I started a 100 push up challenge that spans 6 weeks. The idea is that by the end of 6 weeks, no matter if you can do 0 or 5 push ups, you will be able to accomplish 100 push ups. When I began the challenge 1 week ago, I could only accomplish 4 push ups. I had tried to work my way up through incline push ups but still, I could never break 4. I got comfortable doing the inclines and could bust out 50. While I was a bit spent at the end, I still could not complete “real” push ups. I concluded that I needed a better way to train myself.

The beauty of this current challenge is that it breaks the large goal into incremental goals. I figured that before I took the challenge, all I had to do was try to add more push ups everyday. That proved wrong. What this current method advocates is to do a few push ups, take a 90 second break, then attempt more. I do this 3 times. I take one day off between each attempt. Within 3 days, I’m up to 12 push ups.

What I learned is that I don’t have to necessarily complete all my push ups at once. I need to complete a few, step back, breathe, then resume. This physical challenge taught me a huge lesson that I plan to apply to other facets of my life. As in most endeavors I try, I find that I force myself to accomplish a task or project in one big chunk.  Of course this leads to burn out then to abandoning whatever it is I’m doing; ultimately resulting in perceived failure.

The lesson is to take a goal/task/project and break it up into manageable AND enjoyable increments. No one can master anything in one sitting and still find it enjoyable in the end. Goals take patience, practice and perseverance. I plan to adopt the push up strategy and test this theory over a spectrum of mental and physical experiments.