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My first FireEngineering Training Network blog post was on the pushup challenge I undertook for the year.  The guys over at http://firefighterfunctionalfitness.com/ put out the challenge to do 100 pushups, every day, for the entire year.  Thinking that this wouldn't be very hard, I took the challenge.  

I'm proud to say, that not only did I complete the challenge, but I crushed it!  I viewed 100 per day as the minimum and slowly began to raise the bar.  

My year-end total comes to just over 51,000 pushups!

Some of the things I learned about myself over the course of all these pushups include:

1.  Achievement of goals must be scheduled

     -in spite of doing this daily, I still found myself getting busy at bedtime and not thinking about them.  By having them on my daily to-do list I was able to make sure that I didn't forget them.  I don't think there is anything wrong with needing a prompt; many times, especially at the station, when I was tired and just wanted to hit the sack, seeing the reminder on my phone was what I needed.  That which gets scheduled gets done.  If I didn't have it on my list, I wouldn't have done them.

2.  Stretching yourself has to be a chosen mindset

     -we learn best when we do things that push us or cause us some discomfort.  Never in my life have I found pushups to be enjoyable.  Adopting the mindset, though, that this was a challenge to be met allowed me to deal with the mental aspect.  Not only did the pushups strengthen my body, but through completing them each night they strengthened my mental resolve to push myself to succeed.

3.  The little things in life add up

     -each repetition I did over the course of this last year built strength.  At the beginning of the year, I could hardly do any; now I can see the physical benefit (and breathe normally instead of gasping while doing them!).  Granted, I still don't look like Jim Moss or Dan Kerrigan, but neither do I look like the Pillsbury doughboy.  I can tell that each one, when added to the next, has multiplied.

4.  Most of all, though, is that I accomplished what I was trying to do, as indicated by the following paragraph that I wrote in my first blog post:

     The point of all this is not about achieving goals or getting fit, though both those things are being accomplished. For me, it’s about setting a small example for my daughters. There are things in life that we choose to do, and conversely, things that we don’t like to do. Hopefully, by choosing an activity I’m not fond of and persevering at it I am teaching them to overcome their fears, dislikes, and uncomfortable circumstances. I want them to see that setting goals for something you enjoy is good, but setting a goal to overcome something more disagreeable might actually be even better. I want them to grow up believing that in spite of life’s challenges, whether they are chosen or forced on them, they can achieve big things by engaging in simple, repetitive habits that often lead to greater things.

I know through my nightly ritual that my daughters have witnessed, they are better prepared to understand the need to push yourself in life if you hope to achieve what you set out to do.  I went down more than 51,000 times, but most importantly, I came back up more than 51,000 times.  That, in itself, is the biggest benefit!

So thank you, Firefighter Functional Fitness, for issuing the challenge.  I just hope that your 2019 challenge doesn't include broccoli!!

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