Why Pushing Your Limits Will Help You Finally Stop Asking, 'What If?'

by Sofia Walker

Yes, I run marathons. I am vegan. I try to give my all in everything that I do.

For a long time, I looked for perfection, but this article isn't about that. It's about pushing and testing limits. It's about experiencing things to their fullest, and being happy with the journey.

Pushing Limits And Finding The Ideal

Only by pushing limits and doing something to the extreme do you get the satisfaction of achieving the things you or others thought you could not. But, you also learn from the process. So, no matter what the outcome is, you learn about yourself. You learn what works for you and what is and is not sustainable.

You have to find that balance between extreme and sustainable. Only by pushing your limits can you find that level.

Normality And Moderation

As a society, we like "normality" and "the status quo." We are comfortable with actions that don't stand out. We are always told everything is better in moderation.

The thing is, both running for very long distances and eating a vegan diet are slightly outside  the "status quo." They're not exactly moderate. People see ultra-running or even endurance running in general as extreme.

"Are you taking this too far? You know it's bad for your body, right? It seems so pointless and boring."

They say the same thing about being vegan. "What do you even eat? Are you sure you're getting all the nutrients you need? Don't you miss eating?"

Of course, norms and moderation can be good things. They're often set in place because they work. They keep us healthy, safe and functioning as a society.

All this is good until it starts holding you back. If we are too scared to go past moderation and do things that set us apart for fear of how they may look to others, it becomes harder to learn, grow, progress and achieve great things.

When To Push

So, should we always be pushing our limits in everything that we do? Probably not. There are good and bad times to push. You have to ask yourself if the goal or change is really worth it.

This is when you should push:

  • You need or want to prove (either to yourself or others) that something can be done.
  • You need a reset or new beginning. Sometimes, to get some aspect of your life back on track, you must go to the extreme (and then, you can back down).
  • You need to find a new, more sustainable routine. Again, going to extremes teaches you new habits. It teaches you what is and isn't sustainable, and what works best for you. If you never try, you will never know. These can then be incorporated into your lifestyle. For example, does becoming completely vegan work? Perhaps a pescetarian lifestyle is more suited to you.
  • When there is nothing (or very little) to lose and something to achieve, why wouldn't you put yourself out there?
  • You feel too comfortable and content.

You could stay where you are right now. You could remain comfortable and content, but you'll never know if you could be better and happier. You could wait around your whole life for a guarantee that something will be successful. You could hold yourself back for fear of what could (but may not) happen.

You could take a risk, do something extreme and push your limits. If you push, you might just achieve that amazing goal or find out something great about yourself. Also, just because you try something doesn't mean you have to do it forever. You might even inspire others in the end.

Some ideas: Commit to a marathon, triathlon or ultramarathon. If you are artistic, create the music, art or drama you love. Quit the job you hate. Find one you're passionate about.

Start a business. Move to the country or city of your dreams, even if it's really far away and you don't know anyone there. Write a book.

Final Thoughts

I know that in some ways people may be right. All the running might take its toll. One day, I might regret pushing so hard.

But what most people will never understand is that without running, I wouldn't have the happy, fulfilling life I am so lucky to have. I know this because I took the chance to sign up for big challenges and do extreme things, even without knowing what the end result would be.