first readers mail, subject contributed by Anna

Making life hard for yourself: A beginners guide to setting yourself challenges.

Definition and interpretation.

Collected from
-5. difficulty in a job or undertaking that is stimulating to one engaged in it.

A task has to be overcome, and you need to feel stimulated while at it. Check.

Background: Why do we challenge ourselves?

Some see the sport in challenges; others do it because they believe it necessary. The one thing they all have in common is that we do it because we want to. The whole business is optional, but still everybody does it.

As to why that is so one can only speculate. I personally believe that we do it because we can, because to us it's not desirable to be static. And to challenge oneself is a good way of being both busy and accomplishing something at the same time.  

Step one: Planning

It's good to at least once sit down and consider these following questions:

What kind of challenge are you interested in? Is it physical or psychological? Is there a race that you really want to win? Are you in pursuit of changing some part of your demeanor or personality?

Why are you challenging yourself? Are you challenging yourself for your own sake or because of someone else?

How are you going to accomplish the challenge? Do you have everything you need in terms of equipment? Are you motivated enough to actually put yourself through all this hardship?

When are you going to challenge yourself? Will you start today, or might it be better to await the weekend? Don't postpone it when there's no use, but don't rush into it either. There's a good time for everything: when's the good time for you and this?

Step two: Implementation

Set a goal. A goal for when you've reached it the challenged is considered accomplished. May it be a certain amount of kilos to be able to lift or the total stop of usage of swear words. Be sure to have a clear goal.

Ask for help. Swallow your pride: Alone you're strong, but with the help of others you can get even stronger. Make people partake in the challenge with you. Discuss your progress with friends and your mentor/trainer.  Make the challenge a part of your everyday life, not something that only gets a certain amount of attention. But mind you, don't overdo it, as with so much else the middle road is often the best one; not nothing, but not too much either.

Reward yourself. Once you've done it, congratz! You've done well and you should reward yourself accordingly. A step often overlooked by many, which is only for the bad. Remember that not all rewards are material; one day off might be reward enough as long as you're savoring it.  


Bottom line:

One cannot stress enough the fact that the first step (the planning) is the most important one in this process, and it's never a bad thing to actually sit down and write the answers to all the questions. A bothering process, but a very good one.


Compliment added by Olle:

When you are done setting a goal, you write down five outcomes, ranging from the worst imaginable to the best. It is also important to set a time for evaluation, you can pick any length of time you want, but prefferably something like ten weeks.

It looks like this:

When I will start:

How long untill evaluation:

+2: Best anticipated success
+1: More than expected success
0: Expected level of success
-1: Less than expected success
-2: Most unfavorable outcome thought likely


I wanted to improve my dance technique, and realised that to do so I had to practice more. 

Startdate: Right after a big exam so I wouldn't feel stressed.

How long until evaluation: 10 weeks.

The five levels of success:

+2, I practice every day
+1, I practice five days every week
0, I practice atleast 3 days every week
-1, I practice less than three days every week
-2, I dont practice at all, at most one day each week.

During these ten weeks I would keep a diary where I wrote how I was doing. Importantly, every day I didn't reach my goal I would try to identify why I didn't and come up with a solution to how I would solve this the next time this situation came up. For example, Certain days I would go to school for eight hours, go straight to work and then be home at 8.30 pm. I'd be so exhausted that I couldnt muster the energy to dance. To solve this I got up half an hour earlier each morning. I tried that but it didn't work that well either, so instead I split up the training into two 15 min sessions and started doing one at lunch and one directly after school before work. This worked out really well.

The key is to identify the hindering factors and come up with realistic solutions. This takes practice, but don't be afraid to be honest with yourself. For example me getting up half an hour earlier each morning was simply not a realistic solution :) What I find nice about this technique is that it helps against the "all or nothing" mindset where one sets impossibly high goals and then stop all activity when these cannot be attained.

Marcus note:

What he said :)~

Postat av: Olle

Här har apostrof maffian varit i farten :) lol

2008-11-03 @ 16:18:31
Postat av: Anonym

"apostrofmaffian" sådär, innan du amäler till

2008-11-03 @ 16:21:52

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