Traveler's Test

Challenge yourself every day: 20 creative ideas to try right now

Challenge yourself every day: 20 creative ideas to try right now

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Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all,

said Helen Keller once, and we believe her. If life doesn’t provide you with enough adventures, the next best thing is to challenge yourself.

During my last trip to Brazil, I asked each of my friends to pose a fun challenge to me. The list I compiled turned out to be the most inspirational read of my life. It made me play soccer with boys on Copacabana beach, sleep at a stranger’s house, speak in Portuguese (although I couldn’t and I still can’t) and cook a Bulgarian national meal for a Brazilian, among many other random achievements.

You understand. Challenging  yourself and others is fun. Here are 20 creative ideas for challenging yourself everyday, every week or every month (you can adjust the frequency) without having to suck on a lemon, neck a gallon of milk, swallow a spoonful of cinnamon or bite into a raw onion.

#1 Set an alert on your calendar or other phone app to remind you to do a good deed every single month. We all want to help others, but we are often so engrossed in our daily routine that we need a gentle little kick in the butt to do something selfless.

#2 Take the same photo of yourself in the same place every year. 

#3 Choose a day of the month when you meet a friend and you try a new restaurant together. Step up your game by choosing a different national cuisine every time.

#4 Every time you travel abroad, research what’s the strangest food there and try it. Like tarantulas in Cambodia.

#5 Every day, try to speak with a different accent or dialect. 

#6 Set a ridiculously low budget and take turns with your friends to cook a dinner for four for that money. Delicious food only, please – you must take this challenge seriously.

#7 Organize this with friends – everyone should bring only one food product without telling the others what it will be. Then you should cook something delicious with all these mystery ingredients.

#8 Wake up for the sunrise 30 days in a row. Maybe you can also practice the Swedish ritual of gokotta.

#9 Plant a tree every year. 

#10 Call that friend whom you haven’t spoken to for ages.

#11 Learn a new fun fact every day. 

#12 Prepare a breakfast for someone at home (even if this person wakes up earlier than you, you can prepare it the night before) or at the office.

#13 Spend a weekend with all electronic devices switched off (preferably they will be locked in a safe in another city and you won’t have the key).

#14 Say ‘yes’ to every single offer you receive for a week (like in the 2008 movie Yes Man with Jim Carrey, which you can re-watch for inspiration).

#15 Choose a different route to your workplace every day for a month. 

#16 Compliment a different person every day for a month.

#17 Stop complaining for a month. Every time you catch yourself complaining, put a dollar in a jar. At the end of the month, buy yourself a treat or spend it on someone who needs the money (see Challenge #1).

#18 Visit a new place every weekend for at least three months. It could be somewhere just 20 miles from your house – the only condition is that you’ve never been there before.

#19 Ask a different friend to think up a challenge for you every month.

#20 Bake cookies for a friend for no reason.

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