My thoughts on change, challenges and growth:

What Will You Do This Month That Will Be Better Than Before?

I recently resigned from my old workplace to start a new position as a personal trainer at Junction Fitness Hub. Before I even started, I received an email from my boss with the statistics for the previous month addressed to all trainers. At the bottom of that email we were asked to reflect and answer this question: What will you do this month that will be better than before? I took a minute to think about it. I realized I couldn’t answer it. I was perplexed and slightly worried. Why was this so hard? A day later I realized what the issue was. I never really asked myself that question before. In fact, I have remained stagnant for a while now.

I reflect and procrastinate on a daily basis but never have I ever asked myself this question so directly. It’s so easy to just go with the flow of daily routine and stay within the boundaries of your comfort zone, where nothing ever gets challenged, as long as you are sticking to the familiar. The problem with this is that you get stuck and stagnant without even noticing. The less you challenge yourself, the less you grow. As Creig Crippen once wrote: “You are being presented with a choice: evolve or remain. If you choose to remain unchanged, you will be presented with the same challenges, the same routine, the same storms, the same situations, until you learn from them, until you love yourself enough to say “no more”, until you choose change.” Not only that, but your mental chatter will remain the same as well and how you respond and react to everything as well.

The reason why it’s so hard to change and stick with new routines or accept and embrace change, is that your mind and body is not used to going beyond the boundaries of your comfort zone. It can be difficult to not lose sight of your newly set goals when your mind and body try everything to resist the change that comes with new habits or goals. But the only way to grow is to keep pushing yourself over the boundaries of your comfort zone. I know from my own experience that if you’ve been stagnant for a while it’s even harder to push towards growth. This is why it’s important to not stay stagnant but to work on yourself continuously. It’s like a muscle, the more you use it the better you are able to adapt and grow. But how can we challenge ourselves on a daily basis to facilitate growing and evolving when life is so fast paced and hectic?

Here are some ideas on how to incorporate change into our busy schedules:

  • Ask yourself what will I do better the next time? Without setting goals it’s easy to lose track of what you want to achieve. It doesn’t matter if your goals are personal, health or career related, the key to success is that you set yourself goals that you can achieve and keep you motivated. Even with set goals you can lose track. That’s why it’s important to write them down. Whenever you feel lost and overwhelmed you can look at them and remind yourself of where you want to head.
  • Challenge yourself in your day-to-day routine by changing it up. The possibilities are endless and don’t need to take much time. E.g. Walking a different route when going to work, trying out a new recipe, going for dinner with friends during the week, changing up your workout routine, brushing your teeth with your other hand- whatever your routine, try to change it from time to time. Your imagination is the limit.
  • Interact and speak to people outside your friend circle. It will open your horizon and if you are introverted and feel socially awkward, like me, this is a great one to incorporate.
  • Learn or try something -have new projects. Is there anything you always wanted to learn or do? Why don’t you invest some time in doing that, even if it’s just an hour per week instead of sticking to your normal routine?
  • Work out. This is a big one. A challenging workout will always push you towards your boundaries and you have to mentally decide to push through them. Working out does not only facilitate growth on a physical level through muscle growth and/or increased endurance, but it will also enhance your ability to push through your boundaries outside the gym environment. Not only that but working out on a frequent basis will increase your energy levels. Change and challenges will demand more energy from you than your familiar routines, so the extra energy you get from working out will benefit you in having the endurance to achieve your goals.
  • Knowing and recognizing your limits and start expanding them slowly but continuously. If you never ran in your life, it might be too much to ask yourself to run a marathon tomorrow. It goes back to good goal setting and reflection. Know what limits you have mentally, physically and environmentally and set your goals accordingly and readjust them if you think that’s needed. If you want change to sustain you need to remember that you are in it for the long run. Short term goals are great and give you fast results but try to set long-term goals as well. Start asking yourself, what is it that you want to achieve in life? And how do you get there? Stay open and ready to go for what you want and there is no limit.

How do you challenge yourself? Let me know in the comments section.

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