Fitness, Guest Contributors, Stuff We Love, Transitions

Challenges for the Soul

IMAG0135Think about the word ‘challenge’ for a minute. Does it scare you? Excite you? Make you want to run away? All of the above? For me, it kind of stops my heart for a few brief seconds as I carefully think about what it is that I will be challenged to. Do I want to do this? Can I do this? But most important, will I be able to finish the challenge? I remember nervously signing up for my first half marathon and although I signed up for fun, questions began filling up my head: Could I finish the 12 miles? What if I have to go to the bathroom during the event? and the worse one of all, what if I pass out from exhaustion or dehydration? Turned out, I had a blast. No, I did not pass out from heat overkill and yes, I did have to go to the bathroom in the middle of the race where there were no portable toilets around and yes, I couldn’t walk the next day and was in absolute pain, but I couldn’t wait to do another one. I finished my challenge and was darn proud of my accomplishment.

So why then does the word ‘challenge’ make people so afraid? Is it because that word is associated with being more negative then positive? Or is it because we prefer the easy way out rather than having to deal with the hard work that challenges come with? It wasn’t until I watched Matt Cutts do a talk for TED on a topic entitled: “Try Something new for 30 days” that I started to view the word ‘challenge’ as a positive rather than a negative. In his talk he challenged people to try something they’ve always wanted to do. His idea was that anyone could do something for 30 days if they really wanted to do it. He also said that for him, he was more likely to stick with those challenges in the long run. The more he talked the more I wanted to take him on. It sounded fun and exciting as I thought of all these creative things I could do.

My first challenge began in September and my goal was to eliminate all sweets/desserts. This was hard particularly because I have had a sweet tooth since I was a little girl, but I promised myself that I would complete this challenge and with great will power, I did. I even lost a few pounds. I was stoked and Matt was right. I no longer crave sweets as much as I did and I did not buy a single bag of candy for Halloween. This month I challenged myself to eat a salad a day. So far I have not faltered. I feel healthy and clean.

It’s amazing how 30 days can transform and inspire you. I look forward to the upcoming months when I will try something new for 30 days and I challenge all of you to do something new too!