Throughout our lives, we consistently create personal challenge challenges for ourselves. Some come in stages; for example, buying a car, building a house, or getting a promotion. Others can be set up through daily actions; like waking up early, eating healthy or getting to the gym. The flow-on effect from creating a personal challenge is potent. I’ve made many different challenges for myself over the years. Some I have accomplished, and others I have failed many times. But one of the most extraordinary things about consistently setting a target to reach is the ability and confidence to improve.
The one thing I’ve noticed is each time I set a new personal challenge, whether it’s increasing my weekly gym training load or coming up with new ideas to write about, I always start with a belief, which results in resilience. The belief stems from my accomplishments, and the strength stems from failures. I’ve put together five stages a personal challenge creates, designed to simplify the benefits from what you set out to achieve, no matter where you are in life.
Stage 1: A Personal Challenge Belief
Believe, and you’re halfway there. Without belief, there is no action. While the action is the key ingredient to achievement, it is the belief that gets us there. Scientists used to believe that humans responded to data coming into the brain from the outside world. We now know that we react to our previous experiences and what we expect to happen next. Our mind is a powerful tool, and positive expectation is what creates belief. If you want to achieve a personal challenge, like lose weight or wake up earlier, it is simply a choice and a discipline of the mind.
Using visualization can be used as a way to implement belief. It’s not necessarily a meditating practice but a way to stop and think about what you want. Visualizing will naturally create motivation, inspiring you to start believing. I continually imagine having my book published and in my hands, and I’m not far off. When you visualize, you unexpectedly begin to do things that get you closer to your goals. For example, if you’re seeking a promotion, you may find yourself taking on more responsibility and taking more risks in your professional life. When you believe in yourself and the possibility of success, it raises the probability. As the probability increases, so does the likelihood of action.
Stage 2: Applying Action
When setting a personal challenge, It’s often the case we don’t know where to start. When this happens, we can begin to get overwhelmed, and our thoughts start to push us further away from reaching our goals. The key is to start small. Before I started writing, I didn’t have a website and, truthfully, had no idea how to build one. I outsourced this task to someone who could be more effective while I focused on writing content. Once my website was ready, I learned how to use it. I taught myself how to publish articles, update images, search engine optimization and use relevant plugins. When there’s an initial goal that becomes overwhelming, don’t be afraid to outsource your route.
-A person looking to lose 30kg may outsource by hiring a personal trainer to help them find direction in weight loss.
-A person looking to build a website may outsource by hiring a website developer to help them find direction in their business.
-A person looking to write a book may outsource by working with an editor to help them find direction in their work.
-A person looking to become a top-level manager may outsource by investing in skills and workshops to reach their challenge
These types of action are what gives us an outline in finding a route to work through. Once we have direction, it still won’t be clear. The design becomes a maze where you need to focus on two types of action to work your way through.
The specific tasks that you have identified to accomplish something or move toward your goal. They are the steps you take to reach certain milestones. How many times a week will you exercise? What steps in your business plan do you intend to take over the next three months? These actions are specific and are relevant to the result of your personal challenge.
Your habits are what supports you to reach your goals. These are actions systematically set up in which you perform at a specific time in the day. Practices help provide structure and routine, helping accelerate your planned action. They are a way to invest and compound your efforts over time, where your ability to manage stress and maintain focus improves.
When you get intentional about what actions you take, you can use them to your advantage. You can create habits that work for you, and you can use them to support your planned actions and end goal. Working through the maze with action brings small achievements and milestones, but you will encounter failure along the way. The key is to expect it and not turn away.
Stage 3: Working Through Failure
Fear of failure, perfectionism, distractions, and a lack of self-belief are all logical reasons we fail. Often, when we fail, we allow ourselves to stop taking actions that help us achieve our personal challenge. We should have faith in ourselves and start to shift our inner dialogue from ‘not good enough to ‘more than enough. If our inner critic takes the lead on self-talk, then it’s more than likely we aren’t feeling good enough. We can become aware and understand two ideas where we can work through the times of failure.
1. Understanding Failure Should Be Your Motivation.
We’ve been taught to believe that it’s because of poor performance, impaired judgment, and bad luck when we fail. We link failure with the colour red (to stop) and success with the colour green (to keep going). In reality, we are stronger and more courageous when we fail. It’s a sign of improvement, so we should recognize that failure is growth, and if we’re not making mistakes, we are not learning.
2. Take Risks When we take risks, we generally overestimate the chances of something going wrong. We focus on magnifying in our imagination and, in return, causes us to misjudge an outcome of a situation. The reality is, the likelihood is often a far better return than we imagine it out to be.
Overcome failure by leveraging on your mistakes and making a realistic assessment. Having the ability to live with the downside, control your emotions and experiment with new approaches is what brings resilience. Failure is a link process of achievement.
Stage 4: Becoming Resilient
Resilience is the ability to recover from failure. Your chances of success are also dependent on your resilience and willingness to persevere. You have two options when you fail: Become self-defeated or become resilient and encouraged. Perseverance requires a goal, passion and patience. It requires a personal challenge. The absence of resilience can predispose us to overwhelming conditions and place us in a feeling of hopelessness.
When we fail, we learn to adjust and adapt to circumstances. Implementing new practices strengthens our capacity to demonstrate resilience and accomplish more. The bottom line: When resilient, we can accept new challenges that are thrown our way. We’re able to manage the impact of adversity, and through our experiences, we can achieve our end goal.
Stage 5: Feeling Accomplishment
One of my favourite authors, Ryan Holiday, shared a great insight in one of his interviews. When in the middle of publishing a book, he would always make sure there was another book he was working on. When you think about it, life is consistently setting challenges and striving for personal success. But what’s it all for? Of course its the satisfaction of personal accomplishment and how proud your family and friends would be. But when you reach accomplishment, it gives you a springboard to jump into something more. Think of it this way: A teenager may become a rookie in their chosen sport. The rookie then moves into the professional ranks, then into the category of elite. All those small accomplishments along the way give them a belief to move into the next phase.
Continuing The Personal Challenge Journey
But achievements are not about the goal itself. It’s the journey taken to get us there. It’s the belief that turns into action, where our failure and resilience define us. Working our way through the maze to achieve an end result brings out the best in us. Once you reach a goal, take time to enjoy the view and give yourself credit for what you’ve done. Use that time to recharge and reflect on your success, and use that journey of experience to reach something else.