30 Day Push-Up & Ab Challenge: Lessons Learned

Today completes the 30 day push-up and ab challenge. It was admittedly harder to complete than I thought – turns out it is HARD to do push-ups 30 days in a row. 😉

In addition, it’s amazing to realize how hard it is to squeeze in just 10-20 minutes of something *extra* on some days.

By day 4 I was already thinking “ughhhh this is only the 4th day”.

By day 18 I couldn’t believe I was already over half over.

Most days I did the full sets I had set out to do.

Three of the days I cut it in half, only doing that much after some SERIOUS self-talk to get myself to just do it.

A few days my arms were already so tired from my normal routine that I worried I might face plant into my floor.

A few days I felt significantly stronger and wanted to do extra.

That said, I learned a few takeaways and reminders that apply to life in general, that I wasn’t expecting would be lessons of this challenge.

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  1. You have to take the easy with the hard. Some days you will feel badass and breeze through, other days you will feel like a dumpster fire and rather be doing anything else. It’s those harder days that count. The days when it’s a struggle – mentally, emotionally, physically – when you feel like you just don’t have the time and energy that true change happens, that you set the groundwork for becoming a stronger, more mentally tough you. Pay attention to the hard days – when you get through those days, that’s where change happens. 
  2. You have to be kind to yourself. Reward yourself for small victories. Forgive yourself for not quite hitting the mark every time (you will not hit the mark every time). Even if you missed a day or two, that’s okay. That’s life. This challenge is a small metaphor for life – sometimes you’ve got it, sometimes you don’t. That’s okay. 
  3. It’s hard taking time for yourself every day. It’s funny because I train for a few hours most days for running/triathlons and yet this 10-20 minutes a day felt like SO much some days. I think part of it is it’s hard to start something new and stick with it – I think this is why so many people stop something before they’ve truly even started. I think it’s also really easy to default to any number of excuses when you don’t feel like doing something, or feel like there are a million other things (and people) you should be prioritizing over yourself.
  4. Setting a goal – and stating it aloud – really does keep you honest. I’m a goal-oriented person, but there were plenty of days where I thought about blowing off that 15 minutes it would take to do the push-ups/abs, excuses ranging from “I don’t have time” to “I’m too tired” to “I’ve already done enough today”. But remembering that I said I would do this (I’m always good on my word – if we don’t have our word, what else do we have?), and that it was only 30 days, the whole point being to see if I could stick to something every day for 30 days, kept me honest and kept me going when I didn’t feel like it. Which, honestly, was most days.
  5. Doing something you don’t feel like doing, day after day (mostly – I think the first 2 days I was excited, haha), really does build mental toughness. It teaches you to table any negative self-talk, focus on the goal, on the why (why am I doing this? What do I hope to accomplish? What is it I’m doing today that will make me better tomorrow?), and just do it.

Don’t think about where you want to be a year from now, or a month from now, or a week from now. Think about what you can do today to reach your goals, to become your best self, then make it happen. Make today the day you start.

Run on, friends.

L

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