Life is full of challenges, big and small. Some challenges fall into our laps like a ticking time-bomb, ready to explode into a disaster at any time. Some challenges arrive at our metaphorical doorstep, invite themselves in, and make themselves at home with no plans of leaving any time soon. Small challenges rise up like the bubbles in your La Croix, and we rise along with these challenges to overcome them on a daily basis. Challenges, big or small, difficult or easy, fun or painful, are scary. There is no getting around that.
When you step outside of your comfort zone, it can be terrifying. You are unfamiliar, uncomfortable, and unaware of the outcome. But as humans, we don’t stray away from our challenges. We like the challenge. When we overcome that challenge, the accomplishment feels so much better than the fear we had when the challenge arose.
We like challenges so much that we seek out challenges for ourselves to overcome on top of all the challenges that land in our lab. Challenges that we seek out are different from the challenges that are handed to us.
These are positive challenges, meaning overcoming these challenges affects us in a positive way. We welcome these challenges with open arms, allowing them a special place in our hearts and minds, because overcoming these challenges brings us closer to who we really are and where we are meant to be.
Without these challenges, we would remain stagnant, never-changing, always doing the same motions day in and day out which can be quite boring. So we challenge ourselves to break that mold. Although it’s scary, we step out of our comfort zone to get closer to a happier self.
Health and Wellness Challenges
There are so many challenges out there in the health and wellness industry. Every week I see a new one, whether it’s a weight loss challenge, a workout challenge, a lifestyle challenge, you name it, there is probably a challenge geared towards it. Some are short; 5 days, 10 days, 21 days. Some are more long-term; 30 days, 6 weeks, 9 weeks.
Some of these challenges follow an all or nothing attitude with black and white rules, either you’re in or your out. Like ripping off a band-aid. Others follow a more lackadaisical approach, making small changes day by day.
The all or nothing challenges are poo-pooed on because of their restrictiveness. The lackadaisical challenges are poo-pooed on because they are too easy to truly invoke change.
However, people who have successfully completed challenges in both camps find one thing in common.
These challenges have taught them something. How to meal prep, how their body reacts to a certain food, how they feel after doing 100 jumping jacks, or how changing one thing in your daily routine can effect your entire day, to name a few.
Every challenge has a tangible end goal: lose ten lbs, lift more weight, run faster, etc. But no matter what the end goal is, the lessons learned during any sort of challenge hold the most value. Even if the end goal is never reached, we must give ourselves grace and reflect on what we have learned from the challenge. It won’t always be a perfect execution, but there will always be something to learn from.
Look past the tangibles.
Challenging ourselves one way or another can lead to something much bigger than the tangible end goal if we let it. If we allow ourselves to look past the tangibles, challenges can act as a spring-board to creating a happier, healthier lifestyle.
I have done many challenges in my life. For weight loss, for self-reflection, for a cleaner house, the list goes on. But one thing I have noticed is that when I focus on the tangible end goal, lose 20 lbs for example, I don’t necessarily learn from it. So when I complete a challenge, I go back to my normal habits and maintaining that tangible goal gets really difficult and usually fails. And that’s frustrating.
It wasn’t until I completed the Whole30 Challenge that I really focused on learning more than losing. I learned so much from the Whole30 and that challenge was truly the spring-board into my healthy lifestyle and I am so thankful for that. You can read more about my Whole30 Challenge here and here.
Since the Whole30, I have continued to make strides towards my weightless goals, but more importantly, I have maintained a healthy, paleo-ish diet that allows me to feel energized, sharp, and most importantly, healthy.
The Take Away
Challenges are always present in our lives and how we choose to deal with them can make a huge difference in the outcome. Health and wellness challenges work the same way. It all comes down to how you approach the challenge. If you are considering taking on some sort of challenge ask yourself these questions:
- Why do I want to do this challenge?
- What is the end goal of this challenge?
- What will I focus on during this challenge?
- What happens if I don’t reach my end goal?
- Am I ready to apply the things I have learned to my every day life?
If your answers are centered around the long-term, big picture goal, that is great! You are totally ready to take on that challenge. With an open and observational mind, you will learn new habits to spring-board you to the life you want.
If your answers are centered around the tangible goal, that’s okay too! But before you start your challenge, do some soul-searching and ask yourself how achieving that tangible goal will improve your life. You might find that your tangible goal is only the surface to your real goals. Only then will you allow yourself to learn and take on new habits to get you to the life you want.
Onto the next challenge!
Its been a couple of months since I completed my Whole30 and I am ready for another challenge. I have decided to do the 21 Day Sugar Detox challenge. This challenge revolves around kicking sugar/carb cravings with a real food approach. With a focus of eating quality protein, healthy fats, and good whole-food carbs, the goal is to change habits around food.
Don’t get me wrong, my habits around food have made a complete 180 since the Whole30, however, from time to time, my cravings for sugary foods can get a little out of control. Recently I have been craving a sweet treat after every meal, which is okay, but I would rather not have those cravings on my mind every single day. Not to mention, relying on my will power to sustain from these cravings can be exhausting, so I want to take the guess-work out of it and say good-bye to my sugar monster.
I will eventually do a post that goes more in-depth about the 21 Day Sugar Detox and my experience with it once I complete my challenge.
If you have any questions about the Whole30 or 21 Day Sugar Detox or any other challenge you are considering, don’t hesitate to reach out! And if this post resonates with you, share it with your family and friends!