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Challenge Accepted

Challenge Accepted

Challenge Accepted

 By Charity Hagains MA, LPC-S-S

You may recall that last month I was honored to be included as a motivational speaker for Elumandme’s two month challenge kick off to raise money for the Cleveland Clinic heart department. Founded by Teresa Martinez, Elumandme is an inspirational organization created to motivate people to get fit, reach their goals, and often, run half marathons.  Teresa’s story is one of true courage; her life after having experienced both the physical and emotional trauma of a sudden cardiac arrest, while crossing the Indiana half marathon finish line is the definition of a champion.

Teresa’s innate energy is so indescribably motivational that it feels contagious.  You can’t help but feel empowered and excited just by being around her.  As we walked towards the small group gathered amongst the tall trees surrounding the Katy Trail, the chill in the air melted away as excitement welled up in it’s place.

Angela and I both spoke about how to get motivated and more importantly, how to stay motivated.  A challenge for anyone who starts a new venture is gathering the energy to do so.  As anyone who has been there can tell you…that energy fades quickly.  Even more rapidly when faced with difficult, logical obstacles. For myself balancing the many roles I play (mother, writer, business owner, friend) is what creates difficulty on my journey to become my best-self.  For Angela a broken bone and numerous knee and ankle injuries stood between her and her finish-line.  For Teresa, a hereditary heart defect and major cardio-thorasic surgery were the road blocks she smashed through.

Surrounded by this incredible group of people, we discussed what holds us back and keeps us from reaching our goals.  We then addressed how we can each use those challenges as ways to help us rather than hinder us.  By drawing on the success we feel when we overcome hardship, we can use that feeling of accomplishment to face down our next difficult moment.

Because our unconscious self-talk plays such a large part in keeping us from our success, we also examined how to recognize those things we say to ourself and analyze their falsity.  Mantra’s such as “I’m tired,” “I’m hungry,” “I can’t,” “I don’t care,” and “I don’t know,” hold us back.  Recognizing what we are telling ourselves and recreating positive statements of self-compassion and encouragement keeps us moving forward towards our personal finish-lines.

Near the end of our talk Teresa asked each of us to share our personal two month challenge.  To be honest, I hadn’t expected such a task which completely threw me off.  As the group members began to speak I felt a surge of motivation.  I hadn’t known it, but I did have a challenge for myself.  It wasn’t until that moment that I realized how badly I wanted to accept that challenge.  When it was my turn to speak, I said that I had been realizing how thinly I was stretched.  March wraps up “illness season” in my house, so for the past few weeks I had been up all night wiping noses and giving medicine.  My days were a juggling act between sick kiddos, child care, work, and doctor visits.  In addition I was knee deep in new projects at the office, and (what felt like was) too many social commitments.  To say I was overwhelmed would be laughable.  It wasn’t until Teresa asked me to make a commitment to myself that I realized my unconscious was begging me for one.

Out loud I said, “I challenge myself to make ME a priority – to put going to the gym and taking time away for myself above being pulled in every other direction.”  I tell everyone who will listen that self-care is the most important thing we can do for ourselves and those we love, but when I am in the middle of chaos, I completely forget my own good advise.  The knowledge that self-care and self-compassion is the cure for exhaustion and fear becomes completely dismissed.  Replaced by too long to-do lists and angry “I wish” statements, my emotions get forgotten and I stop checking in with my inner-self.

Thanks to Elumandme’s 2 Month Challenge I had the opportunity to recommit myself to myself.  One Month in, and I am still going strong.  It hasn’t been easy.  My motivation was high leaving the talk but faltered when faced with my date-book.  Once I got onto the path, I had to put myself first and doing that meant trading having a clean house when guests were coming, less time to get ready in the morning so I could go to the gym, and more time spent at the stove than on the floor with my kids.  So far…it’s been completely worth it.  I feel better, I’m more fun to be around, and nothing catastrophic has occurred!!

I would like to offer the Elumandme 2 Month Challenge.  It’s never too late to start.  Challenges can be anything that will serve to move you forward.  If you need inspiration I invite you to Elumandme’s website (http://elumandme.typepad.com/elumandme/) where you can find ideas and updates on their challenge as well upcoming events to get you motivated.  You already posses everything you need for change…I challenge you to tap into it!!

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