There’s something special about the new year. At the beginning of the next 365, it’s an excellent time to start fresh. And of course, it’s a solid opportunity to do some goal setting and make a few new year’s resolutions aligned with your ambitions. Need some ideas? We connected with Spartan CEO and founder Joe De Sena for eight warrior-worthy personal challenge ideas he recommends for every Spartan in the new year.
Joe De Sena's Personal Challenge Ideas to Kick Off the New Year
1. Learn A New Language
Just because your school days may be behind you doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy being a student again. Choose a language that interests you, and a method for getting into the swing of things. With loads of helpful apps out there like Duolingo and Babbel, getting the basics down has never been easier.
2. Meet One New Person Each Day
Whether it’s at your local coffee shop or perhaps just saying hello to someone new at the office, opening yourself up to new people is full of opportunities. You never know what someone can teach you.
3. Create An Eating Window of Only 9-10 Hours Per Day
Over the past few years, more and more people are trying out intermittent fasting — with good reason. Aside from a longer life, it’s been shown to reduce insulin resistance and inflammation. Plus, research shows that it can also reduce blood pressure and help with weight loss. As with any big lifestyle change, make sure to consult with an expert before drastically altering your diet.
4. Wake Up at 4:00 a.m.
We hear it all the time: The most successful individuals and top CEOs are early birds. Research shows that morning people feel happier and healthier than night owls, so why wouldn’t you want to get in on the action? Ease into your morning routine gently by preparing the night before, whether that be setting out your workout clothes or programming the coffee pot. This way, you won’t feel unnecessarily overwhelmed first thing.
Related: 6 Ways to Become an Early Riser
5. Take Cold Showers Regularly
Albeit frigid, cold showers are all about building mental toughness. Beyond that, when the body’s exposed to the cold, it releases a protein called Adiponectin. “Adiponectin breaks down fat and pushes glucose into cells, if there was a magic-pill, cold showers might be it,” says De Sena. Try alternating between 20 seconds of cold water, with 10 seconds of hot water.
6. Carry a Kettlebell
Not just across the gym floor one time, either. Add more farmers carries, using either dumbbells or kettlebells, to your routine for a total core challenge that will strengthen your foundation for other critical movements in your next race. Plus, the exercise can help improve your grip and leg strength.
7. Do 100 Crunches Every Morning
These don’t have to be your typical crunches, either. Try variations including a bicycle, woodchop, wiper, or reverse crunch.
8. Do an Ultra
Thirty miles and 60 obstacles. It’s a challenge meant for someone with grit and endurance, that takes months of preparation. With 14 Ultras already announced for 2020, there’s no better time than the present to check off this huge bucket list item.