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What should your 50 Challenges be?  The answer is, that’s up to you! Push your personal boundaries but remember small challenges are just as good as big ones!


50 Challenges is about pushing your own boundaries - not anyone else's - and they will be different for all of us. One of the challenges I have set myself is to make a wedding cake. I know that some people can do this before breakfast, however I don’t bake; for me this is a challenge. A very big challenge! (My definition of achieving it will be that the happy couple are happy to accept the cake as part of their celebration and aren’t too embarrassed to show it to their guests!)

If you can’t speak a foreign language, learning French is an admirable challenge. It would be a cheat if you can already hold a passable conversation in French, but becoming fluent would be a legitimate challenge. (The key thing with both of these is that you need to define your challenge so you can measure when you have achieved it.)

Similarly, if you’ve never run in your life, finishing your first 5k would be a massive achievement; if you’ve already done a 10k, you may want to step up to a half marathon. But you don’t have to include sporting achievements in your mix. It’s vital that your 50 Challenges are targets that inspire you and encourage you to do more, be more and think more. Please don’t pick challenges because you think you should: you won’t want to see them through and therefore will be unlikely to achieve them.


This is key: a decade is a long time. Things change (knees give way, we suffer injuries, circumstances alter); having a rigid map of what your 50 Challenges will be is likely to lead to frustration and disappointment. However, you might find it helpful to have a blueprint for the type of challenges that you will look to achieve each year to give you an outline of how you will fit them in. As an example, I intend to do an endurance event (because they are my thing!), a walking challenge, a general body challenge (e.g. go sugar free for a month), a mind challenge and a soul challenge each year; you will want to choose a mix that resonates with you.

I also intend to have a number of challenges that will run across all 10 years (read a book a month, raise £50,000 for the MS Society, read all of Shakespeare’s plays), because experience tells me that life often gets in the way, and there may be years when five challenges becomes hard to achieve. This may be something to consider factoring into your own challenges.


There is no prescription with 50 Challenges: some challenges do not have more merit than others. They can be BIG or small, a leap or a small step. We expect there will be a lot of people who will undertake endurance events; such goals are easy to track, give an ambitious target to work towards and a huge sense of achievement when they are done – all of which makes them attractive to do (if they’re your thing). The scale of endurance achievements also means they garner a lot of attention; but this doesn’t make them more of an achievement than singing publicly for the first time in a choir or learning to identify 20 different bird songs.

50 Challenges are designed to encourage us to do more, achieve more and be more. 

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