20130713_075248[1]Recently, just a little over a mile into my Morton Arboretum East side running route, I spied this bench. I’ve run this stretch of the Arboretum many times, so I couldn’t believe I’d never before seen this amazing piece of functional art.

Perhaps because the location of the bench coincides with the “just getting warmed up” portion of my run, it was easy to overlook. During a warm up, I’m typically not focused on the scenery, rather, I’m simply working to find my running rhythm for the day. Regardless, I had to stop, wander over and snap a photo. I love the way this shot turned out.

I felt like the message was speaking to me, and I imagine I’m not the only one. You see, when you challenge yourself to do something, well, challenging – like running long distances, facing a food fear, or taking the first steps to changing your behavior to lead a healthier life – there are days when you feel you need super-human strength. And when you DO have one of those days, how do you find and hold on to that strength?

For me, it helps to think about the payback I’ll get for tackling a challenge. If I’m running, I think about how I’ll feel when I’m finished; accomplished, proud, strong, happy to be done! If it’s a work challenge, I think about how the outcome will move my business forward, help me become a better dietitian/nutritionist and personal trainer, or provide me with a skill to help my clients even more.

So what’s your payback for tackling a challenge? Or, let’s back up a bit to first identify the challenge. Once you’re done that, what helps you tap into your inner strength to attack that challenge head on? Then, what helps you hold onto it – on those most challenging of days?