the word "Start" across a road that stretches to a bend in the horizon

Embarking on a New Challenge

Today begins yet another personal challenge. The results of which, you should see here over the course of the next month. 

Challenges have been a constant for me for the last ten months, having participated in and/or hosted six group challenges.   The coming together, in community, supporting each other in our individual quests to achieve our goals, is powerful.  

And right now, I’m in a season of growth  – where I recognize that in order to make the next leap in thinking, in achieving the goals that are on my heart,  I must cultivate new habits, develop new routines and rhythms, learn and implement new skills to the point where they become part of who I am.   

And challenges help me do that.   

My approach to challenge may be a little bit different.  I have learned that to succeed in challenging myself, I need to extend my self grace, to recognize that some days I will need to talk myself into showing up and doing the work, and I need to be kind to myself.  That the big picture is not the challenge itself.  

The big picture is the much larger vision and goal.  It does me no good to give up, or burn out, in a challenge.  One step on the journey to a much bigger picture – a vision and set of goals for the next season of life.    

So in this season, I choose to challenge myself with support, kindness, and grace.   

If you’ve participated in the challenges I’ve hosted, you know that there is one actionable goal and three key ideas: 

  • Little Bits Add Up
  • What we Focus on Grows
  • There is No Behind

With every challenge I host, I encourage the participants to celebrate their wins along the way.   For me, I do the same.  This too feeds into What we Focus on Grows, and setting ourselves up for success in meeting our goals, finishing the challenge we’ve set for ourselves. 

Doing challenges for myself, by myself, is not new for me.  As a family we’ve done NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) since 2019. My health healing journey was – and continues to be – a series of personal challenges to myself.

And, Monday Morning Reflections began as a challenge to myself.

Actually it began as a 100 day challenge, but I realized that I didn’t have the habits and systems in place to succeed in the original 100 day challenge.  Instead of giving up, I adapted.  I asked myself, “what can I do instead?”  

The answer was “I can show up once a week, and do a live video.”    Getting comfortable with live video was a skill I needed to get comfortable with, The only time of day that my family wasn’t going to be noisy or interrupt – at that time – was Monday mornings.   And so, Monday Morning Reflections was hatched. 

It was a simple personal challenge to myself – show up every week, live on camera, and share from my heart, reflecting on topics like I do with a friend. 

At the time, my youngest daughter had just set a challenge for herself – to publish one new page of her webcomic every Friday.  So we set forth on our respective challenges together, being there for each other when the struggles and doubts and niggles arose.  

A sort of accountability that is gentle and kind, and respectful of each other’s journeys.  Where the role is to show up for each other, bolster each other, encourage each other, and celebrate the wins together.  

There’s power in a support system, even when it’s one other person walking the journey with us. 

I just came off of a 100 Day challenge – a more in-depth one, where I not only participated, but also hosted, coached, and supported the participants for 100+ days with daily emails, weekly group calls, weekly co-working, plus four 1:1 sessions. It required more focus than my 1 Action, 100 Days Challenge, but it was so worth it.

I was asked recently how I could do a 100 day challenge (I’ve done – and hosted – two in the last 10 months.)   Quite frankly, focusing on an action or a habit or a goal for 100 days, in a supportive community, is transformational.  Seriously. Transformational. It’s not just about setting the habit, the action, the habit, the experience becomes part of you. The results are amazing.

But not all my challenges are long. Some are 30 days, some are 21 days. Usually 21 days is my minimum, really that’s just getting started in building habit and seeing results.    

Though my August challenge will be short – just 10 days – an indulgence into creativity to soothe the soul before Fall begins.  

I set timelines because I need to see a finish line.  I need a target to work towards – not just in a an action or goal, but also on the calendar. A date that I know I can take  a pause, mentally shift gears. 

push pin in a 31 day calendar

This new challenge I embark on today – for the next 31 days –  is a pre-cursor towards a bigger goal, a next step to follow up actions and  habits I’ve intentionally been developing over the last ten months.  

There’s a new skill and habit I need to lay in, to achieve my goals, to do the work that is on my heart.  

I don’t have it all planned out.  I am just embarking.  Starting.  Committing to taking little steps, doing the action each day.  Some days – including today – talking myself into showing up and doing the work. 

I know that the results and the journey are worth it.   So I embark…   

If you’d like to follow along or learn when I’m hosting my next challenge, please be sure to subscribe below.

Shannon Stoltz

Shannon Stoltz is a writer, trainer, and entrepreneur. But her favorite role has been that of work-at-home mom to four fabulous, homeschooled, and now grown, kiddos. Shannon is fascinated with how humans learn, grow, and communicate, and passionate about the importance of embracing our unique gifts, talents, and individuality. She lives in the countryside outside Houston, Texas, with her family, and their menagerie of rescue animals.