Weekly Dose of Coach #141: Lessons from 7000 Push-Ups

Lessons from 7000 Push-Ups

Last month I decided I was going to commit to 6000 push-ups.  That was 200 per day.  A few weeks into it, I thought I would step it up and do 7000 instead.  Last night, I finished my 7000 push-ups in front of the TV with my son Tyson doing a few here and there along side of me.  When I finished, it was one of those cool feelings of accomplishment.

It's something I said I was going to do, and did it.  It wasn't awfully easy, but as hard as 226 push-ups a day sounds, it wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be.

But the reason I challenged myself to do this has nothing to do with being able to tell you I did an absurd amount of push ups. After all, the world record for non-stop push-ups (at one time) is 10,507 by Minoru Yoshida in 1980. The most I did in a row during the month was 60.  The most ever done in 24 hours is 46,001 by Charles Servizio in 1993. The most I did in a 24 hour period was 600.  This was by doing 25 every 5 minutes on a Sunday afternoon while watching the NBA playoffs for 2 hours.

But there were some lessons I learned throughout the month that can cross over to anything you do in your life.  Here are my thoughts:

1.  Committing isn't as easy as just saying it:  Challenges are always fun.  But, in order to stick to something every day, you have to have a reason too.  A lot of people told me they were going to join me.  I don't think many of them made it all the way through.  I made it because I had a reason, a "why."  First, it was important for me to finish what I said I was going to do. Second, I was interested to see if my body would change physically.  Third, I wanted to challenge myself to do something I've never done before.  Lesson is, before you commit to something (especially something you have to do daily), remember to know exactly why you are going to do it.

2. There's a cycle in committing to something every day:  The first few days, especially day one, it's excitement.  The first day I did 400 push-ups. I would have done more but my arms were pretty shot.  The next day I was so sore I barely made 200.  The second cycle starts around day 5 or into week 2 once the excitement wears off.  This is where you start questioning what you are doing or if it's really worth it.  You start telling yourself, "this is stupid, what am I doing."  It's important to have your "why" during this phase or you'll never make it. If you make it through the second phase the third phase starts about week 3.  This is where everything starts to click. I went from doing a set routine of 10 pushups every 30 seconds for 200, to 15-20 every 30 seconds.  Not only was I getting stronger, but I was knocking them out faster.  By the end, I was just doing 4 sets of 50.  If you get to this point, you're in a routine and it's just a part of what you do.

3.  It helps to write down and see your progress:  We have a calendar on our fridge my wife organizes every month.  She's amazing at it.  It has everything in our life on it.  It's very organized and very well written.  So you can imagine how she felt when all of a sudden there was my bad handwriting on every day, 200, 220, 200, 250, 400.  But, I was able to see my progress every day.  I tracked it and tallied the total every week so I always knew where I was.  No matter what you are trying to improve in your life, track it.  

4. It's amazing how much time we waste:  We say this all the time.  But a challenge like this really opened my eyes the amount of time I have to get things done in 5-30 minute spans.  I really suck at this in a lot of things.  But I think this was my greatest lesson served.  I hope that I can take this lesson and apply it to other things in my life that need to get done.  More important things like playing with my kids, helping my wife or just sitting down and having a 5-30 minute conversation with anyone of my friends or family members.  I can see my wife rolling her eyes at this but I really hope I can commit to doing better at these things.

I love the quote, "Anything worth doing, is worth doing every day."  It's important for you to find what those things are.  Because no matter what, you are committing to something every day. And these commitments are what eventually shapes your future.