Do you want to know what you are capable of? Do you want to push yourself beyond your perceived limits and achieve more than you ever dreamed of? If you do, it’s time to leave that comfort zone and break free from excuses and everything else holding you back.
The only way to progress is to push yourself through the discomfort. Similarly, to build muscle, bodybuilders push themselves through the physical discomfort of lifting weights; we can only adapt and grow if we lean into our edge.
This article will outline what it means to push yourself and the benefits of this. It will also suggest 5 ways you can start to push yourself to break through the discomfort.
What does it mean to push yourself?
The dictionary definition of pushing yourself is “to make yourself work harder in order to achieve something.”
That is it in a nutshell. You can not expect to get maximum results from minimum input. It doesn’t work like that.
When we push ourselves, we put in the effort. We tap into our dedication and commitment and show up and do the work.
Think of the incredible sprinter Usain Bolt. Do you think he was half-hearted with his training? Absolutely not; he showed up every day and gave his best. Even when his legs were tired and heavy from training, he still pushed himself to be the best he could be. And this pushing paid off.
Nothing worth having comes easily. We must push ourselves to strive for greatness.
What are the benefits of pushing yourself?
It is only when we push ourselves that we improve. Improvements can be in many different areas of our life, including our fitness, career, education, and personal lives.
Pushing ourselves places us in uncomfortable positions. But it helps stretch and expand our comfort zones and builds our resilience and mental capacity.
Let’s take exercise as an example. When we push ourselves physically, we are rewarded with several benefits, including:
- Decrease in stress level.
- Fat loss and change in body composition.
- Increase in energy.
- Boosted confidence and self-esteem.
- Enhanced cognition.
- Reduced risk of illness and disease.
And when we push ourselves mentally, perhaps through studying, reading, or learning a new skill, we a rewarded with these benefits.
- Boosted confidence.
- Increased happiness.
- Reduced boredom.
- Increased motivation.
- Enhanced social connections.
There is no drawback to pushing ourselves.
The only thing to be aware of is ensuring you don’t succumb to burnout. You can avoid this by giving yourself recovery time if you are pushing yourself in an exercise regime or time out if you are pushing yourself through a more mental challenge.
If you want specific tips on how to avoid burning out while pushing yourself, I suggest these articles:
- 7 Quick Ways to Quiet Your Mind (Backed by Science with Examples)
- 5 Strategies to Stay Calm Under Pressure (With Examples)
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5 ways to push yourself further
Do you want to continue drifting through life and being average or even less than average? Or do you want to twinkle like a diamond and be as incredible as possible?
Here are our 5 tips for how to push yourself.
1. Set goals
When you set goals, you force yourself to consider the path you need to take to achieve these goals.
This article in Positive Psychology highlights the importance of goal setting for building motivation and drive. Both of these traits are essential if we want to push ourselves.
Remember, when you set goals, they must be SMART. This acronym means they must be:
You can have short-term goals and long-term goals.
For instance, your long-term goal may be to complete a marathon on a specific date within a specific time.
A short-term goal may be to run a set amount of miles in the upcoming week, incorporate an interval session and increase your protein intake by 10%.
Short-term goals help you accomplish long-term goals.
When we have a goal, we are more inclined to push ourselves to achieve it instead of drifting on aimlessly.
Our article on how to set better goals includes many more helpful tips!
2. Get out of your comfort zone
Consider your comfort zone an area of shadow. Nothing flourishes and grows in the shadow. We need sunlight to blossom and bloom.
This study concludes that participants who are more willing to push themselves out of their comfort zone are also more inclined to have the self-belief and confidence to achieve tasks out of their comfort zone.
Leaning out of the safety of our comfort zones helps increase our confidence and self-belief. It equips us with the transferable skill of being open to trying new things and pushing ourselves beyond our experience and expertise.
We expand our comfort zone by pushing ourselves, and we push ourselves through expanding our comfort zone. Embrace discomfort.
3. Be accountable
If you say you will do something, how do you stay accountable? Do you hold yourself to account or work with anyone who holds you to account?
These days many people work with a fitness coach or a business coach, or even a life coach. One of the many roles of a coach is to help direct the client and hold them to account.
If we are left to our own devices, how many of us can hold ourselves to account?
Being accountable means saying what you mean and meaning what you say. When we are held to account, we recognize excuses as precisely that. Being accountable strips away all the BS and shines a light on any areas holding you back.
4. Schedule and plan
We’ve already established that when we drift through life without a commitment to what we want to achieve, we are less likely to push ourselves.
An ambitious person schedules and plans their life both daily and weekly.
Make every hour count.
If you want to learn a new language by the time you go on your foreign holiday, you must schedule a time to sit down and study. Otherwise, you will never get around to it.
- Keep your daily planner up to date.
- Consider using time blocking to maximize the use of your time.
- Make sure you schedule breaks.
Whether you use a digital or paper planner is a matter of preference. Wall planners are also handy. Whatever helps you organize and maximize your time will help you push yourself.
For more tips on how to organize your life, we've got you covered!
5. Boost your confidence
If you suffer from low confidence and self-esteem, you may struggle to find the self-efficacy to push yourself.
Only when you truly know your worth and value do you invest in yourself by pushing yourself.
There are many ways you can boost your confidence.
Here are a few simple ways you can build your confidence from today.
- Engage in daily guided meditation.
- Surround yourself with positive people.
- Practice positive affirmations (here's why they really work).
- Learn a new skill.
- Keep an expressive journal.
- Eat healthily and exercise.
- Be authentic.
- Say “no” to things and people that don’t interest you.
Just like our happiness, our confidence levels can rise and fall. No one else can boost your confidence; this must come from within you.
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You can choose a vanilla life and carry on drifting. Or you can have all the flavors with sprinkles and a flake. The more you want out of life, the more you must push yourself. Are you ready to open up a world of opportunity?
Do you find it hard to push yourself when you're not motivated? Do you have any other suggestions for how to push yourself? I'd love to hear from you in the comments below!