One year ago, 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.)
On June 30, 2018, I did 181 pushups for that day. At that point, during the first six months of the year, I had completed 16,471 pushups. By December 31, 2018, my goal would be 66,795 pushups for the year. Because, exponentially my pushups continued to increase daily.
At my six-month point, I wrote about the lessons I learned. At the time, they included:
– Strength: in mind and body
– Confidence: a sense of purpose
– Patience: in my pace and in the overall goal
– Humility: that I could physically attempt a goal like this
– Adaptation: in my daily challenge, especially as things got tougher
It’s now January 2019 and my year challenge is officially done. Did I reach my goal of 66,795 pushups? No. And that’s why I will share with you five of my most memorable lessons during these previous 365 days, and my attempt at a ridiculous number of pushups.
1. Procrastination Is Deadly
Yes, there were days that slipped by me where I didn’t do my pushups. “No!” they yelled. “It can’t be true!” Seriously, it happened. In fact, I had to remove my Captain America shirt because I didn’t truly earn it on those days.
Psychology Today tells us there are three main types of procrastinators, (a) arousal types, or thrill-seekers, who wait until the last minute to reap a euphoric rush, (b) avoiders, who put off tasks because of fear of failure or even fear of success, but in either case are very concerned with what others think of them (ya, this is where I fall) and (c) decisional procrastinators, who are unable to make a decision. Why? Because not deciding absolves them of responsibility for outcomes of events.
Now, some of us reside in group c and we need to understand there are big costs resulting from this group, including eroding personal relationships and teamwork in the workplace. Additionally, these people suffer such problems as insomnia, immune system, and gastrointestinal disturbances.
In doing my pushups, I missed several days, and my procrastination consequences resulted in doubling or tripling my number of pushups in subsequent days. Sometimes that amounted to 600+ pushups in a single day. At that point, I needed rest.
2. Rest Is Essential
My muscles began to breakdown in the month of August. Let’s see, that’s around 210-240 pushups a day, every day. Sounds reasonable, but when I had already done 25,000 pushups in the weeks and months prior, it began to wear me out. My mind was there, but my body was tearing apart. Literally, if I had continued at that pace, it would have begun to have a significantly negative impact on me. Rest. It is an imperative ingredient to our success, whether it be resting after a physical workout, resting after small business victories, sleeping 7-8 hours each night, or allowing time for ourselves in meditation, massage, or meal. Lack of resting my muscles - this was the main reason I did not hit my December 31 goal.
3. Goals Are Necessary
Many of us set them in our work lives; how many of us do the same in our personal lives? There are five key areas where we must be mindful – physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and socially. Short change one of these and the other five will most likely feel a dent as well.
Goals need to be long-term and short term. Most importantly, insert easy to attain goals along the way to reaching the larger ones. This provides hope, rewards, and inspiration to ourselves. And it’s an excuse to recognize our accomplishments.
4. Recognition Is Powerful
Lack of recognition continues to show up as a top reason why people leave their job. Why not use this example to keep ourselves fulfilled? Many of us are our worst critic. It’s a new year, let’s take it easy on ourselves. I mean really, unless it truly is brain surgery, it’s not brain surgery! Everything we do isn’t going to make or break our world. There’s enough stress and anxiety out there to kill off the dinosaurs… hey wait.
What I learned along the way with this simple exercise, so to speak, is it provided natural rewards along the way – I felt stronger, I had daily achievements, I accomplished much. One of the most powerful things we can do is tell another person what we’re going to do. Telling at least one other person provides an incentive and a level of accountability for both of you. After all, if we don’t do what we said, they’ll know! The best part for me - my wife and friends encouraged me. But after all that…
5. Sh!t Happens
This isn’t just a “saying.” It’s true! Plans change, the family gets the flu, the car needs four new tires, we run out of wine, Tide pod challenge begins, money runs short, grandma moves in, the teenager says she wants to take a ‘gap’ year, your team misses the playoffs, Sears goes out of business. Yeah, 2018 was flying in all directions.
Bottom line, we know it happens. Therefore, our best laid plans will need to be adjusted. Life is an adventure. That’s why I like to take the scenic route.
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