You set a goal. You give yourself a time frame. You try to stick with it everyday. You give yourself a challenge to reach that goal. When you reach it, you’re incredibly happy and proud of yourself. You carry on with life, keeping the progress you made or regressing (hopefully the first one, but the latter happens sometimes, too. It’s okay to admit it!).
What I describe above is the motions of self improvement. None of the above is the reason why I self improvement challenges so much and why I frequently develop them for myself. My favorite part about them is the process of change.
Through my self improvement, I gain extraordinary life experiences and memories. For example, my last self improvement took place after my ex and I broke up. It was a serious 2 year relationships and we were good friends before that so it definitely impacted me emotionally to lose someone I was so close with. The challenge I gave myself was to prove to myself that I was worthy of love and that I could love myself. Having suffered from major self-esteem issues when I was younger, mixed in with a little anxiety, and an incredible amount of social awkwardness, this was the first time in my life that I was really trying to tackle the core issue: I was not comfortable with myself and I did not see anything positive about myself.
I gave myself a list of things to accomplish before my next relationship. Things that made me embrace my personality, awkwardness, and quirks in all of my life categories. The things on the list were things like climb a mountain by yourself (shout out to Mt. Tammany for a great view and a great hike!), eat a restaurant alone (Ramen Nagomi, you weren’t good, but thanks for helping me with one), go to the city by yourself (best trip to date, to be honest), and become Yelp Elite (2 years under my belt, baby!). It also had things like get over my phobia of working out at a public gym, talk to strangers at bars, and strike up conversations with random strangers.
And by going through all these challenges, I found what it means to live life. I experienced things and I have memories that I would never have had without going through the process of this challenge. I’ve danced on bar tops in NYC, I’ve met the most inspiring people by talking to strangers, I’ve found the craziest places by trying to become Yelp Elite, and I have a newfound confidence in myself. I broke down the mental restrictions that I gave myself. I post selfies on Snapchat, for goodness sakes! I would have never done that before because I used to care about people thinking that it was narcissistic and I didn’t think I was pretty enough, but now I don’t give a flying fuck! The picture taken with this post was actually me trying soup dumplings for the first time at this run down little place in town. I never would have wandered had I not been open to new experiences and I posted this picture on Instagram, which is also something I never would have done before!
The thing that I love about self improvement challenges is that it pushes you to the edge of your comfort zone and in the process, you gain these incredible life experiences which naturally changes you as a person even if at the end of your challenge, you don’t reach your goal in the end or whatever change you tried to make doesn’t end up sticking. Just beginning the process has an effect on your personality, your mind, and your growth as a person.
I encourage everyone to make challenges for themselves. Life is more than just school or work. You have to think about you, too!