Why is a challenge so challenging?
We embark on a new workout routine. We expand our job description or search for a new career. Cope with a health scare or condition. We end a relationship or start a new one, move town, etc. Every challenge has its own set of challenges. As you write up your New Year’s Resolutions, also note the aspects of your life that will need to change. This is when most people give up because just thinking about everything you have to do to change is overwhelming. Any change brings up uncomfortable situations and often the challenge is more about dealing with the discomfort than the actual change.
This is why most resolutions don’t stick. We get excited about the outcome and forget about the journey. We love consistency and familiarity even if it’s unhealthy for us, so the moment you decide to do something different or a mini-challenge within the larger one comes up, you may be willing to give up and return back to what’s known and comfortable. Your mind will play tricks on you, creating barriers to your ability to reach your goals. You may blame yourself or the timing. Maybe you were reaching too high or maybe you’re not meant to have what you want. Feelings of anger, doubt, frustration creep in and you think of giving up. Being aware of these thoughts and feelings does help if you understand them. Instead of staying stuck in the “this is so hard, maybe it’s not meant for me” re-evaluate your plan of action and refocus your energies on different aspects of the plan to help you succeed.
Experiences are our greatest teachers and judgment, our biggest derailment. With each new challenge, assess what is working for you and what needs to change. When you observe your actions from a place of compassion instead of judgment, you are able to move along closer to your goal. Why? Because you are acting from a place of love and care, not criticism and torture. We quickly associate unrelated things to each other- the Pavlov theory. So, if you associate a major challenge with inner criticism thinking that will propel you to succeed, guess what? You will do it and hate it until you give up and return to your old ways. And then, you will feel even worse because the whole purpose of undergoing this challenge was to escape the icky feelings from before. What about *trying* to align the challenge with a positive attribute for you because it comes from a place of self-care and improvement? You may be more curious and welcoming of the mini-challenges within the main one. You may find that you learned way more than what you could have imagined starting out.