by Darrin Schenck

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by Darrin Schenck

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Have you really thought about this?  In some cases, your job will require a challenge of you, trying to get you to go above and beyond the call of duty, but I mean on a personal level.  Think about this…

Many people are looking for the easy way through life, trying to avoid any real effort that calls for more than “just enough”.  The term Quiet Quitting has gotten popular lately, and the idea is that you show up at work and do the bare minimum to get by.  It seems that lots of people take this approach to life in general, but there is little to be gained from this approach.

As an athlete for much of my life, it is engrained that the only way you are able to get ahead it to do more than most of those around you.  It has to be quality work, of course, sheer output is not enough.  But when you can put in more time than others, work harder than most if not all of your competitors, that is how you theoretically achieve results.  Not everyone is cut out to be an athlete, or has a reason for this lifestyle.  But that does not mean that you can’t use this same mindset to will help you move forward and achieve whatever goals you may have.  So even if you are not trying to win the next tournament, you can use daily or weekly challenges to rise above your current status.

One thing that you can do to challenge yourself is to use exercise as a way to expand your capacity to handle more.  Exercise has a multitude of benefits, but one that may not jump to the forefront is using the struggle of working out in some form to increase your capacity for dealing with adversity.  Challenges are part of life, and adversity goes hand in hand with it.  So if you can increase your ability to struggle to suffer, and to face adversity and weather that storm, you are on the right track.  Anything that is a struggle is going to be helpful; yoga, martial arts, weight lifting, hiking and more all fit the criteria for testing your resolve and learning to handle more and give in less often.  There are plenty of other things that fall into these physical challenges, such as sauna and cold plunge exposures.  Both have tremendous health benefits that are well worth adding both into your life, but one of the other benefits is to test your resolve and “practice” doing something that is tough.  I can handle the sauna sessions pretty easily, but my recent challenge for myself is the cold plunge.  I am not going to lie, it sucks.  It is tough, and I do not like it one bit…which is exactly why I am forcing myself to do it.

Another type of challenge that you can add into the mix is a change your diet.  So many of us are guilty of eating too many cheeseburgers, fast food, drinking soda, etc. that we know is not healthy and is lazy at its origin.  But it is so easy to use the convenience of these “resources” when we are in a hurry, don’t want to take the time to cook at home, or in some cases don’t know how to cook.  It is so much more cost effective and, when done correctly, far healthier when you cook at home versus buying your meals out.  Just look at the price of a drink at Starbucks versus making it at home.  Perfect example, I love Chai tea, and used to hit the drive through and pay $5.50 for it on a regular basis.  Now, I buy a BOX of 12 Servings for the same price and make it at home.  Do the math, and I am saving myself $61 a WEEK by doing this.  It takes a small amount of discipline to do it, and that’s it.  I use this as an additional “challenge” for myself in conjunction with all of my other diet parameters as well.  I do Intermittent Fasting, I load my protein intake to the front half of my day, and eat more carbs at night to help me sleep.  Cooking for myself gives me more control over what I eat, the quality of what I eat, and of course how much I spend to do so.

I don’t drink alcohol, it is not my thing.  I just don’t have the taste for it.  But one of my big vices is anything sugary; I love soda and candy and breakfast cereals, you name it.  I know it is bad for my health, it increases inflammation in my body, etc. and yet I have trouble avoiding it.  As I write this blog, I have a headache from lack of sugar, as I am in the process of detoxing from a recent lack of discipline in this area.  I look at it as a challenge, and I welcome a challenge when I know that I have something to be gained from it.  So my question for you in this area is: what are your challenges and how can you use it to challenge yourself?  I am sure that you have room for improvement, almost everyone does.  So sit down and figure out what the obvious place to start, and simply begin there.  If you are a 12 pack a weekend guy or a half dozen White Claw girl on weekends, step back and look at that objectively and evaluate what that does for you.  Some obvious things are money spent, hours wasted sleeping in the next day, possibly poor behavior choices, and more.  A little challenge to this particular thing might have a great pay off for you.

The worst thing you can do is to proverbially “bite off more than you can chew” when it comes to challenging yourself.  If you want to become a vegetarian, DO NOT make this decision and go home and throw away an animal-based product in your home thinking this is the way to change your lifestyle.  You will likely fail if you take this approach; don’t over-estimate your own willpower and your discipline by taking this angle.  You need to slowly adapt your life to include this new approach, phase your way into being a vegetarian.  Yes, you will benefit from the challenge of becoming a vegetarian, but don’t set yourself up for failure.  It is not easy to be a vegetarian, it takes discipline.  This is an example of a great practice for increasing your capacity to handle more, but again, you need to ease your way into it.

I cannot stress enough that you need to find ways to challenge yourself on a daily and weekly basis.  It is for your own good, as you will need to handle difficulties in the future, so why not get ready now.  Don’t take the easy way through life.  Take the stairs instead of the escalator, say no to another round of beers, get your butt in the gym and work out.  The benefits are numerous, and you will live at a higher level when you do.  It will and should be incremental improvement, as you slowly add to your own ability to handle adversity and life’s challenges.  You need to be responsible for your own well-being, and in my  opinion this is a key part of it.

As always, I wish you luck in your endeavors…

 

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