I’m more than halfway through the month of committing to doing one thing every single day. Knowing that the finish line is only 12 days aways motivates me to keep doing it.
My goal has been to do just ten pushups a day. It’s been 18 days so I’ve done roughly a total of 180 pushups in March. Some days I’ve done 20 but most day I’ll just do 10.
Despite not doing that many pushups a day, I do notice that I’ve gotten stronger. At the beginning I just did ten basic pushups. Now I can do pushups where I push myself off the floor just a little.
Where I’ve found the greatest benefit is on the inside.
Even before the 30 days is complete, I’ve been motivated to start another streak. One that will challenge me even more.
To find the motivation in your life, it comes from taking action. You can’t wait for motivation to come and then take action. You have to do it, even when you don’t feel like it. The more you do it, the more you will want to keep on going.
How you start to find motivation is by starting small. That’s why I created the 30 day commitment challenge to help myself and you get started.
The difference between how I am right now versus 18 days ago is I have much more motivation to do more.
The idea for my new challenge actually came while complaining to myself.
Last Wednesday my wife and I were driving home after eating out. We had spent the day moving stuff to our new house. We were tired. It was late. We were hungry.
After eating Chinese food (our favorite), I was silently complaining to myself. It’s been the almost the same things every day.
- I’ve gained a lot of weight
- I need to exercise
- I want to run more
- Why can’t I find the motivation to start?
- When will I start so I can shut myself up?
These are thoughts that have been coming up for a long time. I want to run more, but what will it take for me to start doing it and not just keep thinking about it?
The amount of motivation I had wasn’t enough to get me to start. What was it going to take for the excuses to go away so I could start and stay committed?
After taking a shower that night I got on my iPad and had an idea. I wondered what would happen if I ran every single day. I was in the middle of doing ten pushups and enjoying the streak I had going.
I wondered what if I kept a streak of running. Surely someone had done it before so I wondered if someone had written about it.
What I was looking for was how they felt after they ran every day at least a month. I wanted to know how they changed physically and mentally? What else in their life changed because of it? Was it life changing?
This wasn’t the first time I searched for people who ran every day.
I did this search last year but didn’t come up with anything that I can remember. If I did find someone’s story, it certainly didn’t get me to start running.
This time I found something that caught my attention and the light bulb finally went off in my head.
I think we’re meant to find the answers when we were ready. Last year I probably wasn’t ready. This time I was ready and therefore I found what I needed.
It’s called #RWRunStreak (Runner’s World Run Streak) and it’s been going on for seven years.
The rule is simple. Run at least one mile every day for 40 days. (Here’s their FAQ.)
They normally do a Facebook community challenge twice a year. Once is during the holidays and once starting the summer.
I didn’t want to wait. I didn’t need to either. I could start the next day.
I read the success stories of people who completed 40 days of running. The change in their life didn’t stop there. It continued well after the last day.
The biggest light bulb for me was reading that all I needed to do was run at least one mile a day.
I never thought about that before and I know why.
When we look for an answer, we often look for the most complex answer. What we really should be looking for is the simple answer.
How I looked at exercise is how we look at anything new we want to start.
In my mind, if I was going to start running again, it was going to be a full commitment. I was thinking of a commitment like I would be training for a long distance race like a half marathon. The last one I did was in 2009. That meant 5-6 days a week. Each time at least 30 minutes. On the weekend I would do a longer run and increase my distance each week.
But a 30 minute run isn’t just 30 minutes. I would have to warm up which takes 5 minutes. Then stretch for a few minutes. After running, I would walk to cool down for 5-10 minutes. After coming home I needed to stretch for 10-15 minutes.
A 30 minute run quickly turned into 1 hour of my day. Knowing that it would take an hour had stopped me from doing it.
I told myself that hour could be spent on the long list of things I had on my mental to-do list.
By committing a lot of time at the beginning, we will give up too easy. This is why so many people at the start of the year give up on exercise.
We don’t ease into it. We think we have to go big or not do it at all.
How has that been working out? Going big leads not even starting. It leads to excuses why we can’t do it one day. Then all progress stops.
This is why I knew I was important for me to start small with ten pushups a day. Trying to go big and commit a lot of time each day to exercise wasn’t working for me.
It got me to do absolutely nothing. I made no progress. I just stayed the same and kept complaining to myself.
The idea of running just one mile seemed doable. For me that would take 11-14 minutes. I wouldn’t need to warm up cause it’s not a long run. Afterwards I would still walk for at least 5 minutes to cool down. Then I would spend 5-10 minutes to stretch. So now I’m looking at at the most 30 minutes versus 60 minutes.
I could definitely do this each day. It was only 30 minutes. If I was running short on time, it would take only 11-14 minutes because I would skip the cool down and the stretching if needed.
So the next day I got myself out the door and went for my first one mile run.
If I’m being honest with myself, the time spent running and being outside would outweigh whatever else I would have been doing during that time at home.
The first seven days I’ve run 16, 20, 16, 20, 18, 16, and 30 minutes. Each day a little over one mile. I could have done more, but I didn’t want to do too much too soon. The last thing I want is an injury.
Each day I’ve felt like I’ve been running in slow motion. It’s not a fast pace and I’m breathing hard.
It’s challenging but that’s great. I know my leg strength and my endurance will increase over time.
As I write this, I’m on day 7 of running.
The first four days I’ve done it in the morning which I prefer. I love the feeling of getting my exercise done before I start my day. I feel better the rest of the day.
The last two nights were challenging because I didn’t run in the morning. That meant I had to do it after dinner after we got home. After a long day, the last thing I want to do is run.
Normally I would just skip the day. I would tell myself I’m too full from dinner. It’s too late to run.
Instead I didn’t feel like it, but I did it anyways. I pushed myself to just get it done.
The idea of breaking my streak already got my butt out of the door. I didn’t want to start over if I skipped a day. I didn’t want to miss a day.
Could I have skipped? Sure I could have come up with a great excuse to skip:
- Skip today to rest your muscles
- Just missing one day isn’t a big deal
- You’re too full from dinner
- By resting today, you will have more energy running the rest of the week
All those are valid excuses. They make sense to me. Skipping a day won’t be a big deal. Resting my muscles would be a good idea.
But the motivation to not skip a day was greater than any excuses that I have.
I don’t want to skip a day because I want to know what will happen to me if I run 40 days straight. That’s not the same as running 39 out of 40 days.
I know the obvious changes I’ll have if I run 40 days straight. I know I’ll have more endurance. I know I’ll improve physically.
I mainly want to see what happens to me on the inside. That’s the part that motivates me to run each day.
Will this lead to a ripple effect in other areas of my life? How will it change my life? Looking back at the challenge will I be able to see it lead to bigger and better things?
I won’t know unless I do it.
If I were to just do 39 out of 40 days, it’s not a complete failure. Unless it was due to an injury where I physically could not run, I would be disappointed. Just missing one day would suck.
Even though it’s just one day, there is a huge difference between running 40 days straight and running 20 days straight twice.
There is no grand prize if I finish the 40 days. I won’t get a trophy.
The reward I will get is the satisfaction that I completed the 40 days. It’s being able to say to myself that I committed to it and completed each day even though it wasn’t easy.
The reward is seeing how I change after doing this. It might be just a change physically. I don’t think it’ll only be that.
I’m sure that I’ll grow and change as a person because of this. The only way I will find out is to finish.
I’m still early on this challenge and I hope at the end of 40 days I will be able to say that I did it.
I believe that starting the ten pushup a day challenge got me to want to do more. It gave me the motivation to start a new streak.
Without starting on the ten pushups, I don’t think I would have been motivated to get myself to start running for the next 40 days.