Our motivation will hit pleasant peaks and tumultuous valleys. Here’s how to stay the course through the challenges

Story by Kyle Kercher
Andrew passed away in 2017 from an unexpected heart attack in Ireland. He was just 30 years old, traveling with his wife on his honeymoon, and happened to be my best friend from high school in Alberta. He was recently married, with a new home and a whole life ahead of him with his wife, Kristy. Talk about a real challenge: Kristy is now faced with moving on without her lifelong partner by her side.

Kristy spoke at the funeral service, without a dry eye in the room. By choosing to go to the podium to share her heart, she showed more strength, courage and passion than I’ve ever seen firsthand. I’m confident everybody in the room will remember that moment for the rest of their lives. In her individual interactions, there wasn’t an ounce of self-pity as she consoled others, gave them hugs and honored her late husband. She seemed to have the perfect words for what each person needed to hear.

This type of resilience reminds us to keep our challenges in perspective. Her actions were nothing short of incredible. To help shape your own perspective, there may be nothing more valuable than viewing your adversity in a realistic light. That means acknowledging how truly difficult, or not, your challenges are. For the majority of us, life’s challenges aren’t at the extreme end of the spectrum. Kristy’s strength is a reminder.

Is that nasty boss, dreary weather or sore knee really as big of an obstacle as you’re making it out to be? Are you letting it negatively affect your attitude?

This brings us to 2018 and the incredible opportunity that comes with it. The opportunity depends on the individual but could really be anything: starting a new career, reflecting on life through writing, achieving financial freedom, learning music or a new language, spending real time with close friends and family.

Our motivation will hit pleasant peaks and tumultuous valleys over the coming months. This rollercoaster is normal, but we can stabilize it by shifting our perspective of life’s inevitable challenges, sticking to the plan and choosing our response.

Acknowledge that your desire is going to fluctuate from day to day and week to week. With that in mind, we can’t let one failure knock us completely off track for weeks or months. Just because you went off your diet and exercise plan for a day doesn’t mean you need to go off it for a month. And just because you made a poor financial decision yesterday doesn’t mean you can’t get back on your budget today. Life isn’t about perfection. Challenges happen — we must face them and get back on our path of desirable daily behaviors as soon as possible. By repeating these behaviors over and over, we’ll save ourselves from weeks and months of negative behaviors.

One of our greatest traits as humans is our free will. We’re able to choose our behaviors. We can decide what to think, how to act and what to pursue. Likewise, when life knocks us down, we get to choose how we respond. Complain and pout, or be positive and face our fears. Media, negative coworkers and old ways of thinking can make it easy for us to get pulled down the path of grumbling and making excuses. But the fact of the matter is that where we are is a direct result of the choices we make on a daily basis. Fortunately, those choices are within our control.

Kyle is a husband, entrepreneur, author and coach in Kalispell. His new book, “The Mental Game — Grit, Growth and Mental Toughness in Athletes,” is available at kylekercher.com/shop or on Amazon. Subscribe to his free blog on performance, mindset and mental toughness at kylekercher.com/subscribe. Contact him at coachkercher@gmail.com.