We all need a challenge to keep us on track

2015 has come and gone. Sure, it’s “nice” to look back at what a wonderful job you did and give yourself a big pat on the back, but please, keep it brief.

Now is the perfect time to set yourself a new challenge. The year takes off with or without us so don’t get caught napping! No-one likes playing catch up for 11 months.

The word “Challenge” can have many meanings but in this case, I’m referring to the following meaning:A task or situation that tests someone’s abilities.

A challenge, whether it’s professional or personal is great for our growth, confidence and mental wellbeing. It’s kind of like those gutter guards at a tenpin bowing alley, it’ll stop us from veering off the path by bumping us back on track when we falter. It helps us to maintain motivation and focus while also adding to the pool of mental resources we can draw on.

We need to approach a challenge with vigour and dogged determination. This way, we will reach our goal sooner and with greater success.

To optimise your ability to rise to the challenge, it’s crucial to be absolutely crystal clear on the reason “why” you’ve issued that particular challenge in the first place. It must also be a compelling reason. Does it add value to your life in a massive way? If something deep down in your bones isn’t driving you to succeed, perhaps it’s wise to rethink your challenge.

Oh, and forget about all those sparkly New Years resolutions you made a couple of weeks back. A recent study found that only 8% of New Years resolutions are actually fulfilled. Instead, why not lay all those resolutions out in front of you, pick the most important one, convert it into a challenge with a tangible outcome and get cracking?

Make whatever your challenge is count. Make it essential to your life, ensure it has the scope to improve your life. It will keep you focussed, stretch you, test you… it will ensure you stay well and truly on your toes (or foot shells, stumps… or whatever you have down there!)

Don’t overdo it either – one challenge is more than enough to focus on for the year, but keep in mind the key word in the definition above – “Test” It must test you!

When setting your challenge for 2016, ask yourself these 4 key questions:

1. How important is it that I rise above and beyond this challenge?
(Answer must contain the words “bloody important” if not, try again…)

2. Will this stretch me, test me, twist me, turn me and spit me out a better person?

3. Will successfully overcoming the challenge enrich my life immensely?

4. Is my challenge actionable and tangible? Is there a clear end goal I’m aiming toward or is it just another doomed New Years resolution?

While the end goal of successfully overcoming your challenge is the focus. Don’t forget to take a moment or two to enjoy yourself on your journey to it!

What challenge will you set for yourself in 2016?