I moved to London almost a year ago. It took me about 6 months to be brave enough to get behind the wheel and start to learn how to drive on the ‘other’ side of the road. It was so strange to me. So new. To have to shift my perspective made me anxious and uncomfortable. Still, I knew that I couldn’t put it off forever, so I signed up for a couple of lessons. Again, it seemed strange to me to have to take lessons when I had already been driving around 15 years … but this was unfamiliar territory and I knew I needed a bit of guidance. It didn’t come naturally to me. I had to think about things that I didn’t need to even hesitate about before. It was annoying, but I knew I needed to put in the time and effort so that I could get around. That being said, I only drove to and from work and never ventured off my regular path. The strangeness of driving on the ‘other’ side of the road was lessened by my familiarity with the route. I found comfort in my new routine. Until today.

Today I had to drive some place new. I didn’t have a choice. It was time for me to step out of my comfort zone … I did and I survived! I know that this is not a monumental achievement, but it was something new for me and something that I probably wouldn’t have done unless I was forced to … but you know what? When I got to my destination, I couldn’t help but smile.

It made me realize, once again, that my own fears and hesitations often hold me back. I think it’s natural to be wary of the unknown – you don’t know what’s involved or what the outcome will be. Plus, there’s comfort in routine.

So what does my little excursion today have to do with the Whole Life Challenge? Well, I think even if you’ve done the challenge before, the idea of any change in routine can bring up feelings of apprehension. If you’ve already got a relatively healthy and active routine in place, you may think – why should I change this up? What’s the point of changing up my routine if I’m ok with the way things are? Even if you don’t have a routine in place that you’re satisfied with, the fear of the unknown – what does the challenge involve – along with the fear of failure – suppose I can’t successfully complete the challenge – can  be enough to make you think – is it worth it? Why bother? What will the challenge do for me?

Truth is, there are many, many answers — but my one reply is this: Take a chance and find out. You had nothing to lose. It is when we are pushed in a new direction that we discover how much we can achieve … each day you get through the challenge completing something you never thought you could do before – whether it is not drinking any soda for a day or managing to drink the minimum required amount of water – is a chance to succeed and be proud of what you’ve accomplished. Those proud moments are addictive.

Don’t let your fear of the unknown get in the way of discovering a whole new level of strength, courage, discipline, and satisfaction. Challenge yourself. It’ll be worth it!

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Written by Ayesha Kamal

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