100 Push-ups

Traditionally I’ve never been one to make New Year’s resolutions, but this year I drew a line and committed to making 2019 different. I’ve developed bad habits around leaving things half-finished. You know that saying about how change can happen when the pain of leaving things as they are is greater than the pain it takes to change? I think in some areas I’ve reached that level of pain. So at the end of 2018 I said this is going to be the year where I don’t leave home projects half finished. The year where some of the ideas sitting idle in my head either put up or shut up. The year where I confidently commit to something and see that commitment through to the end.

So on the evening of Dec 31 I made a list of items I wanted to achieve in 2019 paired with actionable items neatly sprawled out on post-it notes (Trello-style) on the north wall of my designer cave.

Actually no I didn’t. I didn’t do anything. See another one of my bad habits is I have ideas and then don’t make any concrete plans on how to accomplish them, but that’s for another blog post. I did however do something completely unrelated which has ended up becoming a primary factor in my ability to overcome this bad habit of not following through. I started a challenge of doing 100 push-ups every day for the year.

Improving my fitness and health has been a big part of my life over the past 2-3 years. With cross-training, running and wise diet choices as weekly habits, I entered into the challenge of 100 push-ups a day with enthusiasm. I figured it would be a moderate habit to maintain: not too hard to do physically or fit into my daily schedule. I had no master plan on what this would accomplish for me beyond knowing I was obtaining a little extra fitness each day and that part has already proved true, but it has also revealed something else to me.

The act of getting down on the ground and grinding through 4 sets of 25 push-ups does something to the mind as well as the body. Obviously push-ups themselves aren’t the secret, but rather it’s the act of putting your body through regular, physical stress. This wasn’t the big “ah-ha!” moment, because I had already learned the benefit exercise has on my mental health, alertness and confidence. The days when I exercise are almost always more productive than the days when I don’t. But the interesting part about the push-ups is that they’re literally done every day and I HAVE to fit them into my schedule somehow, like knocking them out on the floor of your hotel room right before midnight after a long day of travel, conversations and drinks (👋 Greenville Grok).

There are times when I just don’t want to do them, but I do them anyway. They’re challenging but bite-size enough to check off no matter if I’m feeling my best or fighting off a headache. This is the biggest takeaway for me. You are much more likely to accomplish a goal if you break it down into small chunks which are doable regardless of how you’re feeling but still make a sizable impact towards the goal itself. Don’t get overwhelmed at the idea of doing 36,500 push-ups this year, do 100 a day and next thing you know you’re almost at 10,000…which I’ll reach on Wednesday.

This realization paired with the benefits of exercise has allowed me to make great strides in the other goals I’ve set this year. Launching this site was one of them. I’m making advancements in properly learning 3D. I’m creating and finishing projects around the house. It feels great! If you’ve struggled with similar habits and have found solutions which enabled you to overcome them, I’d love to hear about it. Hit me up on Twitter and let’s chat.