How to challenge the status quo

Shahroo Izadi
By Shahroo Izadi,
updated on May 21, 2020

How to challenge the status quo

Life tends to throw tests in our path, and we can find ourselves having to adapt to the unexpected. But it’s often these difficult moments that prompt us to reflect, and reassess our priorities...

Life can have a way of forcing us to suddenly ‘step up’, and demonstrate how capable we are, regardless of how prepared we feel for the challenge. While many of its tests certainly aren’t ones we would have chosen, some of us associate the periods when we experienced the most personal growth with the times when we got through the most difficulty. Often it’s these challenging periods that make us pause, zoom out, and punctuate our lives. They can bring us the perspective we need to check-in with ourselves when the status quo is disrupted.

We can come to ‘meet’ ourselves by observing how we respond to periods of challenge, and use this insight as a springboard to create positive changes in the next chapter of our lives. Periods of disruption and difficulty can force us to adapt in ways we could never have prepared for, and we often surprise even ourselves when it comes to how quickly we’re able to make changes across our lives when we need to.

We can also become more aware of how we may take for granted the more ‘boring’ and uneventful periods of life, and realise how they are filled with opportunities to check-in with ourselves, and our lives in general. There’s something about going through a difficult period that can give us a renewed sense of belief in ourselves, and an urgency to ensure we’re living a life that really aligns with our values. It can help us to remember that there will never be a perfect time to give some thought to how we’re generally engaging with ourselves and others across our lives, or to acknowledge, and redefine ourselves as a result of what we’ve managed to get through. So why not make this the time?

1. Time to re-establish what’s most important to you

It’s common for our priorities and values to shift subtly over time, without us stopping to adjust our behaviours accordingly. Periods of uncertainty, difficulty, and disruption can provide an opportunity to ‘zoom out’ and can force us to re-evaluate where it’s most important for us to spend our time, money, and energy.

Consider what parts of your life are important to you right now, what you most value, and how that list has changed and rearranged itself in the past few years. Then think about how much of your time, money, and resources are being spent enabling you to live by these values. Ask yourself how you can make adjustments to ensure that the life you are living is the life you most value – today.

2. Time to be nicer to yourself

Think about the last time you made a mistake. How did you speak to yourself about it? Was it fair, helpful, or kind? Often, negative self-talk and self-limiting beliefs are picked up in earlier life, and we simply carry them through without taking time to listen-in to what we’re actually saying. The next time you feel you’ve let yourself down in some way, choose to turn up the volume on how you’re speaking to yourself. Then, ask yourself: who does this sound like? When did I start speaking to myself like this? Can I try talking to myself in the way I’d speak to a loved one in the same position? What needs to happen before I can be nicer to myself, and why can’t I start practising right now?

3. Time to accept yourself as you are

It’s common to think that we’ll be nicer to ourselves once we’ve changed or improved in some way. Yet when we do achieve personal goals, we can easily find another thing we’re not happy with, and another, before we can finally accept who we are.

Whether or not we achieve the goals we set for ourselves, we deserve to enjoy our lives and take self-acceptance off ‘hold’

You are deserving of treating yourself well, in every possible way, and you can start right now. Living life ‘on hold’ can deprive us of realising that we will always like some aspects of ourselves and our lives more than other parts, and we’re only human. We will never reach a point of perfection, and whether or not we achieve the goals we set for ourselves, we deserve to enjoy our lives and take self-acceptance off ‘hold’ – ASAP.

4. Time to believe in myself more

Often we forget to give ourselves credit for having got through something challenging, especially when we had no choice but to get through it! Whether or not a challenge is voluntary, if we stepped up to meet it, we deserve to acknowledge ourselves, feel pride, and let it inform more ambitious choices for ourselves.

We deserve to update the way we define ourselves when it comes to how strong and resilient we are. It can help to write a list of every way you’ve pleasantly surprised yourself by getting through a tough period. Note how you’ve demonstrated strength, tolerance, and patience. Commit to reminding yourself that these are qualities you’ve demonstrated you possess the next time you find yourself doubting whether you can meet new challenges in any area of your life. Commit to being as ambitious for yourself as you know you can be.

For more information on personal development visit lifecoach-directory.org.uk

Shahroo Izadi

By Shahroo Izadi

Shahroo is a behavioural change specialist, who started her training in the NHS, and later worked for the charity Turning Point before setting up her own practice, and writing books on habit-change.

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