April Fool’s Challenge: Swim, Bike, or Run Every Day of the Month


Yes, once again I realize that desperate times call for desperate measures. After training for and running a 10-mile race last year, I sprained my ankle. What a great reason excuse to take a break from running. Whoops – it’s now been five months, and I’ve run no more than a dozen times: a far cry from at least three runs a week. Now. . . let the challenge begin.

Goal setting is, indeed, a lovely thing. Goals provide motivation to achieve something important – as long as the goals are challenging, realistic, and meaningful. For me, setting a goal to swim, bike, or run fits the bill on all three counts:

Challenging: I am the perfect example of the theory that objects at rest tend to stay at rest. I can easily park myself down with a good book and just dig deeper into a comfy chair for hours at a time. I’ll also be traveling a bit during the month of April so I’ll have to schedule ahead of time how I’m going to carve out time to get my exercise on. Swimming is not my thing, and I’ve avoided the pool for a couple of years now, so it’ll be back to the water for me! I also generally build in rest days, so this will be a bit different for me.

Realistic: I’ve trained for a 10-mile run and sprint triathlons, so I know I can set a goal around athletic achievements and meet that goal. This challenge also fits perfectly with the SMART goal-setting model. The goals are:  Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely. Another key to ensuring success is that I’ve also got an accountability partner to make sure I stay on track. Excel spreadsheet documenting progress is ready to go.  Game on!

Meaningful: Once I get in the groove for training, I’m soooo much more productive at work and home. I feel better, sleep better, work better, play better.

Planning this April Fool’s Challenge, I realized that I approached it the same way I would approach setting goals for my business. Make the plan. Work the plan. Celebrate the results.

Do you have a different approach for work and personal life goals? Let me know how you motivate yourself to achieve personal and professional goals in the comments below or contact me directly here. Better yet, join me with a challenge of your own in April and keep me posted on your progress!

About Deb

Deb Nelson, principal of deb nelson consulting, is a creative storyteller. She designs and implements communication plans that leverage strategic partnerships and provide innovative solutions for her clients. You can find her on twitter at @nelliedeb.


  1. For me, walking is my go-to exercise and I am so looking forward to spring (it isn’t quite here yet in Toronto), so I can walk at least 30-40 minutes daily. One of the things I loved about being in Florida during February, was the opportunity to drive to the beach and walk it for 45 minutes to an hour.

    I’d say that I approach both my personal and business life in the same way. I am self-motivating and find I take action when I feel it is the right time. This is a strength I’ve developed over the course of my life lived as an overachiever. Slowing down and going with life’s flow is so much healthier and the interesting thing is you do get just as much accomplished. Wishing you a fabulous month of April, challenging yourself and achieving your goals!
    Beverley Golden recently posted..Real Beauty Comes from the Inside OutMy Profile

    • Thanks Beverley – I’m hoping spring weather arrives soon! It’s snowing here in Maine right now; just flurries, but I could use some sunny 60-degree weather. Thanks for encouragement – I definitely find I get real clarity when I set aside time to clear my mind by exercising. Looking forward to seeing where the month takes me.

  2. Goal setting is the one sure way to move your life forward and is an essential component of my toolkit. The more challenging goals are the more they stretch you, so keep on keeping on when it comes to setting goals Deb.
    Michelle Williams recently posted..Why Self-Love Should Be The Centre Of Your Life!My Profile

    • Love the way goals stretch us, make us uncomfortable, and teach us a few lessons about ourselves. I’m looking forward to this challenge!!

  3. I notice I resist goal setting. Actually writing them down. This applies to my business as well as my personal, however with that said, I am a doer, action taker, love projects and get them done. Little by little I am following the guidance of my coach.
    Roz Tanner Evans recently posted..http://paresinlove.blog.com/2013/07/23/deciding-on-no-nonsense-solutions-in-bo-dietl/My Profile

    • We all learn differently and move our business forward in a different fashion, don’t we? Some people can have goals in their head and make everything happen. I find I need to make things more official to get them done: share on a blog=>, tell friends, write it down. Let’s see how this month goes for us both – good for you for finding a coach who’s in sync with the best route for you to take.

  4. Deb, I seem to have a similar approach. I’ve set “run every day in ____” goals in the past – and, come to think of it, it tends to be in March or April. I’ve had a dry spell lately, with weather and sickness being the biggest culprits, but it’s picking up now that the days are longer. The weather’s still crazy, though – Saturday we had sleet and snow, and today it’s 82 and humid (I’m in Arkansas).

    My personal and business goals are easier to stick to when I write them down, tell the whole world, tattoo them on my forehead …

    Best wishes on your April Fool’s Challenge! I’m doing the Blogging from A-Z Challenge in April: http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/

    • I hear you on the weather front, Suzy. We’re not having quite the swing in weather that you are – I’m in Maine, snowed a few days ago and I’ve still got snowbanks at the end of the driveway and totally snow-covered yard. We’re in the 50s today – woo hoo!!! Of course, we might see more snow tomorrow. Since I’ve got a membership at the local Y, I’ve got exactly zero excuses. That tattoo on the forehead just might have to happen!!

  5. I am an avid swimmer! I’m kicking myself because I was being disobedient to my schedule and missed my Aqua Fit class this morning. It is so easy to park it on the sofa or catch a few extra Z’s like all other objects at rest. Loved that! This article reminded me to be accountable to my fitness goals. I’ll be heading to the gym this afternoon once I have completed the current tasks I’m working on. Thanks!
    Coach Niquenya recently posted..Managing a Bad Client – How to Overcome this ChallengeMy Profile

    • Hope you made it to the gym yesterday! I had planned to get up early to hit the gym – but moved to plan B and followed up my afternoon meeting with a workout. It’s definitely helpful for me to have an accountability partner to keep me from slacking…

  6. Hi Deb, Setting goals is important of course, but I like to keep my exercise routine as simple as possible. So I really like your suggestion to run, swim, or bike each day. For me, I plan to involve my kids, for us to go jogging each day, some swimming and bicycling as well will be fun. Kids have it right. Make it a game!
    Renee Becket recently posted..60-Day Spring Action PlanMy Profile

    • Looks like you’ve got a good approach – making it fun so it doesn’t seem like work. We could all use to add a bit more fun to our day!!

  7. Hi Deb,
    Great post!
    Back in October I vowed to get healthier, so I joined Planet Fitness and set my goal to go daily and consistently and so far almost 7 months later, I have stayed on my goal and feel great! Love feeling healthy and strong makes all the difference in the world with your mindset as well 🙂

    Thanks for sharing this awesome challenge post!
    Joan Harrington recently posted..How To Get More Email SubscribersMy Profile

  8. Hi Deb,
    This is a great post! Like you, If I sit down to read a book, or watch TV- next thing I know hours have gone by or the entire day. I like getting up and going, going, going. I have tried to schedule “appointments” with myself – however, I always seem to reschedule.

    What I have done is use the Compound Effect and celebrating even small steps toward a goal. My word for 2015 is Visibility, I wanted to be seen and recognized more in my field and it has been happening. I have been taking smaller steps and getting ready to take some bigger ones for the remainder of the year. I’d love to do a challenge with you in April – though I’m not sure where I’d start.

    Thanks for the great blog and letting me know i”m not alone!

    • Taking small steps, and celebrating those achievements, is a great strategy. Before you know it, you’re well on your way to making that Big Hairy Audacious Goal!!

  9. It’s true about getting into a groove of training and feeling better about yourself. You start to feel and look different – better.
    At the start of the year, my goal is to hit 10 thousand steps a day minimum. I have a fitbit so it has kept me motivated to hit the 10k. You cant really cheat with the fitbit, at least i dont. I am guessing that I should up my game to make it a minimum of 15k a day now since I can easily hit 10k now.
    Hazel recently posted..What is Smart SuccessMy Profile

    • Go for that 15k!!! That’s the great thing about setting and reaching goals – pretty soon what once seemed daunting is a breeze. Congrats to you, Hazel.

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