As the weather warms and we resume active outdoor pursuits like hiking and cycling, many of us Nexighters are reminded of a commitment we made at the beginning of the year. To kick off 2016, we launched our first annual Nexight Fitness Challenge, which encouraged group accountability in reaching individual health and fitness goals. I led this experiment as a fun, optional way for Nexight colleagues to connect with each other and discuss self-improvement goals that fall outside of professional development. Nexight’s culture prioritizes the cultivation of strong workplace relationships and encourages staff to take on new initiatives. The Fitness Challenge was an exciting way for me to bring these two key strengths together.
In the world of dieting and nutrition, a “one-size-fits-all” approach does not work well. Rather than taking on shared goals, the Nexight Fitness Challenge focused on health measures that were personalized to individual goals and needs. Each participant developed metrics specific to their goals (e.g., biking 30 miles per week or drinking at least 64 ounces of water each day) which were tracked on a shared spreadsheet. Every Monday, we had a quick check-in to discuss progress and challenges, and shared tips or lessons learned during the prior week. Because each participant set their own goals, the Fitness Challenge’s main driver was personal accountability. (Fact: we also had a weekly progress board with stickers to mark the weeks we succeeded; as it turns out, cute animal stickers prove to be a strong motivator, even amongst adults.)
We required a small entry fee to encourage everyone to complete the challenge and do their best. At the end of the Challenge, the participant(s) who most frequently met their weekly goals selected a charity to receive the challenge pool funds. Out of our 10 participants, people completed their goals on five out of the eight weeks! The winners decided to donate the final pool of $250 to SOME, a D.C.-based nonprofit that provides food, clothing, and health services to the poor and homeless in our community.
The success of the Nexight Fitness Challenge reflects the commitment that each member of the Nexight team has to holding him or herself accountable for the choices that we make daily and how those decisions can improve our health, our environment, and our surrounding community.