Way back in 2018, which was roughly 273 years ago, I cooked up a little idea: What if I did one push-up for every day of the year? And so when January 1, 2019 came around I did one push-up. The next day I did two, and on and on to December 31, when I did 365.
An online friend read the little piece that I wrote about my adventure and decided to give it a go for himself. I’m delighted to report that he finished the push-up challenge this morning. I couldn’t be prouder of him.
I’m a little proud of myself, too. Writing is a bit like sending messages in a bottle: We scribble down our ideas then set them adrift on the waves, never sure whether anyone will read them, and if so whether they will matter.
Somebody taking on my push-up challenge validates the quixotic act of setting all those bottles free. It’s also a nice reminder of something my first best friend, Mr. Rogers, once said: “If only you could sense how important you are to the lives of those you meet; how important you can be to people you may never even dream of. There is something of yourself that you leave at every meeting with another person.”
Maybe someday I’ll be hanging out with Lincoln, Jesus, and MLK. “I freed the slaves what did you do?” Abe will ask me. “I got another guy to do push-ups,” I’ll say and then they’ll all kind of snicker like “oh, big deal,” but I’ll look over and see Martin flexing a little bit.
Anyway, you might be looking for a New Year’s resolution, and if so give the push-up challenge a shot. The rules are simple: Each day you do push-ups equal to the day of the year:
Jan. 1: 1 push-up
Jan. 2: 2 push-ups
Jan. 3: 3 push-ups
…and on and on until 365 push-ups on December 31.
How you do those push-ups is up to you. Do them in sets of 1 or 3 or 5 or 10 or whatever your favorite number is. Do them all at once. Do them in the morning. Do them at night. Do some in the morning and some at night. Do them during commercials, if you still watch TV with commercials.
Do them on your knees or standing on your head. If you’re really out of shape start by doing them against a wall or counter top. There’s no wrong way–any push-up you do is one more push-up than you would’ve done. You don’t need to get all loopy about proper form and all that junk, just get moving.
If you need a little encouragement, email me throughout the year and let me know how it’s going. I’ll be your number one fan; in fact, I was bragging about you the other day. Just ask Lincoln.