Last December my friend Amber posted a challenge on her Facebook page. “Let’s get moving! Everybody who does 31 push-ups a day for 31 days this month will be entered into a draw for a $31 Starbucks gift card!”
I don’t even like Starbucks, but I love a challenge and I love the prospect of a prize - so I typed “I’m in!” into the comment box.
It’s amazing how much the idea of a prize motivates me.
In the past I’ve barely been able to do 10 push-ups without collapsing on the floor with violently shaking arms, gasping for breath. But every single day in December, I wrote “push-ups” on the top of my to-do list, and every single day in December, I did my push-ups.
At first I was only able to do sets of 8, then progressed to sets of 10, then 15 - and finally, I could do a full set of 31 push-ups without stopping for a break.
I was so proud of myself! The last half of the month was HARD because I had the flu - but gosh darn it, I did those push-ups!
I didn’t win the gift card, but I realized something: I can do just about anything for a few minutes a day for 31 days. With a prize or without one.
So in January I challenged myself to something new: I challenged myself to having a clean kitchen sink night for 31 days. I work evenings and Nathan is often busy shuttling the kids to and from their extra-curricular activities so it’s not at all unusual for the dishes to sit in the sink (or on the kitchen counter or even on the table!) overnight.
I’m not a fan of waking up to a messy kitchen.
My to-do list is long enough as it is, so waking up to the prospect of having to wash multiple sinks full of dishes caked with food doesn’t put me in a good mood.
We tackled the problem in January and I’m happy to say that we were successful! Nathan got on board, cleaning the kitchen when I had to work, and it’s amazing how such a small thing could change my entire morning.
In February we fell into survival mode. Over the course of 28 days we survived one gall bladder attack, a trip to the emergency room, four cases of a 12-hour stomach bug, and Nathan putting his back out twice - plus all the regular day-to-day things, like keeping children alive, making sure they got to and from school on time, finishing up Topher’s regular hockey season, and work, work, and more work.
I’ve never been so happy to see a calendar page turn as I was last Friday!
Now I’m working on my next monthly challenge: Writing for 20 minutes a day, every day, for 31 days.
It may be in my journal, it may be here on my poor, neglected blog, or I may just be plugging away on the book I’ve been working on for the past year and a half - but I’ll be writing.
I’m getting back in the game - and let me tell you, it’s a LOT more fun than doing push-ups or washing dishes!