I often talk to people about the things that I’ve done in my life, things I’ve said, worn, ate, or even the adventures I’ve had. The most common response I hear is “I wish I could do that.” My standard response is always “Why can’t you?” I get a variety of answers but usually they boil down to fear. People are scared to take big leaps and try something totally different, which is why pushing your boundaries is such an important skill. It means that you might not quit your job and backpack around Uganda as your first adventure, but maybe you will take a weeklong trip by yourself to somewhere a bit exciting and a bit scary. It means you don’t just rock a bikini after years of turtlenecks, but you might wear a shorter skirt than usual or a crop top. Pushing boundaries is about working up to the big things while doing something that’s not your comfortable norm.
To begin pushing your boundaries it’s important to identify what your end goal is and where your comfort zone is. If you really want to spend a month on another continent alone think about what the appeal is and begin to make the goal specific and write it down somewhere. If you have decided that you really want to wear a bikini on your next holiday that try to figure out what you would be comfortable wearing now. It’s so important to make your goal specific so you know where you’re going and it’s also important to figure out where you’re starting from. It’s nearly impossible to get from A to B if you don’t know what they are! I decided I really wanted to wear a two piece outfit when I wasn’t at the beach. I had seen some 1940s sets that I yearned to wear. I had become mostly comfortable with bikinis so I knew that was my starting point and when I saw the two piece set from Trashy Diva that I’m wearing in these photos I knew it had to be my goal.
Once you know your starting point and destination you can begin to create your road map. It’s important to come up with steps that lead you from your starting point to your goal. The number of steps and the time they take will depend on you. If you’ve never left your hometown and want to spend two months alone on another continent in a place they don’t speak your language you are going to have some extra steps, which will require more time. I was only moving from bikinis to a two piece outfit so I had only a few steps and it all happened quite quickly. Deciding on your steps may make you nervous or even anxious and that’s ok. Write them down anyway. You’ll be working up to them so they will become less scary. Spend some time with your steps until you have a roadmap that is a little scary, a little exciting, and totally accomplishable.
Once you have your roadmap you are going to need to start doing the steps. Just thinking about this may make your heart race. Try to give yourself a timeline and plan out when you’ll be doing the steps. I tend to move at a pace slightly faster than I am comfortable to keep me motivated but you may want to work slowly and pace yourself or super quickly to get it all over with. Before you do each step there will be worry and fear. That is totally normal! It’s important to think about what is intimidating with each step. Why does it make you scared? What is the worst case scenario if you take the step? What is the best? When I finally wore the two piece outfit I was worried people would laugh or stare. I took some time to understand why that would be upsetting and why it would matter to me. I wore the two piece and as you can see I slayed in it. No one seemed to care, except Mr Westwood who really loved the outfit on me. I won’t say I felt 100% confident the first time I wore it but it’s a work in progress.As you go through your steps be kind to yourself. What you’re doing is hard and you should give yourself a pat on the back for giving it a go.When things get difficult picture yourself at your goal feeling happy and content, knowing that you got there. Use that image to spurn you on and if you have any questions or concerns please get in touch. On my darkest days pushing through my body positive goals I looked at Elizabeth’s instagram account and watched her smash her boundaries and share her fears. It was a huge help. We all need each other to help us so don’t be afraid to reach out, let people know what you’re doing, and ask for support.