Part 1 in the Psychology of challenges series

By Linda Music

In 2015, I did something that changed my life.

It was something that not only helped to change the way I saw myself but also redefined the limits I had placed on myself, mainly due to fear.

It was January 1st and I was trying to decide on a New Year’s resolution. In an epiphanous moment, I decided I didn’t want one New Year’s Resolution.  I wanted something “more” which is how my idea for 52new was born.

The premise behind 52new was that I would experience something new every week for 52 weeks. After living a year of pain in 2013 and finally being pain-free, I was full of ideas about what I was going to do.

A long list was created and my family were drawn (and sometimes dragged) into the journey with me.

While most of the 52 experiences, such as trying a new food I’d never tasted, were not particularly challenging, there were many other things I did that year which pushed me past my comfort zone.

I swam my first aquathon, went indoor skydiving, participated in a 24 hour relay swim, went white water rafting and manoeuvred my way through an obstacle course suspended in the treetops high above the ground.

I learnt a lot about myself that year.

I learnt that I was afraid.  A lot.

I was the child at school who didn’t participate in sport. I was not only embarrassed at my lack of coordination but also afraid of being hurt. We all know the child who closes their eyes, covers their face and cowers when someone throws them a ball. That was me.

I was afraid of being hurt.


A physically violent grandmother who traumatised my early childhood taught me fear and everything I did in life was an effort to keep myself physically and emotionally safe (but that’s another story for another time).

2015 was, to date, the most memorable year of my life. It was the year that I realised I could push past the boundaries I had constructed. It was the year that I started, for the first time, to believe in me.

Since then, I have challenged myself beyond what I thought was possible (my next challenge is a 2.5km open water swim in November).

I doubt that I will ever do anything wild like bungee jumping or sky diving but I’m still always looking for ways to prove to myself that I can do more. Be more.

Sharing my writing with you is one of these ways.

(This is part one in the series: “The psychology of challenges” in which I explore the research into why challenging ourselves throughout life is important, not only for our body, but also our mind and even, our soul.)

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