Do you like a challenge? Are you one to set yourself goals and challenges as the year rolls over from one to the next? Call them New Year’s Resolutions or anything else, some of us simply find setting targets and writing down our ambitions helpful. So I thought I would get you started by proposing a list of seventeen life changing challenges for 2017. 

My list is not designed to make you feel bad or inadequate – far from it, I know I’d struggle to do all of these and the ones I have done have not been without their difficulties. Rather, I want to inspire you to set yourself a life changing challenge for the coming year, something that will encourage you to concentrate on you a little bit more as we make the leap from 2016 to 2017.

Seventeen Life Changing Challenges for 2017 – Part One

1. LEJOG at home

This is something I was inspired to do a couple of years ago by The Next Challenge, and it certainly gave me plenty motivation to exercise for the first six months of the year (yes, it took me that long). The premise is very simple; walk, run or cycle the equivalent to LEJOG at home – either adding up all the miles you do on your commute, or, like me, settling down in the spare room to build up the miles day by day on your exercise bike. It worked for me as I had a goal to reach rather than just trying to beat myself each day.

2. 2017 miles in 2017

Another “total” challenge that should keep you going for more than a weekend (unless you want to do it all in one go, in which case, wow!). The idea here is that you travel 2017 miles by 31 December under your own steam. Walk, cycle, run, row, paddle, ski, whatever; as long as you’re not using an engine it counts. Use any one of the available apps, or just a spreadsheet, to tot up your total as you go along and see how quickly you can reach the magic 2017 miles. Worried about that number? Go metric and do 2017 kilometres instead. I did this in 2012 and it was a really good way to keep me interested for the whole year.

If this kind of total challenge interests you there are a couple of magazines running them this year that I’ve seen – #Walk1000Miles is run by Country Walking, and #Run1000Miles is run by Trail Running. In each case there are twitter and facebook communities to get involved in, which should help you reach your goal as it’s always easier with friends who are doing the same thing. While I don’t set my yearly resolutions until later in the year, I have signed up to walk 1000 miles in 2017, as it sounds like a good number and something that should be achievable with a little motivation.

3. How many consecutive days can you cycle to work?

If you live within cycle-able distance to work, how many working days in a row can you commute by bicycle before you give in and get the bus or take the car? For me it’s about three I think, yes I know, appalling effort! Actually I think I managed six working days in a row in the run up to Christmas, but that was a bit of a one off. Once you’ve set your baseline, your challenge is pretty obvious – try and beat your streak. You could build it up purposefully if you like; one, then two, then three, then four, and so on.

The cycle commute. Never as bad as it seems when you get out of bed. 

4. One Hour Outside every day in 2017

My One Hour Outside campaign in November proved very popular, and I heard from lots of people who managed to get outside for at least one hour every single day that month. Brilliant. Spending One Hour Outside every day for a whole year might be upping the game slightly, but it could be fun to try. If you’re not up for twelve months of this, the month-long challenge will return very soon – watch this space.

Spending one hour outside can include getting in the habit of walking in your lunch break.

5. Complete a 30 day fitness challenge… times 1 or 12!

These 30 day challenges are so popular now, there are loads of them about. I’ve done a 30 day squat challenge more than once, and it really does work, I notice a huge difference in my ability at the end each time. The great thing about these challenges is that they take just a few minutes out of your day – five minutes maybe – and most people should be able to fit one in during a normal busy day. You could pick one and try it in January as a first step into getting stronger or fitter or more toned, and then if you like it and the results you can either choose another one to start in February and March and April and so on, so you’ve done 12 different mini fitness challenges throughout 2017, or you can try the same one again, or you can try something else for a month and come back to the same challenge later. You choose!

30 day squat challenge. 

6. Learn a new skill/sport

The New Year is a great opportunity to take up a new hobby or sport. You could get out on the water and learn to kayak, take your cycling off road and ride some trails, join a local hockey or rugby team, try out your local crossfit gym, there are so many possibilities. Make 2017 the year you learn or get back into that sport or activity you’ve always loved or fancied.

7. Experience something new every month

A little more effort needed for this one as rather than starting something in January and just keeping at it for the entire year, this one involves 12 new things… but the premise is incredibly simple – pick 12 things you’ve never done before and do them all! They could be simple Sunday afternoon experiences (you know, the sort of thing you can get in voucher form), they could be slightly more energetic, or they could be more substantial adventures. Spend the next few days making your list, and get organising – one new thing every month for the whole year. Sounds like fun!

If you’re looking for ideas, track cycling is SO much fun, you should definitely try it.

8. Walk 10,000 steps every day

The original fitness challenge and something that doctors tell us we should all be doing. Do this and your heart, legs, mind and everything else will thank you. No easy thing, of course, five miles is FAR… but it is doable. Can’t do 10,000 steps every single day? Look at it as 70,000 steps a week instead and get a whole load done on a Saturday. For those of you who prefer to look at it as distance rather than steps, 10,000 steps is the equivalent to around five miles for most people, and so if you manage it every single day in 2017 you’ll have walked 1,825 miles… very nearly 2,017 (see above!).

Feeling inspired? If you choose to make any of these ideas your own challenge for 2017 I’d really love to hear from you. Bung a comment below and I’ll do my best to encourage you to see your challenge through during the coming year. 

And if none of these take your fancy, you may find something more up your street in part two.

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