There’s this famous quote that can spark an interest to challenge yourself within you:

“If something that you’re doing doesn’t challenge you, then it doesn’t change you.” Unknown

Of course, since every one of us has room for improvement, this can also mean if you don’t change yourself, then you can’t be responsible for changing your situation in life. You can never see any improvement in your life if you stick to your comfort zone. We all need a healthy dose of normal stress in our lives, after all. We can only see what we’re really capable of if we make the effort to go over our pre-conceived limits. Don’t limit the challenges you encounter in life - challenge the limits that your “lizard brain” crafted instead:

1. Learn a new language.

Hangul, Nihonggo, French, Filipino, Mandarin, Spanish: these are just some of the languages you can discover as you strive to challenge yourself. Learning a new language isn’t just another way to pad your resume; if you really get into it, you can even use this skill to tutor on the side and earn extra cash.

With all the fun apps and quirky software all over the Internet, you don’t need to attend an online class anymore. Try Duolingo, for starters.

2. Figure out what you’re scared of – and do it for one week consistently.

If you’re in sales, and you’re scared of talking to people personally or over the phone, then you have a problem. You can’t just relate with your clients online, can you? Now, instead of crippling in fear and automatically thinking you’ll fail, spend at least five minutes a day to pick up the phone and make a call to a prospect. Yes, it’s scary. Yes, you may embarrass yourself. And yes, someone may hang up on you. But don’t stop on the first try just yet! You’ll get the hang of it eventually. After a while, you can look at fear in the eyes and say, “Go on, I’m not scared!”

3. Take a class for a hobby you’ve been wanting to pursue.

Make sure this hobby is not linked to your career; you have to relax and de-stress while performing this. Some examples might be cooking, sewing, painting and graphic designing online.

Aside from helping you challenge yourself now, taking a class for your hobby can also give you extra income if you learn how to monetize it. (You get plus points if you take the class with a loved one. This way, you combine bonding, boosting your income and challenging yourself.)

4. Attend one career-related seminar a month.

Don’t settle for your current job position. Aim high in your career. Of course, with that aim, include in your action, too. Book conferences that are relevant to the industry of your profession. There, absorb the lesson. Ask sensible questions. And don’t forget to connect with the attendees and the keynote speakers. Sometimes, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know,” may be a reality.

5. Make a realistic budget and find out how you can cut back on something so you can invest more.

Challenge yourself to step out of your current budget and develop a better budget for yourself. Money management is not about what you make – it’s what you do with what you make.

- So, produce a budget on paper, or in an Microsoft Excel file.

- Identify the item you’ve been spending so much money on.

- Cut back on that item so you have more money to put in your emergency fund or in your investment fund.

6. Dedicate at least nine minutes a day for physical exercise.

You don’t need to go to the gym, you know. A simple 9-minute run around your neighborhood or an intense dance routine done in your living-room can do wonders for yourself. Aside from the obvious reason that exercise can help you maintain your regular weight or shed those unnecessary pounds, it can also aid in making you feel better about yourself by releasing endorphins.

7. Travel and allow yourself to be interested in new people.

We’re not talking about the expensive kind of travelling here. Something cost-effective like going to your local museum or visiting the resort in the next city can all count as travelling! Here, don’t just limit yourself to your fellow travelers – try to connect with the service staff, like the lifeguard, or the receptionist, or the tour guide. You never know what kind of people they’re going to be. Get out of your house or go online right now to book your class. Start now and learn to challenge yourself from time to time. We all need a little push once in a while.

Featured photo credit: chess03.JPG/ardelfin via cdn.morguefile.com

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