Setting a goal to take on several challenges within a set amount of time can be an exciting and rewarding experience. Whether it’s 12 challenges in 12 months or another timeline of your choice, how do you actually make it happen?
When Jennifer Price was ready to leave her army career, she decided she wanted to give back and raise money for the Veteran’s Foundation. To do this, she planned 12 challenges in 12 months ranging from an Ironman to climbing to the Seven Summits to an international canoe race, and many, many more. To hear the story of her complete experience, check out her episode on the Tough Girl Podcast.
To kickstart your multi-challenge experience, jump into these top tips from Jennifer herself!
Top Tips for Planning Multiple Challenges in a Set Timeline
1. Just Start Planning
If you haven’t decided what your challenges are going to be, start by playing to your strengths. What brings meaning to your life? What creates a positive impact while also challenging you?
For Jennifer, it was just a matter of putting things down on a list. If it sounded hard, she wrote it down. Making her multiple challenges include multiple disciplines was a key aspect of her goal. An important note for Jennifer with 12 challenges in 12 months was also accounting for the seasons. Certain events only occurred in certain months so she had to work with conflicting dates and time to get equipment.
It may be easy to create your challenge around things you’ve already done before, but stretching yourself into something new can be a worthwhile experience.
2. Don’t Be Afraid to Scrounge for Supplies
When you’re planning multiple adventures, especially when they involve different disciplines, equipment is key. Because Jennifer’s challenge was for charity, she decided she didn’t want to ask for sponsorship and would instead self-fund her financial needs. Instead, all sponsorships would go straight to the charity.
With that in mind, it was also important to Jennifer to spend less on supplies than she donated to charity, otherwise, she might as well have just donated the money.
How did Jennifer manage this major task? “I basically just went to every single friend I knew and said, ‘Please, can I borrow your climbing equipment?’” Jennifer relates. “Being in the army was quite helpful because there are lots of adventurous people.”
Additionally, once Jennifer started advertising her plan, people started reaching out to her offering accommodation and training.
Your friends and family can be a tremendous resource for equipment and more, sometimes surprisingly so. The people you know may put you in touch with others that prove extremely helpful.
3. Consider the Time You’ll Really Need
Depending on how long your timeline is, it can feel exhausting to be constantly planning a challenge, then executing a challenge and starting over again. The mental burden alone is something to consider. So if you’re thinking of planning multiple challenges, start sooner and give yourself good lead time.
Another thing you’ll want to consider taking time for is training. When taking on multiple challenges, setting record times and earning achievements may not be your top priority. However certain challenges may require training. Think about the level of preparedness you’d like to be at physically and the time you’ll need to recover between challenges.
4. Keep a Challenge Simple
One of Jennifer’s favorite challenges was actually the most simple! She greatly enjoyed cycling self-supported Lands’ End to John O'Groats. After spending years in a career surrounded by others, this solo adventure was empowering.
While you do want to challenge yourself, consider the beauty of keeping things simple. There are ways to stretch yourself beyond pushing the limits of what you can endure.
5. Focus on Appreciation
When executing challenge after challenge, it can be difficult to appreciate each experience. When Jennifer did Kilimanjaro, it was a week or two before she was off to Spain before the Ironman.
“I don't know if I fully appreciated it,” Jennifer notes, “because I was getting all these amazing experiences, and they were absolutely hardcore as well. If I’d only done one or two of those last year, maybe I could have appreciated them more or spent more time training and maybe my performance would have been better.”
Ultimately, Jennifer had created her challenges to raise money for charity and stuck to the point of maximizing herself physically and mentally with multiple disciplines in quick succession. “I don't regret the way I did it,” Jennifer notes, “but I think my biggest lesson is really try and make sure I’m appreciating what I was doing, and not take it for granted because it was sort of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”
6. Challenge Yourself
The best advice Jennifer got for taking on these multiple challenges is that the level that you do something doesn’t matter. Just start. Even if it’s as simple as walking. It doesn’t have to be something extreme or it could just be something that’s extreme to you. What is a challenge to you?
You may also be surprised that once you set that challenge, other people will be excited to help you fulfill it. Get out there and get started!
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