As a kid, if there was something I wanted to do but didn’t quite have the guts to go for it, a well-worded dare was usually enough to do the trick. From riding my bike down the biggest, fastest hill in the neighborhood, to saying actual words to a boy I had a crush on, to cliff diving (well, more like cliff-dropping-while-screaming-the-whole-way-down…but hey, I still did it!), I owe it all to dares and those magical bursts of courage they somehow filled me with.
For the most part, I’ve outgrown this. So much so in fact, not even dares from my much adored big brother hold the same power over me as they used to. Which is a good thing considering some of them, like to eat live worms or to hold your hand over an open flame are either gross or just plain stupid.
Don’t get me wrong though, I do believe the occasional, well-intentioned dare still has its place.
Like, ‘I dare you to start training for your first 5k.’ Or, ‘Remember that gym membership you bought yourself for Christmas?…I dare you to start using it!’ Or, ‘I dare you to let this be the year you finally sign up for that marathon you’ve always talked about wanting to run.’
The thing is, the thought of trying something new can be unnerving, if not downright scary. And it’s our natural tendency in these instances to wonder, Can I do this? A yes or no question with plenty of room for doubt. The magic of a dare lies in its ability to instead cause us to ask What if I can do this? And with that our focus shifts to the possibility of success, and the likelihood of our willingness to try skyrockets—oftentimes to the point we decide to go for it.
The best part of all of this is that once we make the decision to commit to something, a certain amount of motivation follows. Take a race for example. Have you ever noticed once you sign up for one and have a date in mind your daily workouts aren’t such a chore anymore? Having a specific goal helps spur us into training mode and crank up our intensity. It provides us with a sense of direction and purpose. And it helps fuel the fire of dedication and perseverance we’re going to need to get us there.
So, whatever it is you’ve been hoping to accomplish, why not go for it? Decide to commit and use the motivation that flows from that to get you to your goal…go on, I dare ya!