If you know me well enough, you’ll know I like to give myself challenges. These can range from something ultimately trivial – such as collecting wrist bands, to something exceptionally trivial – such as not listening to Bohemian Rhapsody for a year.
Sometimes they can have important health benefits, like doing more cycling or switching to soya milk. Other times they can be to help me learn something, like my abandoned places photography challenge which is both ongoing and designed to help me get better at taking pictures. Much of the time they’re just for fun, but if I can mix it up and improve myself in some way, so much the better.
So, each year I try to have a few main challenges that I’ll concentrate on, and I’ll sprinkle in a few shorter challenges along the way. In 2010 my long term challenges included riding my bike more than I had in 2009, making the switch to clipless pedals, collecting wrist bands, taking pictures of abandoned places, and switching to soya milk. I managed all of these, one way or another, although making the switch to clipless pedals took a lot longer than expected because my shoes took 8 months to arrive. Hardly my fault, but you can imagine how external influences can have even the simplest of challenges on shaky ground.
For example, it’s not always been possible to have soya milk over the last few months, so I have to allow myself some moo juice now and again when the soya option isn’t there. Then there’s the number of times I’ve had to take action to avoid hearing Bohemian Rhapsody over the years. Yes, I know it’s silly and was only meant to be a one year challenge, but once I’d done a year I decided to see how long I could keep it up for – currently I’m at four years and counting.
Aside from the long term efforts, I also have some short challenges that might last less than a day, such as challenging myself to climb Ben Bowie in the snow last month just to see if I could do it. Those ones are great fun and help keep me motivated due to their spontaneity. I even got my daughter involved in one of those during the summer in The Swing Park Challenge – “an attempt to visit and play on every piece of apparatus in all of the local parks in less than 90 minutes.” She loved it and so did I!
For 2011 I decided to take on the WordPress post a week challenge (which I mentioned before) and the somewhat woolly one of getting back into skateboarding and learning three different tricks. This might not sound like much, however, despite skating on and off for 30 years I can’t actually do any tricks. By the end of this year I want to be able to perform a decent ollie, a rock & roll, and a 50-50 grind. For reasons that’ll be apparent if you click the links, I’m not going to be able to do the grind until I can do the ollie, so this is a sort of tiered affair.
If I can learn those tricks in the space of the year then I’ll be a happy man – even more so if I can learn a few others a long the way. If I don’t manage it, at least I’ll have given it a shot.
Aside from the skateboarding and the post a week, I’m keeping the soya milk challenge and the photography challenge going this year, too. I haven’t thought of any others yet, so do let me know if you have any suggestions. 🙂