Skip to Content

15 Simple Ways to Challenge Yourself in the New Year

Challenging yourself can be fun and provide an opportunity for personal growth.  

Feeling stuck?  Pushing yourself to try something new, squeeze out of your comfort zone or accomplish something elusive can build confidence and encourage further success.

While there are tons of different ways to challenge yourself, the focus here is to keep it simple.

Seemingly small accomplishments can have a big, positive impact.  Whether it’s challenging yourself to reduce procrastination, push the limits of your boundaries or crawl out of a rut, remember that small steps add up to big change!

Here are 15 ways to keep those challenges easy but impactful:

1. Schedule your health screenings

Is there anything more important that your health?  If the thought of tackling your diet or exercise routine is too overwhelming, then this is a great place to start.  Schedule those mammograms, colonoscopies, dental cleanings, and annual physicals…get them all on the calendar!  Do not wait until it’s too late.

2. Try something new

A new form of exercise or gym class, switch up your regular route to work, try a different hair style or a add in a new recipe each week.

3. Print your pictures

I bet you have hundreds, maybe even thousands of photos camping out on your phone.  Pick a few to order and hang them on your fridge, in your office or send them to a family member.  Photos can be wonderful visual reminders of the cherished people and times in our lives.  Don’t keep them locked away on a Google drive.  Enjoy them!

4. Journal

Whether it’s one sentence, one paragraph or one page, the benefits of journaling are endless! But the act of journaling doesn’t have to feel intimidating.  Try a guided journal with prompts if you find it difficult to get going.  You can write, you can dictate, you can use a blank book with a fancy cover, an old notebook or even the notes app in your phone.  Make it your own and in a way that works best for you.

5. Learn something new

This can be as simple as looking up (or asking Alexa) one new word a day in a foreign language or one fun fact.  Podcasts can also be a great way to learn new things.  Keep it simple and fun!

6. Establish a healthy bedtime routine

Stay consistent and get to bed around the same time each night, shut down phones or other electronic devices at least 30 minutes before bed, avoid caffeine intake in the later afternoon or evening and avoid consuming large meals or alcohol before bedtime.

7. Practice patience

Patience often leads to wisdom and success.  Pause and take the opportunity to be mindful of your responses.  Try new ways to consciously slow down.

8. Read a book

If you’re already a voracious reader then try a new genre.  If the last book you read was for a high school English class, just pick anything! Book clubs are also a fun and different way to experience the joy of reading.

9. Meal plan

Look at your calendar for the upcoming week and map out healthy dinner options.  Choose meals that you already have ingredients for or can make in advance.  Hop on Pinterest for some delicious inspiration and millions of easy, quick recipes that your entire family will enjoy. 

10. Drink more water

Increasing your water intake is one of the best things you can do for your body.  Aim for 64 oz of water per day.  And if the thought of drinking all that plain water is daunting, have fun mixing it up a bit.  Infuse fruits, cucumber, mint or grab a seltzer water!

11. Increase your daily step count

Take the stairs as much as possible, park a few rows further away at the grocery store, take the dog for an extra long walk (he deserves it!), or walk in place during conference calls – they’ll never know!

12. Donate

Sure, money is probably one of the first things we all think of here, but it doesn’t have to be.  Bag up the clothes or gently used shoes you no longer use.  Look around your house for other household items that you are ready to part with and box them up.  Clear out your pantry and make a deliver to a local soup kitchen.  In addition to helping others, you’re also decluttering your environment – ahh, hello calming.

13. Rekindle with an old hobby

Rekindle your passion for a previous past time!  Perhaps you used to play an instrument, loved scrapbooking or had a keen eye for photography. 

14. Pick one thing and let it go

If you’re harboring resentment, animosity or any other flavor of negativity about someone or something do your best to free yourself from that self-imposed heaviness.  You may not be able to rewrite the circumstances, but you can take back control of how you allow them to affect you.

15. Focus on quality time

If you tend to spread yourself thin, try shifting your focus to quality time rather than clocking a quantity of minutes just to check a box.  How you spend your time with loved ones is often more impactful than how much time you spend.  Put your phone down, turn off the television and be present.

Making progress is a great way to stay motivated.  Keep a few simple challenges in the mix to help build confidence and feel accomplished.