Challenges. We all face them. Some challenges we gladly accept but others we wish would have never happened. Some challenges we have control over and others we don't. However, in the end every challenge we face can make us better and stronger or, if we let it, the challenge can defeat us.
Here are a couple of definitions of the word challenge that I really like and will be focusing on.
Challenge - noun - a call to engage in a contest or fight.
Challenge - verb - issue a challenge to.
Over about the past year I have had several challenges. The most fun challenges have been the one's that have been issued to me by someone else. I love a great challenge! Here are just a few of the challenges I have faced this past year.
A few months ago my boot camp instructor issued a challenge to the class. The challenge was to do 100 push-ups. She told us about the 100 push-ups website (http://hundredpushups.com/) and challenged us to go check it out and so I did. A class or two later she asked us why we thought she gave us the 100 push-ups challenge. The class gave a wide range of answers. She told us she gave us the challenge because you can do push-ups anywhere, no equipment needed, but most of all she was hoping that we would do the push-ups at home or the office or somewhere were others were watching us and they would want to join in.
A few weeks later she asked who was doing the challenge. I was doing the challenge but I was really having a hard time with it. We would do push-ups in every class and then I would try to do more on my own and it just wasn't happening. Also, a couple of weeks into the challenge I hurt my elbow somehow and found out that I had a partially torn tendon, which brought on other challenges. However, doing push-ups was out of the question so I never finished the challenge. I have thought seriously about starting the challenge again but I haven't. We still do a lot of push-ups in class and it is hard to do more later. I know there are a lot of people on this site who are doing this challenge so maybe I will start it again. Even though I never completed that challenge I did complete the 200 squats challenge from the same website.
Another challenge that I have just completed was the New Year's Challenge through the local YMCA. The challenge this year started in mid-December and ran through March 1. The challenge was simple, or so I thought, complete 180 minutes of cardio each week and strength train 3 times each week focusing on major muscle groups and incorporating a balance between upper body, lower body and core. There would also be sudden challenges issued that you could complete. If you completed the challenges you would be entered for special prizes at the end of the New Year's Challenge.
So the challenge starts and I am off and running. No problems. Well, until about the third week that is. Then all of a sudden I started having pain in my foot. That would limit the cardio that I could do for the next couple of weeks. Also, a sudden challenge was issued at that time but I was out of town. So I contacted the person in charge and did the same thing just at a different place.
January comes and I am finally back to normal and everything is going fine again. At the beginning of February I started having knee and quad pain that would not go away. I found out that I had a knee injury (ACL, meniscus, and patella irritation). So once again I was limited in what I could do. However, this time I wasn't just limited to what cardio I could do but I also could not do lower body strength training, or at least not anything that would put stress on my knee. So once again, that was another challenge in and of itself. I contacted the person in charge and let them know that I would do what I could do. I kept going and did end up completing the challenge, which turned out to be more of a challenge than I had expected. As for the prizes for the sudden challenges, I will find out this Saturday if I won anything or not.
My boot camp instructor issued another challenge to us at the beginning of January. Her challenge to us this time was to drink 100 oz water per day for 2 weeks and then report back to her about how we did. At first I thought there is no way I could drink 100 oz of water a day but then I thought, OK why not at least try it. So I started, that day even. I figured I had already drank 80 oz of water that day so what was another 20.
A few days later I found out what another 20 was, it was torture. I felt as if my body could not hold any more water and I didn't know how I was going to make it to 100 that day but I decided to keep going. I figured my body would get used to it and it would eventually get easier and it did. Most days during the 2 week period I did drink 100 oz of water. There were a 2 or 3 days though that 80 was all I could handle. However, at the same time I stopped drinking Coke. I was drinking so much water I didn't have time to drink much of anything else. That 2 week challenge has turned into almost 2.5 months and I still haven't had a Coke. I have had sweet tea once or twice but that is it.
I am still rehabilitating the knee but hopefully that challenge will be over soon too!
Next time you are issued a challenge or asked to engage in a contest why not take advantage of it and let the challenge help you meet your goals? So what are you waiting for? What's your next challenge? Maybe you need to be the one to issue the challenge to help someone else.