The holidays are challenging because anyone going through a rough patch in life is inclined to compare their own plight with all the joy and abundance around them and feel even more sorry for their woes. This is your guide on how to stay zen through this joyful and maddening time of year.

1. Mind over matter

The most important part of overcoming a challenge is believing that you can do it. Confidence is something you CAN “fake until you make”.

That internal belief has to be there, you have to sell it to yourself first. Dealing with someone difficult in your daily life, getting a new job, making it in a new city, getting over a breakup: it starts with your mindset.

Don’t try to do it alone. Surround yourself with personal cheerleaders, your friends, family, your personal trainer, coach, priest, mentor or doctor. The more time you spend with people who are outspoken “fans” of yours, the more confident you get.

2. Metacognition

Knowing yourself is also an important part to this. Lead with your core values. Are you aware of what those values are, and how they differ from others’ core values?

You cannot solve problems the same way others do. You are competing with your old self, all the time. Part of the problem is that we lose sight of that. The other big problem is that the clarity with which I write this now was not present in the room when I was down. That’s precisely why I looked to rational people to guide me out of my setback mindset. Once your supporters coach you out half way, you regain your ability to steer your own life, and it’s smooth sailing from there.

Understanding your own thought processes is particularly important when there are times when you have to make sacrifices, those tough choices that require you to let go of one thing in order to have another.

3. Motivation, and daily reminders

Start with why. Find a way to remind yourself regularly of why you want to transcend your weaknesses. Platitudes are silly… At the same time, they are NOT, if you personalize them. If you can find an example of how you can apply a platitude to your everyday life in a small way and that pays off, you can now literally solve (almost) any problem.

4. What you resist, persists

Familiarize yourself with this whole concept, which is a separate whole chapter by Carl Jung. Mel Robbins, the motivational speaker, has helped me put this principle into practice. Acknowledge, embrace and label your problem and how you feel about it before you even start to try to solve it. It’s ok to linger on this particular step, as it pays off. Lingering and dwelling are different things. You are not dwelling if your dealing looks like this: out of one week, 4 out of 7 days you felt like you were greater than the challenge.

Be grateful that you have embraced something you want to overcome, or even better, transcend. Think of the millions of people out there who live in denial. You are already better off than they are. It’s the allegory of the cave, and you are that powerful character who has seen things in the light.

5. Have Role Models

This one is a bit obvious, but worth remembering when you are struggling. Say the challenge is as simple as “I want to have J. Lo’s body” Maybe it’s just me but asking myself “What would J. Lo do?” helps me make nutritional choices and get running.

Whenever possible, have a couple of role models who are authors or icons and a couple of role models whom you know personally. That way, you can share your progress and small victories with those people, and they can hold you to your goals if you stop making progress.

6. Patience

Some problems take 3 days, some 3 years to solve. In order to overcome your own impatience, practice being in the moment. Have some “baby steps” in place that align with your every day tasks that set you on the right path. Have you ever seen a 3-year old learning how to play the violin? The time they spend on those seemingly silly exercises help them become virtuosos. It’s hard to believe it when you see them at three, but they have to start somewhere. So does everyone, with everything.

Form good habits. It helps the mind put aside the main life challenge and let it “simmer” while other types of positive growth take place. Having hobbies and strong cultural interests that serve as momentary distractions from the problem are valid ways of recharging before another round of proactive problem-solving action.

7. Resilience is built, not born

In spite of many out there being stoic all the time, most people gain the ability to “bounce back” over time. It takes taking risks, and showing vulnerability to become a better version of yourself. When you factor in all the people in this world who are not even attempting to become better versions of themselves, you can’t always win, in spite of your best efforts. Sometimes you have to overcome that internal bit of embarrassment that comes with acknowledging your failures before you become resilient.

We set our own standards for ourselves. We set the bar. If that bar is high, it’s obvious that it’s going to be hard to live up to it. Adjust it accordingly as you go along. The world does not set that bar for you, so don’t let others dictate it, or make you feel inferior.

8. Borrow pride from your future self

Be very proud of yourself (in advance) for the personal growth that comes with overcoming a challenge, whether it be fitness goals, money woes, breakup, “life slump” or family squabble. The point of tackling a very tough problem is that it leads to internal balance. Cliché as it may be, the experience from climbing short hills makes you apt to climb higher mountains.

Advice can only go so far, but some of the things I said here apply to so many case scenarios that it was worth sharing. Take it with a grain of salt, as your unique personal circumstances may call for different strategies. If nothing else, and you read this post this far, you can pull this up when you have a friend who is in distress and offer them one of these tools to get over their hurdles.

Posted by Kaz, filed under No tag for this post.. Date: November 25, 2018, 5:02 pm | No Comments »