18 Strategies to Push Yourself and Realize Your Goals
Ok, so you know you need to think bigger and push yourself to new heights. Now what? How exactly do you nurture the habits of mind necessary to reach for the stars and think in new ways?
Luckily, there is a difference between the skills you have yet to develop and the limits you have placed upon yourself for achieving your dreams. You can learn to think differently, which will help you create new, more expansive boundaries for who you dream.
Getting rid of your self-imposed boundaries and learning to think in new ways can be accomplished when you practice new habits of mind regularly. Below are activities and strategies you can use to help push yourself beyond your own limitations and expand the possibilities in your life. (Source)
18 Strategies for Reaching Beyond Your Limitations
#1. Ask for Help
Learning to think in new ways needs skills you don’t have and the mindset you likely have never imagined. And to do this, you will need encouragement, support, modeling, and advice. Asking for help from others in your life can supply a counter-balance to your old ways of thinking. Surround yourself with people who push their own limits so that you can learn from them.
Outside perspectives and mentorship can help you feel more confident about your efforts and work. Creating a community of people that support your goal is invaluable, especially when you are pushing yourself far outside your comfort zone, where fear and anxiety are likely to live. These people will be there to support you when you feel discouraged or nervous about what you are trying to accomplish.
#2. Be Cautious of “Them”
Listen to your self-talk and be wary when you start giving too much power to others, which we often refer to as “them” or “they” in our minds. When you hear yourself wondering if “they” will give you a fair shot or if you won’t succeed because of “them,” stop yourself.
Change your self-talk to focus on your solutions and ideas instead of worrying about what others are doing. Your limiting yourself when you focus on others, so put a stop to it when your mind starts to wander there.
#3. Don’t Give Up
The next time you are faced with a tough challenge, what if, instead of quitting as you have always done in the past, you kept pushing? Just once, try it. Sticking with something is hard, we get that, but if you’ve always given up in the past, you don’t even know how gratifying it is actually to stick with something and see it through.
Pick a hard goal and stuck with it, no matter what. Do everything in your power to keep going, and you will find strength and skills you never knew you had, plus you’ll finally experience real success, which can help set you up for future goals.
#4. Become More Proactive
Learning to push your boundaries and expand your limitations also requires that you think proactively about potential obstacles. Think through what is likely to hinder your new, bigger plan, and plan ahead for how to avoid falling down. Be prepared for possibilities, and you will be more likely to stay on track.
#5. Pay Attention to Your Motivations
When pushing your limits and raising your expectations, it is crucial that you stay connected to what motivates you in life. From where do you draw meaning? What do you value most? What brings you joy and fulfillment?
Staying grounded in these will help ensure you can stick with your efforts to stretch yourself and push your limits. It’s much easier to lose interest or give up when what you are doing doesn’t really speak to your heart, so be sure you’re in it for the right reasons, whatever you are trying to do. (Source)
#6. Embrace Hard Challenges
If you want to learn to push yourself beyond your limitations, you need to practice by taking on challenges that are harder than you’ve carried out before. Pushing yourself in small, daily ways helps you find your current boundaries so that you can know where to push harder the next time around.
Enthusiastically embracing challenges in your daily life enables you to develop the skills and mindset necessary to push yourself further when it really matters.
#7. Learn to Live with Discomfort
The reason it’s hard to push your limitations is that you are embarking on unknown territory, which can be frightening and riddled with anxiety. Avoiding those negative feelings is why we cling to staunchly to our excuses and reasons for why we can’t go any further.
But, when you learn to live with a little bit of discomfort, you start to see that it’s not as bad as you imagined. Do something every day that makes you a little uncomfortable. Doing this will train your brain to understand that you are okay and it’s acceptable to feel discomfort from time to time. Stretch yourself in small ways to help you learn to push your limits in more significant ways, later.
#8. Go After the Unknown
Fearing what we don’t know or understand is natural and a big reason why we don’t usually push our own limits. But, learning to embrace the unknown can help you overcome that fear and instead see the opportunities that exist when you do.
Start small but try something new or different every day. Even if you don’t enjoy the experiences, you can ask questions and open your mind to new perspectives and possibilities, which will help you push your own boundaries in other ways.
Embrace new things in all aspects of your life, and you’ll start to see that pushing your dreams to new heights isn’t such a strange idea, after all.
#9. Work on Your Confidence
If you want to push your limitations in significant, important ways, start small. Set daily goals and action steps that will move you toward a larger goal. When you can do these well, you’ll begin to feel more confident that you can achieve your goals.
Mastering new skills can help you achieve professional or personal goals, so practice those every day. The more you work on these smaller goals, the more confident and competent you will feel when it comes to embracing the more extensive changes in your life.
#10. Stop Assuming So Much
What you think you know is likely killing your ambition and limiting your reach. For the most part, what you THINK you know, though, is based on incorrect or incomplete information or it is based solely on your past, limited experiences. None of these are realizable sources or give is all the information we need to decide anything. (Source)
Test your assumptions to see if they still hold true and are a reason to limit yourself. For example, if you think you are unmotivated to learn a new skill because you didn’t enjoy school before, take a short, informal course in something in which you are interested, to see how you do. Then, you have more information to help you make an informed choice. Stop assuming, though, that what you “know” is serving you well.
#11. Let Go of Comparisons
Stop, please stop, comparing yourself to other people. This is one of the most destructive limitations we place on ourselves, and it only ever results in dissatisfaction. Whatever you think you know about how good someone else’s life is, it is most certainly an illusion.
You have problems; others have problems. It’s a fact of life. There is nothing better about anyone else than you. So, stop worrying about what others have or can do and focus only on yourself. (Source)
#12. Visualize Your Goal
Getting to a new and unfamiliar place is hard, so make it easier by visualizing exactly what you want to do. See yourself achieving your goals, imagining all the positive changes that will come to your life once you’ve reached your dreams. (Source)
Imagine your future, create a mental image, and return to your visualization regularly when you need motivation or a reminder why this is important work for your life.
#13. Imitate Your Way to Success
The adage “fake it until you make it” can be a tricky one when you don’t necessarily know what it is you are trying to “fake.” Instead, try modeling your actions and thoughts after someone who has accomplished big goals and pushed beyond their own limitations.
In the beginning, pay attention to their language, how they approach and solve problems, and how they respond to adversity. While you may be “copying” them in the beginning, over time, you will develop your own style and approach as you feel more confident in what you are trying to do.
#14. Rebrand Yourself
One reason you may be limiting yourself is that you are stuck with an “image” of yourself that has probably been around since childhood. It’s who you think you are or what you think others expect from you. But, guess what?
Those are just ideas, and you can change them if you want. Your personal brand could be holding you back, so why not change it? Changing how you see yourself can have a powerful effect on helping you expand and explore your boundaries.
#15. Always Know Your Next Step
Not knowing what’s coming next can create fear and anxiety that leads you to wonder just exactly you are doing. Even if you don’t necessarily know all the steps of your plan, knowing what comes next can lower those fears and help you focus on what you need to do now.
Clarify your short-term goals to help you stay focused on what you need to do right now. Focus on getting through that stage of the process, so you can envision the next step in your plan. Having a clear idea about your next step, though, gives you something toward which you can work today.
#16. Learn from Your Mistakes
Along the road to expanding your limitations, you will likely make mistakes and experience some failure. More important than the mistakes you make, though, is what you learn from those experiences and how you apply that to your future work.
Every failure or setback is really just feedback. That didn’t work. So, what will? Start asking questions and exploring that you can learn from obstacles and mistakes. Once you embrace these as opportunities for growth, explaining your limits becomes even easier to do.
#17. Play Up
In many sports, a good strategy for improving your skills is to “play up,” which means playing intentionally against players who are more advanced than you. When you compete against others of more skill, you are challenged and motivated to play better yourself.
The same is true for life. Find people who motivate you, who are carrying out their goals and expanding their limitations.
They can inspire you to “play up” your game and push yourself beyond the limitations you have imposed.
#18. Work on Your Weaknesses
We all have weaknesses. It’s a fact of life. And many times, we use these are self-imposed limits, believing they are insurmountable obstacles to achieving our goals. But what if you instead focused on improving those areas of weakness?
Instead of ignoring or just accepting these weaknesses, you could instead focus on developing yourself in specific ways.
Turn them into strengths or drop the unhealthy or unwanted behaviors that you perceive to be holding you back. Overcoming your limits requires you to build these areas up so they no longer serve as a reason you can’t achieve higher success.
Don’t Forget to Reflect
When you are working on making significant changes to how you think about your life and the world. You need time to work and you need time to rest and reflect on what you’ve learned.
Taking time, now and then, to think and reflect on your growth will help you pinpoint what is helping you along your journey and where you need to change tactics. Reflection is an essential part of learning, so be sure you are giving yourself plenty of time to consider your own efforts to expand beyond your current limitations.
How to Push Yourself (Final Thoughts)
You are the one who is limiting yourself. Your fears, uncertainties, and weaknesses are limiting how big you think, how hard you try, and how well you solve problems. And when we expand our thinking, it becomes possible to achieve important and treasured goals that we never would have imagined before. Stop limiting yourself and start reaching beyond your boundaries today.
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