Create a Challenge

Bay Circuit Trail

Photo of the Bay Circuit Trail
Courtesy of John Phelan.

Many people need to lock themselves into doing something beneficial with what is called a “commitment device.” The Andover Trails Committee in Andover, Massachusetts has come up with the 2015 Andover Challenge that should serve as a commitment device to people in that area. They challenge residents to:

  • Hike the Bay Circuit Trail across Andover
  • Paddle the navigable section of the Shawsheen River in Andover
  • Bike across Andover
  • Cross-country ski or snowshoe to the top of Holt Hill – highest point in Essex County
  • Swim, fish, or paddle in Field, Fosters, and Pomps Ponds.
  • Mountain bike 5 miles of trails in Harold Parker State Forest.

Commitment comes from registering for the challenge and tracking your progress. They use an online system called “SignUpGenius” to manage the whole thing. Participants first register (as I write this, 61 have done so) then, as they complete each of the challenges, they go back to the sign-up web page and sign off on their completion. The whole process is self-policing. You can lie if you want to, but it serves no purpose.

If you are part of an outdoor or health oriented group in your area, it would be an easy process to set up a similar challenge and encourage more people get the outdoor time they need.

If you have already done something like this or plan to this year,  reply with your story.  Perhaps it will help others create an enjoyable challenge.

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