By Megan Smiley, Sep 25 2017 09:08AM

I believe you should try and continuously challenge yourself in life. They don’t need to be big challenges all the time, they can just be little things that put you slightly out of your comfort zone. I think it’s important for many reasons, mainly to help you to develop as an individual and to stop you getting bored with life

But I also think challenges are good as sometimes people succeed and other times they don’t. Some people might think of not succeeding as failure but it shouldn’t be and it isn’t a negative thing. Not succeeding at things can be beneficial on many levels. It can provide a certain clarity on an issue, and you can gain skills that are useful for other areas of your life, and maybe one of the more obscure but I think important benefits is people see that not everything is perfect, easy, right, fun, and that sometimes deciding to give up on something or not succeeding on a task is actually the best thing. Think of a failing relationship...

With social media encouraging a portrayal of perfect lives with success stories of nobodies becoming rich, famous and successful, it’s good to see and hear about the other side too. Many of these rich, famous or successful people had failures before and maybe that’s what made them succeed in the end. So another lesson there is to keep going with challenge after challenge!

My stance on challenges is probably why four years ago I left my steady office based job and became a personal trainer, and is probably why after nearly a decade in London, I’ve moved to Glasgow, leaving a place that is very much my home, where I started and established my own business and where many of my friends are, to set up all over again. Albeit this is with my husband, which makes it both less of a challenge - not so scary as not doing it on my own, but more of a challenge in the way that marriages are!

So I’m in full settling/setting up mood (or procrastinating by writing a blog post?!) and the house refurbishment is in full swing, my basement studio is nearly finished, so I now just need to find a load of new clients, make new friends and… book a holiday to ensure a certain level of sunshine in my life!

Why not set yourself a little challenge, by doing that thing you’ve always thought/talked about, be it swimming lessons, learning a language, changing jobs, getting a personal trainer (sorry!) and if you succeed great and if you don’t that’s great too!

By Megan Smiley, Jun 5 2015 09:04AM

Last Saturday night I didn’t get to bed till 5am. This is pretty much unheard of for me these days, I’m normally getting up around that time and if I'm out in public past about midnight I normally fall asleep!

However, I wasn't out socialising but being a Ride Angel for Women V Cancer Ride the Night. In it's second year, the ride saw around 1,800 women cycle 100km from Windsor into London and back again for three charities: Breast Cancer Care, Ovarian Cancer Action and Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust.

It was an amazing night. Of all the organised rides I've done, I’m always in the minority being a woman, so it was brilliant to be the majority, in fact men weren't allowed to do it! Also, to see so many women on their bikes, more than I’ve ever seen, was incredible.

Setting off at around 9pm it was still light, so the impressiveness of the fancy dress that pretty much everyone had, didn't show it's true colours at that point, but as the night went on and got darker, the fairy wings with lights, the tutus with lights, the helmets with lit up mohicans, and all the other wonderfully creative outfits, became quite a spectacle, receiving well deserved cheers, encouragement and some slightly drunken attention whilst cycling through Richmond at midnight. At a glance people might have thought it was a massive cycling hen do!

As a Ride Angel I was there to support riders, checking people were ok if they had pulled over, helping with any minor mechanical issues or calling for the 'official' support if needed, as well as keeping up morale. However, I was hardly needed, partly because there were few punctures (perhaps due to most not being on road bikes with thin, easily punctured tyres), but mainly on the morale front. Even with the rain starting at 1am on Sunday morning spirits were high, and motivation and determination levels were ever higher, as many people were cycling in memory of a lost loved one.

Finishing at just before 4am pretty drenched and a little sleep deprived, I couldn't help feeling a warm glow inside. This was a truly unique event, that has so far raised £768,000 for the three charities, and they are aiming to reach one million. What really makes this ride unique though, is all those women on their bikes in their fancy dress laughing and chatting and doing something amazing for a cause dear to them, and I felt privileged to cycle alongside them.