The information placard read elevation almost 10,500 feet. Distance: 2 miles from this point. That gave me all the important information I needed. I immediately started walking to see beyond the cluster of trees that guarded any view of the trail. There were a few moments of inner dialogue that said, “That’s far enough, let’s stop and turn around.” Judy and Hannity (Our wannabe Yorkie) were back at the Jeep as the dialogue continued, “If I go to the top they’ll be sitting and waiting quite a while.” The next thought: At the end of the day do you want to reflect back and say…I wish I had or I’m glad I did? That is when the Habit of Challenge kicked in. Within a micro-second my mind quickly calculated the possibility; I have enough water and I can do this in less than two and a half hours up and back down. There was never a question if I could physically do it as I have learned through the years that mindset and determination will override physical limitations in most situations we get ourselves into.


As I ascended the mountain I notice people stopping and snacking on energy bars and fruit. Oops, didn’t think about that when I started. As I said, climbing a mountain was not on my radar screen today. A half mile from the summit I began to feel the intensity of the brisk cold wind. It was then I began to see almost everyone had jackets and dressed for the occasion…another oops as I was sporting a short-sleeved t-shirt. I did have my Bluetooth headphones which buffered the wind and kept my inner ear warm and focused my gratitude on that. As I reached the summit I found a rock that jetted about 15 ft. higher than anything else. Within a few minutes I had positioned myself atop the rock and took in the 360 view of the world. It was in that moment that I reflected with gratitude about the “Habit of Challenge.”

The Biggest Benefits of the Habit of Challenge:

  1. You will develop a track record of success to draw from when in the midst of a problem or challenging situation. This will eventually become an inner knowing that “YOU CAN.”
  2. That will translate into unwavering self-confidence allowing you to easily rise up and meet the challenges you face daily.
  3. As a result, this greatly reduces needless worry and negative self-talk. Why? Because you know you CAN. Why? Because you always DO. And that my friend is a direct result of your track record of successes.
  4. One of many added benefits: People will see you as someone who makes things happen and gets thing done.

Intentionally challenge yourself daily in some way, shape or form and before long you will have a track record of success to draw from. And when you do, you will discover your mind will become wired to find solutions and answers rather than staying stuck in the problem as many do.

How will you challenge yourself today?

How can you challenge yourself daily this school year?

Larry Tracey, author of this article, is an author and founder of Youth4Youth.  Y4Y engages youth in developing habits and behaviors for leadership and success in life. Teens practice these skills by promoting their message of respect in their school and community. Have a question or thoughts? Contact Larry through youth4youth.org, email info@youth4youth.org or by phone at 623.208.3230.