For me, it’s always been comfortable to do the things that I know and that I’m good at. I like feeling confident whenever I’m doing something, whether that is something related to fitness or my personal or professional life. Lately, however, I’ve learned the importance of challenging yourself to learn something new.
As I was training for a long cycling race, I was trying to find a new way to cross-train. All of the normal things that I usually did weren’t cutting it. I wanted something that would work different muscle groups, but wasn’t too intense on my body. I was sharing this with a friend on a long ride one day, and she suggested that I try Pilates.
Let’s be real for a second…I was very hesitant. First of all, I had never done Pilates. So, I already didn’t like the fact that I felt like a newbie. But, after a few weeks of continuing to avoid going to a Pilates studio, I finally signed up for a beginner’s class and decided to just do it.
It was new, and I was nervous. I felt way out of my comfort zone, but you know what? I actually really liked it! It’s different. I was using my body in different ways, and it was exactly what I was looking for!
I’m so glad that I tried it, and I realized the importance of approaching something with a beginner’s mind. So, whether you are looking to challenge yourself to learn something new or are feeling on the fence about it, here are 7 reasons why you should put yourself out there and give something new a chance…
Listen to more about how having a “beginner’s mind” is the perfect way to begin any new goal.
I love my bike, and it is a big passion of mine. Because of this, I have all these expectations that I put on myself whenever I hop on. Whether it’s a minimum distance I feel I must accomplish or something else, when I do something that is familiar to me, I create certain expectations around it.
On the flip side, if you are learning something new, there are literally ZERO expectations. You don’t really know what to expect, and you don’t know what your best effort looks like. You’re learning as you go, and with that, comes this amazing pressure release!
Time to Slow Down
When you don’t have any expectations, you also don’t have any pressure about pace. When you challenge yourself to learn something new, you are allowing yourself to slow down the pace, take your time, and really dive into what you’re learning.
In my own life, I feel like I’m constantly on “go” mode. Whether it’s something with work, something in my personal life, or something with my fitness, there are lots of times where I feel like I’m constantly rushing around. When I started to learn pilates, however, I was so new and there were so many little details that I had to learn, it forced me to slow things down. I started taking things step by step, and it was really refreshing!
How many times a day do we subconsciously slip into autopilot? I know it’s quite a lot for me! When driving, when running or biking, when working, we just kind of do it. But, when you challenge yourself to learn something new, you just can’t be on autopilot.
Learning something new requires a great deal of focus. Like I said above, you’re learning all the new and little details about the skill or workout that you’re beginning. It takes all of your focus to really understand and work on your new skill, and that can be a great change of pace.
I may be saying this for myself, but hopefully it will help you too…YOU DO NOT HAVE TO BE THE BEST when you’re trying something new! You’re not the expert, and chances are, you won’t be for a long time!
While I thought that was going to be terrifying, I actually found it very freeing! Because you go in knowing that you’re not the best and you have a lot of room to learn, it leaves more room for you to feel free and enjoy the process.
As adults, we have a tendency to feel like we have to always know what we’re talking about. But, that’s just not the case!
With all this newfound focus, slowed down time, and freeing feeling, you will quickly realize that trying something new can be a lot of fun!
Like me, if you’re trying a new workout class with a friend, there’s something just plain fun about going into it completely free and new. You’re having a completely unique experience from anything you’ve had before, and there’s nothing boring about that!
Challenges your Brain
Alright, so we’ve talked about all the fun and exciting reasons why you should be challenging yourself with something new, but now let’s get into the facts! Trying something new will actually change your brain.
Fun fact, people used to believe when you reached a certain age, your brain just stopped growing. But, in recent decades, researchers have actually learned about something called neurogenesis. Neurogenesis is where your brain actually grows when it is learning and experiencing unique and new things. So, if you decide to try a new form of workout, like myself, you will actually be helping your brain to grow!
Improves your Health
There are two big ways that you can improve your health by trying something new, specifically when it comes to fitness…
Improves Physical Health
When you are working new and different muscle groups, you are improving your physical health. While working out of any kind will improve your physical health, it can be even more beneficial for you to change things up. Doing the same exercises and workout routines over and over will continuously yield the same results. So, the more you differentiate your workouts and incorporate new things, the better your overall physical health will be!
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Improves Mental Health
Back on the subject of neurogenesis, when you challenge yourself to learn something new, you are also improving your mental health while also helping in preventing certain brain and mental diseases.
There are so many reasons why you should step out of your comfort zone and challenge yourself to learn something new! Whether you want to try a new workout class or learn a new sport, you’ll reap the benefits for years to come!