On Switching It Up and Embracing Challenges both Physical and Mental

You guys know I’m a big fan of switching it up and pushing myself outside of my comfort zone when it comes to fitness. Whether it’s trying a new-to-me class on ClassPass, or challenging myself to run at paces that are doable but not exactly comfortable, I am a big believer in doing something every day that pushes your limits in a positive way.


Today’s post was actually supposed to be a recap of trying a Stand Up Paddleboard Yoga class (I know, cool, right?), but unfortunately we were stormed out for the SECOND time last night. Darn it! Stay tuned on that one. So instead, I thought it would be interesting to share a different sort of way I challenged myself recently: by going kayaking solo on Sunday.


As you guys know if you’ve been reading my blog for more than 4 seconds, I’m a very social person. Ever since I was little, I have always liked having people around, and especially if I’m out doing something fun, I like having someone to share it with. But this also means that I sometimes have a hard time doing things on my own.

In general, I would consider myself independent and adventurous, especially when related to big life-change type stuff – I mean, I lived in Prague for a year and when I moved there I knew no one. But that said, sometimes in smaller, more day to day type situations, I’m not always. For example, on Saturday, the weather was gorgeous, and Matt was busy doing work. I tried to find a friend to meet up with, but unfortunately everyone was busy, so, I’m not gonna lie, I spent some time feeling sorry for myself. After a while, though, I reminded myself that, hello, I am in charge of my own destiny, and I don’t need someone else’s company to do something cool and fun. So on Sunday, when faced with another open afternoon and lovely weather and nothing to do and no one free, I decided, you know what? I want to go kayaking, so even though I don’t have anyone to go with, I’m just going to go by myself.


And what do you know? The result of this challenge ended up being quite a lovely evening. I headed down to the Key Bridge Boathouse around 4:30 p.m., said, “Yep, just a single kayak, please,” and headed out on my own for an adventure. I think I was the only person there by myself – but you know what? No one cared, including me.



I paddled north, away from the city/monuments, because it’s quieter and calmer, which was what I was in the mood for. I paddled when I felt like it, and just sat in calm silence when I felt like it, too. It was glorious.


I’ve always loved the water, whether it’s swimming or being out on a raft or boat, and by the time I arrived back at the boathouse an hour and a half later, I felt great. Getting in water-themed workouts in the summer is one of my favorite ways to mix it up, not only because it’s so different from what I do the rest of the year, but also because it’s so calming and invigorating mentally as well as physically.


So – I’d like to challenge you guys to do something that pushes your comfort zone fitness-wise, too, whether it’s a physical challenge (like my SUP Yoga class will be soon!) or a mental challenge, like the one I had on Sunday. (Although, my arms were def a bit sore from all that paddling!) I’m proud of myself for pushing out of my comfort zone, and look forward to hearing what you do to challenge yourselves, too!

To get you inspired, I’m excited to share a YouTube series sponsored by Ford called Switch It Up!, which is a fun new show that documents experts trying something they’ve never done before. The latest episode features Blogilates’ Cassey Ho challenging interviewer Chase Jarvis to step out of his comfort zone and teach a Pilates class. The episode is super cute, and I love the message it sends – no matter how much of an expert you might be in one area, it’s always good to continue to challenge yourself in other ways. Happy viewing, and happy comfort zone-pushing, my friends!

What have you done to challenge yourself lately?

Thank you to Ford for sponsoring the “Switch It Up” series and this post!


  1. 1

    Cooking a new meal is always out of my comfort zone. I think it’s spending the $$ and not being sure if it’s going to work out. But, I’m trying. Even when 1/4 + 1/4 does not equal 1/8. :)

    Glad you made it outside! I like doing things solo (eating out, movies, traveling exercising, etc)! I find that I need it. I’m around people all.the.time.

    • 2

      I’m alone so much for work, so I think that’s why I like doing more stuff with other people. That said, I want to challenge myself to intentionally do more fun stuff (aka not just work stuff) alone every once in awhile! Your post about paddling solo last week inspired me – thanks! :) And lol to 1/4 + 1/4 not = 1/8. Hehe

  2. 3

    Ah! I passed those Kayaks EVERY day this past year…I’ll challenge myself in a few months to actually rent one!

  3. 4

    Looks divine! I love love love water sports of any kind. Sadly, here in San Francisco it’s too chilly to do much in the water. I went for a swim in a rooftop pool this weekend, and I about froze my pregnant little booty off! But it was soooo nice to be in the water!

    Personally, I like being solo sometimes. I can’t do it for a full day, or every day, but I do need it. It will be interesting to see how I do in this respect with the little one arrives! :-/

    • 5

      I like being alone sometimes, too, like if I want to just read or watch TV or totally chill, but if it’s a time where I want to get out and do something and have no one to do it with, that’s where I want to challenge myself to do something fun more often, even if it’s just me. Good for you for getting that chilly swim in!

  4. 6

    This was awesome, Anne! I couldn’t agree more – kayaking by myself would be way out of my comfort zone. Good for you for pushing yourself!

  5. 7
    http://Annie%20B says

    I’m in the same boat (haha) as you in regards to being super social and having a hubby who is working full time and doing grad school. I recently joined a local running club to get out and meet some new people and have been loving it! At first it was weird and a little awkward to show up all alone, but I put myself out there and am now hanging out with the group regularly!

  6. 9
    http://Melissa says

    Wow, when you said you went kayaking this past Sunday, I thought you were going to end up saying you were kayaking at Great Falls! This past Sunday morning I took my Mom and her best friend (both from western PA) to Great Falls to wow them. We got an extra surprise, as there were three kayakers boating below the falls and a pair of kayakers that went down multiple cascades in the falls – twice! It was absolutely thrilling to watch! I’d seen people kayaking below the falls before, but never actually going over them. That would be pushing my comfort zone a bit too far, personally! :) My Mom and her friend were suitably wowed!

  7. 11

    I would love to go out kayaking by myself! That sounds amazing. I was supposed to go to a paddleboarding event last Saturday but it was cancelled bc of the weather too. So lame. It was r/s so hopefully I can go in a couple weeks!

  8. 12
    http://Roadrunner says

    Great initiative. Solitude is good sometimes! Well done. Thx for sharing!

  9. 13

    Hi Anne! Nice work! I’m a social person too, but love my quiet time. I’ve never gotten out on the water for any solo trips before, but would definitely love to try one day. Not so easy in the Bay Area, so maybe I’ll try a solo hike first. :) Have a fabulous day!

  10. 14
    http://Holly%20M. says

    Very cute video! Great message! I challenging myself every day with all this schoolwork! Yikes!

  11. 15

    I like doing things with others but also enjoy being alone sometimes. That said, I definitely like doing social stuff with people, so I totally get it. My mom goes to movies by herself all the time and finds it super relaxing!

  12. 16

    Love this post! I’m one of those weird people who really loves doing things on her own, but I used to be terrified of being judged by others. It took one solo trip to NYC for me to push myself out of my comfort zone, and now I find myself planning solo activities pretty frequently.

  13. 17

    I love this post Anne – good for you for stepping out of your comfort zone. Your kayaking adventure looks like a blast! I normally like doing things on my own normally, and sometimes I have to step out of my comfort zone in social/group situations. That aside, I’m pretty terrified of going out on large bodies of water…not sure where that came from since I do know how to swim! But recently I went Stand Up Paddleboarding with friends and had an absolute blast! I was nervous at first but was so glad I did it because we had so much fun.

  14. 19
    http://Kris%20S says

    Love this post! It can be hard for me too to get out and do something I want to do on my own, whether it’s running (I’m sooo lazy if I don’t have a friend waiting for me!) or just something fun I want to do! There is an amazing exhibit of Velazquez paintings on in Paris right now, a collection never assembled before with paintings on loan from all over the world- really a once in a lifetime. All my friends either had already gone, or weren’t interested, so last week I went by myself, and had a long walk by the river afterwards in the lovely spring weather and twilight lighting :) Such a great idea!

  15. 21

    I am just like you! It’s so scary for me to do things on my own. I made it a goal the past few months to try out a new class on my own or go to an event/activity solo. I joined a running club near me as my activity last month and it was so scary at first but I ended up having a blast! I love kayaking as well and I’ll have to go solo sometime soon! Water sports are the best (especially SUP..I would love to try SUP yoga as well!)

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