It’s 6:13 AM and my phone starts ringing. No, it’s not one of my friends coming from a late party, it’s workday and my alarm is making all the noise. I get out of bed and once again put on my running shoes, grab my music player and head to the door. It’s dark, it’s cold and I feel that most bones in my body don’t want to be here. Still there’s no way I’m going back, so I start picking up the pace. What’s actually going on?

It’s a good old challenge. Some time last winter, in the coldest part of it, where temperatures were, on average, 10 degrees Celsius below zero, I took on a challenge. The challenge was to go running every single day for about 30 minutes for 2 weeks straight. Needless to say, I completed the challenge in flying colors.

4 weeks ago I decided to start a new challenge and why not double the stakes?! I decided to run every morning for 4 weeks – this makes 28 early and difficult mornings. The current run is actually on the 29th day, so I’ve already dominated the goal and am doing overtime.

How can this kind of challenge be completed?

One day my girlfriend asked me: “How do you force yourself to get out of bed this early in the morning?” and I answered “I don’t start making excuses”, actually I forbid myself to make excuses. Everyone can make up excuses but the awesome people just don’t. The difference between those who get stuff done and those who don’t is that the doers make things happen while the others make up excuses for why they don’t. I didn’t make up excuses because I had an unbeatable argument – I had accepted the challenge and would not stop until the finish line. As Jim Carrey in the Yes Man. I said “yes!” to my phone alarm 29 days straight without giving it a second thought.

What is it good for?

I have to admit, that on the second week I felt that it was kind of hard, and I wasn’t sure I’d finish. I still continued step by step towards my goal, though. I just forced through the tough part and it soon became much easier. During my challenge I felt that when the day begun and I had finished my jog, I had already done so much. I felt fresh and my mind was sharp. I also felt that my stamina was better in the gym. Yes, during my challenge I continued my gym training schedule, because I just can’t get along without moving some iron around. I visited the gym about 3 times a week. With this added running exercise I felt that my gym workouts were more intense and I could do longer sets with higher reps. I even went on and used some super-set techniques to get the maximum out of my muscles.

Why should you do it?

I once read an article about finishing your games. It was written by Derek Yu, the creator of Spelunky, a very successful indie computer game. In this article he talked about the importance of finishing the game projects you have started. He gave 15 tips on how to finish a game and number 10 on the list was Take care of your mental and physical health. In this point he described that physical health is always important and greatly affects your mental state. I have always been very active, but this point validated my beliefs. Good mental health is always connected to good health in general. That’s why I think you can’t make excuses for not having exercise in your schedule. So let’s get some moves on!

If you have some challenges or habits that keep you agile and going, please leave a comment. I am eager to read all about it!