Challenges Show Us What We Are Made of
I enjoy a good challenge. Actually, I enjoy a GREAT challenge.
I love pushing myself beyond where I thought I could go. Whether it be physically, spiritually or emotionally, I like to see what I’m made of.
The only way to find out is to challenge myself.
Case in point…when I decided to commit to doing a full marathon for my 61st birthday in 2015, I had no idea what was in store.
To say I hit my own wall (more than once) while training over a period of months is an understatement.
Yet, I stuck with it. One reason was I had announced to my social media community, my clients, my family and my ezine subscribers what I had in mind. Had I not made a public declaration that I was going to participate in the Eugene Marathon that year, I may have given up.
I Didn’t Break Any World Records
Although my first marathon was as a (sort of) power walker, since that time, I’ve taken up the sport of running. I may not be a fast runner, but I’m consistent.
On a great day I can do an 11 minute mile with my average being 12 ½ – 13 minutes per mile. I refer to myself as a stubborn, old lady. LOL
I now enjoy running at least five days a week around my neighborhood and an average of one to two races per month throughout the year. Yep! Even when it’s raining, I’m running.
What Are You Made Of?
Challenges let us know what we are made of… or not. Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought my initial goal of crossing the finish line in my first marathon would lead to a passion for the sport. But it has.
As we come to the end of one year and the beginning of another, many people are going to make resolutions. Most will give up within a few days.
Yet, it doesn’t have to be that way. You can make resolutions and stick with them. The best way to stick with anything is to have your long term goal complimented by smaller goals that allow you to feel a sense of accomplishment along the way.
As you prepare for the coming year, what are you 100% committed to? Is it your health? Your relationship? Your finances? Your spiritual development? Your business?
It might be one, two or all of these. The choice is up to you. One of the best things to do is focus on one area at a time. Gain momentum in that area and then add something else in.
30 Day Challenges Work GREAT!
If you commit to something for “the rest of your life” chances are you will give up. On the other hand, if you have shorter time periods that are a stretch, but achievable, you are likely to have more success.
30 days seems to be a nice stretch time period. It’s enough time to change, or create, a habit and yet, short enough where you do see an end in site.
Yet, there are some experts who don’t feel 30 day challenges work while others swear by them. Truth be told, it depends on the type of challenge including if you are realistic about what you plan to accomplish.
For example, if you are in major debt and you say, “I’m going to make a million dollars in the next 30 days,” you are setting yourself up for failure.
It would be true for dropping a bunch of weight too. Set realistic goals during the 30 day period. Often, it’s a simple behavior you want to adopt or change.
A few months ago I did a 30 day blog writing challenge. Every day, Monday through Friday, for 30 days I challenged myself to write a blog post. Since I do enjoy writing, it was a doable challenge.
If, on the other hand, I had never blogged before, I didn’t like to write and had no idea where to begin, that could have been too much. In that case, it would have been more achievable to write 100 – 200 words a day and post once a week by combining all the writings of the week.
The main thing is not to set yourself up for failure from the start.
To get the most out of anything we challenge ourselves with, it helps to prepare. There are various levels of preparation.
3. Support team
5. Making it known
Let’s go through each one.
Check your immediate environment to make sure it supports your goals. For example, if the challenge is with eating healthy, does your kitchen support the outcome you seek?
What do you have (or not have) in your refrigerator and cupboards that either work in your favor or work against you.
Are there foods that are “temptation” foods? Are you stocked up with healthy choices? Is there anything that will push you to sabotage your success?
Have you emotionally prepared for the challenge? Have you thought through what you will do when temptation hits? What about when family or friends are not supportive of your goals making comments like, “You’ve tried this before and never succeeded. What makes you think this time will be any different?”
Your emotional preparation is directly connected with your level of commitment AND your support team.
With virtually any challenge we give ourselves, it helps to have a supportive group of people who are there to cheer us on, listen to our frustrations and be a support when we feel like giving up.
This can be close friends, select family members, a group on Facebook or an actual mastermind group.
You don’t need to go this alone. It definitely helps to have those who are in our corner.
Not every challenge will require a financial commitment, but some will. However, before going out and spending large amounts of money on new workout clothes, specialty foods, supplements and other items we think we can’t live without, see what you already have that will get you started.
When I first began my journey into regular power-walking that became regular running, I didn’t immediately go out and buy a bunch of new things other than what was absolutely necessary.
I wanted to make sure I was fully committed first. However, I did get new shoes because, more than just about anything, shoes were a must have.
In the short term, I could wear what I already had. I didn’t need a bunch of fancy-dancy clothes.
Over time, I did get the type of clothing that supported me being committed to the sport of running.
Now I have a full collection and trust me, it wasn’t without an investment. But now that I know I am sticking with the process, the investment has been worth it.
Besides, with birthdays and Christmas, I had others who gave me fabulous gifts that supported my new found, late in life, passion.
Making it Known
If you really want to push yourself, make some type of public announcement. Whether it be to a small group of people who will join in the challenge with you, a Facebook group or announcing it to those who are part of your own personal community (such as your blog readers), there’s something to be said for not keeping the commitment to yourself.
When I was training for my first marathon, I kept people informed via Facebook and my subscribers to my Power Up for Profits information. On the days when I thought I was in over my head, the mere fact I made a public commitment encouraged me to continue.
On the day of the marathon, I hit the wall several times. At mile six my mind was reeling with thoughts of quitting. It happened again at mile 15. Then mile 19. Then mile 23.
Each time, I thought of all the people who had supported me along the way. There was no way I was going to let them down. Making my commitment public made a huge difference when I felt like giving up.
So there you have it… simple steps to help you stick with any challenge you give yourself.
What are you willing to challenge yourself to? Why not join the Passion for Thriving 30 Day Challenge? Click here to find out more.