Typically at the start of a new year our media and social media is filled with people and programs inviting (or pressing) us to take on a “challenge” that will supposedly help us to reach our goals this year – when we have not been able to achieve them before.
The challenge could be for diet / weight loss / gym / clutter / running / stress / quit smoking / drink less / drink more water / save money / dating / romance / reading
What I am interested in, as a coach, is how you react to the word “challenge” – in fact how each of us react to the word. What feelings come up for you when you are challenged?
Does it feel like a duel? (like in the old days with pistols or swords and to the death)
Do you feel inspired and encouraged?
Are you afraid of trying it in case you fail?
Are there feelings of anger or being judged as inadequate?
Or is it just another word?
Given the proliferation of challenges I suspect that the vast majority of the population feels and experiences some kind of emotional response to the word challenge and that the promoters behind it rely on that. You see it is typically emotion that compels us to act rather than merely a thought or logic. In fact I will go so far as to say that the promoters rely on a negative emotional response to the word challenge as humans usually respond faster and “better” to a negative emotion – we will move if in pain, take action if hungry, resist pain and so it goes on.
Think about the last time you ate a treat – was it because you thought “oh it’s about time for my weekly or monthly treat food? Or did you feel a craving or a desire for that treat food and then logically agree because you’ve been “good” so far this week/month?
Can you identify the emotional element to that internal exchange? And we all have those internal exchanges between logic and emotion, perhaps not only about food.
As we begin a new year perhaps it is time to refocus a little and perhaps you do want to make a change or do something differently.
May I encourage you to “agree” with yourself to make that change or make that difference rather than to challenge yourself. Particularly if the word has negative emotional connotations for you.
Agree with yourself to make some changes in order to create different outcomes than you have before.
Agree with yourself to commit to the goals you have set – in whatever area of your life – home or work or relationships or fitness or family.
Agree with yourself to engage a coach to support and encourage you to keep the commitment you make to yourself.
Agree to connect with someone who will be your supporter, cheer squad and “critical friend” when needed (the critical friend is the one who asks the tricky question of why you did something that was different to what you said you intended to)
Wishing you all the best for 2016.
May you deliver on all your agreements to yourself and make positive differences to yourself and to those around you.