Building Inner Strength: Try These 5 Challenges
Five challenges, taken from self-help books that will change your life and build your resilience muscles
Inner strength is a muscle that needs to be developed through time and effort. Just like pressing iron at the gym, we start weak and build as time goes on. There are different challenges that will help us to build the inner strength if we allow ourselves to be challenged by them and to see them to their conclusion.
The 29 Gifts Challenge
Book: 29 Gifts by Cami Walker
Premise: give away an intentional gift every day for 29 days. If you miss a day, start over.
How it helps: The 29 Gifts Challenge was started by a lady with MS who was angry with the world and frustrated about how life was going. She decided to give away 29 gifts, one for each day. Her life was radically changed as she began to notice both inside and outside healing. She also noticed that she became stronger through giving as she began to see herself doing things that she had once believed were impossible.
Why you would consider it: Giving seems hard at first. However, as you realize that giving makes you happier and increases joy in the lives of those around you, you begin to notice changes as well.
Maybe you’re beginning to make more money, book more clients, or feel better after a long time of being sick. The 29 Gifts Challenge focuses on giving to others, but the benefits are actually for you as well.
It builds strength because you know that what you can give to others is valuable. It also takes you outside of yourself for a set period of time to focus on the needs of others.
Try Being More Outgoing
Book: Sorry I’m Late… I Didn’t Want to Come by Jessica Pan
Premise: every day, speak to people you don’t know and learn more about those around you Also, try things outside your comfort zone or things that you’re not sure if you could do them.
How It Helps: In her book Sorry I’m Late… I Didn’t Want to Come, Jessica Pan talks about how she challenged herself for one year to get out of her introverted bubble. She tries improv, speaking gigs, networking events, and even friend meetups through apps. She is looking to reach outside of her bubble and connect with the world at large. She states at first she was nervous, but then learns that she really enjoys the activities she has been working on.
Why you would consider it: Trying new things and breaking out of a comfort zone builds strength. Challenging yourself to do the things that you’re afraid to do, which if you’re an introvert includes speaking with others or doing a lot of things public, busts the zone, and might even lead you to a few new people and events that you love. Continually choosing to do the things that scare you helps you to overcome the fear and be able to do it anyway, which builds to less resistance in the future.
Try The Rejection Challenge
Book: Rejection Proof by Jia Jiang
Premise: set a timeframe: 30 days, 60 days, 90 days, 1 year? Each day of this time period, you are going to be looking to be rejected. From asking for discounts at the local store to asking to borrow something crucial to someone else, to asking if you can receive special treatment at an event. The goal is to get rejected at least once a day.
How It Helps: A lot of us are scared of being rejected, whether that is in personal life, in job interviews, in pitching, or in our creativity. However, what if we could flip that on its head and intentionally try to get rejected once per day of our time frame?
That’s what the author did. He decided every day to challenge himself to ask for one thing that he thought would be an immediate no, just for the sake of trying something different. He had walked away from his dream after being rejected by his first choice software company while pitching an app he had spent a year creating. He wanted to face rejection head-on and develop because of it. In the end, he learns a lot about how to ask in a way that limits rejection.
Why you would consider it: I imagine this to be the heaviest weight you’ll try to lift while attempting this journey. It’s one that will build up your resilience and teach you how asking for things in different ways might lead to the result you want. Also, if there’s something that you really want to try, maybe pitch one idea a day and see what the results are. This is a challenge I’m considering if I ever have to do cold pitches for writing gigs.
Try the Happiness Project
Book: The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin
Premise: Decide to spend a year challenging yourself in the areas where you know you could be happier, would like to gain happiness in and what you would like to intentionally change that would bring happiness.
How It Helps: What if we all decided for one year to appreciate the current season we are in and realize how happy we are now instead of waiting and thinking later “how happy I was back then if I only had time to realize it.”
That was the revelation that started Gretchen Rubin’s happiness year project. She decided to keep a list of all of the characteristics she wanted to show on a daily basis and spent a month considering how to be happier in each area of her life. She spent time with money, home life, marriage, children, eternity, and creativity just to name a few.
Each month she set smaller goals to work on to increase her level of happiness. This would be a good practice for anyone working on their own happiness and well being which fosters inner strength.
Why you would consider it: Happiness affects every area of who we are. A happier person is more effective, more resilient, able to bounce back better, and more effective. Happiness is crucial to how effective you are in relationships, in facing challenges and in life in general. Happiness would be a good project to work on as it sets the ground better for building any kind of inner strength.
Try the Daily Awe Challenge
Book: The Big Book of 30-Day Challenges by Rosanna Casper (the entire book is amazing, this is just one challenge in the book)
Premise: every day, find something beautiful and unique that causes awe in your life
How it helps: Finding daily awe leads to gratitude and creates memories for months to come. When we find something worthy of being in awe over, we tend to remember that life is good.
Also, depending on what we think is worthy of awe, it causes us to work harder to develop traits that cause us to be able to enjoy that awe moment again. This is especially true when it is an experience and not a sight.
Why you would consider it: It leads to gratitude and being more aware of the world around you. In order to process the inner, it helps to look on the outer and vice versa.
Each of these challenges is a great way to develop inner strength. They each promote a different method. Choosing one to read and then challenging ourselves to work through it benefits us by causing more resilience. Each challenge is unique to address a different area of inner strength, but they would work well together as a program.