#2017 Of Everything challenge as told by Sanjay Rawal.

"I am fascinated by masochistic discipline and by those driven to experience it."

Such adherents seem to seek a realm where pain is blissful, where physical anguish is its own reward. I am not one of those people. I do enjoy self-transcendence, going beyond my own limitations, but I prefer incremental progress to quantum leaps. Balance is my goal. Balance is also, in many ways, my excuse.

So why on December 19th, when a post passed down my Facebook feed hashtagged #2017ofEverything, did I pause? It was written by the husband of Sara Blakely who just so happens to be one of the youngest self-made female billionaires. I remembered beginning an endurance running race alongside the post’s author as well (I worked up to it for months). He was forced to drop out of 12 hours to finalize a purchase he, his wife and some other friends made – of the Atlanta Hawks. And he had written a book the prior year which I was too scared to read Living with a Seal . I originally looked up the book, fascinated by the idea of sharing a home with an aquatic animal, only to learn that the author lived and trained for a month with a Navy SEAL.

"I saw that for once, I might be able to accept and complete the challenge of an extremist."

On December 19th, runner, entrepreneur and author Jesse Itzler posted a challenge to all those who admire people like him up close or, like me, from afar– to do 2,017 repeats of callisthenic exercises in 2017: burpees, situps, push-ups, squats and chair dips. I saw that for once, I might be able to accept and complete the challenge of an extremist. I signed up and posted my interest. And I mentally prepared for an incredible 2017. I was poised to embrace the realm of the Beyond.

On January 1, I saw that the first disciples of the challenge were posting their progress, in sets of 100. “Wow, they plan on finishing a year of activities in 20 days,” I thought. “Over-achievers.” Then I looked carefully at everyone’s posts. #2017ofEverything was not a 365-day challenge but a 31-day project.

I could’ve backed out and no one would’ve been the wiser except that Jesse’s call-to-arms included a selfless motivator. For every finisher of the challenge, he and a group of friends would donate $400 to charity – up to $100,000 in total. And this charity, in part, supported the children of fallen special operations soldiers Special Operations Warrior Foundation. So, by dropping out on day one I was depriving their kids of college scholarships.

“I love things that bring people together and this was a way to unite people through fitness and charity,” Jesse Itzler

Certainly the #2017ofEverything challenge worked for me, were it not for the philanthropic element, I might not have lasted past day one.

It’s now day 5 and I’m surviving and, as expected, perhaps even thriving. I started my challenge in LA on Days 1-3, did Day 4 in Tulsa, Day 5 in NYC, and will do Day 6 in Abu Dhabi and Day 7 in Sri Lanka (I travel a lot). For masochists out there not daunted by the 20 or so days remaining in January, Jesse is issuing a plea for more participants. He really wants to give away $100,000 and wants to make sure there are enough finishers by January 31st to ensure he does.

Below, Sanjay just completed Day 6 at the Abu Dhabi Airport enroute to Sri Lanka.

“I'm shocked by how many people are actually doing the challenge. I thought we would get a few dozen folks to participate and we have thousands participating from all over the world. We may hit 5 million burpees by months end! It's amazing to watch a group of people rally and bond together around this” Jesse Itzler

join us via his Facebook page.https://www.facebook.com/groups/jesseitzler/Will this continue past January? “I want everyone to finish this challenge before focusing on February. It would be amazing to keep the momentum going if we can. The key is creating a challenge that is super hard, but doable!” jesse Itzler