Routine & Challenge: Finding Discipline

A story of how a lack of discipline actually helped me to find more discipline.

This one is my own story. If I'm being honest, I am often very hard on myself. Looking back at 2015 now, I feel like I haven't done much or progressed at all. That's probably not true, but it's hard for me to tell myself that I've done enough. It wasn't until I was looking for things to share in this Weekly Training Inspiration that I remembered something I was very proud to accomplish earlier this year...

A Routine: 301 for 30

Feeling like I needed something to add as a routine to my daily life, I decided to start a challenge with myself and the team of our instructors to do 301 push-ups every day... for 30 days. That's 9,030 push-ups if you like math, or "OVER 9,000!" if you're into Dragon Ball Z or enjoy rounding because it's easier. The challenge started off well, though I must admit that doing the 301 every day in the first few days was leaving me quite sore.

Occasional Forgetfulness

Like probably everyone, I forget to do things now and then. Throughout the 30 days of our challenge, I would occasionally forget to finish my push-ups for the day, and so I would tack the remaining reps onto the next day. Some days it was something like 321 that I had to do, some days it was more like 361. Eventually, as we got into the end of the third week, I was starting to get a little too comfortable with the idea of being able to just rollover any missed reps to the following day. I started to use that to go to bed without finishing the day's push-ups, telling myself it didn't matter because I would do them the next day.

Piling Up

As maybe you've predicted by now - my push-ups began to pile up. I was missing large sets and pushing them to the next day. Always keeping track of what I didn't do (and being honest about it), but I started to worry even myself that I wasn't going to follow through with the challenge. And so... it was somewhere in that final week, I think we had 4 or 5 days left in our 30, and I had managed to pile up 883 push-ups owed. Yikes!


Those of you who know me from the classes know that I usually enjoy pushing myself (and others!). I had 883 push-ups to do that day and I thought "well, I may as well go for 1,001". And that's what I did. My arms had gotten surprisingly accustomed to doing many sets over the course of the challenge. They were recovering quicker than... well, ever! I wasn't doing huge sets - I would mostly do sets of 10-20 at a time. It was a long night and I didn't have to be up early the next morning. I had knocked out 170 push-ups throughout the day, and finished the rest later in the night. It was a great feeling to know that I could accomplish this. It wasn't a part of the challenge originally, but I really enjoyed it. I was able to put a great deal of focus into something and get it done.

Pushing It

A few days passed after having done the 1,001 in one day. The challenge was still running, and I was still feeling good about it. Really good... in fact, I purposely skipped full days and I ended up racking up another 943 push-ups owed just 4 days after I had completed the 1,001. This time, it was already about 8:00pm and I was just starting my sets. I knocked out a few hundred, and then decided to kick it up a notch. I put on some old Yamakasi videos to watch, set my phone on the floor, and set up a 1-minute timer. For about an hour and a half, I was knocking out sets of 7-10 push-ups every single minute. You know what I realized? Minutes are quite short! However, my arms were still very accustomed to what they'd been being put through, and I wasn't failing on any of the reps. It wasn't until the last 101, when I decided to do all sets of 10 (except the last, which would be 11), that I nearly had my first failed rep. This time, when I finished, I was even more proud than the last time. Why? Because, this time I had done 1,001 push-ups in just under 4.5 hours.