It’s the time of year when magazine racks are filled with promises of the top-secret fail proof solution to achieving your goals. The true top-secret information is that there is no quick fix. Only YOU know what plan will work for you. The first step to setting yourself up for success it to stop trying to keep up with others and start focusing on competing only with yourself.
10 reasons why you should stare yourself down in the mirror and commit to personal challenge and not social competition.
- Competing against yourself will increase personal fulfillment. You have the opportunity to improve areas that are specifically important to you. Achieving progress in these chosen fields will feed your highest personal values. Without outside pressure and judgment you are able to quietly recognize your personal successes and truly reward yourself instead of depending on the public acknowledgement that is customary in social competition. A deep seeded fulfillment will have you carrying a smile through your day that will make everyone else wonder!
- Media ideals aren’t really your ideals. The often airbrushed, video-enhanced athletes and models presented as idols represent an ideal that is likely far from where you see yourself now. This gap often seems beyond your reach and ultimately leads to demotivation and abandonment of your goals. You see a snapshot of the best moment captured in life that is not parallel to yours. What you are truly looking for in your life is a documentary of success and an ongoing sense of purpose and fulfillment. Media snapshots are carefully selected glimpses of an unglamorous documentary. There is a reason why most documentaries uncover the deep, dark truths behind the snapshots of idols. Tracking your personal progress in comparison to your starting point will create a platform for success versus the recipe for failure that comes with attempts to meet media ideals.
- Personal progress is critical to your greater success in life. Lack of personal progress leads to self-doubt which will halt your success in all aspects of life. Ensuring that you are measuring your daily wins will build your belief in yourself as you tackle progress consistently. Higher belief in yourself will lead to others believing in. This will have a great impact in your family life, career and social life. Your focus on challenging yourself will result in crushing the stagnancy that is often brought on by repetitive days, long-term projects and lack of winning. Win against yourself and you will start winning in all areas of life.
- Winning against yourself is one of the greatest ways to build self-efficacy. Self-efficacy is your confidence to complete a specific task using specific skills. The more you win against yourself, the greater your confidence to tackle similar challenges utilizing your developed skill-set. Completing your personal challenge requires commitment, accountability, focus and perseverance. All of these skills are transferable to other day to day tasks. Consider the projects you will take on when you increase your self-efficacy to stay focused, committed and accountable while persevering to complete a task. You will be ready to take on bigger external challenges and projects with increased success.
- Your self-esteem will sky-rocket without needing feedback from others. You are in charge of tracking your personal results. You know when you win. Being in control of both achieving and measuring your results ensures that you need only your own feedback. As you consistently improve your stats, your self-esteem will increase. Knowing that you started your day with a faster 5 mile running time, that you stuck to your meal plan yesterday, or that you stayed focused for your 1 hour of personal development reading today, is your achievement to own. Taking this into your day will increase your confidence in all situations as you step-up with a can-do attitude.
- Personal challenges make you more committed. Commitments made to yourself are the hardest commitments to keep. When you stick to your plan when no-one is watching, and you achieve the results that you personally track, you flex your commitment muscles and get stronger. As your commitment level increases, you will become more selective with the commitments you make and more reliable in your follow-through. This can have a massive impact on your personal relationships and career.
- Self-accountability skills trump imposed accountability. Competing against yourself takes a whole lot of self-accountability. While you always have the option to skip a step in your plan, reschedule time set-aside for a specific activity or flat-out quit, you also have the option to stick to it and hold yourself accountable to the promise you made to YOU. The more you stick to your plan, the more you build your self-accountability skills. The question is: “what will you do when nobody is watching?” The answer, with practice, becomes: “more than I would do if someone was watching.” Increased self-accountability will lead to success in all arenas of life. There is only so much time that you will spend under supervision, what gets you ahead in life are the choices you make when you’re your own supervisor.
- You’ve got more grit than you think. Challenging yourself shows grit in itself. If you had no grit, you wouldn’t be reading this! Competing against yourself for Constant Personal Improvement (CPI) allows for small gains through perseverance without social pressure. Again, nobody is watching – this is ALL you against yourself. How hard you hustle to beat yourself shows your grit. The true test of grit is found in the moments when you have nothing left, when you are working on drained batteries and you have fleeting thoughts of curling up in the fetal position to cry. In these moments, when you don’t quit on yourself, you show your grit. There are no team-mates, no coaches, no cheering crowd; Just you and your grit.
- The greatest lessons are learned in the hardest moments. Until you face a challenge or a failure, you won’t typically inventory your strengths, weaknesses and actions. It is in the face of the hardest obstacles that you will draw on your strengths, put your weaknesses aside and take action to complete a challenge. In these moments, you will learn the power of your strengths put to work, the advantage of removing your weaknesses from your radar and taking massive action towards your goals. The hardest moments teach you that you can. And in the inevitable moment where you learn you can’t, you will challenge yourself to learn why, and develop a plan to win in the next round. Challenging yourself to improve daily will consistently put you face to face with tough moments and opportunities to learn.
- Owning 100% of the result will build greater character. In team efforts, there is always someone to blame when things go wrong or to pass the credit to in a win. When you are competing against yourself, you are fully responsible for your wins and losses. You are responsible for the choices you make, the actions you take and the results you get. When you win, you may or may not share this with others. Regardless of who you discuss your wins with, the success is yours to own. Getting good at owning success will increase your willingness to stand up and take credit in other areas of life. This could be what gets you noticed for a promotion or helps you stick to your parenting ideals. On the flip side, in times where you don’t succeed, there is nobody to point fingers at. You will absorb the personal loss and immediately figure out how to remedy the situation. This humility will transfer to your personal and business relationships to strengthen trust and increase your level of influence. When you fully own your results, your character develops to attract greater success.
No matter what it is that you want to improve, it’s personal. Taking up intentional self-competition will positively impact your success on all levels. Without the pressure of keeping up with others, you have the opportunity to focus on what matters to you. Facing and overcoming challenges will build self-confidence and increase your sense of self-worth as well as increase your positive value in relationships. When you start every day by acknowledging that you are a better version of yourself than you were yesterday, things are bound to improve all around you.
Take time to determine exactly what important challenges you are going to call yourself on. Build a solid plan that you know you can tackle. Take action every day. Acknowledge your wins!