and what’s eating away at you.

9. Do something kind for someone you don’t know.

Like buying the $1 chocolate bar from the kid who’s selling them on the subway, or donating a dollar to a bum on the side of the street who needs something to eat. They don’t know your name, where you’re from or where you’re going, but your kindness matters to them – and they don’t forget it.

10. Apologize…

…For something that matters. Even if it means sucking up your pride and saying “sorry” for something that caused a rift in your relationship. Apologize because it matters.


11. Make a to-do list for your future self.

Skip the day-to-day stuff, like buying a gallon of milk and picking up extra paper towels and aim bigger. Think about where you want to be in three or even five years from now – and what you need to do in order to get there. Think about the type of person you want to be, where you want to call home and what you hope you’ll achieve professionally by then.

12. Walk or bike to work instead of taking your usual route.

Maybe you’ll see something new that you’ve never stopped to notice before. Or you’ll finally accept the fact that you hate biking or that you hate how far downtown your job is when you live uptown and so far from the subway. You’ll have answers and time to organize your mind before you have to start your day off.

13. Make plans to meet your friends after work and catch up – even if you’ve been avoiding making plans for weeks.

You’ve been canceling plans for three weeks now because at the end of the day you just want to curl up into your perfect comfortable, perfectly safe Netflix ball and watch “Scandal” until your eyes bleed. Go see your people. They’ll sustain you way longer than a five-second clip of Olivia and Fitz doing the dirty in the Oval will.

14. Write down the things you want to change about yourself.

You know that person you desperately want to be? The one you spend all day thinking about, hoping for, planning for and shopping for? Start being that person. Today. Right now. And if you want to get there, make a list – an honest list – of everything that you want to change about yourself – and that you can change – in order to get there.

15. Let go of the anger, regret, tension and resentment that’s holding you back.

You’ve seen “Frozen”. You get the point. Just let all that stuff that’s holding you down and hanging off you go free. Give it up. It’s not worth your time.


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