Five minutes into a yoga class and I wanted to punch the instructor. Not very zen, huh?

The voice inside my head mocked me, “Do a yoga challenge,” I said to myself. “It’ll be easy!”

I was a week away from completing a 30-day challenge and definitely didn’t feel like a “spiritual gangster”. I wanted to give up because the going got tough, but it’s called a challenge for a reason, right?

So why do we challenge ourselves? That’s like asking why we want to win a competition, or why we want to be the best at something.

It’s About Your Mindset

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Challenges relate back to our perspective, or mindset. Some might have a fixed mindset while others, a growth mindset. In Carol Dweck’s book, “Mindset: The New Psychology of Success,” she discusses how those with a fixed mindset focus on documenting their talents rather than developing their abilities. On the flip side, those with a growth mindset work on developing their talents.

In a challenge, those with a fixed mindset focus on the outcome: you’re either a winner or a loser. From a growth mindset perspective, it’s more about what you learn along the way and less about the challenge’s outcome.

A Challenge is a Commitment

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“Commitment is the glue that bonds you to your goals.” – Jill Koenig, Goal Strategist

When we talk about commitment, often times a popular phrase is “I’m in a committed relationship.” So what does that mean? You’re choosing to put your energy into something because you believe in it. Most times, it’s about the rewards.

I wanted to do a yoga challenge because I thought it would be an easy way to force myself to exercise daily. (It was far from easy.) I’m convinced the main reason I completed it was because I was fully committed to it.

But commitment didn’t come easy. My first class of the challenge: I wanted to walk out ASAP. But once I changed my mindset, I realized I could push myself through the hardships, physically and mentally.

At first, I found myself thinking, “I can’t twist my body like that” and “There’s no way to stay in this pose without toppling over.”

But when I reframed my thinking to, “How do I know I can’t if I don’t try?” and “It’s not the end of the world if I fall,” my motives behind the challenge changed.

Before I knew it, I made it to day 23. Yes, I saw definition in my triceps that was previously non-existent (what an unexpected gain 💪), but I learned so much more about myself that I didn’t expect to learn.

Challenges Help You Grow

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This challenge taught me that commitment is hard work. I held myself accountable because no one was there to force me to see this challenge through. I was testing my own willpower, endurance, and strength both physically and mentally.

Call me crazy, but after I finished this challenge, I completed a month-long barre challenge. Now, I’m pretty much hooked on finding and trying new challenges. Not only are they engaging, but they’re fun. I get to test myself and see how far I can go.

Want to join in on a challenge? Check out some of my tips below.

4 Ways to Join a Challenge

1. Write it Down

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Keeping a journal of notes is great during a challenge. You can jot down how you felt each day, how you felt each week, or maybe note the struggles you faced or any roadblocks along the way. Remember: It’s not about completing the challenge, it’s about what happens on the way to that finish line.

A journal is a great way to privately document your challenge. But if you want to share your journey, you can write a blog post. This was the option I chose; I did this by making notes on my phone, then I looked back at them to help me draft blog posts so I could share my challenge with my readers.

2. Get Social Savvy

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You can document all of or part of your challenge on social platforms, too. I documented my challenge on Instagram just to keep myself publicly accountable. It was a fun way for me to show the world what I was trying to accomplish.

3. Build a Community

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I couldn’t have done this challenge on my own. I ended up making friends with the receptionists at the yoga and barre studios, as well as getting chatty with some of the familiar faces I kept seeing in classes. This doesn’t mean you have to find a challenge where you’ll be surrounded by other people. You can get others to participate with you, too. Get your roomie to do a gratitude challenge with you for a month where you write down 1 thing you’re grateful for each day. Or challenge your co-worker to a week of no coffee (eek!). Sometimes having that human connection really changes how you view a challenge, and can even make it easier.

4. Get Your Shine On

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Want to challenge yourself but have no idea what type of challenge to do? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. If you haven’t already, download the Shine app and check out the challenges there. They’re on-the-go, so you can complete a challenge on your way to work or while you’re sitting in traffic. Trust me, you won’t regret it.


Read next: How a Dash of Mindfulness Can Help You Get More Done