Balancing challenging yourself and taking care of yourself for healthy personal growth

As I sat down to write this week my mind was a blank, so I turned to two of my friends in despair and asked for inspiration. One came back with the answer: Write about how you shouldn’t be afraid of your own limits, challenge them. The other came back with: Write about that about you need to be in balance before you can you grow stronger in your day to day life

I know chalk and cheese right?

Or maybe not….

I realised that both of these answers were actually about the same thing growing in life by challenging yourself and by taking care of yourself. But how do you walk the fine line between the two? How do you both challenge and take care of yourself?

We all know that challenging yourself and taking care of yourself are essential parts of life. Without challenging ourselves we don’t grow and without taking care of ourselves we don’t have the energy to grow.  Both boil down to self-care. Many people think that self-care is simply remembering to take time out or have that me time. However, self-care is also about stretching ourselves, overcoming challenges and pushing ourselves to be the best version of ourselves. In pushing yourself to grow you explore the full being of your potential and by doing that from a healthy place of balance in your life you give yourself the best possible foundations to grow from.  

If you want to push back your boundaries and meet a new challenge head on this spring then here is a guide to how you can create a balanced foundation of self-care so you can grow healthily in your life today.

Identify how you want to challenge yourself

Be very clear about how you want to challenge yourself. How do you want to grow? We all have limited or limiting beliefs. By pushing them we expand our boundaries. So where is it you want to grow too? Brainstorm all the possible things that are challenging for you in your life and then from each challenge identify where you want to get to with each challenge. Is it you want to lift more weights at the gym, even though right now 2 kilos feels like 100, or do you want to go to more social events, despite your shy introvert nature? Get clear about your goals.

Are you in a strong place right now?

Look at your life. Really look. How much time do you have? How much energy do you have right now? What are your responsibilities? How much time and energy have you got that you can dedicate to meeting a challenge right now? Really analyse what is going on for you. There is no point in saying you will go to the gym for 2 hours every day if you, in reality, can only fit in 2 trips a week.  Do a life MOT and clear up your life a bit before you decide to plot in your challenges.

Choose 1 or 2 challenges to start with

Don’t overload yourself. If you try and challenge everything at once this is a recipe for failure. Choose 1 or max 2 challenges to go for right now.  Make sure they fit in with the time and energy you have available. Or that you can make the time and energy available.

Plan your baby steps

Rome wasn’t built in a day. It takes small actions to overcome a challenge. What are the baby steps? What will be the level-up landmark points? Make a timeline of how you want to meet your challenge and put the dates in your diary.  Check in on your progress each week.

Get support

Pushing yourself can be scary. Sometimes you will get demotivated. Sometimes you will fall off the wagon and need help to get back on. So make sure you have someone to support you.  Before you choose a person work out how you might need them to help. Do you need someone to help you be accountable? Or do you need someone to help motivate you when you want to quit? Then ask for the help you need before you need it.

Plan some rewards and some breaks

When we have achieved something we feel great. And nothing gives a good hit of dopamine-like a reward for a job well done. Plan some rewards for when you have successes. And make sure you celebrate your achievements. Equally important is to plan breaks. Pushing yourself is all well and good but push too hard and you will snap. Plan when you will push and when you will press pause.

Keep an eye on your energy levels

If the car isn’t running at optimal it will be harder to get up the hill. Keep an eye on your energy levels. It may be that you need to have a downtime day or that what you thought was a baby step is actually a mountain you need to scale. Take your time and listen to your body. Physically and emotionally. Just because you have low energy doesn’t mean you quit you just move the finishing line a little.

Keep it real

Don’t get complacent keep checking in with your goals. Be aware of what you are doing and how you are moving forward. If you are not making headway, find out why not. What can you do about it? Do you need to push harder or in a different direction?

Daily check-in

Each day, at the beginning of the day, ask yourself two very important questions.

  1. How will I challenge myself today?
  2. How will I take care of myself today?

Decide on the actions you will take that day for both and do them. This keeps the challenge and the care relevant to your energy levels on a day to day basis.

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The biggest trick to finding the balance of self-care when challenging yourself is to be conscious of your progress and conscious of what you need. Don’t expect to move mountains in a day. Keep a steady pace and keep going.  With conscious planning and attention, we can eventually move mountains whilst taking care of ourselves.

HAve a great week <3

Challenges are what makes life interestingovercoming them is what makes life meaningful

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