Birthday Challenges

Happy Birthday! How do you fancy challenging yourself and achieving something you didn’t think you could do before your next birthday?!

Macmillan dictionary has a great definition of a challenge;

“something that needs a lot of skill, energy, and determination to deal with or achieve, especially something you have never done before and will enjoy doing”

So what is a Birthday Challenge?
Whilst away with friends for my 29th birthday I was panicking about the next years big birthday and not having achieved enough in my life to be 30. My friend Ben suggested I sail around the world; I laughed!

But somewhat surprisingly from January to July 2014 I found myself sailing from Australia to London as part of the Clipper Round the World Race! The mere suggestion by Ben saw me taking on this big adventure that I wouldn’t have contemplated taking on if it weren’t for him. I tried it out with a couple of friends; and it worked! Cycle rides and walks have been undertaken, three peaks challenges and triathlons are planned. And so the birthday challenge was born!

What does a Birthday Challenge involve?
Anything! What do you love doing or have always fancied having a go at but need a little push to achieve? From climbing mountains, marathons, irommans, sailing, 5k walks there are so many amazing and inspiring events out there, or you can of course come up with your own; the world truly is your oyster.

My first birthday challenge was to take part in an offshore sailing race despite having very limited sailing experience. I loved pushing myself physically and the sense of achievement that came from achieving something I didn’t think I could do.

If you’re a super fit person who runs marathons in their sleep then your challenge would have to push beyond what you have previously accomplished; an ultramarathon around a mountain, a marathon through the desert whilst carrying a car on your back; I don’t actually know anyone who has done this but you get the idea!

If you’re idea of exercise is sitting on the sofa watching sport on TV then a slightly less crazy challenge would be a good place to start! 5K walks or runs, stepping out of your comfort zone and doing a dingy sailing course or learning to kayak are just a few ideas to get your mind whirring.

Only you know what is truly challenging to you; but if it doesn’t make you lose a bit of sleep and ask yourself if you’re mad on the odd occasion it’s not challenge enough! You should also enjoy it but need to work towards it; no one said it was going to be easy! The more you push yourself the more you will get out of it.

Does it have to be a physical challenge?
In a word, no! There’s nothing I like more than doing some sort of physical activity in the great outdoors somewhere amazing* but I am aware this isn’t what makes everyone tick. If you prefer to take on a non-physical challenge then don’t let me stop you! But please be aware that most of my content will be geared more to a physical challenge. That doesn’t mean that I won’t enjoy hearing all about your challenge though! (*I also love a nap but that’s not very noteworthy!)

Who can take on a birthday challenge?
Anyone! It doesn’t matter how old/young/fit/motivated/capable you are, any challenge can be tailored so it suits you perfectly.

What’s the deal with the birthday bit?
Birthdays are often a good time for reflection and goal setting, when you take stock of what you have accomplished and where you were in previous years. Over the years I have spent a number of years in birthday crisis mode, where my reflections on my current life were found wanting. Taking on a Birthday Challenge puts a massive positive spin on this significant date and gives you something great to work towards.

It’s also a date that you are unlikely to forget!

Sounds like hard work, why should I get involved?
It will be hard work! But only by truly pushing yourself will you reap the rewards and sense of accomplishment that comes from succeding. As children we are constantly pushed to challenge ourselves, with new things to learn, team sports and activities. We learn from these experiences and grow in ourselves. As adults these opportunities tail off and we are left to our own devices to find excitement. When was the last time you felt a knot in your stomach because of something you were taking on which wasn’t work, family or money related? Remember the last time you worked hard and achieved something epic, that feeling of success, how do you fancy feeling that awesome again?

Friends and Birthdays
Birthdays and friends and challenges go really well together! Why not have a bit of fun and present a friend with a unforgettable Birthday Challenge on their birthday?

happy birthday image

A bit more memorable then the standard Birthday Card or post on Facebook. But be warned, chances are you’ll be getting a Birthday Challenge back!

Sounds great (well thanks for saying so!) I want in!
Once you’ve decided on your challenge the key thing is being accountable, for example saying ‘I’m going to run a triathlon this year’ and saying ‘I’m going to run this triathlon on this date and I’ve already paid my subscription’ is very different! Just making a public declaration of your intentions makes you way more likely to actually do it.

Why not?

  • let me know what you are up to and any key dates, I will give you little nudges along the way to keep you on track! And I will feature your challenge on this website for all your friends to see it so they can keep you accountable!
  • put some money into your challenge – book a train ticket/pay an entrance fee/join a gym/bet a friend a fiver you are going to achieve it; as people we are far more committed to not losing money then to not losing opportunities to do the things we want to do
  • still not sure what your dream challenge is? I love hearing about other people’s challenges almost as much as I love getting stuck in myself, so why not drop me a line, tell me what you like doing or have always fancied trying out and we can come up with your perfect birthday challenge together.