Boost your self-esteem through physical challenge

22 May 2019
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Just do it! 

I’m not talking about the sports brand slogan, I’m talking about you.  Get yourself out there, enter some kind of competition, it has to be something physical, to push yourself.

Because pushing yourself will raise your self-esteem.
It isn’t about winning, it’s about competing and completing.
It’s about setting yourself a goal and going for it, doing your best whatever that may be.
For me that means some kind of exercise – I’ve taken part in 10ks, half marathons, a marathon (just the 1 so far!), triathlons, because that’s what I enjoy.  It’s not easy, I have to push myself to get out and train, I have to juggle work and family, but look at my face in the picture (it’s after finishing my first open-water triathlon), and look at the faces of my daughters – it’s not just me who gets a buzz but they also feel part of it too, seeing their mum in the race, cheering me on (they’ve been known to shout “chop, chop, mummy, hurry up!!” whilst being driven next to me).
Being supported by your friends and family is immensely rewarding.
And when you cross that line, it makes you feel unstoppable no matter what position you finish in
It doesn’t have to be exercise-based, but it has to be physical because it’s about focusing on something outside your head.  I’ve also entered a couple of cake decorating competitions and even won an award, so yes, I am an award-winning cake decorator amongst my many talents!
So get yourself booked on to a competition, you’ll be surprised how many events there are, from cake making to flower arranging, mud runs, colour runs, 5k/10k runs, half and full marathons, iron-man, ultras, dog showing, golf, tennis, cycling, painting, cooking, music, you name it and there’s probably a competition in it.
The point is that once it’s booked, you have to train or practise because otherwise there’s no point in turning up is there? You have to plan, you have to focus and it gives you a deadline.
My advice for competing, even if you’ve no idea what you want to do:
1) Think back to activities you used to enjoy – we often forget how much we loved running or cycling because we haven’t had time to do it in recent years. Think about how you felt when you did it, how it would feel to do again.
2) Get online – search for competitions in your chosen sport or activity, you’ll be surprised by the number of local events that are going on. Don’t be put off by distance if you can’t find one near you, remember it’s one event, one day to fit into your diary.
3) Get it booked – don’t overthink it, allow yourself to start putting roadblocks in the way, just book it. Most competitions have a nominal charge, so get your skin in the game. If you’re starting from zero fitness, give yourself time to work up to it but no more than 12 months. If you’re reasonably fit, 3 months is a good length of time to train up (but it all depends on your individual circumstances – and please do see a doctor before starting anything too hardcore if you need medical or health advice!). The same goes for creative competitions. Depending on your level of competency or fitness, you need to allow enough time to practise but not so much that it hangs around in your life for too long so that by the time the day arrives, you just want it over with.
4) Tell everyone you’ve entered – that makes you accountable which means you have to turn up on the day, and you can ramp that up even more by supporting a charity and asking for donations. As soon as the money comes in there’s no way you can back out!
5) Get training or practising – if the organisers offer training days, use them; if you can practise the route, do it. Get to know your pace, your body, when you need fuel, when you need rest. Join FB groups for support if they’re available, get your family supporting you so you don’t have any excuses to not do it. If you’re doing a sport, try to practise around the same time as the race takes place so your body rhythm syncs with the race timing – if you only train in the evening but the race is early morning, you may find your body is sluggish and doesn’t respond well at that time on the day. 
6) Turn up in plenty of time – make sure you’re at the start line in time. Don’t sneak yourself in at the back of the crowd, place yourself somewhere in the middle – if you start at the back you’re likely to end at the back! And make sure you know your pace, competitors often start off quickly, which means you may run out of steam too early if you go with the pack. Stick with your plan and what you’ve practised.
And when you do finish that challenge you’ll realise that you can do whatever you set your mind to, you just have to want it enough, plan and put the work in.
Finally, remember to enjoy the day and the atmosphere, bask in the admiration of your family and friends and take those feelings home with you – you earned them!
If you want help with improving your self-esteem or confidence, or reducing stress-related anxiety why not give me a call to see how hypnotherapy can help you?
T. 01798 344879

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