I’m starting the year off a bit differently than a lot of people in blog-land.
Well, I didn’t do 100.
I WASN’T EVEN CLOSE.
In fact, I didn’t just fail – I failed spectacularly.
It’s a little humbling to write this actually. I’m a big advocate of telling other people your goals in an effort to hold yourself accountable. That strategy feels great when it works [Remember, when I told you I was going to do that? I actually did that! = great feeling]. But when it doesn’t and you fail, it kind of sucks [Remember when I told you I was going to do that? I didn't actually do that = terrible feeling]. It makes me want to keep some goals to myself, but considering I have a very public impossible list, you can guess that that’s not really how I do things.
The Back Story
I announced the 100 pushup challenge along with my 200 squat challenge all the way back in August and I did a terrible job of keeping myself on track. The terrible excuse I have was that I was too busy getting ready for the olympic triathlon, so I didn’t finish either by the end of the month. 2 months later, I finally knocked out the squats in November, but the pushups were still kicking my butt [and still are].
I tried to do 100 a couple nights before the New Year and didn’t get close. I tried it again Jan 1st and hit the same wall. Then Jan 3rd [yesterday] came and I gave it one last shot. I tried 3 times in a row:
- First attempt: 59
- Second attempt: 39
- Third attempt: 69
Done Laughing? Look at that for a second. Besides, none of those numbers being even close to 100, what looks “off?”
<<– Feel free to scroll down when you answer that question –>>
Here’s the stupid thing: I did more in the last set than I did in the first two! After kicking myself for about an hour, I figured out why I sucked so much.
- The first set I honestly really didn’t think I could do it so I gave up when things got hard and I quit at 59.
- For my second attempt, the idea that I couldn’t do it was even more ingrained in my mind after topping out at only 59 the first time, so I quit even sooner at 39.
Then I got mad. I knew I had cheated myself earlier by quitting so easily and was mad I had wasted so much energy on doing something half-assed.
- The third attempt I didn’t even count the pushups myself. I was pissed and I was going to do as many as I could even if my arms gave out and they almost did. This set was ugly, really ugly. Complete with lots of cheating by doing my downward dog impressions [I'm not even sure that's what they call it] to try and take a break without really “stopping.” The whole thing ended with my arms physically shaking as I tried to keep going. Even so, I still managed to do even more than I did earlier [more confirmation that it's all mental].
A Confession [and a laugh for you]
I actually video taped this and was going to show it as the sequel to the very popular squat video. I was going to show everyone how awesome it was that I had actually done 100 pushups. It was going to be awesome. Instead, I ended up with something very different. It’s embarrassing, but I decided to share it anyways. Feel free to watch if you want to be amused [and hear my very encouraging sister cheer me on :)].
Lots of people talk about failure and write inspirational crap about it while avoiding the messy act of failure as much as they can. They simply gloss over the bad parts: missed goals, bad launches, poorly written posts.
I was tempted to do that too and skirt over the subject and write something else. It’d be easy, I’d maintain a nice streak of success after success after success, and save face, but I knew if I did, I’d be full of crap.
Good stories don’t happen in a vacuum and the best stories have a lot of ups and downs. Not everything is happy-happy-joy-joy all the time and the people you read about, look up to and do amazing things aren’t some other type of entity that are incapable of failing. They’re not superhuman and neither am I. Sorry to disappoint, but I’m very much human [which is total crap, because I'm even wearing my Nerd Fitness shirt in the video].
So here it is:
I failed. I missed a goal and to be honest, it wasn’t even close! It sucks. The closest I got was 69 and I’ll be the first to admit that these were ugly, terrible pushups that should barely be counted – please laugh at them, I already am.
I’m also more motivated than ever to make 100 pushups. I’m over 2/3 the way there and I know my quitting threshold has just been raised a whole lot higher than I had ever thought before. I know I’m not done until my body is completely shaking from trying to hold me up.
Screwing Up And Bouncing Back
I’m 4 days into the new year and I’ve already screwed up. Good. I got it out of the way. Better to screw up now and not have to worry about it the rest of the year than hoping that one day I’ll be “perfect”. I’m not going to be perfect–it’s just not going to happen. I can either accept that or live in la-la land where unicorns play with rainbows, and Joel is perfect.
100 pushups is really freakin’ hard. There’s no doubt about that, but I’m not quite sold yet that it’s impossible. Of course there is only one way to really find out…
I’m not done yet. I’ll be gearing up, working out and coming back for a round 2. There’s a sequel coming…You w0n’t want to miss it.
If you know of someone who would like to laugh at me doing pushups, go ahead and share this with them. I won’t be mad. In fact, you’ll actually be creating more motivation for me to get my butt in gear and make something impossible happen. Thanks.
If you sat and counted and you number varies, I took the number from my official “counter”, I didn’t actually check myself. Please correct me if I’m off.