I’m fascinated by numbers. High school math, not so much. But numbers, wow! And equations and theories and philosophy and science – WOW! Here’s what I mean…
On January 1, 2018 I challenged myself with something I wasn’t sure I could do. One pushup for each additional day of the year. Every day. All year long.
On January 1. I did one pushup.
On March 31, I did 90 pushups. (31 for January + 28 for February + 31 for March.)
It’s now June 30 and I’m half way to my goal – or so I think. Today I completed 181 pushups. Now here’s where it gets ludicrous. As of June 30, I will have completed 16,471 pushups in these first six months of the year. If you told me to complete 16,471 pushups in six months, I wouldn’t believe I could do it.
Speaking of ludicrous, here’s a fact that is both true and false: I’m halfway complete.
TRUE: specific to time, I’m 50% complete. It’s halfway through the year.
FALSE: specific to number of pushups, I’m less than 25% complete.
Why only 25% complete on pushups? Because the daily number of pushups increases exponentially each day.
How many pushups will I complete by the end of the year. 66,795.
Frankly, this is the first time I’ve added it up. Hence, one lesson I’ve learned from this personal test – sometimes is better not to know the full scope of the challenges ahead!
Here are my most memorable five lessons thus far. These, I believe slice through all aspects of our lives – home, work, family, friends, school, hobbies, and the unexpected.
In mind and in body. The first 60 days I just did it. Day by day. The next 30, I began to feel the drag. It was tough! And every day it got tougher. I found out quickly that March is a bitch! It’s the first 31-day month and it seems to never end. Because of this, my mind began to edit itself. I woke knowing I needed to accomplish something for my own good. Interestingly, my undiagnosed OCD also kept me on track. Obsessive-compulsive disorder, in case you were wondering. Meaning, when it came to the pushups, I had to complete them at least one full month’s worth at a time. I’m at the point now where I can hit 90 pushups non-stop. Something I couldn’t do before.
I feel stronger. I feel accomplished. I have a bit more sense of purpose. Strange, yes, but it’s true for me. I do a lot of things for others, and many times days go by where I forget to care for myself. This small act allows me to remember to take care of myself, daily. And besides, I don’t think I’ve really ever stuck fully to my new year’s resolution… have you?
I’m of average strength, unlike the remarkable Jack LaLanne. R.I.P. Therefore, I never expected to complete 365 pushups in a single non-stop session. I desire to, and maybe one day I’ll get there, but it wasn’t an objective. The single goal was to get through it, however I could. Pace and patience became more influential as the days progressed. I took breaks, yet I completed the entire set in a single time period. In other words, I didn’t spread my set across the entire day. This, however, is something that may change in the second half. It reminds me of a book on leadership by Marshall Goldsmith, “What Got You Here Won’t Get You There.” He’s an expert at helping global leaders overcome their sometimes-unconscious annoying habits and attain a higher level of success. It’s a book that’s on my ‘to read’ list. At this point, the title alone has helped me reflect on this task.
I’m grateful that at this point in my life that I have the ability to do pushups. There are many that struggle with life challenges that will not allow this type of thing. We all have our challenges. I did this to see if I could set a goal outside of my comfort zone and tackle it. I’ve done this before, but not so much at my own discretion. Usually it’s a work project, a volunteer opportunity, or a 5K run! I’ve learned one significant secret to happiness is gratefulness.
Those with disabilities must adapt. Their minds open up and their bodies change to allow progress, sometimes in ways much more astounding than expected. Those without arms, learn to write and eat with their feet. Those without sight or sound or smell become perceptive with their remaining senses to balance their circumstances. I adapted to my circumstances. I moved quickly when I felt strong, skipped my exercise when I became ill, and made it up on other days when I felt better. I kept my daily goal within reach and never let it get too far away.
Ultimately, what I’m learning is we need to challenge ourselves. And to get most things done, it’s important to examine the situation from multiple angles. When we do, the results can be powerful and surprising.
Part 2 of this written feature will occur when I complete my goal. I’ll be sure to share what I learned from July through December. So, we'll chat then, on Monday, December 31, 2018.
* this is math. I’m not an expert in this area. I did surface level research and I am directional accurate, however I may not be precisely correct. If I’m not, I’d love your final answer.
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