Need ideas for your New Year’s resolutions? Annie from eXerK has 52!
Planning your New Year’s resolution? Annie decided to set not one, but 52 challenges over one year. This project was called eXerK (combining exercise and work) and involved completing one challenge a week for 52 weeks – now that’s what we call a challenge. With 2015 nearly over, let’s hear from Annie on her year…
What was the biggest motivator in your 52 challenge project?
Curiosity. I’m a pretty energetic being and love exploring. Living and working in London, I was starting to get frustrated with all the sitting down we do – at our desks, on the tube, on the sofa. There were so many fun events I wanted to do this year that, when the idea popped into my head, 52 sporting challenges in 52 weeks made perfect sense. The “52in52” have been a perfect platform to explore the fitness scene accessible to busy Londoners. By opening the challenges up so people could join me, I was able to share the joy of being outdoors and active.
What has been the toughest challenge to date?
It could have been the 5k open water swim, the Alpe d’Huez triathlon, the flying trapeze, or even the failed back flip – but in reality, the toughest challenge has actually been balancing the 52in52 with real life – my full time City job, my social and family life, and sleep!
What did you take away from this experience?
I have managed to cram a lot in this year. Trying to get the balance right has taught me that we can’t do everything and be everything to everyone. There were a few times I had to take a step back from eXerK and refocus on work or my family. I’d realise that the pressure I was feeling was self-imposed and it was up to me, not anybody else, to press pause.
What is the most valuable lesson that you have learnt this year?
Go for it – one foot in front of the other. From a standing start, it’s amazing what we can achieved with a bit of hard work, a focus on fun and some people to share the experience with. By spending more time focusing on a few things, rather than spreading myself thinly, I have learnt a lot more. Building a website, engaging in social media, writing a blog, organising adventures and now writing for the Evening Standard Online and the Huffington Post. All a big surprise.
What was your stand out moment?
One particular stand out moment was leading the start of one of my self-organised challenges – the Circle Line Relay. Realising how exciting it is to create something out of nothing and see others enjoy it. That gave me a real kick.
What was your favourite challenge and why?
The favourite challenge question is a tricky one. By design, there was such variation amongst the 52in52. I change my answer every time! For the Bounce crew, I am going for the Wall Crawl – 7 climbing walls in 1 day. ‘Team eXerK’ cycled 50km around London, bouldering at each of the 7 climbing centres. For exploring London, physical challenge and new friends (I had only met 2 of the 13 people who joined before the day) – the Wall Crawl was amazing.
If this sounds like your kind of challenge, or you’re just a bit interested, head to eXerK.com – all the details of all the challenges are up so you can go ‘eXerK yourself’.
What has been the mantra that has kept you going?
I’m not sure there has been a mantra that kept me going if I’m honest. If anything it was the pure determination in making this mammoth challenge work. A raw belief in the benefits of people getting outdoors and active, in exploring and in finding the fun in exercise has pushed me to keep going and including people in the challenges.
What is your advice for others who are planning their New Year’s resolutions?
Be bold. Pick something you’ll have fun doing that you’ll be proud of achieving. Having a think about the drivers behind why you are choosing the challenge is important. The more you believe in what you set out to achieve, and the more you want to reach your target, the easier it will be to pick yourself up when you’re slipping off the motivation train.
What is your challenge for 2016?
Still to be decided. eXerK, with the aim of getting busy people active will certainly continue on its mission. I’m going to need a few weeks to recover after the 52in52 finishes on 31st December. I will spend some time reflecting on what I’ve enjoyed most of all the many things I have done and see where I can add most value going forward. All very exciting! To keep track, sign up to my mailing list on www.eXerK.com, follow me @eXerKyourself on Instagram and Twitter or @eXerK on Facebook!