The importance of challenging yourself

Body, Healthy Ageing

Many of us may find ourselves in a Groundhog Day scenario, from time to time. The power to focus on something unrelated to ‘real life’ and personally challenging, can be extremely rewarding and not only give the feeling of accomplishment, but will provide massive gains towards physical and mental wellbeing.

Challenges can also give you a new found confidence, which can enhance your life and help you push yourself even further. The latter certainly resonates with me, having probably been one of the weakest and unconfident kids at my school, I wanted to do some fundraising and signed up for the Great North Run in my mid-twenties. With a little training, I completed it and it gave me this craving to achieve more. Now 20 years later, I’ve completed several marathons, escaped from Alcatraz and completed two Ironman triathlons (2.4m swim, 112m bike ride and full marathon).

Still not content with where my limits are, and certainly to support my own mental health, I strive to create new challenges, expeditions and experiences with the intention of inspiring people (of all abilities) whilst raising a few bob for those who need it.

Challenges should be a personal matter – you have to have that motive in your mind – know why this important or how it’ll develop you. By its very nature, taking on a ‘challenge’ will lead you to experience discomfort or a lack of belief at some point. This could be physical, emotional or mental. As part of my own self-development, I wanted to improve my confidence in extreme situations, so one of the 5050 missions is 50 Falls. This encompasses my fear of falling (not heights), so I will endeavour to complete 50 ‘bottle testers’, such as bungy jumps and skydives, to overcome these fears.

Nobody really knows what their true potential is, you need to keep pushing your boundaries and get out of that comfort zone. With most of my challenges, there is a massive dose of what’s known as ‘Type 2’ fun. This is where it’s far from enjoyable at the time, but when you look back on it, it was totally worthwhile!

Discover more about Stuarts EXPED5050 challenges