Monday, October 26, 2015

List: Ten effective strategies to overcome a challenge.

This time last year I decided that I wasn't just a mommy.  That meant to start blogging again, to nurture all of my relationships, and to go back to school.  As much as I hate admitting this, I've been in college since 2008 and I still don't have a bachelors.  

Since being a mom is still a priority along with my job, I decided to take online classes to save time.  This past year I dipped my toes into the online college experience by taking easy classes to start.  This semester I submerged my entire foot into the water by taking a financial management class.  This class is, to say the VERY least, a challenge.  In a grand effort to save my GPA and to not waste more time/money, I'm accepting the challenge to pass!  Here's to any passing grade that my brain can grant me!

how to overcome a challenge and end with success

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How to effectively overcome a challenge.

1.  Identify the problem.
The first step to overcoming a challenge is to identify the problem.  & I don't mean admitting that there is one.  Identifying the problem means analyzing the situation and pin pointing one or two problems so that you can work on fixing it.  For example, the problem with my class is that I'm not dedicating enough time to learn the material which is causing me to fail tests and assignments.

2.  Set a goal with clear and attainable aspirations.
Overcoming a challenge is too broad of a goal with no clear end game.  Instead, set a specific goal and make sure that it's possible to do.  For example, I'd really like to pass the class, but my goal is to obtain a C+ or higher so that I qualify for tuition reimbursement.  This is both specific and attainable.

3.  Schedule time slots to accomplish this goal.
Analyze your goal and try to rationalize how long it will take you to meet your goal and overcome the challenge.  For long term challenges like my class, this could be a reoccurring time slot.  For example, in order to meet my goal, I'll need a minimum of 4 hours weekly to study and another 4 hours to complete classwork.  Going forward, Friday nights and Sunday afternoons will be dedicated to the class.

Idea:  If you don't already have one, invest in a stylish chalkboard calendar for the fridge like this one.  It will motivate you to commit to your dedicated time slots and it will help you communicate and remind your family to work around them.

4.  Find a place where there are no distractions.
Many of us have distractions lurking around our home.  It could be a spouse, child, pet, or lingering chores.  Remove yourself from there and find a spot that allows you to focus.  For example, I frequent the same nook in Starbucks where the only distractions are coffee and petite vanilla scones.  You may even learn that with focus your estimated time slots were exaggerated.  Get another cup of coffee and enjoy the quiet.

5.  Ask for help when it's truly needed.
Don't ever be above asking for help.  There's nothing wrong with it when it's done within reason and with clear expectations.  For example, I reached out to my professor via e-mail letting her know that I'm finding this class very challenging.  I was specific in my request and asked if she was aware of any YouTube videos that can help me learn the material.  She passed me along some online tools and even recommended a special calculator that was very helpful.

6.  Educate yourself on the topic.
No challenge is ever overcome without some hard work.  Take the time to research and educate yourself on the topic.  Being knowledgeable of a subject will make a challenge that much easier to overcome.  You may even find a tip or a trick that will help make it happen quicker or with less effort.

7.  Be as organized as possible.
Overcoming a challenge is difficult enough.  Don't make it harder on yourself by being unorganized and having to sort through a mess before figuring out where you left off.  Whether you use Excel to track progress, a calendar, or even post it notes, develop a simple process to help organize yourself and your thoughts.  For example, I highlighted and tabbed every page of my text, put notes in the margins, and made web browser bookmarks.  It helps me pick up where I left off without any rework and allows to me review important topics without digging for them.

Idea:  To remain organized throughout the day, I carry around a notebook like this one wherever I go.  I dedicate a tab to work, a tab to reminders, a tab to R&W, and now a tab for my class.  This system helps me overcome many challenges in life while making it look like I have the best memory ever.

8.  Recruit some support.
Support could be someone to motivate you.  Sometimes we find it easier to overcome a challenge when you tell people about it because failure is never fun to communicate.  Support could also mean asking someone to help clear your calendar.  For example, Madre and my husband have become constant cheerleaders and motivators for me.  Additionally, they will help will pick up the slack to ensure that I have the time I committed to.

9.  Constantly remind yourself why you need to overcome this.
If you don't have some sort of reward or reasoning for overcoming a challenge, you may find it difficult to be successful  Take the time to list the reasons for doing it and maybe even possible consequences.  If you adopted my notebook system, this could be the first page of your tab.  For example, The first page of my notebook section could say, "my GPA will suffer", "I'll lose tuition reimbursement", and "Bachelor degree will be farther away".

Idea:  When it's all said and done reward yourself with this inexpensive version of Amazon's Echo Show.  This virtual assistant will keep you organized, informed, and ready to take on the next challenge!

10.  Don't move on to the next step until the previous one is right.
Every difficult challenge comes with a great deal of sub-challenges and little steps.  Don't move forward until everything up to that point is right.  This will help ensure your success and will eliminate pot holes in the future.  For example, I won't move on to a different example until I get the answer right and understand how I got to it.  This will make sure that I know how to correctly answer this question on a future exam.  Then make a space for crumpled up paper!

What was your last challenge?


  1. i got one of my degrees online and i HATED the experience. it was a lot of group work, and you know how that goes. just do what works for you because the good thing is that isn't a race. i'm dealing with time challenges lately. no time to get everything done!

  2. The two financial management classes I took were the ones I breezed through. It was some intermediate financial course that really screwed me, I passed though, barely. Challenges are good though, if everything was easy we'd never get better at anything.

  3. I love this! Everyone with goals or facing a challenge at work should read this and implement these steps.My current challenge is lack of book sales, so I will be putting one of my books on sale very soon.

  4. I love this! Everyone with goals or facing a challenge at work should read this and implement these steps.My current challenge is lack of book sales, so I will be putting one of my books on sale very soon.

  5. Whenever I face a challenge I set aside a specific time to work on the stuff I don't like and make sure I reward myself afterwards with things I enjoy like M&M's or a sugar cookie. The thought of a treat always helps get my butt in gear.

  6. challenges are good for the ego

  7. Anything math related has always been a real struggle for me but I'm not willing to give up.

  8. motivation is certainly key

  9. You have nothing to be ashamed about! I had a hard time getting myself thru college yet alone with a child!!! You have such a solid pragmatic view about solving this issue, everything you're saying rings true.

  10. A challenge for me lately: getting my house in order for a seasonal switchover. There is so much stuff that needs to be packed away + brought out, stuff that needs to find a permanent storage home, etc. It's a bunch of chaos right now and is driving me a bit batty. :)

    Le Stylo Rouge


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