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Time For a Challenge
"Always believe in yourself and always stretch yourself beyond your limits. Your life is worth a lot more than you think because you are capable of accomplishing more than you know. You have more potential than you think, buy you will never know your full potential unless you keep challenging yourself and pushing beyond your own self imposed limits." - Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart*
After a few summers of little added challenge, I decided it was time to add some of it to my summer. First off, challenges are relative. What is challenging for one person might be a cakewalk to another.
Challenge #1 - Is hiking with family and friends in the Porcupine Mountains. I enjoy the planning and preparation involved, including the physical preparation. Having done this hike before I know how it feels to tackle in both good and bad physical shape. Being able to relax at the end of the day knowing I'm ready for the next day of hiking is a good feeling.
Challenge #2 - Is riding 62 miles (metric century) in Door County. The ride is called the Peninsula Challenge. I know I need to start preparing now in order the fully enjoy the ride. I especially need to condition my backside to handle so much time in the saddle. This I've learned from experience 😵💫.
Overcoming challenges has many benefits. Here are a few of my favorites.
Here are some benefits of adding challenge to your life.
- Challenge provides learning opportunities.
- Challenge adds focus and structure to each day.
- Challenge builds self-esteem and promotes happiness.
Overcoming challenges help you discover parts of yourself that you never knew were there. You find that many of your limits are self-imposed. When you blast past those limits you unlock a new level of empowerment.
It's also worth noting that great lessons come from failure. I've set goals for myself that I did not meet, but I learned. I learned what not to do. It's an experiential reminder of mistakes you don't want to repeat.
Even in a failed challenge, I end up better off than when I started.
Focus and Structure
When you are working toward a goal it adds focus to your day. You know that if you commit to small actions each day, each one will move your closer to your goal.
If the challenge is big enough some planning will be required. A priority has been set. These priorities help set structure for daily routines which I find comforting. These are tangible reasons to spend less time on social media or to think twice about the type of food I'm eating.
Self-Esteem and Happiness
Bottom line, it feels great to a set goal that's a little scary and then achieve it. With each success, a little extra boost gets added to the self-esteem and happiness tank. It's helpful to keep track of each win and look back.
Each successful challenge completion builds momentum to the next victory. I teach my 8th graders about inertia - or the resistance of an object to change. It's like that with goals as well. It's hard to get started, but once there is some momentum, it becomes easier to keep things going.