“Live one day at a time emphasizing ethics rather than rules”
– Wayne Dyer, American philosopher, motivational speaker
On September 6, 2016 I completed the “22 day push-up challenge”. This challenge was to complete 22 push-ups every day for 22 days, to raise awareness of veteran suicides – 22 veterans commit suicide every day according to a 2013 study. The UK veterans’ mental health charity, Combat Stress revealed that 6004 people had come to them over the past 12 months seeking help for PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), depression or anxiety. A 13% increase on the previous year.
Each day, you had to video yourself doing the push-ups and post to social media, Facebook. That was the challenge for me! You also had to nominate someone to do the challenge. In part, exercise is one of the things we can do to improve health and well-being, reduce stress and empower ourselves. It was also an opportunity to raise money for the charities supporting this cause. I received nominations from the UK and US.
On my third nomination I decided to do it, properly this time. Apparently doing it behind the scenes, sans video evidence, didn’t count. So this would (technically) be my second doing the challenge. Crikey. The push-up gods were clearly on my case. Posting videos of myself? How vain I thought. But it’s not about you Titi! So I dove into the cause. Three months ago, I doubt I could have done 12 consecutive push-ups “off my knees” without grimacing. Or maybe I could, but why would I? Then the videoing malarkey? I was in for a wild ride………
“My motivation is tomorrow, just one day at a time right?”
– Rafael Nadal, Spanish professional tennis player, King of the clay court
Day 1 – 6am, morning outdoor workout done, I’m in the parking lot with a friend. It’s quiet, it’s empty. Now is a good time as any. But it really doesn’t matter where, when or how ready you want to be, just start.
Day 2 and 3 – I take self-videos in my apartment and apartment gym and post to Facebook. Safe. Controlled. I even ended up doing 44 push-ups, having to retake the video to get “the angle” right. I can do 22 push-ups off my knees without stopping! We are ON! You are much stronger than you think.
Day 3 – where oh where do I do push-ups now? How are you raising awareness if you’re just posting to virtual friends on a social networking site I thought? I decide to go out into the real world to tell real people. I have to “think outside the apartment box” if I’m going to get through the next 19 days! Be visible.
Day 4 – camp gladiator games is cancelled due to rain. Six of us competitors head to Starbucks. An exuberant group, pumped up, caffeine high, I suggest we do my push-up challenge. Woo-hoo is the response! There is strength in numbers.
Day 5 – I’m at a sports center, training for an obstacle race, what better place to do push-ups and promote fitness/wellness? Seize the day.
Day 6 – at work, all dressed up and in heels, on the 6th floor of the building. This is a good time as any! If you can think it, you can do it. Be bold!
Day 7 – at my evening outdoor workout. What’s 22 push-ups after an hour of exercise? I get my workout buddies involved. Do more.
Day 8 – Arbor hills nature preserve, runners and walkers are going about their business. The British in me didn’t want to “disturb” anyone. I try to do a self-video, doesn’t work. It’s almost nighttime, I need to do my pushups! I break free of the fear of striking conversation with random people.
Day 9 – DFW airport, en-route to Colorado for my Spartan race. I have it all planned. OMG! I can’t believe I’m going to do this…it’s so PUBLIC. Right there, I get my friend to film me, walking and talking from gate E21 to E22, in my maxi dress. I stop, take off my backpack and hit the floor. I receive an applause! “You’ve got guts girl”, was a Facebook comment I received. It’s official, I am not a shy person! (Or did they think I was on my way back from the Olympics?). Hard work is appreciated.
Day 10 – push-ups with single leg raises, the mountains of Silverthorne, Colorado in the background. Just because I can. Give yourself permission.
Day 11 – at the end of my seven hour Spartan obstacle race up the mountains of Breckenridge, Colorado. Yes SEVEN hours. I am EX-HAUS-TED. But there’s still 22 push-ups to do. Make no excuses.
Day 12 – My legs are dead from the day before. What has that got to do with push-ups? I go to the hotel gym. In a gym again? How boring I thought. Then I spy a medicine ball, hmm. With my feet up on the ball, I push-up. I didn’t even know if I could or would last 22. Either way, I had 1 take. I am much stronger with much more potential. Unleash yourself!
Day 13 – my friend and I attempt to hike up Quandary peak, a 14er. We are half way up, it’s drizzling, it’s cold, it’s BEAUTIFUL, it’s time for push-ups. Share your experiences. You never know who is listening or watching and can be inspired.
Day 14 – I’m taking a walk along Main street, Breckenridge, Colorado. The feeling in my legs are returning. The views of the mountains from every angle, simply breathtaking. I want to capture and share this! I stop a random person to do my video. Speak up, ask for what you want.
Day 15 – nothing like a midweek evening out with my friends, we are at the ultimate escape in Dallas. I tell them I need to do push-ups at some point! They are all over it. Viking hat, Minnie mouse ears, pink cowboy hat and rodeo jaunts. It turns into a production! The comments I got were hilarious! Whatever you choose to do, have fun doing it. Especially when it comes to “exercise”, choose what you love to do or will enjoy doing.
Day 16 – a sunny morning, after a nice wake me up workout. Push-ups on my mind! Bereft of ideas, itching to get them out of the way and face my day. I get to it on a raised surface outside my apartment. What’s “written down” gets done indeed. Start as you mean to go on.
Day 18 – ideas, ideas! I receive one. Ok. Stair case of a multi-level parking garage, self-video facing downwards, people stepping by! I had so much fun on this one. Do you, don’t worry about what other people think.
Day 19 – camp gladiator games! It’s early afternoon, it’s Texas hot, all athletes have been up since the crack of dawn…but I see the vision of a mass push-up spree. Man with megaphone can you make an announcement please? I ask everyone to join in. Be BOLDER.
Day 20 – what to do? 2 more days, hang in there! I’m back at my apartment gym. Sigh. Hmm, a medicine ball, bench, idea! Feet on one, hands on the other. Core don’t fail me now! It didn’t. That was tough. Believe your own hype.
Day 21 – Labour Day weekend celebrations. Hotel Nylo Dallas, roof top pool bar, city skyline lit up in the background. Yes, you got it, push-ups. No attire is too great or too small. (I initially asked if I could do it on the neon lit glass bar top but the bar tender said no like I was crazy or something, tsk). Truth is, we’ll do what we want to do, regardless. So why make excuses for things we don’t want to do? Say yes, say no, live your own truth.
Day 22 – Under Armour factory store, one of my favourite places, a place selling workout wear! I’m ambling as I do, I look up and see a sign “Protect this house. I will”. My body is my house, I will indeed!! I get the shop assistants in on the action. Of course I buy stuff! Always, ALWAYS, dress the part. It is empowering.
22 push-ups might seem a lot to a lot of people. Ok, it IS a lot actually! But you just have to take it one day at a time……one push-up at a time. That’s the end of my story!
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit”
– Aristotle, ancient Greek philosopher and scientist
- Story previously written and published on September 29, 2016
- Cover photo, mine, taken in Colorado, US