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Don’t Make a Resolution ”Take the Physical Challenge Instead

My brother-in-law was banned from watching “Double Dare” when he was a child. Apparently, it made him too hyper when he witnessed the physical challenges that occurred when contestants couldn’t answer the mind boggling trivia questions that Marc Summers threw out there.

The physical challenge was truly the hallmark of “Double Dare.” The show pandered to their young audience by dousing people with slime, making them wade through goo and get covered with muck. At the end of the day, one could make the case that it paved the ways to shows like “Dirty Jobs,” now that it’s gone and its audience has aged.

And today, the idea of the physical challenge lives on. Deep within us is a desire to push ourselves physically, wondering just how much our bodies can take in order to get us in better shape, lose weight or just feel a bit healthier.

Speaking of, how’s that New Year’s Resolution treating you? It’s OK if you already broke it. After all, the “real” first day of the year is today, since everyone’s back in the office. Today is the day everything starts, right?

But if you’re looking to get out of the resolution rut created by too many promises to yourself about eating healthier or watching your weight, then ditch your resolution and take the physical challenge.

What’s your physical challenge for 2009?

A physical challenge is a commitment to an activity that pushes your body to the limit. The limit. The limit of what you expect it’s capable of. Thus a physical challenge does not look like the typical resolution. A physical challenge is not “Go to the gym four days a week” or “Run on a treadmill for 30 minutes.” Granted, for some of us, that is physically challenging, but let’s get a bit more daring.

Take a page from Adrian Reif’s playbook. For his 24th birthday, Adrian is challenging himself to 24 hours of activity, all in an attempt to raise $2,400 for homelessness in Nashville. That’s ambitious.That’s a challenge.

For me, I’m aiming to run a half-marathon each month in 2009. First stop: the Disney Half-Marathon this Saturday.

While a physical challenge is grueling, the upside is that even if you don’t complete it, you’ve still done a lot, and you’ll get better results than a traditional resolution. If I only run 10 half-marathons (instead of 12), I’ll still have accomplished a great deal physically—much more than if I’d just resolved to “run more” in 2009. If Adrian only completes half his tasks and only raises $1,200, his accomplishments will still be admirable.

Don’t simply be resolved—be challenged.

What’s your physical challenge for 2009?

Sam Davidson is executive director of CoolPeopleCare, Inc. A version of this column appeared originally on his blog.