This article is part of a series of articles which the goals are to help you be more successful in your personal challenges. These tips come from my personal experience as well as from the feedback from participants of Challengers (30 day challenges).
Challenges stated in this article can be of many sorts, but in any case are targeting long lasting challenges (i.e. habit creation or new skill learning) which require daily action or near daily action.
Tip 4: Vary the difficulty
So you’ve started your challenge and have been doing so for a few days. Are you starting to feel tired of your challenge, or maybe you think it is too monotonous? That can easy happen, and it probably happens to most of us eventually.
This can be in part explained that we tend to underestimate the difficulty of a challenge before you actually get into it. But that doesn’t explain everything. We are able to follow up for a few days, so why can’t we continue at the same rhythm?
The answer is, the body and the mind simply get tired, and we need to regularly recover from our efforts. Even professional athletes need some time to recover. They train most of the days of the week, but only a few of those days will they actually push themselves. What do they do the rest of the days you ask? They take it easy, allowing their body to recover from the previous day. For those running, you maybe heard of the term “recovery run”, basically is the day following an intense training you are going to still go running, but at a slow pace and a short distance.
And here is the important concept: allow your body and mind to recover, but by making your challenge easy every other day. This has the advantage of allowing to be better performing on the intense days, and to break the monotonous cycle.
Here is a typical running training program. You can use it as an inspiration to make out your own plan:
– Monday: easy run
– Tuesday: easy run
– Wednesday: speed run
– Thursday: easy run
– Friday: acceleration run
– Saturday: easy run
– Sunday: Long run
Another important variable we often forget is… life. Yes, life. Have you got any day that has gone exactly according to plan ever? Never have I. And to be honest, I kind of like this unexpectedness in life, but we certainly need to learn to deal with it.
And here varying the difficulty is crucial. We have our plan, but it never goes as we expect. So as you get those variables in your life, adjust your challenge according to it. Someday you will be tired and will reduce your challenge to the minimum to be satisfied. Some days you will feel better or will get more free time and will be able to push a bit more for longer.
No one can decide for yourself, you have to learn to listen to your mind and body. But given the time, you will become more comfortable and more efficient in what you challenge yourself of doing.
Next tip: Adapt