I know, I know – I didn’t post last week. Based on the previous weeks’ delays, I have decided that it might be time to move back to an every-other-week schedule for my blog posts. After all, with everything else on the internet, who has the time or energy to read a weekly blog post anyway? 🙂
This is really just a little life update – at least, one aspect of my life. Specifically, working out! I’ve been saying for years, right along with everyone else, that I am going to lose weight and get in shape. Well, as I think I’ve mentioned previously, I think I finally found the correct motivation. I haven’t lost much weight, but I still feel like I am overall so much healthier than I used to be.
I apologize for those who already know this, since I am sure I’ve done a blog post on it previously, but Daniel is going on a boundary waters trip next September! Which will involve lots of hiking and canoeing while carrying a very heavy backpack, so last July, I designed a workout plan to get him in shape for it and…well, me too, because, while I might not be going, why not use it as motivation to get in shape myself?
So, we started, as mentioned, last July: At the beginning of the month, I had never done a real pushup in my life. I had done kneeling pushups, and leaning-against-the-wall pushups, and even leaning-against-the-bed pushups, but for all that, could not seem to get a single, full-body pushup out of me. So we tried something new. Every single weekday, I would get into a pushup position, Daniel would support me as I lowered myself and then he would literally push me back up. Eventually, I reached the point where I could go halfway down and push myself up, but in order to go all the way, Daniel had to help me. And, as the month progressed, I was able to go down and push myself back up a little more deeply every day until, finally, the last few days of the month, I did my first full body pushup ever.
Since then, I’ve tried to do pushups multiple times a day most days a week, slowly increasing the number I could do, first throughout the day, then at a single time. And now, nine months later, I am very proud to announce that I can do ten push-ups in a row and, split up throughout the day, 72 in a single day. How is that for progress?
In addition, we have been doing several other workouts that we have slowly increased in intensity and weight, but one of the other easily measurable ones is hiking. Last July, we started with doing two one-mile hikes, no weight. We have slowly increased both miles and weight, and now, this month, we are carrying 40/50 pounds (respectively), and by the end of the month we will be up to five miles.
So, why am I sharing all this with you? Well, I’ll be honest – mostly because I am pretty dang proud of myself. Despite not losing any weight, I feel more fit and healthy than I ever have before. But secondly, I just feel like it is a good demonstration that tiny habits lead to big results. We started our workout journey at the minimum. I mean, a one-mile hike? Really? Unable to do a single pushup? And then we added just enough each month to push us a little bit (believe me, we complained about it), but not enough to make us feel too overwhelmed to quit.
In addition, we had a very specific goal in mind: We (well, really, Daniel, but I am including myself in there as inspiration), have to be able to hike five miles carrying 50/60 pounds and canoe for four hours by the time he leaves in September, so starting from the end goal and breaking it up over a year gave us manageable, monthly goals to reach for.
I think this philosophy can be applied to a lot more in life. Want to write a book? Try writing ten words a day the first week, 20 the next, etc. Want to read more? Set the book next to your bed and give yourself permission to read only one paragraph a day. Want to get published? Try doing one goal a week – 1st week, find five agent names/publishing company names and write them down. 2nd week, write one paragraph of your query letter. And so on. Make the goal small, manageable, and something you can look at and think “Of course I can do that,” and then push yourself just a little bit more the next time.
I think that this subject really came to mind today not just because I am so excited about my increase in pushups, but because someone shared an article from The Write Conversation basically saying this exact thing and it reminded me that letting others know I have successfully implemented such a strategy can be really encouraging. I’ll share it below!