Watch out for those who don’t cheer when you win

An image of cheerleaders supporting each other

Going through any kind of change can be tough, even when we feel fairly confident.  So having a cheerleading squad of people around us can really help.  But what happens when those closest to us aren’t cheering?

We should feel supported by those who are closest to us, right?

Sometimes the people who are the most unhelpful are the very people that you would think should be there for you. Whether this is your partner, friends or family, it can really hurt when you feel like you’re having to deal with unsupportive, or even sabotaging, loved ones. Sometimes people don’t share your enthusiasm or vision, or for whatever reason they may feel threatened or worried that what you are gaining from achieving your goals, might take you away from them. Or maybe it highlights an area in their own life where they feel inadequate or insecure, and they could be jealous that you are doing something about it.

I love to see Instagram stories where people are sharing their big and little wins, and it’s also great to see the support that people (often random strangers) give each other.  So it’s sad when you read that people are talking about it on their page because they don’t feel they are getting that support from their loved ones, or they’ve lost friends who are jealous of their achievements or new found confidence.

Realising that not everyone has your best interests at heart is a tough lesson to learn, but you have to keep going to reach your own achievements.  Even if it means doing it alone, or finding support in another form – go find your cheerleaders!

Photo credit: Rojan Maharjan on Unsplash

How To Embrace New Challenges

An image of a hand crossing monkey bars

If you’re looking to make some changes or if you’re feeling stuck, introducing some challenges can be a great way to kickstart change.  Here’s some tips on how to embrace new challenges, and forge ahead!

Accept that a new challenge should be hard…but not insurmountable.   

The purpose of actively choosing to stretch ourselves is the fact that we want to make some sort of growth.  And this will mean becoming uncomfortable.  So be prepared for this.  But it shouldn’t be so much that it completely overwhelms you.

Choose your hard. 

The key is to work out how uncomfortable you are prepared to get.  The bigger the stretch, the more likely it is that your new challenge will involve more time and energy.  So how much are you willing to invest, compared with what you want to achieve?

It doesn’t have to feel like it’s hard work. 

Try choosing challenges around things that you enjoy first, before hitting the really big ones.  We are more likely to stick with something if it involves what we enjoy.   

Appreciate that growth is important if we want to stay physically and mentally alert as we get older. 

If you’re used to thinking that someday in the future, everything in your life will be sorted and you’ll reach a plateau, then you might not see the point of putting yourself through new challenges.  But our bodies and brains need to keep going and as we naturally start to decline,  and our normal functioning will require maintenance.

The more challenges we expose ourselves to, the more we become used to dealing with change. 

The process of taking on a challenge can help to strengthen our resilience and confidence, which means that when we are faced with those unexpected life events or situations, we have a much stronger foundation, and sense of self.  We start to learn how best to support ourselves through challenges, and we become aware of what we need when we’re stressed.  We see that if we’re not getting enough rest or balance for example, then things become out of sync.

So, if you are thinking about making some changes or want to shift, try undertaking some form of small challenges.  Start small by looking at how you can improve on something you already do….this could be a fitness goal, or a daily activity.  Or start adding in some tasks to your weekly routine…start a conversation with someone new,  or visit an unfamiliar place.  

By embracing new challenges, rather than fearing them, we can spark a more creative and curious mindset.  And as you become more comfortable with change, the more you can expand your challenges.

Is Your Comfort Zone A Bit Too Comfortable?

An image of a person wrapped up in a comfy duvet

There’s no better feeling than being all cozy and comfortable, is there? But is your comfort zone a bit too comfortable?

I’ve been talking about challenge this month, as it’s an appropriate theme if you are looking for personal development. Because all of our growth comes through some form of challenge.

But sometimes we’re all good where we are.

Particularly if you’ve been through a rough time already. Maybe external events have taken the stuffing out of you. And goodness knows, we’ve all had our share of that.

In fact, we need some time to recalibrate and catch up with ourselves. Assimilate the learning, if you like.

And it can feel good to just relax and enjoy living for a while, without the stress of having to ‘do’ or ‘be’.

But it’s very tempting when we get into this state, to stay there. And the longer we do, the more difficult it can be to change.

If we’re not used to getting out of our comfort zone every now and then, we can become prone to not trying. We start to experience doubts about our ability. The fear kicks in. We may even actively avoid situations that we know will make us uncomfortable.

We might develop behaviours that we think are keeping us safe. But in fact, these may lead us to avoid taking any action. And because our fears aren’t being tested, we fuel the unhelpful thoughts that keep us stuck.

Have a think about the last time you took on a new challenge.

  • Was it by choice, or did it feel forced?
  • How did you feel before you started? Were you excited about the new opportunity, or did you feel some resistance?
  • How did you feel once you got going? Did it feel better or worse than you expected?
  • Are you more or less likely to take on another challenge now?

We will experience different challenges in different ways. And some will be more welcome than others.

The key is to find a balance between feeling comfortable, whilst still choosing to stretch ourselves.

Next time, I’ll be sharing some ideas of how we can introduce challenge in a more comfortable way, if you need a little nudge out of your comfort zone!


Photo credit: Tracey Hocking on Unsplash

When Does A Challenge Become A Problem?

A small child stands at the bottom of a staircase

We all know that in order to grow, we need to do things we haven’t done before, or that we’re not entirely comfortable with.  But when does a challenge become a problem? And what’s the difference between the two?

Often when we’re faced with a challenge, we see it as a barrier or a problem which is going to stop us moving forwards.  If we’re setting out to achieve a goal, then we’ve usually planned our route and have an idea of where we want to be to, and how we’re going to get there.

But things are rarely that straightforward.  Life happens, and other things get in the way. We might need to make a detour, or rethink our plans.

This much is fairly inevitable.  Think about some of the biggest achievements that you’ve experienced.  Would to say it was an easy and effortless journey?  Or did you need to make some adjustments?

And when you think about that achievement, would it have still felt as special if you hadn’t been tested, or overcome things that you encountered on the way?  I’m guessing not.

And if you have had an experience like this, then it may well have changed your opinion about how you feel about challenges.  Because the more challenges we experience and overcome, the more confident we feel about starting new things.

And we are far more likely to appreciate those things we had to work for, than those which didn’t take as much effort.

But what about problems?  A problem is also something that can cause a barrier or blockage in our progress.  But the real difference between a challenge and a problem is our mindset towards it.

Often when we’re faced with something we perceive to be a problem, we become far more despondent about it.  A problem can involve situations or issues which are outside of our control, as opposed to a challenge which might be calling on us to stretch our own abilities.

Or perhaps we have become so rigid in our thinking that we struggle to see a way around the problem, because we’re lacking in the creativity we need to change course.

When we are active participants in our self development, then challenges are vital in providing us with opportunities to develop new skills and build our inner strength.  It also helps us to be a more open thinker, and helps us to consider the various routes to meeting an outcome, rather than focusing on one sole possibility.

If you find that you get easily put off when things don’t go to plan, or you find it difficult to see how you can overcome issues, then taking some steps introduce challenges into your life can help you to work on growing your confidence.

The more we seek to actively welcome challenges, the more used to them we become.  And we become more aware of our limitations and our potential.

Be willing to take that first step and embrace challenge, and you’ll gain far more than you could by staying where you are.

Photo credit: Jukan Tateisi on Unsplash