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Change by Challenge



I see the knowing glance my friends give each other every time I say with excitement, “so I am starting this challenge…”


I am a total sucker for a challenge. I love them: miles, food, exercise…you name it and I am in. As I gear up for a couple different May challenges, I spent some time reflecting on just what it is that draws me to a challenge. With the right challenge, the positive impact makes the effort worthwhile for many different reasons.


Persevere through boredom: I try to be consistent in practicing the healthy habits that I have developed over the last several years. Sometimes, though, it gets stale. A challenge can shake you out of run and help you maintain consistency.


Opportunity to learn: Let’s face it, we all have something to learn. You may learn that a new way of eating works for you – or that it doesn’t, which can be equally important. Trying something new while challenging yourself will undoubtedly lead to new learning that you can apply going forward.



Community: Probably one of my favorites. I love the collective effort of being part a group of people working toward the same goal. It is comforting to be able to share your struggles as well as your success. It is a great feeling to be able to cheer each other on!


Motivation in tracking: Most challenges will provide a way to track your completion. Tracking provides accountability and also positive reinforcement. Checking of a task completed leads to a sense of accomplishment that is motivating to stay on track.


Defined Time Period: Most challenges are fairly short term which makes goals more incremental and not as overwhelming.


Completing a challenge leads to a feeling of accomplishment. However, the focus must be on what you gained over the course of it rather than completing with perfection. There is value even if you don’t complete it exactly as prescribed. With this in mind finding the right challenge for you is the key to a valuable experience.


Aligned with your Goals

Choose a challenge that will help you work toward your goals. If you are focusing on healthy eating, a challenge can help you develop habits that will lead to achieving your goal. If the challenge does not align with a current goal, you may not be as motivated to persevere.


Timing

It is important to pick a challenge that is a manageable length. The more difficult the task, the more important it is to choose a time frame which the task will be sustainable. In addition, try a challenge when your life is fairly routine. Vacation or hosting houseguests may not be the best time to try a challenge.


High Percentage of Success

If you don’t run – doing a challenge where you are running every day could lead to

injury. Feeling like you are unable to physically or mentally complete the tasks can be defeating and have more of a detrimental affect than not doing a challenge in the first place. Choose a challenge where the tasks are attainable with your lifestyle, schedule, and likes.


Every challenge I have done has sparked growth. I remind myself it is not about perfection and that the real reward comes in trying some different and doing a little better than before. So are you ready? Think about where you would like to do a little better. I guarantee that there is a challenge out there that is right for you.




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