What’s Your Main Quest?

I love role playing games.

I love novels set in a Fantasy realm.

There’s something special about taking a character from a weakling nobody to world-saving, ass-kicking, spell-casting, sword-wielding badass.  It’s fun watching that character go from zero to hero, chump to champ, underdog to savior.

Those games are the foundation upon which Nerd Fitness is built. 

From day one, the tagline for this site has been “Level up your life,” as it’s the way we rebels look at life: from my Epic Quest of Awesome to how we classify our professions and how we live better.

With today being the launch of the next six week challenge, we have an exciting change to how we’re going to help each other live better.

The main Quest

quest map

Think back to the last time you played any role-playing or adventure game, be it Skyrim, Final Fantasy, or World of Warcraft.

If you’re not a gamer, then think back to the last time you read a fantasy themed novel or watched a movie/show in that genre.

These narratives all possess a main storyline that drives the plot forward:

  • Somebody’s been kidnapped that needs to be rescued (Princess Zelda and Princess Peach).
  • A treasure is waiting to be discovered, but it’s protected (The Hobbit).
  • An uber bad guy must be defeated to prevent permanent darkness (The Lord of the Rings).
  • A newly transformed hero must stop an evil organization from destroying the world. (Captain America).

In each of these instances, this main quest drives the overall theme and plot.  Our protagonist has to eventually complete this task in order for the story to come to an end.

Now, obviously “save the world” is a super generic goal.  Fortunately for the audience and the gamer, there are a ton of steps, goals, and missions that comprise that main quest.

In order for Link to rescue Princess Zelda, he must first:

  • Acquire the Master Sword
  • Collect all pieces of the Triforce
  • Obtain the silver arrows
  • Stab Ganon with the Master Sword to stun/weaken him
  • Defeat Ganon by shooting him with silver arrows

Although the main quest (rescue Princess Zelda, save the world) is both grand and daunting, there are very specific, deliberate, and purposeful steps that break the Main Quest into easier to comprehend pieces.

You don’t go from opening screen directly into Death Mountain; you need to go through Level 1, then Level 2, then Level 3, etc.

Identify any other great video game or epic story and you’ll find the same result: a main quest comprised of smaller steps, levels, and missions.

Today, you’re going to build your own main quest.

what’s your main quest?

open book

The world is your game, and you are the character.

What is your main quest?  This is the overall goal that you hope to accomplish over the next six weeks to the next few months.  Is your goal:

  • To run your first half marathon?
  • To lose weight and fit into a size __?
  • To build muscle and get stronger?
  • To finally sign up for a _____ class?

This is your main quest.  It’s okay if it’s not super specific, but it does need to be something you can work towards.  Once you have identified what your Main Quest is, you must come up with 3 VERY SPECIFIC missions/goals that get you closer to your Main Quest. These specific tasks should be measurable, countable, or trackable.

For example, if your goal is to “lose weight,” then you need to pick three goals that are all working TOWARDS your goal of losing weight.  They don’t need to be drastic, but they need to be specific and measurable:

  • “I will work out three days per week for 45 minutes each workout.”
  • “I will go for a walk of five minutes every morning.”
  • “By the end of these six weeks, I will only drink one soda per day instead of six.”

If your goal is to “build muscle,” then you need to pick three goals that are all working towards your goal of building muscle:

  • “I will work out three days per week for one hour each work out.”
  • “I will consume 3500 quality calories every single day.”
  • “I will get 8 hours of sleep every night.”

In both examples above, every single day is an opportunity for you to say “YES! I was successful” or “no, I missed today.”  Being able to say YAY or NAY is incredibly important with these goals.

If they aren’t specific or measurable, then how would you know if you advanced along your main quest storyline?

It would certainly ruin all of the games and stories above!

  • Did you kill the dragon?  Ehhh kinda!
  • Did you destroy the One Ring? Sure. Wait. Maybe?
  • We need you to rescue that guy. Or don’t. Whatever.

So, for this six week challenge, your goal is to pick your Main Quest Storyline, and then three missions that help you get closer to that goal.  You can read ALL of the details that make up the challenge here.

what’s your motivation?

Running Street

When Link defeated Ganon, it wasn’t because he figured he should fight him. He did it because he knew he was saving both Princess Zelda and protecting Hyrule.

Frodo didn’t set out to destroy the One Ring because Gandalf said he should. He did it because he learned that the fate of Middle Earth rested in his hands, and that it was his duty to destroy it.

These characters had all the motivation they needed to follow through with their tasks.  Sure, they dealt with crappy days, difficult situations, and near-death experiences, but they trudged on because they had the right motivation to drive onward.  Each and every step was taken with a purpose.

I challenge you to do the same.

Why are you here?

Why are you trying to live a better life?

I want to know what your motivation is for being here.  Without that motivation, it’s really easy to give up at the first sign of adversity.

Want to know why I’m here trying to live better?  

I want to make this community proud.  I want them to respect me.  I want to respect myself.  I want to look in the mirror with pride.  I know I only have one life to live, and I feel a personal responsibility to live up to my potential before my time is up; anything less is a missed opportunity.

The second new task this challenge: I want you to handwrite your motivation on a notecard or piece of paper and hang it up where you can see it every day: your bathroom mirror, your refrigerator door, your cubicle wall, whatever it is.  I want you to see that constant reminder.

  • Are you fighting for a future in which you see your kids grow up healthy?  
  • Are you fighting because you’re sick and tired of wondering “what if?”  
  • Are you fighting because you’re sick and tired of the nickname “Big _____” and just want to be “______?”

Whatever your reason is for being here, I want to know it.  Hand write your motivation for being here, take a photo of it, and upload it to your challenge thread.

These next six weeks are going to be challenging, and you’re going to be tempted to stray from your Main Quest.  You’re going to want to sleep in, give up, say “just this once,” or “I’ll do it tomorrow.”

Remember why you’re here, and what you’re doing this for.  

Your story begins…


We’re all living in one giant adventure game.

Some of us begin that adventure at a lower level than others, or a higher age, and that’s okay.

What’s important is that we’re all in this together. We’re all fighting for better lives.  To wake up excited for what the day brings.

We don’t get any extra lives.  There are no Phoenix Downs.  There are no resurrection spells.  We get just one playthrough.

Make it count.



photo source: open book, sunrise, sunset, running

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  • Raoul

    Nice challenge! Love it how you can motivate with a spin into the gameworld. Already doing this but in itterations of 90 days. But I think I can incorporate some of my goals into 6 weeks to join your challenge. So bring it!

  • Cojomami

    Still doing my Crossfit 3 days a week and living a paleo lifestyle (2 months so far and feeling good). That is my goal to maintain this for the next 6 weeks and beyond… I can’t take a pic to upload to this site it is too complicated for this nerd. It took me forever to figure out how to sign into this website. 😛

  • Calude

    BRING IT ON! 8)

  • bluelaurels@aim.com

    Damn that was motivating, Steve. Okay, logging on to the boards now and making my challenge. I needed the pep talk. Thanks!

  • floydette

    I have trouble with sign ins and passwords and message boards and photos, too, so I often just lurk and work on my goals on my own. Would love to have the cyber
    community support, but fortunately I have a good support system in my real world.

  • TheHalfie

    I’ve posted my challenge, joined a group (WOOT DISTRICT 12 :D) and am generally psyched to be taking part. Let the games begin! Thanks Steve

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  • Sounds like it’s time to figure out how my Main Quest should play out… and why I would start on it. Maybe my main quest is finding my main quest, since I’ve been with NF for over a year already…

  • pantinaprovina

    I SWEAR TO GOD, YOU ALWAYS HAVE THE ABSOLUTE PERFECT TIMING!! I freaking love this site. I am SO READY for this challenge. I needed this motivation. I needed to start this week. And I’m about to read through the challenge instructions, but I can already tell I’m going to love the new challenge format. Thank you Steve for existing and being so awesome. You really make a difference in people’s lives. Some of us just need that different perspective and nudge in the right direction to be successful. <3 FOR THE REBELLION!!!

  • Jacob Parcher

    I can appreciate a fitness challenge! Keep up the good work!

  • Jon Chew

    We are indeed living in a giant adventure. Great post, Steve. So totally motivating! Cue ‘Eye of the Tiger’ music in the background!

  • Good timing. I just finished writing up a 8 week workout program for myself. Quest: Kill the smoking dragon. Level up on my body. And take some professional pictures for the queen to ogle 🙂

    My overall epic goal is to go to a competition early next year.

  • Orcwarrior

    Thanks for being relentless in coming up with creative ways to encourage, motivate, and inspire us. As I’ve been part of the NF world the last several months (just starting my third challenge), I’ve found it incredibly helpful to tackle my unhealthy thinking and behaviors in small steps using many of the ideas, tips, and techniques I’ve learned here. As a result, my thinking is changing, which is bringing about serious changes in my body as well. I love NF!

  • Abbie Maree Carrington

    I really like this way of thinking about dieting/exercising/really any goal in general. It’s simple, it’s straightforward, it’s effective. I’m definitely joining the challenge. Also think it’s a great way to turn my life around a bit… I’ve been wanting to as I enter college. Hoorah!

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  • Ruth

    I love this! I have never been able to get motivated before and this is the one thing that has seemed to work! (lets hope it keeps up!)
    thanks a bunch! 😀

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  • Spenser

    Interesting read, thanks for sharing!

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  • จมาพันธ์ ชูตา

    hope i can do that thank you

    gclub / holiday palace

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  • Chelsea Overstreet

    This has really gotten me thinking about what I want out of life for a main quest. I’ve got a few smaller challenges, but what I really want is something that I need to seriously think about. And thanks for this post and motivation!

    P.S.- You said you like fantasy novels. Have you read any 80’s epic fantasy? Mercedes Lackey, David Eddings, ect. Out of curiosity. I can’t recommend Eddings enough to anyone!

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  • kdizz

    “There are no Phoenix Downs.” This made me laugh and also got me pumped.

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